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Executive Director of Gift Planning (Development & Alumni Engagement)

This is a unique and exciting opportunity for a collaborative and experienced leader with exceptional interpersonal skills to serve as the Executive Director of Gift Planning at Centre.  Building on a strong record and history of fundraising and gift planning programs at Centre College, this position works with and supports a high-performing Alumni and Development Team (A&D Team). The Executive Director leads the strategy for planned giving, within the overall fundraising strategy, and collaborates widely within the A&D Team, and across campus, to raise funds, solicit and receive planned, blended, and outright gift and commitments, and to empower other gift officers to optimize giving across all types and vehicles.  

Renowned in the world of higher education fundraising, Centre College enjoys a long history of outstanding support from alumni, parents, and friends. Centre has boasted record-breaking alumni giving percentages (for about 20 years, Centre was ranked # 1 in the nation), and remains among the elite in that metric of support. In the most recent capital campaign, The Campaign for the Third Century, the College raised over $210 million in new and deferred contributions. In the most recent three years, since the beginning of the presidency of Dr. Milton C. Moreland, the College has raised just under $140 million in total commitments, of which just over $61 million has been in deferred gift commitments. The current deferred gifts register shows over 400 commitments, revocable and irrevocable, estimated at over $265 million.

The Executive Director leads crucial functions within the A&D Team pertaining to gift planning and fundraising and builds relationships with diverse groups of donors and other external constituencies, including professional advisors.  All this work builds support for the future of the College through current and future gift commitments.


Job Skills / Requirements  

Centre College invites applications for the position of Executive Director of Gift Planning.  

The Executive Director will report to Kelly Knetsche, Vice President for Alumni and Development, and work closely with her team to drive success for Centre College and its students.

Essential Job Functions: 

  • Identify, qualify, cultivate; solicit, and steward planned gift donors
  • Work directly with diverse groups of donors and their professional advisors to craft personalized giving strategies, providing individual planned gift illustrations, consistent with the values and priorities of the donors
  • Oversee trust and estate settlement for realized bequests and work with executors, personal representatives, and the general counsel to ensure timely and smooth receipt of estate provisions designated for Centre College
  • Partner closely with talented colleagues on the A&D Team, finance office, the general counsel, office of student financial planning, and other offices
  • Oversee, in partnership with colleagues in the finance office, the general counsel, and external entities, the College’s portfolio of split-interest gifts, life insurance policies, and other gifts and assets, including appropriate tax reporting and documentation.
  • To encourage, inspire, and solicit new planned gifts, and to maintain existing commitments and their donors, the Executive Director will lead a comprehensive marketing and stewardship program along with regular internal training and other strategic initiatives to increase the College’s pipeline of current and deferred gifts.
  • Manage vendors in support of planned giving marketing/communications and administration initiatives.
  • Lead or partner on stewardship functions for planned giving donors, including events and mailings.
  • Document work with donors and details of gift plans; create, use, and manage data.
  • Achieve ambitious goals for the College and department, working within a system of performance metrics.
  • Demonstrates an appreciation of and commitment to further an inclusive culture for those of diverse backgrounds such as ability, age, class, ethnicity, faith background, gender expression, gender identity, geographic region, national origin, neurodiversity, race, and sexual orientation that comprise individual and group expressions of identity.
  • Engage in moderate to heavy travel and some evening and weekend responsibilities required.

Marginal Job Functions:

  • Manage budgets and filing.
  • Organize and keep current records regarding planned giving.
  • Keep current on rules, regulations, tax laws, and current information pertaining to planned giving, taxes, financial and wealth management, and related matters.

Entry Requirements:

Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required, with minimum of four years in progressively complex roles in nonprofit or higher education fundraising, law, or financial services.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to work effectively both independently and as part of a team.
  • Experience with computers, database management, and record keeping.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Systems: Word Processing (Microsoft Word), Excel                       
  • Subject Matter: Knowledge of or experience in charitable gift planning, estate planning, investments or financial advising, or real estate.
  • Organization: Ability to manage time to accommodate multiple projects from various sources. Ability to manage projects independently from start to finish. Facility with data and data management, and ability to create strategy based on data.
  • Interpersonal: Ability to work with various and diverse constituents of the College and those outside Centre’s community, particularly older adults, and to be an outstanding representative for the College. Ability to function well among sophisticated individuals with significant wealth, education, and social status. Highly professional and able to maintain the utmost of confidentiality. Unwavering commitment to customer service and providing prompt, professional responses to all prospect inquiries.

  Physical Requirements: 

  Limited pushing, pulling, lifting. Lifting would not exceed 20 lbs.

 Moblity on campus necessary. Ability to travel long distances and stay one or more nights away from home.

Compensation:  The expected compensation range for this position is based on the skills and experience of the selected candidate. The selected candidate will need to locate in or near Danville, Kentucky.


Interested applicants must apply through the Centre College Human Resources site at Employment at Centre | Centre College (with a cover letter, resume, and list of references).  Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until filled.  For full consideration, application materials must be submitted online by December 14th, 2023.



Education Requirements (Any)

Bachelors degree with two years of experience. Masters degree is preferred.

Additional Information / Benefits


About Centre College 

Founded in 1819 and named for its location in the middle of the state, Centre College opened its doors in the fall of 1820 with a single building, a faculty of two, and a student body of five. Today, there are approximately 1,400 students, 148 full-time faculty members and more than 50 majors, minors, pre-professional and dual-degree programs, and graduate partnerships in three academic divisions: Arts & Humanities, Social Studies, and Sciences & Mathematics, each chaired by a member of the faculty under the general oversight of the Dean of the College. The work of each division is carried out through separate program committees representing the various academic disciplines. 

The Centre Experience

Centre College students earn an extraordinary liberal arts and sciences education, put their education into practice in real-world settings. The Centre Experience ensures study abroad, participation in hands-on research and career internships around the world, and the chance to engage with alumni and industry leaders. Centre is proud to offer significant financial aid to make a premiere education accessible and affordable, including several competitive scholarship programs that cover the full cost of college as well as funds for enrichment experiences.

Centre is one of the nation’s premiere institutions for study abroad, with programs stretching from Merida, Mexico to Bhutan to France, as well as study away programs in Washington, D.C., and New York City. More than 85% of Centre students currently study abroad. The College will buy a passport for every student who does not have one and provide funding and support for study abroad and internships for first generation students or those with financial need.

Student Life

On campus, students live and learn as a community, with more than 98% living in the residence halls. There are more than 100 student clubs on campus. Forty-two percent of students participate in the arts, 40% of students belong to a fraternity or sorority, nearly half participate in a varsity sport, and nearly three-quarters of students participate in intramural and club sports. There are dozens of campus performances each semester in the renowned Norton Center, including Broadway shows, concerts, and presentations from eminent guest speakers.

Centre’s brand-new, recently upgraded, and soon-to-be finished athletic facilities are remarkable, with new fields or facilities for baseball, football, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, and lacrosse, indoor and outdoor facilities for track and field, including a 200-meter indoor track, an aquatics center with an Olympic-size pool, an upgraded gym for basketball and volleyball, and a multipurpose field house. Home to 25 NCAA Division III men’s and women’s sports teams, Centre teams compete successfully for conference and national titles, and new facilities make participating and watching these competitions even more exciting. They also provide opportunities for the three-quarters of students who participate in intramural and club sports.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Centre College pledges to continue efforts to build and strengthen a community enriched by differences and founded upon common humanity. Centre respects the right of all members of the community to express their individuality in a manner that is consistent with the dignity and welfare of others. Centre strives to create an environment where differences are celebrated rather than discouraged, where individuals have the opportunity to exchange ideas and share in the richness of mutual experience. By valuing the individual’s total character over any single characteristic, Centre will maintain its unique community.

Centre embraces the values of diversity, inclusion, and equity as integral to the college mission. Diversity, inclusion, and equity are central to teaching, learning, service, scholarship, and community and help stimulate creativity, critical thinking, leadership, discovery, love, and global citizenship.

2022-2025 Strategic Plan

Centre College graduates will have the intellectual knowledge, applied experience, and professional competencies to excel in their education and their careers, lead lives of meaning and purpose, and positively impact their communities. Based upon the College’s mission, statements of purpose, and community, the work of the Seven Pillar Subcommittees, comprehensive market research, and cross-campus engagement, Centre College identified three strategic priorities for immediate action: Experiential Learning and Community Engagement; Career Readiness; and Community Wellness. The efforts outlined in the strategic plan all contribute to the overarching goals to grow enrollment and retention, enhance student experiences and outcomes, support career readiness and the success of alumni, and raise the College’s public profile while preserving its academic character and distinction. 

Danville, Kentucky

Nestled in the heart of Kentucky and the state’s central Bluegrass region, Danville, Kentucky has plenty to explore — much of it just blocks from campus. A safe, friendly city, Danville is home to a world-class performing arts center, as well as shops, cafes, parks, galleries, breweries, and plenty of events and festivals. Surrounded by rolling hills, scenic state parks, and national forests, the Centre campus is also near canoeing, kayaking, biking, hiking, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities.

Located in the center of Kentucky, there is much to explore nearby. The city of Lexington is home to regional sports teams, museums, a vibrant brewery district, horse farms, and Keeneland Racetrack, all only 30 miles away. Frankfort, the state capital, is less than one hour, while Louisville, home to Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, is just over an hour from campus. Finally, American treasures like the Red River Gorge, Natural Bridge, and Mammoth Cave National Park are within an easy driving distance.

Danville, a town of about 16,000, was the first capital of Kentucky (among its many firsts) and is full of small-town charm, historic architecture, and a thriving main street. Listed in National Geographic Traveler’s “50 Best Places of a Lifetime,” Kentucky’s famed Bluegrass region is not to be missed; Danville is a distinctive blend of tradition and Southern hospitality with just a touch of formality in a casual, friendly atmosphere.

Additional information is available at: and www.danville


Benefits: Medical Insurance, Life Insurance, Dental Insurance, Vision Insurance, Paid Vacation, Paid Sick Days, Paid Holidays, Long Term Disability, 401K/403b Plan

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