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Vice President of Alumnae Relations and Development

Sweet Briar College
Virginia, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Mar 23, 2024

Sweet Briar is a liberal arts college for women with a long history of forging female leaders.  Sweet Briar College is repeatedly named by the US News and World Report as one of the most innovative liberal arts colleges in the nation.  Sweet Briar College is growing rapidly, attracting students who are drawn to it for its excellent liberal arts program, coupled with distinctive programs in women leadership, engineering, sustainability, arts and its legendary equestrian program. Its finances are robust, and validated by balanced budget and positive bond ratings.

Located in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains approximately 12 miles north of Lynchburg and 54 miles south of Charlottesville. Its campus is one of the nation’s most spectacular, replete with nature sanctuaries, lakes, forests, trails, and most recently, vineyards, apiary and greenhouses.

The College boasts a modern core curriculum focused on women's leadership in the 21st century and undergraduate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities, as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching. It is one of only two women’s colleges in the United States with an ABET-accredited engineering degree. The women’s leadership core curriculum innovative and energizing.

When students graduate, they are persuasive communicators who know how to think on their feet and bring people together. No matter what they study or where they go, Sweet Briar women are prepared to lead. The campus community is a family of faculty, staff, coaches, and alumnae who support and encourage students and each other. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 8 to 1, students lead research, ask questions and forge supportive relationships with faculty that can last for decades.


Vice President of Alumnae Relations and Development


Classification:  Exempt


Reports To:  President, Sweet Briar College


Job Summary/Objective:  The Vice President of Alumnae Relations and Development (AR&D) is a senior officer at Sweet Briar College and reports directly to the President. She/he shall lead Alumnae Relations and Development and serve on the President’s administrative Cabinet. She/he is responsible for seeking funds for current operations, campaign dollars, capital improvements, and endowments while expanding and stewarding the circle of alumnae and friends concerned with the college's welfare and advancement.


Position Type/Expected Work Hours: M-F 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with many evenings, weekends, and/or holidays as needed for event preparation, etc. On-campus housing is required, included, and will be utilized to host Sweet Briar College entertainment and fundraising events.


Essential Responsibilities:

  • Belief in Sweet Briar College's mission and the importance of women’s colleges.
  • Design a comprehensive alumnae relations and development plan with rolling annual objectives and three-to five-year goals supporting the College's strategic goals. 
  • Guide the work of the four professional staff in Alumnae Relations and Development in successfully implementing the College’s strategic plans. 
  • Manage a personal portfolio of 75-100 top prospects for annual, major, and planned gifts. Support the President in managing her portfolio of the College's top 20 to 25 donors and prospective donors. The Vice President should also be the President's backup on those 20 to 25. It is expected that 70 percent of the Vice President's time will be spent on personal contacts that lead to solicitations and the successful closing of gifts. 
  • Identify and qualify new major prospects for the College through personal meetings, phone calls, and referrals by Board members and volunteers.
  • Plan College cultivation touches with major donors and prospects and ensures that donors receive appropriate stewardship and recognition. 
  • Identify and cultivate new funding sources for the College to expand and diversify future financial support.  Be prepared to lead a capital campaign. 
  • Proactively work with the President and Board Chair to carry out the annual giving campaign and solicit current and former Board members for gifts to support strategic goals.  Ensure that all Board members receive a personal solicitation each year and reach 100%. 
  • Responsible for staffing the Board Governance Committee.
  • Promote an “integrated and continuous learning environment” at Sweet Briar College through collaboration with all other Vice Presidents and Cabinet members in teamwork development.
  • Provide leadership in developing assessment strategies and performance indicators for major programmatic areas within AR&D.
  • Develop, update and oversee staff metrics.
  • Provide leadership in identifying and responding to philanthropic trends that impact the College’s fundraising programs.
  • Oversee the creation and implementation of effective internal and external messaging and methods for College and advancement communications.
  • Develop operating budgets for each department over which he or she is responsible, within guidelines established by the campus planning processes and the budget committee.
  • Oversee a department of approximately 18 individuals using an empathetic, accountable, empowering, and inspiring leadership style. Inspire team performance by example and through mentorship and coaching.
  • Embody and energetically promote values of caring, compassion, justice, integrity, inclusion, diversity, fairness, dignity, and respect with all Sweet Briar College constituencies.
  • Assist the President in reaching goals and other projects as assigned, and assist the College in attaining goals and enhancing a positive, respectful learning environment.
  • Extensive travel is required in the region, nationally, and (occasionally) internationally.

 Supervisory Responsibility:

  • Executive Assistant to the VP; Senior Director of Major Gifts and Stewardship; Senior Director of Alumnae and Development; and Director of Strategic Initiatives, Foundations, and Corporate Relations.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree required.
  • Ten or more years of experience in alumnae relations and development.
  • Proficient in all aspects of Advancement, including alumnae relations and annual, major, and planned giving.
  • Experience in completing multi-year fundraising campaigns as the lead solicitor/director.
  • Experience in challenging fundraising projects using innovative strategies.
  • Highly effective written and oral communication skills.
  • Knowledge and utilization of online fundraising strategies.
  • Leadership qualities to support collaboration among senior team members.
  • Excellent judgment and high integrity.
  • Business and financial knowledge, including budgeting skills and financial reporting.
  • Positive and approachable interpersonal style and the ability to win trust among co-workers.
  • Commitment to the long-term sustainability of the College.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree in a related field is preferred.
  • Applicable experience within an institution of higher education.
  • Comprehensive capital campaign fundraising experience.

Work Environment: The position will require attending meetings and telephone conversations. Some outdoor activities may also be required.


Physical Demands: Extensive periods of sitting/standing, talking on the telephone, and working on the computer are required.


Travel: This job requires overnight travel and some weekend commitments.


Other Duties: This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee. Other duties, responsibilities and activities may change or be assigned at any time with or without notice.


Compensation: The annual compensation for this position will be based on the successful candidate’s experience and salary requirements. The College offers a competitive benefits package, including on campus housing.


Deadline for Submission: The Vice President of Alumnae Relations and Development position is available now and will be filled by July 1, 2024, or sooner. Qualified candidates should apply immediately. This position will remain open until a successful candidate has been selected.


To Apply:  When applying for this position, please ensure you have attached a cover letter, résumé, and three professional references to your online application and have fully completed and signed the online applicant profile information.


As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Sweet Briar College is committed to enhancing our community and encourages applications from qualified individuals with varied backgrounds, experiences and ideas who would increase the diversity of the College.


Job Opportunities for Sweet Briar College are available at:

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