Senior Executive Director of Development, University Development Office

Harvard University
Massachusetts, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Mar 29, 2023

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Position Type
Employment Type
Full Time




Cambridge, Massachusetts


The Senior Executive Director (SED) of Development will serve as a key leader in the University Development Office (UDO) overseeing four front-line fundraising teams (about 20 staff) that raise funds in support of the priorities of academic leadership across the University. This newly created position will support the work of several highly experienced fundraising managers while hiring for one open position. The SED will oversee the planning, goal setting, execution, and measurement of a highly successful fundraising program, ensuring that lead generation, prospect strategy development, and solicitations – and associated engagement and recognition programs -- are well integrated into the overall operation of UDO and the larger University fundraising environment. The SED will lead the work of the fundraising teams to attract significant gifts to Harvard for its funding priorities, through aligning donor interest with institutional priorities, collaborating with colleagues, and demonstrating transparency and collegiality.


This is an exciting time to join UDO, with the transition to a new Harvard president on July 1, 2023, a commitment to growth in the planned giving program, and expansion of efforts to measure impact to Harvard’s Schools and Units. Reporting to the Associate Vice President for University Development (AVP), the SED sits on the AVP’s leadership team working collaboratively to advance the goals of UDO.


An important aspect of this role is developing a strong sense of team across the fundraisers, a spirit of collective enterprise, and a shared commitment to UDO’s organizational goals, policies, and procedures. This role will ensure resources, remove obstacles, and create the conditions for the fundraising teams to succeed. Working with the department heads, this position will seek ways for team members to help each other and exchange best practices and information for mutual success. This individual serves as a leader, advisor, and strategist on the identification, cultivation, solicitation, closure, and stewardship of major and principal level gifts from individuals and organizations nationally and internationally. The SED will manage a modest portfolio (< 25) of donors while focusing the bulk of their time on management activities that facilitate the success of the UDO fundraising teams.


The ideal candidate will be a senior fundraising professional with strong analytical, managerial, and frontline fundraising skills. The successful candidate will be a dedicated and motivational team leader adept at maximizing, leveraging, retaining, and advocating for a seasoned and talented staff, while facilitating team success. The SED will be a self–assured, results-oriented development professional with a collegial and accessible leadership style. This individual must possess strong strategic planning, organizational, and program-building skills; a keen understanding of best practices in fundraising, and a comprehensive knowledge of all major advancement functions. Collaboration and integrity are paramount in this position. 


The SED may reside in any of the following states where Harvard is licensed to do business: MA, CA, CT, GA, IL, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VA, VT, and WA. 


Harvard University has retained Ms. Rachel Ellenport of the national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to conduct this important recruitment. For more information, to submit a nomination, or to apply for this role, please visit: 


Harvard is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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