Rhode Island School of Design seeks an innovative and inclusive
Executive Director to lead the RISD Fund.
RISD students and staff come from a wide range of geographic,
socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, representing all forms of
diversity. We seek a culturally competent candidate who will
thrive in a campus environment that advances principles of social
equity and inclusion, environmental and climate justice and equal
access to resources and opportunities. All potential
candidates must recognize diversity and inclusion as central to
If you’re looking to join a cohesive and talented team dedicated
to engaging alumni, parents and friends through creative outreach
strategies, we are interested in hearing from you.
Founded in 1877, RISD has earned a global reputation as a
leader in art and design education. It is recognized for its
renowned faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its
specialized facilities, and the intensity of its studio-based
approach to learning—an approach where critical thinking informs
the making of works by hand. Approximately 2,500 students from
around the world study at RISD, pursuing full-time bachelor’s or
master’s degree programs in 19 fine arts, architecture, or design
majors, complemented by essential study in the liberal
The RISD Museum, with the fourth largest college or university
museum collection in the country, is an integral part of the
institution and a resource for the College and the larger
community. RISD’s mission incorporates artistic and scholarly
achievement with social impact, and the institution has played a
vital role in preparing students for leadership roles in all
sectors, as demonstrated through the outstanding and varied
accomplishments of its 31,000 alumni.
Providence, Rhode Island offers its own vibrant art scene and is
conveniently located between two other major cultural centers:
Boston and New York. The RISD campus is contiguous with the campus
of Brown University and the two institutions share social,
academic, and community resources.
The Executive Director leads the development of a holistic
strategy of philanthropic engagement for alumni, parents, families,
and friends that yields sustained participation and generosity in
the RISD Fund.
The RISD Fund includes all current-use unrestricted and
restricted gifts to RISD, excluding gifts for capital
In this role you will forge relationships and collaborate with
members of the Institutional Advancement team, such as Alumni +
Family Relations, Advancement Services, and Stewardship, and with
administrative and academic department leaders.
The Executive Director develops and implements a comprehensive
multi-year plan and timeline with clear goals and metrics that
incorporates a multi-channel strategy for solicitation and
stewardship of RISD Fund donors, including more than 33,000 alumni,
parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends. The Executive
Director, through personal efforts and leadership of a team of
(currently five) RISD Fund Officers, focuses on attracting
leadership annual giving and expands giving to the 1877 Society
($2,500+) as a gateway for major gift support through comprehensive
solicitation, programming, and personal gift solicitation. In
addition, the Executive Director and RISD Fund Officers secure
leadership annual giving ($5,000+) from parents and recruit donors
to the Families Association Leadership Council. The Executive
Director, in partnership with the Executive Director of Alumni +
Family Relations and representatives from Student Affairs, provides
staffing support to the Council including organization of Council
meetings, report preparation, talking points, and other materials
required by Council leadership to effectively inform and engage
fellow members. The Executive Director will hire, train, supervise,
and evaluate professional staff and will oversee the selection,
management, and evaluation of any RISD Fund vendor partners.
Plan and execute a current-use giving
program, establishing segmented strategies to engage and encourage
support from alumni, parents, and friends, setting dollar goals to
meet or exceed them while monitoring progress on an ongoing
Devise and implement an appropriately
weighted multi-channel strategy including, but not limited to:
telemarketing, direct mail, social media/crowdfunding, email, and
text campaigns appropriate to each donor segment.
Manage vendor relations including for
student calling, direct response and marketing. Work cooperatively
with the Executive Director of Donor Engagement with
Recruit and grow a corps of
volunteers to engage in donor cultivation and solicitation,
especially for the 1877 Society leading to increased support at the
Responsible for identifying,
cultivating, soliciting and stewarding a limited pool of leadership
annual giving prospects and donors, focusing on gifts of $10,000+.
The individual will conduct at least 75 personal solicitations
Lead a team of RISD Fund Officers in
securing 1877 Society ($2,500+) and Families Association Leadership
Council gifts ($5,000+), identifying donors with major gift
potential ($100,000+) and working synergistically with philanthropy
and planned giving officers to transition prospective donors to
their portfolios for additional cultivation and solicitation.
Recruit donors to the Families
Association Leadership Council. Provide lead staffing support to
the Council including organization of meetings, report preparation,
talking points, and other materials required by Council leadership
to effectively inform and engage fellow members.
Partner with Executive Director of
Alumni + Family Relations and volunteers to develop and promote a
program that engages and attracts current use gifts from RISD
student families while identifying those with major gift
Partners with the Vice President of
Institutional Advancement to ensure timely solicitations of
trustees, emeriti trustees, and other leadership donors.
Work synergistically with Executive
Director of Alumni + Family Relations and team to engage 1877
Society donors and prospective donors as volunteer leaders,
including through significant reunions.
Develop plan to engage faculty,
staff, recent alumni, and students in philanthropy.
Ensure all administrative functions
relating to the RISD Fund are carefully managed and processes
completed in a thorough and timely basis, including, but not
limited to: development and management of program budgets and
projections; generation and coordination of direct response
campaigns; planning and implementation of special events;
management reports; acknowledgements of gifts; monitoring and
processing of pledge reminders.
Hire, train, professionally develop,
manage, and evaluate all RISD Fund staff.
Select, manage, and evaluate all RISD
Fund service providers.
Work collaboratively and
synergistically with the RISD Museum Deputy Director of Development
and External Affairs and peers on the Institutional Advancement
Senior Management Group (SMG) including: the Senior Executive
Director of Development; Executive Director of Alumni + Family
Relations; Executive Director of Advancement Services; and
Executive Director of Donor Engagement to achieve organizational
goals and strategies.
Perform related duties as
Work collaboratively with other
members of Institutional Advancement to support department
initiatives, plans, and projects.
Serve as a representative of
Institutional Advancement with other campus partners.
Bachelor’s degree in relevant field required. Master’s degree in
relevant field or equivalent combination of education and
experience preferred. Ten years+ of fundraising experience devising
and managing annual giving and/or membership programs, preferably
in higher education. Proven ability to work and communicate
effectively with a broad spectrum of divisional and institutional
colleagues, within an environment that values diversity as
defined by, race, color, religion, age, sex, ethnicity, sexual
orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, national
origin, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected
by law. Demonstrated success in devising and executing
comprehensive annual giving strategies and programs including
digital direct marketing. Personal record of prospect solicitation
and securing gifts at $50K+ level. Management experience and
supervision of employees including hiring, training, and evaluating
performance. Excellent oral and persuasive written communication
and presentation skills. Strong organizational skills. Demonstrated
effectiveness in outreach to volunteers and other fundraising
partners. Interest/experience in art and design desirable.
Application and Nomination
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until
the position is filled. A resume and cover letter explaining how
the applicant meets the qualifications specified in this
announcement may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org,
attention Maureen Pena.