This job has expired

Director of Development, Major Gifts -- West Coast Remote Possible

Southern Oregon University
Oregon, United States
$100,000.00 - $105,000.00
Closing date
Dec 26, 2023

View more

Position:          Director of Development, Major Gifts 

Reports to:      Vice President of University Advancement                      

Location:         Ashland, Oregon - Remote/Hybrid will be considered  



Southern Oregon University (SOU) is a public liberal arts college that has distinguished itself as Oregon’s most recognized regional university. Founded in 1872 as the Ashland Academy, SOU is nestled in the foothills of beautiful Ashland, Oregon, and provides a teaching and learning-environment where students study in small classes, faculty members use the region’s diverse ecosystems to conduct research, and where academic programs are designed to meet the state, national, and global needs of the future. SOU consists of four schools: Arts and Communication; Science and Business; Education, Leadership, Health and Humanities; and Social Sciences. In addition to the main campus, classes are offered at SOU’s satellite campus in Medford, OR. Oregon Health & Science University maintains a school of nursing program on the SOU main campus.

SOU offers over 90 bachelor's and graduate degrees and certificate programs. The university's Oregon Center for the Arts enjoys a collaborative relationship with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival located in downtown Ashland. With a campus of 5000 students and a culture of engaged faculty, SOU supports strong meaningful connections, while emphasizing inclusion and sustainability. Students have the opportunity to build strong community connections through internships, mentorships, field studies, capstone projects, volunteer opportunities and civic engagement

Ashland, Oregon

Ashland is a cultural oasis, with award-winning galleries, theaters and restaurants. Home to the world-famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland is consistently ranked in the top 10 “100 Best Small Art Towns in America.” Nestled at the base of the Siskiyou and Cascade Mountain ranges and 14 miles from the California border, Ashland has a reputation for year-round outdoor recreation in the city limits and beyond. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, majestic mountains, rushing rivers, and rolling foothills, Ashland is a gorgeous, vibrant small city with an arts scene as lively as its setting and an array of cultural festivals (e.g., theatre, film, music, art, wine) for all seasons.

A Campaign for the Future

SOU has embarked on a $100M comprehensive campaign, the boldest and most ambitious private fundraising effort in its history. An eight-year initiative, the Momentum Campaign, will include investments in teaching and research programs, increased faculty support, student scholarships and fellowships and improvements to the university’s physical plant. In addition, it will seek increased support for program initiatives that improve the quality of student life and the teaching and research mission of the university. The Campaign is built on four pillars that mirror the journey each student faces as they pursue their educational dream: Creating Community; Building Resilience; Inspiring Creative Thought and Action; and Expanding Local and Global Discovery.


The Director of Development, Major Gifts (DOD) is a key member of SOU’s development team responsible for soliciting gifts of $25K+ to support the mission and strategic direction of the university. Reporting to the Vice President of University Advancement, the DOD will cultivate and manage relationships with new and prospective donors throughout the region and western U.S.

Of critical importance will be the ability to work cooperatively with and in support of foundation board members, affiliates, SOU leadership, faculty and program staff and development colleagues. The DOD should be an energetic, organized and enthusiastic professional with a demonstrated track record of working collaboratively and strategically to secure major gifts and possessing a strong knowledge of the principles, ethics, and practices of successful fundraising. The DOD position is a tremendous opportunity for an enthusiastic and entrepreneurial fundraiser to be part of a growing development program and to make a significant contribution to the ambitions and future of the university.

This is either a campus-based or remote/hybrid position, with a preference for candidates residing in Oregon, Washington State or California. The DOD will be expected to make regular trips to campus.    


  • Build and manage a portfolio of 80-100 prospects capable of supporting SOU with gifts of $25K+, helping them to align their philanthropic goals with opportunities at the university
  • Participate in all aspects of the philanthropic gift cycle. Develop appropriate cultivation, solicitation and stewardship strategies for major gift and planned giving prospects with a focus on individual outright major gifts
  • Coordinate engagement activities and solicitations with university and foundation leaders
  • Recruit and engage the president, deans/directors, trustees, vice presidents, faculty and staff to assist in major and planned giving cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship activities
  • Prepare and facilitate planned gift proposals and agreements with outside advisors
  • Serve as an ambassador of SOU to external constituencies, recommending and assisting with programming involving the university leadership, faculty, board members and volunteers
  • Work closely with the SOU Foundation board and other volunteer leadership, providing them with direction and support in maximizing SOU’s fundraising potential
  • Oversee stewardship/recognition efforts for donors, in collaboration with colleagues, helping to promote a culture of philanthropy among internal and external constituents
  • Effectively utilize the prospect management system (Raiser’s Edge) to record prospect/donor activity and other relevant data in a timely fashion
  • Design and implement donor cultivation and stewardship events as appropriate



  • A minimum of five to seven years of demonstrated successful fundraising experience in some combination of major, annual or planned giving, or corporate and foundation relations in higher education or related sector
  • Experience listening to and understanding the needs and interests of individual donors to develop and strengthen relationships and partnerships
  • Interest in and a passion for all aspects of education and a dedication to promoting the university’s fundraising priorities for the benefit of the campus
  • Demonstrated ability to identify, cultivate, solicit and steward prospects/donors and effectively move them through the development cycle
  • Experience identifying giving opportunities and thinking creatively to establish matches between donors and university programs and funding priorities 
  • Successful experience in making “qualifying” calls as well as developing donor-centric cultivation and solicitation strategies
  • Demonstrated ability to engage and support volunteer leadership with their efforts in fundraising, consultation, and advocacy
  • A successful track record of meeting annual fundraising goals
  • Proficient in MS Office applications; working knowledge of Raiser’s Edge software highly desirable


A bachelor’s degree is required.


 The successful professional will have or be:

  • A self-starter willing and able to identify creative ways to identify and engage alumni and friends and to involve them in the life of the university
  • Ability to work under pressure in an organized, calm manner
  • Understanding of the confidential nature of fundraising and donor information
  • Demonstrated customer service skills requiring a high level of diplomacy and professionalism
  • Ability to work with a high level of productivity and accuracy/attention to detail. Excellent organizational and time management skills
  • Ability to initiate, establish, and foster communication and teamwork by maintaining a positive and cooperative work atmosphere in and outside the university and to build effective working relationships with those from diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Ability to adapt to and work effectively in an often-bureaucratic environment. Working knowledge of or ability to quickly learn university infrastructure, policies and procedures
  • Ability to travel to campus regularly (~ six to eight times/year), and to attend training programs on campus and off-site for professional development
  • Ability to build bridges and collaborative relationships across a complex organization
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to meet with alumni and friends, primarily on the West Coast


Compensation for the role is $100K to $105K. A comprehensive benefits package, will be offered. To be considered for this position or for additional information, please contact and/or send resume and cover letter to:

David N. Randall


Randall Search Associates

415 769 4210





Southern Oregon University is a welcoming community committed to inclusive excellence and the celebration of diversity. Without diversity, SOU's educational process would be diminished. SOU encourages those who share in this commitment to join its community and expects all employees to demonstrate an ability and desire to create an inclusive community.


Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert