Senior Associate Director for Principal Giving

James Madison University
Virginia, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Apr 5, 2023

View more

Position Type
Fundraising, Planned Giving
Philanthropic Advisors
Employment Type
Full Time

Senior Associate Director for Principal Giving


We are a community committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.


To be the national model for the engaged university: engaged with ideas and the world.

Who We Are

Located in the heart of Virginia's beautiful Shenandoah Valley, the city of Harrisonburg is approximately 120 miles from Washington, D.C. and Richmond, VA. With a population of just over 53,000, Harrisonburg is one of the most diverse communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. JMU is a selective, public institution with a growing national reputation for offering experiences that lead to an outstanding education and inclusive environment for students, faculty and staff. The student body includes approximately 20,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students, with over 1,000 full-time instructional faculty.

JMU offers thriving programs in the liberal arts, science and technology, and professional disciplines at the undergraduate, master's and doctoral levels. The university is committed to expanding diversity, fostering equity and inclusion, and supporting superlative teaching and scholarship. JMU has achieved national recognition for the high quality of its academic programs, focus on maintaining strong student/faculty interaction, and innovative faculty research.

JMU's star is on the rise. Having recently moved to the Sun Belt Conference and into a higher research classification by the Carnegie Commission, JMU went from regional to national rankings, listed among the top 75 best public universities in 2022. Applications to JMU are up 70 percent in the last three years.

JMU's successful Unleashed campaign exceeded the stretch goal by 25 percent, finishing at over $250M. Along with increased campus awareness of the power of philanthropy to provide important opportunities for students, faculty and staff, our donors are helping to fuel a strong and growing culture of philanthropy among alumni, parents and friends of JMU.

The Senior Associate Director for Principal Giving will play a pivotal role in JMU's rise, joining JMU during the planning and launch of a next, more ambitious fundraising campaign. President Jonathan Alger and senior leadership are articulating strategic goals which will become big ideas for transformative principal gift opportunities.

The Principal Giving team partners with individuals and families capable of making gift commitments of $1M or more. The goal of Principal Giving is to facilitate transformative philanthropic investments in the university and to create meaningful giving experiences for our generous donors. In doing so, Principal Giving contributes critically and fundamentally to JMU's institutional and fundraising success.

The successful candidate will have a passion for working with individuals and families on their philanthropic goals as well as a passion for collaborating with colleagues in University Advancement and across campus to articulate and steward philanthropic partnerships. Partnerships across campus include the Office of the President, Intercollegiate Athletics, the JMU Foundation, Deans and members of the faculty. There will be opportunities to participate in endeavors advancing the work and success of the division of University Advancement as a whole. The Senior Associate Director for Principal Giving will report to the Assistant Vice President for Principal Giving.

It is expected that a minimum of 80-85% of the Senior Associate Director's time will be devoted to activity relating directly to fundraising.

Duties and Responsibilities:

• Manage and develop a portfolio of 50-75 high-capacity individuals and families capable of making gifts of $1M+.
• Collaborate with University Advancement colleagues to coordinate donor-centered approaches to cultivation, solicitation and stewardship. Participate in strategy meetings with leadership and staff to develop and monitor cultivation/solicitation/stewardship plans for the Principal Giving prospect pool.
• Close gifts of $1M+ and six-figure gifts that will lead to $1M+ over the long term.
• Inspire donors to invest in JMU's campaign priorities through leadership philanthropy.
• Provide expertise on structuring gifts, including those involving complex assets, deferred giving opportunities, and blended gift approach.
• Take a lead role in qualifying new principal giving prospects and leverage peer networks of alumni and parents of JMU to qualify new prospects.
• Work with the Assistant Vice President and Program Coordinator for Principal Giving to prepare the University's senior leaders for strategic interactions with donors and prospects.
• Work with the Assistant Vice President and Program Coordinator for Principal Giving to liaise with designated academic partners as well as volunteer campaign leadership.

Required Qualifications:

• Bachelor's degree.
• Ability to build relationships with donors and prospective donors that will be equally meaningful to the donor and university alike.
• Demonstrated understanding of nuances related to principal giving as a unique type of fundraising.
• Experience-based ability to recognize high-potential giving opportunities and the knowledge of the giving techniques and strategies required to maximize that potential.
• Ability to close major, planned and principal gifts from individuals.
• Demonstrated ability to be a team player.
• Excellent listening and interpersonal skills.
• High level of organizational, verbal, and written skills required to communicate effectively and persuasively.
• Ability to work collaboratively with key members of the university community as well as external audiences.
• Ability and willingness to travel extensively and work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends as needed.

Preferred Qualifications:

• Seven years' successful experience in higher education fundraising and/or major gift solicitation.
• Experience in capital campaigns and/or volunteer management.
• Experience working with donors' professional advisors.
• Master's degree or professional credential.

To apply go to or visit and reference posting number F2115. Pay Range: Commensurate with Experience.
James Madison University is an equal opportunity employer committed to creating and supporting a diverse and inclusive work and educational community that is free of all forms of discrimination. This institution does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, parental status, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status.


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