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Director of Principal Gifts Operations

University of Massachusetts Amherst
Massachusetts, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
May 31, 2022

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Job Summary

The Director of Principal Gifts Operations plays a critical role in providing the University of Massachusetts Amherst's most generous supporters with the service and attention to ensure an exceptionally positive and fulfilling philanthropic experience. Reporting to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Principal Gifts and Campaign Director, and working closely with the Chancellor, and the Vice Chancellor for Advancement, and the Chancellor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, the Director is responsible for strategic project management, event strategy and management, and high-level operational support for the Principal Gifts program. The Principal Gifts program oversees relationship development for prospects capable of giving $1,000,000+ to the University, which includes members of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation Board. With a high level of visibility to key internal and external stakeholders, the Director develops program strategy and works to keep the program functioning optimally, while also helping to build a cross-campus culture of thought-partnership and collaboration. The Director promotes UMass Amherst priorities and a positive image to constituents and advances the university’s and advancement’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This position may have the opportunity to work remotely from the New England region.

Your Responsibilities:

  • Lead strategic planning and project management for Advancement Principal Gifts, a complex program requiring coordination with multiple executive-level stakeholders including extensive and frequent collaboration with the Chancellor’s office.
  • Serve as the primary project manager for the Principal Gifts Program, working in close partnership with the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Principal Gifts and Campaign Director, the Vice Chancellor for Advancement, and the Chancellor's office. Facilitate regular donor strategy meetings, and guide cross-campus development officers in the prioritization and execution of those strategic donor moves.
  • Partner closely with the Chancellor’s Deputy Chief of Staff on the Chancellor’s VIP donor travel and communications. This includes: ensuring that VIPs  are informed of campus news; that all communications with principal gift prospects and VIPs are personalized; working with the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Principal Gifts and Campaign Director and the Chancellor’s Deputy Chief of Staff to develop strategy, destinations, and timelines for all Chancellor Advancement-related travel; and ensuring that all donor meeting and event briefing materials submitted to the Chancellor’s office are timely, of the highest quality, and align with strategy developed by multiple executive academic and administrative leaders across campus.
  • Lead VIP event strategy development and execution, and ensure that all event management tasks and vendor relationships are well managed and executed by the Principal Gifts Coordinator. Leverage internal stakeholders to support event strategy, and closely collaborate with colleagues in Alumni Relations to ensure alignment between VIP events and overall alumni engagement strategies.
  • In partnership with the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Principal Gifts and Campaign Director and in close collaboration with the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Constituent Programs and gift officers across 13 schools, colleges and units, develop and manage outreach strategy for all principal gifts prospects and donors, including prospect relationship development, moves management, event invitations, and communications. These cross-campus relationships are based on a customer-service orientation and a focus on improving processes through efficiencies, innovative software solutions, strong collaborations, and adopting industry best practices.
  • Analyze processes and procedures, report findings, and develop solutions to complex cross-campus issues involving Principal Gift donors, and other stakeholders. This includes developing: a principal gifts team budget in partnership with Advancement Director of Financial Planning; a principal gifts pipeline and forecasting report focused on maximizing campaign results; a set of principal gift program metrics including benchmarking individual gift officer performance, and overall program effectiveness; and developing policies and procedures that align the program with advancement and university priorities.
  • Partner closely with the Vice Chancellor for Advancement, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Principal Gifts and Campaign Director, and the Prospect Management team on campaign strategy and reporting as it relates to Principal Gift prospects and donors.
  • Represent the Principal Gifts program at the university level and to external and internal stakeholders and constituencies, including at VIP events and through multiple communications channels.
  • Prioritize and manage multiple projects simultaneously utilizing industry best practices and innovative software solutions, and ensure that all follow-up steps are accomplished at the highest level of professionalism and consistently on time.
  • Stay informed about current university initiatives and institutional priorities.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree, and a minimum of 8 years of relevant project management experience.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills and ability to influence constituencies across organizational boundaries.
  • Outstanding project management and organizational skills, with the ability to independently manage several projects simultaneously.
  • Comfort when interacting with high-net-worth individuals, and an ability to maintain discretion and a high level of confidentiality when dealing with university supporters.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including executive-level correspondence.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, patience, persistence, enthusiasm, and the ability to build relationships with stakeholders, including staff at all levels of authority, board members, external partners and donors.
  • Detail- and results-oriented with strong anticipatory instincts; a self-starter who takes initiative, demonstrates unfailing follow-through and approaches project management with a patient persistence mindset.
  • Ability and willingness to work evenings and/or weekends, and to travel throughout the country as required.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, complex environment.
  •  Adept with technology, including databases, spreadsheet, and presentation software.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of advancement strategies including best practices related to development at institutions of higher education.
  • Experience with advancement databases, and experience using business analytics to help drive decision making.


 Salary commensurate with qualifications and experience.

To be considered for this position: please submit a resume and letter of interest here.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer of women, underrepresented groups, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities, and encourages applications from these and other protected group members.

We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact to request an accommodation.

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