Chief Development Officer

Colby College
Maine, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Feb 17, 2023

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Position Type
Employment Type
Full Time
Colby College Chief Development Officer Waterville, ME


Colby College, one of the nation’s preeminent liberal arts institutions, seeks a strategic, innovative, process-oriented, and accomplished leader to serve as chief development officer (CDO) developing and executing the ambitious vision for the division to become a best-in-class, innovative advancement enterprise. This is a unique opportunity for a proven development professional to partner with an outstanding advancement leadership team and a dynamic and energetic vice president to further elevate Colby’s advancement enterprise.

Colby’s reputation and resources have expanded dramatically under President David Greene’s leadership over the last eight years. Applications have swelled from slightly more than 5,000 to nearly 17,000 since 2015; the College launched a $750 million comprehensive campaign, Dare Northward, the largest campaign among all liberal arts colleges; the College’s leaders and innovative programs have an increasingly visible presence in the national media (e.g., The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Forbes, CNBC, CNN, Fox, PBS, NPR, and others); the city of Waterville is being transformed through a partnership with Colby and more than $100 million in collective investments; the Colby College Museum of Art, one of the finest college art museums in the country, is a destination for study and tourism alike; and faculty research and scholarship have been highlighted by multiple outlets.

Reporting directly to the vice president and chief institutional advancement officer, working closely with senior leadership, and with access to the president, the CDO will be a critical member of the Colby advancement senior management team. The CDO will partner closely with the vice president, serving as a strategic advisor in the development of long-term and annual plans for the division, particularly around process implementation and identification of barriers. They will lead the delegation and execution of those plans, leveraging a thorough understanding of best practices and elevating new innovations, ideas, and concepts from advancement staff. The CDO will provide strategic leadership to individual, major, and planned giving as well as museum development, athletics fundraising, and family philanthropy. The CDO will also provide leadership to advancement operations and research. The successful candidate will also collaborate and strategize closely with the assistant vice president for alumni and donor engagement and the associate vice president for presidential initiatives and principal gifts. The CDO will have seven direct reports and indirectly supervise a team of 23. Additionally, the CDO will provide day-to-day operational oversight and leadership of the advancement division in close partnership with the vice president.

The CDO is responsible for implementing the fundamental processes needed to achieve the ambitious goals and aspirational vision for Colby advancement. They will empower individuals and teams, leading and supporting the effective execution of those goals as Colby advancement adapts to a changing social, educational, and technological climate. The CDO will encourage the development of new best practices that position Colby to respond to the evolving nature of philanthropy and the College’s increasingly diverse alumni and parent populations. The CDO will develop and foster a culture within advancement where innovations, new ideas, and cutting-edge concepts are elevated from all levels, empowering advancement staff to work collaboratively across verticals and be proactive in their approach to creating a best-in-class, industry-leading advancement enterprise. As a member of the senior leadership team, this leader will be expected to provide meaningful counsel on the full range of issues facing Colby College and will possess a contemporary and comprehensive knowledge of higher education and fundraising best practices. The successful candidate must also possess the knowledge, skills, and experience required to design and execute a comprehensive, data-driven, and modern development strategy and infrastructure. The CDO will play a vital role educating internal partners on philanthropic best practices and inspiring confidence among external supporters that their commitments will be well-received and stewarded.

The ideal candidate must demonstrate a high level of integrity and trust; and exhibit the credibility, maturity, and sophistication to effectively engage and partner with vast and varied groups of internal and external stakeholders. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of ten years of leadership experience in a high-performing fundraising operation with progressively increasing responsibility. They must possess strong strategic planning skills, outstanding experience in process implementation, a keen understanding of fundraising best practices, and a comprehensive knowledge of major industry functions and trends. This individual will have a track record of significant personal fundraising success at major and principal gift levels with demonstrated strength in operations, research, and donor discovery and qualification. Ideal candidates must possess extraordinary communication and negotiation skills, the political savvy, flexibility, and cultural agility to navigate a complex academic community, and the desire and ability to build bridges and strong, genuine, and collaborative relationships at a college with a diverse body of alumni and constituents. The ideal candidate will be a seasoned team leader adept at maximizing, leveraging, and advocating for a talented staff, and facilitating team success. A bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in education and experience is required; advanced degree is preferred.

Jack Gorman is leading this search with Bryce Ervin and Sandeep Kaur.

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