Associate Director of Donor Relations (Search Extended)

Northern Illinois University
Illinois, United States
$48,000.00 - $48,000.00
Closing date
Dec 22, 2021

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Position Type
Fundraising, Donor Relations, Other Fundraising, Administrative, Other Administrative
Employment Type
Full Time

Department, University, and Community description

The Division of University Advancement houses the Northern Illinois University Foundation, which is also an independent 501c3 fundraising organization. We have a dynamic, deeply engaged, thoughtful and fun team who are devoted to ensuring successful fundraising to benefit Northern Illinois University, and to create sustainable revenue streams ensuring the continued success of the Foundation.

At Northern Illinois University Foundation, our vision is to develop, support and encourage a culture of giving throughout the NIU community that will allow it to flourish and accomplish NIU’s goal of becoming the most student-centered public research university in the Midwest.

NIU is a university that has diversity, equity, and inclusion as one its primary core values. We seek and are strengthened by the diverse perspectives and experiences of our university community members, and we appreciate and respect every member of our community. Being a part of the NIU Huskie family means being an advocate for diversity and embracing inclusive principles.

Our Values and Professional Commitments

  • Northern Illinois University celebrates diversity in all its forms. We believe that diversity in gender, ethnicity, physical ability, religious beliefs, age, and sexuality is what makes the world an interesting place. Creating an environment in which those differences are not only acknowledged but celebrated is our goal. Diversity makes the educational experience richer and makes NIU the ideal place to learn. 
  • The NIU Foundation and Division of University Advancement, the outward facing engagement and fundraising organization, represents NIU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion to alumni, donors and friends of the university in all interactions.  As practitioners and colleagues we infuse our interactions with a spirit that champions our students, faculty and staff who come from a wide range of backgrounds.  We confront stereotypes and injustices where they are present and embrace the intrinsic dignity of each individual.
  • As practitioners of both the art and science of professional fundraising, we represent demonstrable commitment to the highest standard of ethical and professional conduct in accordance with the CASE Statement of Ethics, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethical Principles and Standards, and The Donor Bill of Rights. (Membership not required.)

Primary Function

The Division of University Advancement is responsible for all friend-raising and fund-raising at Northern Illinois University. Within the division is the Office of Donor Relations, which fosters lasting relationships between donors and the University through stewardship programs that demonstrate appreciation and reinforce the impact of donor generosity to the university. The acknowledgment, stewardship, engagement and recognition programs within Donor Relations, in addition to efforts to support philanthropic campaigns and programming, are essential in retaining donors who will continue to support the university.

Duties and Responsibilities, generally

This person will have decision making discretion and responsibility to

  • Strategize, manage and execute elements of a comprehensive and integrated Donor Relations program designed to enhance and strengthen relationships with donors, including development of high impact programs and objectives.
  • Develop, manage and implement content-rich, donor-focused strategies and programming aimed at building stronger, deeper relationships with donors for the centralized giving societies and recognition program.
  • Plan, develop and implement creative individualized engagement plans for selected donors as an integral member of the donor care team.
  • Manage all named and unnamed opportunities on campus and create a naming procedures standards manual.
  • Develop, manage, collaborate, and execute in all phases of planning, creating and implementing donor experiences that surprise and delight.

Because errors can have serious consequences, a consistent commitment to quality and accuracy, demonstrated excellence in written and verbal communications as well as superior analytical abilities are essential. Due to the direct contact with prospects, donors and volunteers, this position must represent the NIU Foundation in a knowledgeable, caring, professional and confidential manner at all times.

Education and Experience Required

  1. Bachelor’s degree.
  2. Three (3) years of demonstrated experience working in a university or not-for-profit environment, specifically donor relations.
  3. One (1) year of demonstrated experience in program development and/or project management.
  4. One (1) year of demonstrated experience creating and managing an innovative donor recognition or stewardship program, or equivalent experience.

Preferred Skills:

  1. One (1) year of demonstrated experience working with university policies and procedures.

List the knowledge, skills, and abilities critical to the performance of this position

  1. Deep, personal commitment to diversity in all forms, the recognition of all individuals to mutual respect, and the acceptance of others without biases. Demonstrable commitment to leading by example, modeling diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the university.
  2. Demonstrably strong work ethic and entrepreneurial mentality. A high-level of integrity, focus and commitment to achieve ambitious goals is essential. 
  3. Exemplary track record of professionalism, maturity, and discretion in the handling of confidential and highly sensitive information.
  4. Commitment to providing quality customer service to a diverse population of donors, students, faculty, and staff.
  5. Exceptional organizational skills with particular attention to accuracy.
  6. Must be a self-starter with a high level of productivity.
  7. Ability to meet strict deadlines, and exercise initiative in prioritizing and completing multiple assignments independently with good judgment and initiative.
  8. Exceptional interpersonal skills, as well as organizational and supervisory skills
  9. Excellent technology skills and the ability to work productively with tools such as spreadsheets, databases, heavy use of and Microsoft Office (including Word, Excel and Access).
  10. Ability to establish priorities, utilize good judgment under pressure, and flexible to respond to last minute projects.
  11. High quality mindset with the goal of excellence with positive and can-do perspective.
  12. Ability to quickly learn and apply new knowledge and technologies.
  13. Strong interpersonal skills and proven ability to interact with a variety of internal and external constituencies.
  14. Ability to think strategically and creatively.
  15. Ability to anticipate, deliver on and exceed the expectations of donors and colleagues.
  16. Ability to obtain, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information effectively.
  17. Demonstrated excellence in written and verbal communications.
  18. Outstanding problem-solving abilities.
  19. Ability to generate customized ideas for high-end donor recognition and stewardship, implement new program ideas, and monitor and assess progress.

Physical Demands and requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear. There is a high level of keyboarding and phone use.

The employee frequently is required to use fingers and hands to feel, grasp, operate or handle objects, tools, or controls; and reach with hands and arms. Must be able to lift and carry 20 lbs. regularly. Ability to work outside of normal working hours to complete tasks.

Hours: While established University office hours are 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, donor work is professionally conducted at times and places consistent with donor availability. Oftentimes this work includes nights and weekends, and trips outside the University’s primary locations (DeKalb, Chicago).  Therefore, travel is required and a professional commitment to an expansive and variable schedule is required.

Salary: $48,000

Application Materials and Process:

For full consideration, please upload and submit application materials at by January 2, 2022. Interviews may occur before the priority review date, however all applications received by the priority review date will receive full consideration. Applications received after the priority review date will be considered as needed. For questions, please contact Bryan Lutes,

Northern Illinois University is an AA/EEO institution. Pre-employment background check and verification of eligibility to work in the United States is required.

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