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Director of Prospect Development and Strategy

Northern Illinois University Foundation
Illinois, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Jan 4, 2023
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This position serves as an essential member of the University Advancement/NIU Foundation team to establish overall goals and strategies for increasing private support and engagement for the University. Responsible for the planning and implementation of a comprehensive program of prospect research, prospect strategy, data management, and analysis.  The Director will ensure that prospect and donor data is properly maintained and coded within the NIU Foundation CRM and will use this data to produce improved reports highlighting fundraising KPI’s and performance metrics that will help inform strategies. The Director will supervise a team of 3+ staff and will need to build strong relationships with all teams and leadership across the organization. 

Primary Function

This is a leadership position within Development Operations, providing essential support to the Gift Planning Team.  The Director leads the overall Division’s strategies to utilize ethically gathered prospect and donor information required to identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit and steward engaged relationships in support of NIU.  The primary responsibilities are to manage the information resources critical to best practice prospect research and management, and the team of researchers and analysts who conduct the work.

General Duties and Responsibilities

The Director reports to the Senior Director of Operations, and works closely with the data and systems teams, and the gift planning team.  The work involves individual and organizational prospect research and profile development, strategy development and data analysis.

Description of Job Duties

25% Prospect Strategy

  • Provide quantitative and qualitative analysis of pipeline activity and movement to drive strategic planning across University Advancement, including modeling and donor journey analytics.
  • Collaborate with Data Services and Information Technology to make recommendations for database modifications needed to support effective reporting and analysis.
  • Design and create reports and dashboards to help monitor and track fundraising performance and progress made towards goals. Collaborate with members of the Information Technology and Reporting Services teams to develop reports, while also offering recommendations for other reporting tools and data visualizations.
  • Ensure highest quality standards and set team metrics based on expertise and industry best practices. Mentor members of the research team so that they have the skills and training necessary to achieve these expectations.
  • Oversee annual strategic business plan for the unit.

30% Prospect and Portfolio Management

  • Oversee all aspects of the prospect management system. Develop and implement comprehensive policies and procedures to ensure quality and consistency across all activities related to prospect research and management.
  • In coordination with Executive Director(s) of Development, assess and assign donors and prospects for 15+ gift officers. Lead monthly moves management meetings and quarterly portfolio reviews with all relationship managers and supporting coordinators to monitor performance metrics and ensure that actions, strategies, and revenue projections are being accurately uploaded to the database.
  • Manage the assignment (and reassignment, including prospect clearance) of prospects and partners in collaboration with the Executive Directors to ensure that fundraising activity is coordinated, and prospects are moved successfully through the fundraising cycle.
  • Establish prospect pipeline guidelines and workflows that ensures a steady flow of new prospects while holding portfolio managers accountable to moving all assignments through the donor cycle. Customize pipeline strategies for principal giving prospects to better identify and strategize next steps while working in close collaboration with the Executive Director of Advancement.

30% Prospect Identification and Research

  • Implement a comprehensive program of quality prospect research (biographic, financial, and philanthropic) to support cultivation and solicitation activity by advancement staff, campus partners (such as Deans) and campaign volunteers as appropriate.
  • Proactively manage alerts and other proactive research tools to keep fundraisers up to date on principal gifts prospects (changes to wealth, employment, philanthropy, and other news).
  • Ensure that current research activities are aligned with organizational priorities and revenue goals. Assess current prospecting procedures and research queue and make recommendations to improve existing processes. Create structures to better visualize network connections and relationships that will allow us to identify strong potential prospects with the help of volunteer engagement.
  • Guide and inform our annual external database screening and analysis in close collaboration with the Information Technology and Data Services departments. Incorporate new data into current research systems in an effort to uncover new donors and update information on current prospects.

15% Management and Budget

  • Manage and support all members of the prospect management and research team focused on creating development plans for each staff member, providing mentorship, and identifying professional training opportunities. Oversee all hiring and onboarding for the team.
  • Define long term vision for team structures and responsibilities that aligns with goals and priorities set by the senior leadership team. Ensure that the team’s structure is able to support the constituent management and research needs across all revenue generating teams.
  • Monitor the budget for the prospect management and research team and inform recommendations to ensure that the organization is positioned for fundraising success.

Education and Experience Required

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 7+ years of relevant prospect management and research experience in a non-profit setting or similar industry.
  • Proven track record of managing teams in both in-person and virtual environments.
  • Strong analytical, problem-solving and research skills.
  • Experience in data analysis and interpretation; ability to translate information into reports and presentations.
  • Solid computer skills in a PC environment and high proficiency using donor databases Excellent skills in the functional use of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams; PowerBI and SharePoint a plus).
  • Record of showing initiative and independently setting up effective systems and workflows that meet outcome expectations in quality and timeliness.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of the latest prospecting and research tools and systems (WealthX, ResearchPoint, LexisNexis, Noza etc…).
  • Exceptional communication skills, including ability to collaborate effectively across departments.
  • Ability to handle confidential and sensitive information with integrity, maturity and exceptional judgement.

Education and Experience Preferred

  • Advanced degree
  • Membership in APRA

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

  • 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, the Association of Processional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) Code of Ethics, and The Donor Bill of Rights. (Memberships not required.)
  • 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.
  • Demonstrably strong work ethic and entrepreneurial mentality. A high-level of integrity, focus and commitment to achieve ambitious goals is essential.
  • Demonstrated exceptional writing skills, strong oral communication with group presentation skills.
  • Familiarity with the “moves management” approach to major gift fundraising
  • Experience working within a matrixed organizational structure where performance responsibilities are evaluated in different divisions.
  • A flexible attitude and clear ability to modify and adapt as situations arise.
  • Familiarity with fundraising tools. Knowledge of computerized systems of donor record keeping, data tracking of prospects, and donors.
  • Exceptional organizational and project management skills.
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Exceptional communication skills.
  • The ability to synthesize multiple sources of information.
  • The ability to think critically and strategically; capable of taking responsibility for specific goals within designated time frames. Capable of coordinating multi-task initiatives to successful conclusion.
  • A flexible attitude and clear ability to modify and adapt as situations and conditions change, as well as a resilience about the rigors of public higher education and the increasing pressure of resource constraints.
  • A proven ability to build strong relationships anchored in trust and integrity.  

Physical demands/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. The employee frequently is required to stand for long periods of time; walk; 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.

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