Director of Alumni and Donor Relations (Field of International Education)

Job Title: Director of Alumni and Donor Relations

Reports to: Vice President for Advancement

Location: Northern Colorado/Fort Collins, CO (hybrid) OR fully remote (within the U.S.)

FLSA Status: Exempt, regular, full-time

Schedule: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Salary Range: Typical starting range for a new employee in this role is $84,000 - $89,000/annually

Organization Description

Established in 1963, the Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) is a 501(c) non-profit organization. In collaboration with academic partner Colorado State University, ISE delivers the Semester at Sea® (SAS) program, one of the longest operating higher education study abroad programs. Semester at Sea® provides its students a global comparative education through classroom and experiential learning in the field. The Semester at Sea® floating campus, the MV World Odyssey, carries around 550 students plus faculty, staff, and others. The duration of the semester voyage is typically 105 days, including visits to 8- 10 countries. ISE conducts two semester voyages annually. See for more information. 

Organization Mission

Journeys of discovery that spark bold solutions to global challenges. 

Position Description

The Director of Alumni and Donor Relations (DADR) is a full-time leadership position reporting to the Vice President of Advancement. The DADR is responsible for cultivating and maintaining strong relationships with Semester at Seas (SAS) alumni and donors, ensuring their ongoing engagement and support. This role involves providing strategic direction and leadership for SAS's alumni network, developing strategies to engage and connect with alumni and donors, as well as playing a leadership role in all alumni and donor communications. 

The Director of Alumni and Donor Relations will collaborate with the fundraising team to identify and cultivate potential donors, creating personalized stewardship plans and reports to foster long-term relationships and secure financial support. They will also organize advancement events, manage donor recognition initiatives, ensure proper data management and reporting on alumni and donor activities, develop and track key metrics, and oversee scholarship and restricted funds.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The individual in this position must be able to perform the essential duties and responsibilities with or without reasonable accommodation: 

    Lead the strategic design and execution of innovative programs and communications for the alumni and donor relations programs. This includes developing and executing an annual operating plan that advances goals for alumni engagement and donor relations. Foster enduring, mutually beneficial relationships, delivering outstanding donor and alumni experiences through tailored cultivation and stewardship, communications, and events, ensuring donors and alumni feel valued. Provide strategic direction and leadership for the alumni association, working closely with alumni association leaders to develop and implement strategic initiatives that meet the evolving needs and interests of alumni, enhancing their connection to the organization and fostering lifelong engagement and support. Lead scholarship strategy development and stewardship efforts.  Collaborate with finance and financial aid on the administration and management of scholarships and restricted funds, ensuring proper allocation and utilization in accordance with donor intentions and organizational guidelines. Track monthly progress toward goal achievement and distribute informative reports on progress. Create compelling content for various communication channels, including newsletters, social media, website, donor impact reports, planned giving publications, and annual reports to effectively communicate SAS’s impact.  Develop compelling annual fund solicitations, case statements, donor proposals, and program materials for use in cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship while also articulating the priorities, goals, and mission of the SAS. Plan and execute alumni and donor events, including reunions, networking opportunities, small dinners, and receptions. Work with the Board of Trustees, manage volunteers, liaison to marketing, and desire to thoroughly understand organizational priorities. Commitment to teamwork and eagerness to work collaboratively with colleagues from across the organization in a hybrid office environment. Travel and attendance for evening and/or weekend activities will be regularly required. Develop and oversee alumni and donor relations budget.


Additional Duties and Responsibilities

    The ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously is essential for success in this role. The ideal candidate will possess excellent written communication and interpersonal skills, strong project management abilities, and a passion for building and maintaining relationships.  Adapt to the dynamic needs of a small team environment, demonstrating flexibility and a willingness to take on additional responsibilities as necessary to support the team and achieve organizational priorities. 


Preferred Qualifications and Skills

    Bachelor’s degree preferred (or relevant professional experience; one year of experience may be substituted for each year of education).  5-7 years of related experience. Affinity with SAS mission; SAS graduate and/or familiarity with SAS programming is valued. Strong leadership and strategic planning skills.  Excellent written and verbal communication skills with proven experience building and developing relationships through compelling communications, exceptional events, and other engagement opportunities.  Experience managing, supervising, and holding accountable a multidisciplinary team. Commitment to teamwork and eagerness to work collaboratively with colleagues from across the organization in a hybrid office environment. Demonstrated ability to think flexibly and creatively and thrive in a complex environment, juggling numerous and varied projects simultaneously. Skills to manage and implement change, as well as motivate and mentor staff while increasing performance. Proven ability to build and maintain relationships with diverse stakeholders. Familiarity with fundraising principles and strategies. Proficiency in donor management software and CRM systems and working knowledge of web-based marketing and alumni or community engagement platforms. Experience in planning and delivering budgetary responsibilities. The ability to maintain confidentiality of sensitive data.  Strong work ethic and integrity.  Flexibility to travel and work evenings or weekends for events and donor meetings as needed. 


Working Conditions

    This is a full-time (40 hours/week) position. Days of work and hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Occasional evening and weekend work may be required as job duties demand This position requires work performed in an office environment Travel domestically and internationally may be required. Travel may include time spent on a moving ship in the ocean, with little to no internet access at times


Physical Requirements of the Job

    Requires sitting, bending at neck, waist, legs and arms; twisting body; and changing positions at will. Occasional standing, walking, stooping, bending, kneeling, and reaching  Requires repetitive motions with hands and fingers such as keyboarding, use of telephones, cell phones, etc.  Requires close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to focus  Work requires close attention to detail and accuracy and varies in nature with periodic interruptions  Computer and phone work at a desk for majority of the day 


Compensation & Benefits

    starting range for a new employee in this role is $84,000 - $89,000/annually medical, dental, and vision insurance life insurance retirement contributions paid time off/leave paid holidays wellness program tech stipend LinkedIn Learning


Application Deadline: For full consideration, please submit your application on or prior to Monday, October 9, 2023. Applications may, however, continue to be accepted until the position is filled.


Application Advice 

    Use Google Chrome as your web browser. It interfaces with ADP better than other web browsers Please complete and save your prepared documents in advance of beginning the online ADP application Allow plenty of time to complete the application, upload materials, and submit the application Work cannot be saved; applicants cannot return to in-progress applications at a later time Once an application has been submitted, it cannot be altered or changed


Application Instructions

To receive full consideration, please submit your application materials as follows:

    Submit both a cover letter and resume; your cover letter should address your interest in the position and your qualifications as aligned with the requirements of the position. Submit your cover letter and resume as a single PDF file. Save your PDF file with the file name that leads with your last name and upload to the “Resume” option.

Failure to submit your application according to any or all of the above criteria may limit consideration for the position.

Please direct your position-specific questions to Human Resources at Please, no phone calls. 


The Institute for Shipboard Education|Semester at Sea® is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage anyone, regardless of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, or any other classification protected by law, to apply.

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