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Assistant Director/Associate Director/Director of Advancement - College of ACES

University of Illinois - College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Illinois, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Mar 28, 2024

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Position Type
Fundraising, Major Gifts
Employment Type
Full Time

Assistant Director/Associate Director/Director of Advancement – 2 openings

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Based in Urbana-Champaign with hybrid opportunities.

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement (OVCIA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign invite applications and nominations for two full-time major gift officers. The Assistant Director/Associate Director/Director of Advancement will secure private support for funding priorities within the College as determined by the Dean, Unit Heads, and Assistant Dean for Advancement. While each gift officer may be assigned to liaison/represent various departments/units, they will play a critical role in efforts to further implement an integrated approach for impact and mission-driven priorities across the college, departments, and units.

Be a part of our story. You will be part of a remarkable community of faculty, staff, and students within the College of ACES who are striving to meet the critical challenges of our time. The Assistant Director/Associate Director/Director of Advancement position is housed within the ACES Office of Advancement, which includes frontline fundraising, advancement communications, corporate and alumni engagement, and stewardship and donor relations. 

Everything we do is designed to improve the quality of life of the people in the state of Illinois, across the nation, and around the world. We discover, develop, translate, and disseminate knowledge to address societal concerns and train the next generation of experts and leaders in a way that empowers them to expand the boundaries of science to higher levels of understanding.

We have nearly 38,000 living alumni and raise approximately $20 million annually in private support from individuals, corporations, and foundations. Our annual expenditures from all sources are more than $160 million. ACES plays a key role in national and international research initiatives in bioenergy, biotechnology, integrated landscapes, environmental sustainability, food and agricultural systems, global climate change, family resiliency, public policy, and much more.

In 2024, the ACES Advancement team will launch an exciting $100 million capital priority fundraising campaign to prepare the college to continue its mission for the next 100 years.

Job Summary

The Assistant Director/Associate Director/Director of Advancement reports to the Assistant Dean for Advancement and works closely with advancement colleagues, unit heads, faculty, and staff throughout the college and the university. The primary responsibility is to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward prospects capable of making gifts of $25,000 or more in support of ACES. Travel of varying durations is required, from 30-50%, and includes some evenings and weekends. The successful candidate will be a collaborative team member who is a self-starter, strategic thinker, internal and external relationship builder, trusted connector in their assigned academic departments/programs, and inclusive partner.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Identify, assess, analyze, and design appropriate strategies for approaching prospects and donors, making the vitally important connection between donors’ philanthropic interests and the College’s programmatic and curricular needs. Plan and implement effective outreach and cultivation activities to enhance prospect identification and move forward solicitation and stewardship processes. Qualify, cultivate, solicit, and steward a portfolio of major gift prospects, with an emphasis on gifts of $25,000 or more, determining the frequency of contact needed. Document all activities and interactions in the alumni/donor database.
  • Develop and maintain close collaborative partnerships with faculty and staff to gain a strong knowledge of the academic and research programs to identify and define priorities to be funded through private support. Attend faculty meetings, departmental alumni activities, and appropriate ACES events to further build connections. Partner closely with other advancement professionals, including individual and corporate gift officers and alumni relations, stewardship, and donor relations professionals.
  • Determine and prioritize lists of donor prospects, alumni, and other stakeholders to be contacted for personal visits.
  • Prepare and educate faculty and other unit volunteers to participate in cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of major gifts as needed

Impact in Your First Year
At Advancement at Illinois, we value our employees and provide resources to help you continually learn and grow. We foster a strong, collaborative community of people who are driven by their ability to make a difference.

Within 3 months, you’ll:

  • Become familiar with the strategic vision and priorities of the College of ACES
  • Become embedded in your assigned academic departments/programs
  • Meet your assigned Prospect Development Analyst and begin getting acquainted with your portfolio
  • Attend professional development and networking activities for newcomers within Advancement
  • Be introduced to fundraising fundamentals terminology adopted from Plus Delta Partners


Within 6 months, you’ll:

  • Begin cultivating relationships with key prospects/donors/alumni in an effort to create and implement solicitation strategies
  • Partner with colleagues working in stewardship and donor relations, events, alumni relations, and communications on unit-wide initiatives
  • Be able to share multiple meaningful impact stories of transformative gifts


By the end of the first year, you’ll:

  • Cooperatively set annual goals with your supervisor and portfolio management team
  • Continue portfolio growth of qualified prospects and successful solicitation strategies
  • Receive one-on-one coaching from the People and Culture team to help transition into your new role
  • Build a robust network of colleagues across campus

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • For the title of Assistant Director, a minimum of two years of successful advancement experience or three years of experience in a closely related field which requires strong relationship-building and outcome-driven components. For the title of Associate Director, a minimum of three years of successful advancement experience or more than six years of experience in a closely related field which requires strong relationship-building and outcome-driven components. For the title of Director, a minimum of five years of successful advancement experience or ten years of experience in a closely related field which requires strong relationship-building and outcome-driven components.
  • Experience working in a collaborative, team-oriented environment

 Preferred Qualifications

  • Documented success as a major and/or principal gift fundraiser and as a direct supervisor or manager.
  • Advancement experience in an academic unit that produces degrees and conducts rigorous academic research.
  • Experience working with academic leaders, faculty, and staff and demonstrated experience in teaching and engaging them directly with prospects and donors.
  • Demonstrated strategic planning and/or fundraising campaign planning in higher education.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities

  • Superb oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills, with an emphasis on engaged, active listening.
  • Demonstrated ability to represent an organization in visits with key constituents
  • Understanding of major donor prospect qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship
  • Strong relationship management skills
  • Knowledge of advancement strategies including best practices related to development at institutions of higher education


Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience, while also considering internal equity. The salary range for this position starts at $65,000 for the title of Assistant Director; $75,000 for the title of Associate Director; and $85,000 for the title of Director.

To Apply

To ensure full consideration, application materials must be received by March 18, 2024.  The expected start date is as soon as possible after the close date. Apply for this position using the Apply Now button at the top or bottom of this posting and upload a resume, cover letter, and the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of three professional references. Applications not submitted through the site will not be considered. For further information about this specific position, please contact Zsayla Brummett at and/or visit our Application Tips site for helpful tips. For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.

Please note: Immigration sponsorship is not available for this position.

The Illinois Advancement community is committed to an ongoing, proactive process to foster and achieve diversity and inclusion in its development, alumni relations and communication activities. We will respect and encourage different voices, perspectives and ideas as we strive to represent individuals of all backgrounds and cultures which incudes but are not limited to the following: nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, spirituality, age and ability who represent our alumni, donors and friends of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The University of Illinois System is an equal opportunity employer, including but not limited to disability and/or veteran status, and complies with all applicable state and federal employment mandates. Please visit Required Employment Notices and Posters to view our non-discrimination statement and find additional information about required background checks, sexual harassment/misconduct disclosures, COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and employment eligibility review through E-Verify.

Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply and may request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (2008) to complete the application and/or interview process. Requests may be submitted through the reasonable accommodations portal, or by contacting the Accessibility & Accommodations Division of the Office for Access and Equity at 217-333-0885, or by emailing


The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a comprehensive and major public land-grant university (Doctoral/Research University-Extensive) that is ranked among the best in the world. Chartered in 1867, it provides undergraduate and graduate education in more than 150 fields of study, conducts theoretical and applied research, and provides public service to the state and the nation. It employs about 3,000 faculty members who serve over 33,000 undergraduates and 17,000 graduate and professional students. More information about the campus is available at

The university is located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana (total population 226,000) in east-central Illinois, and is situated about 140 miles south of Chicago, 125 miles west of Indianapolis, and 170 northeast of St. Louis. The University and its surrounding communities offer a cultural and recreational environment ideally suited to the work of a major research institution. For more information about the community, visit: Living in Champaign-Urbana, Experience Champaign Urbana, or Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.

Health insurance is available to employees (with the option to purchase coverage for spouse and dependents), required participation in State Universities Retirement System (SURS), with several options for participation in additional retirement plans. Learn more about employee benefits at the University of Illinois. Newly hired employees are covered by the Medicare portion of Social Security and are subject to this deduction.

The University of Illinois has a strong commitment to work-life balance and family-friendly programs for faculty and staff:  Work-Life Balance & Family-Friendly Programs and  Other Work-Life Programs.

When you pursue a career with Illinois Advancement, you’ll join our tight-knit community of professionals who treat each other with as much care and respect as we treat our donors. At Illinois, we invest in you. Our leaders are eager to partner with you on the next phase of your career and have the tools and experience to help you succeed. Illinois Advancement values creativity and fosters a collaborative, flexible environment to develop new ideas that become best practices – and we’re looking for your unique skills. Learn more about what others have to say about their experiences: Opportunity Awaits.

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