Director of Development, Independent School

The Walker School is seeking an experienced and forward-thinking Director of Development who will be responsible for designing and implementing comprehensive institutional advancement programs with the goal of increasing constituent involvement and fundraising outcomes. The Director of Development works closely with the Head of the School and the Board of Trustees to help lead the strategic direction of the school. The position's primary role centers upon institutional advancement, fundraising, donor cultivation, prospect development, solicitation, and stewardship. The Director of Development also works with the Assistant Head of School for Operations, the Director of Marketing and Communications and the Director of Admissions to build a strong culture of philanthropy and will establish robust connections with alumni, parents, donors and the broader community. This position supervises staff in Alumni Relations and Major Gifts. The Head of School, Carl Carlson, is in his first year and is eager to find a creative and knowledgeable fund-raiser. The new Director will help design an inspirational and strategic philanthropic identity at The Walker School.


● Works with the Head of School and the Advancement Committee of the Board of Trustees to develop strategies to initiate and meet fundraising goals
● Develops fundraising training for Trustees along with parent and alumni leadership volunteers
● Assumes responsibility for all Development reports to the Board and attends all Board meetings
● Assists in the short and long-term strategic planning activities to create and implement advancement goals and objectives
● Assists the Head of School in communicating with various constituent groups of the school
● Collaborates with the Director of Admissions and Director of Communications to develop strategies to maximize enrollment and positive public exposure for school
● Works collaboratively with members of the Administrative team to advance strategic priorities of the school and includes members of the Administrative team in fundraising efforts when appropriate
● Provides leadership support and works to develop collaborative relationships with the Alumni Association and various parent associations (Walker School Association, Wolverine Club, Patrons of the Arts)
● Acts as a key spokesperson on behalf of school and builds relationships both with school constituents and in the community
● Manages and supervises volunteers as necessary

Enhancing Donor Relations And Maximizing Gift Revenue
● Designs and oversees any capital campaign or major gifts campaign initiated by the school
● Designs and oversees the implementation of annual and multi-year fundraising strategies that align with school’s Board-approved strategic plan
● Ensures effective execution of fundraising strategies through individual donor relationship management, grant writing, social media and special events
● Builds a robust individual donor program, maintaining and expanding the school’s existing relationships as well as cultivating new ones with parents, alumni, and other constituencies in support of fundraising goals
● Identifies, cultivates, solicits and stewards major and planned gift donors and prospects including individuals, corporations and foundations through visits and other forms of personal contact
● Researches writes, edits or oversees the preparation of persuasive and accurate solicitations, proposals, case statements, reports, correspondence and other advancement-related communication materials in support of the school’s fundraising activities
● Expands the current culture of engagement and philanthropy by educating the school community on the importance of volunteerism and philanthropy
● Has overall responsibility for the successful planning, implementation and evaluation of alumni relations

Development Office Infrastructure
● Develops and manages the annual budget for the Advancement Office
● Leads and manages a team of staff members responsible for major gifts, planned giving, the Annual Fund, grant writing, alumni relations, special events and database administration
● Mentors, guides, evaluates and collaborates with advancement staff members, including setting clear goals, providing regular feedback, and encouraging open and ongoing communication both within the office and with other key departments
● Manages and oversees all developmental support activities, including managing and maintaining the database, preparing correspondence and reports, and developing and overseeing an advancement action timetable to coordinate all office activity annually

Qualifications and Skills:

  • An undergraduate degree in business or a related field and a minimum of 7 years of experience in philanthropic leadership, including demonstrated experience in major gift ($25,000) acquisition
  • Demonstrably strong interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and ability to communicate clearly and effectively across various constituencies of a school.
  • Nuanced communicator and social interpreter, Curious about people and an exemplary listener
  • Strong managerial, change management, and organizational skills. In particular, experience in, and ability to, supervise and evaluate Development team members.
  • Technologically literate regarding communication and database systems, as well as social media; knowledgeable regarding educational uses of technology.
  • Willingness to be a visible presence at the school in all venues where the students and faculty are actively well as a be interested and able for traveling to engage donors
  • Demonstrated experience in cultivation of diverse groups of donors
  • Ability to sell the Walker educational product to prospective donors

To Apply:

  • Letter of interest to the Search Committee
  • CV
  • Five references with email and phone contact
  • EC Candidate Summary (request from search consultant to complete dossier)

If you know of candidates who would thrive in and further this professional opportunity, please visit the Educators Collaborative website to see the full position description. Or, for any inquiries or recommendations contact: 

Andre’ Withers, Partner, Educators Collaborative

Apply for Director of Development, Independent School

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