Director of Annual Giving

Posted on 04/20/2023

Northern Illinois University Foundation

DeKalb, IL

At Northern Illinois University Foundation, our vision is to develop, support and encourage a culture of giving throughout the NIU community that will allow it to flourish and accomplish NIU’s goal of becoming the most student-centered public research university in the Midwest.
The Director of Annual Giving will further the Foundation’s mission of creating life-changing opportunities for our hardworking, dedicated students and faculty through leadership and management of our annual giving program. As an industry expert, this position will utilize a multi-channel, strategic approach to maximize charitable contributions.

The ideal candidate is self-motivated, metrics driven, has a demonstrated track record of high performance and is a strong collaborator, with an ability to connect with internal and external stakeholders.
This position reports to the Senior Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications and manages the Northern Fund (annual giving) efforts of the NIU Foundation. Building relationships with various colleagues is critical, as is a dedication to collecting and leveraging analytics to ensure both efficiency and efficacy in fundraising efforts. The Director of Annual Giving must be committed to raising unrestricted revenues to support the ongoing and evolving needs of NIU and the NIU Foundation. Remaining up-to-date on annual giving trends within higher education and beyond is imperative.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities: 
30% – Management and Leadership
    • Strategically manage and coordinate multiple solicitation channels, including phone, direct mail, email, crowdfunding, giving days, texting, and social media, to increase overall participation and income for each unit.
    • Direct and manage at least two full-time annual giving staff toward goal attainment.
    • Foster a positive culture of trust and collaboration with a strong commitment to staff development through active management and mentorship.
    • Coordinate and encourage collaboration across all departments within University Advancement/NIU Foundation, as well as across all collegiate and co-curricular units, with an emphasis on building a culture of philanthropy and generating excitement around securing annual gifts.
    • Manage relationships with vendors for direct mail, digital giving, and student engagement to create maximized outcomes and provide best value to the NIU Foundation.
30% – Fundraising, Development, and Portfolio Management
  • Integrate all aspects of a complex, multi-channel annual giving program so that they together raise over $5 million in revenue on a yearly basis.
  • Strategize and implement tactics that allow the annual giving channels to raise unrestricted support (Northern Fund), with the aim of raising $1 million in unrestricted funds annually.
  • Solicit leadership annual fund gifts at the $1K and greater level from an assigned prospect pool using phone, digital, and personal visits. Develop and implement comprehensive cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies for assigned individual prospects.
  • Lead the NIU Foundation’s Day of Giving and crowdfunding efforts, working with campus and internal partners to ensure success.
30%—Program Strategy and Ongoing Analysis
  • Design and direct a yearly strategic plan for all solicitations to alumni, parents, faculty/staff, students, and other constituents for the various colleges, schools and units managed through the centralized annual giving programs office.
  • Develop, monitor, and evaluate an annual budget aimed at enhancing operational efficiency.
  • Evaluate the annual return on investment on key solicitation programs, making adjustment and reallocations as necessary.
  • Provide quarterly updates and analysis on progress and fulfillment of goals.
  • Define optimal data segmentation and solicitation strategies to most effectively achieve annual giving fundraising targets.
  • Utilize the NIU Foundation’s CRM tools and analytic programs to monitor progress, evaluate strategies, and make adjustments when necessary.
  • Provide reports and consultation to campus partners on annual fundraising progress and trends, including collegiate partners and their corresponding Directors of Development.
10% – Program Growth and Innovation
  • Establish and build a network of nationwide peers for benchmarking, idea generation, and program analysis.
  • Monitor and implement best practices and annual giving trends.

Minimum Required Qualifications: 

  • Relevant experience in conducting complex fundraising programs
  • Three (3) years of experience in professional fundraising
  • Three (3) years of working with databases (e.g., extracting information and reports)
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze substantial amounts of statistical data and report findings
  • Two (2) years of management experience and the ability to manage multiple priorities

Additional Requirements: 

  • Demonstrable commitment to the highest standard of ethical and professional conduct in accordance with the CASE Statement of Ethics, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethical Principles and Standards, and The Donor Bill of Rights. (Membership not required.)
  • Deep, personal commitment to diversity in all forms, the recognition of all individuals to mutual respect, and the acceptance of others without biases. Demonstrable commitment to leading by example, modeling diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the university.
  • Ability to keep accurate records and complete timely reports.
  • Ability to be accurate and pay high attention to detail.
  • Excellent computer skills, including word processing, spreadsheets, and databases, and demonstrated competency with Microsoft Office products.
  • Skill and ability in applying knowledge of computerized CRM and communication efficacy and tracking systems, and excellent use of Microsoft Office suite.
  • Knowledge of supervisory principles and practices.
  • Ability to prioritize and handle multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to work autonomously, and make reliable, prudent and sound decisions.
  • Ability to provide high quality services in a cost-effective manner and to recommend improved methods of performing the work.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Advanced degree in a field with demonstrated relevance to this position.
  • Campaign experience in higher education.
  • CFRE certification.
  • Two (2) years of experience in large, complex fundraising organizations.
  • Two (2) years of experience working within a CRM to track and evaluate data.


Minimum $70,000; actual salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications

In accordance with applicable statutes and regulations, NIU is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, religion, age, physical and mental disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation, or any other factor unrelated to professional qualifications, and will comply with all applicable federal and state statutes, regulations and orders pertaining to nondiscrimination, equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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