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Associate Director, Philanthropy and Donor Engagement

Job Description Summary

Authentic and transparent engagement and collaboration from all groups and individuals is at the foundation of University Advancement at Wake Forest University. We aspire to be an exemplar for belonging and inclusion where personal and team achievements are realized and celebrated. University Advancement approaches each moment with sincere gratitude, deep and abiding respect, unwavering optimism, profound humbleness, and an eye to learn something new. Our yesterday has shaped us, our today molds us, and together, our tomorrow at University Advancement and Wake Forest University creates an opportunity for aspirations and inspiration for all generations.

Summary: The Associate Director of Philanthropy and Donor Engagement goal is to create a dynamic and inclusive environment where Wake Forest alumni, families, and friends are empowered to invest in our institution for life by fostering a culture of giving and involvement within designated WAKECommunities. The Associate Director will integrate communication, marketing, engagement, and philanthropic strategies by managing a portfolio of major gift prospects, leading the WAKECommunity Board of Directors, and developing and assessing comprehensive connection plans for constituent cohorts that drive philanthropic momentum. This position works closely with university staff, administrators, and faculty and requires frequent travel to assigned WAKECommunities.

*Applications for this position will be accepted through July 29, 2024,
11:59 PM, EST.


Job Description

Essential Functions:

  • Creates and fosters philanthropic and Community engagement synergy among Wake Forest alumni, families, friends, and the institution to ensure Wake Forest is well-positioned as a leader in higher education for the next century.
  • Develops and executes long- and short-term strategies to foster enduring relationships with prospects and donors, outlining specific objectives and gift levels for each prospect.
  • Identifies, cultivates, solicits, and stewards donors capable of making significant gifts ranging from $50,000 to $5,000,000; manages a portfolio of approximately 120 prospects.
  • Conducts 150 face-to-face visits annually, facilitates 320 meaningful interactions, and solicits over $3M in major gift proposals.
  • Prepares written prospect management plans for the top ten prospects annually.
  • Leads and manages an integrated approach to build connectivity within each Community, working collaboratively with University Advancement partners to drive philanthropic investment as the ultimate form of engagement.
  • Recruits, manages, and leverages WAKECommunity Board members, organizing a minimum of four meetings per year.
  • Collaborates with the event and engagement partners to design experiences aimed at deepening relationships and promoting philanthropy, hosting a minimum of two educational “all-call” engagement events/experiences and two exclusive Giving Program events/experiences per year.
  • Leads the development of WAKECommunity communication plans; in partnership with the marketing and communications team, utilizes analytics support to assess prospect pools and coordinates regular communications to build awareness and excitement around Wake Forest priorities. Delivers a minimum of four community-specific comprehensive communications per year.
  • Ensures timely updating of WAKECommunity web content and regular distribution of digital and social media communications and promotion of events/experiences.
  • Acts as a frontline representative to promote campus goals and objectives, maintaining a strong understanding of institutional priorities.
  • Assists and participates in all University & Campaign events as necessary and provides support for departmental events as needed.
  • Monitors a travel and engagement budget.
  • Contributes to a transparent and equitable organizational culture where ethical policies and practices are understood and lived out by all staff.
  • Have a passion for leadership, character, and workplace diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Have high standards for your work and are proud to contribute to a mission-driven organization.
  • Get excited about the prospect of joining a team that is making a difference in people’s lives every day.

Required Education, Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s degree with three to five years of fundraising experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience. 
  • Desire to foster and continue collaboration among teams and individuals with a strong focus on investing in the professional and personal development of team members.
  • Knowledge and proven history of gaining philanthropic support and financial commitments from others.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively with a wide range of constituents in a diverse community.
  • Ability to identify and secure gifts of non-traditional assets and/or charitable gifts from alternative funding/revenue sources.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Experience in database management and maintenance. 
  • Knowledge of charitable giving techniques, instruments, and relevant laws.
  • Ability to work evenings and weekends as required.
  • Ability to travel locally and nationally as necessary.
  • Ability to meet the requirements of the University’s automobile insurance policy.
  • Respect for the dignity and abilities of all people.
  • Commitment to the mission and values of University Advancement and a commitment to equity, particularly racial equity, with a willingness to proactively learn about it and integrate it into all aspects of the work.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality pertaining to information contained in donor records and system data.

Preferred Education, Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:

  • Previous experience working in higher education or not-for-profit environments.
  • Previous experience in direct fundraising or direct sales.
  • Possesses an understanding of the donor cycle.
  • Experience working with high level volunteers.
  • Knowledge of Wake Forest, alumni, parents, fans.



  • Responsible for own work only.


Physical Requirements and Environmental Conditions:

Sedentary work primarily involving sitting/standing; communicating with others to exchange information; repeating motions that may include the wrists, hands, and/or fingers; and assessing the accuracy, neatness, and thoroughness of the work assigned. No adverse environmental conditions expected.


Note: This position profile identifies the key responsibilities and expectations for performance. It cannot encompass all specific job tasks that an employee may be required to perform. Employees are required to follow any other job-related instructions and perform job-related duties as may be reasonably assigned by the employee’s supervisor.


To help provide a safe learning and living community, Wake Forest University conducts background investigations and drug screens for all final candidates being considered for employment.


Wake Forest seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce and encourages qualified candidates across all group demographics to apply.


Wake Forest University is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in employment for individuals with disabilities.


Additional Job Description

In University Advancement, we believe in equity, not just equality. We understand that in order to develop a fully engaged constituency; individuals must receive equitable treatment instead of equal treatment. Establishing equality means treating everyone the same. Equity necessitates transforming our community to meet the needs, interests and cultural norms of our University Advancement staff.


Don’t meet every single requirement? Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they meet all requirements listed in the job description. In University Advancement at Wake Forest University, we are dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive and authentic workplace. If this role appeals to you, but your past experience doesn’t align perfectly with every qualification on the job description, we encourage you to apply. You may be just the right candidate for this or other roles.

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