Director of Annual Giving

Posted on 05/23/2023

The University of Chicago, Laboratory Schools

Chicago, IL

About the Department

At the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, students in Nursery through Grade 12 experience a world-class educational journey. Founded in 1896 by John Dewey as a place for educators to develop and explore novel approaches to pedagogy and curriculum, Lab continues to provide excitement and imagination in learning to this day. Academic rigor, experiential learning, and intellectual discourse are hallmarks of a Lab education. Lab educators are recognized for excellence in teaching and pride themselves on innovation in the classroom. Students in every grade have access to unparalleled resources, and all members of the Lab community benefit by partnerships and connections with the University of Chicago. Families who choose Lab care deeply about curiosity, inquiry, and creativity.

No less than scholarship, Lab’s mission prioritizes honoring diversity and exhibiting kindness. We are committed to building and supporting a teaching and learning community where young people see aspects of their backgrounds and identities reflected around them, where they feel a deep sense of belonging, and where they discover and use their voices to full effect. Today, 53-59 percent of Lab’s student body are students of color. Families report speaking nearly 40 different languages in their homes. Approximately 60 percent of Lab families are also affiliated with the University of Chicago. Half of our families live in Hyde Park, and the rest come from across Chicago, the suburbs, and northwestern Indiana. Inclusion is a fundamental value at Lab, such that we celebrate every facet of community members’ identities, and even where we disagree, we emphasize respect, civility, and maintaining a spirit of community.

Lab seeks the finest employees to join our vibrant learning community. We employ people with a wide range of skills and training in many different disciplines, who have in common a love of learning and the wish to inspire that same love of learning in young people. We seek candidates for employment who thrive in an educational environment. We provide a great professional home for those committed to collaboration, ongoing personal and professional growth, and cultivating positive relationships. We strongly encourage applications from candidates of color, LGBTQ+ identified candidates, candidates from historically marginalized or underrepresented backgrounds, and candidates with a demonstrated commitment to a deepening diversity, equity, and inclusion practice. In turn, we strive to ensure that Lab is a joyful, welcoming, and inspiring place to work. Through our connection to the University, faculty, staff, and administrators enjoy benefits and opportunities that would be nearly impossible to match in any other environment.

Job Summary

The Alumni Relations & Development (ARD) department at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (Lab) is recruiting talented and energetic advancement professionals at an exciting moment in the Schools’ history. Alumni and Parents are proud to be affiliated with the 127-year school and eager to support its world-class programs through philanthropic investment.

The Director of Annual Giving (DAG) will lead the solicitation of Lab alumni, parents, alumni parents, grandparents, faculty, staff, and others as part of The Fund for Lab. In addition, the DAG will serve on the schools’ major gift team to ensure continuity of prospect management within the Alumni Relations & Development program. Approximately 2,200 students are enrolled at Lab. Seventy percent of families receive financial aid or tuition remission. More than 9,300 alumni, who live primarily in the United States, are tracked in the database.

The DAG will report to the Director of Development in Lab’s ARD department and participate in planning and departmental meetings, accept assignments, and perform other ARD duties as assigned.

A successful candidate for this role will have demonstrated success in direct mail, telephone, and social media fundraising. Experience with volunteer management for peer-to-peer solicitation is helpful. The ideal candidate will be entrepreneurial, curious, enthusiastic, and will help build a broad understanding of Lab’s philanthropic value to donors and prospective donors.

This position will be filled on or after July 1, 2023.


  • Leads a comprehensive annual giving program with fundraising goals and participation objectives. 
  • Leads Lab’s efforts in the University of Chicago Giving Day program. 
  • Leads young alumni and reunion giving programs that direct dollars into the Fund for Lab.
  • Collaborates with the Director of Parent/Family Relations to ensure parent annual giving and participation goals are met. Works with parent volunteers.
  • Partners with Lab Communications and fellow ARD colleagues to develop effective marketing strategies and implements efficient project management. 
  • Identifies opportunities to leverage technology and emerging strategies to meet annual giving goals.
  • Provides an elevated level of partnership to the Director of Development and Associate Director of Schools for Alumni Relations & Development. 
  • Manages and/or supervises the annual giving program budget in Lab ARD.
  • Provides expertise to the development of plans to solicit prospective donors and meet campaign goals. This includes speaking to new prospects persuasively about the case for annual giving support.
  • Collaborates with all divisions and schools, and relays information regarding capacity and inclination to give to the appropriate channels in the University through knowledge of the University process.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications

Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.

Preferred Qualifications


  • Bachelor’s degree.


  • A minimum of 3 years in philanthropic leadership in independent schools, higher education, or other not-for-profit organizations. Candidates with business marketing or sales backgrounds will be considered.
  • Experience with fundraising databases and reporting tools such as Blackbaud products or Salesforce.

Preferred Competencies

  • Meeting and exceeding Lab Schools annual giving goals.
  • Efficient with time and money spent.
  • Proficiency with databases and network-based environments.
  • Proven desire for continuing education to acquire the latest in industry best practices.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills.
  • Proven ability to analyze processes and plan improvement initiatives.
  • Outstanding interpersonal and organizational skills.
  • Work on own initiative, develop rapport, and work well with others.
  • Handle multiple tasks simultaneously and accurately under deadlines.

Working Conditions

  • Standard office environment.
  • Travel to campus and/or non-campus locations for Lab Schools business. 
  • Work evenings and weekends on occasion. 

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter (required)
  • Three Professional References Contact Information (required)
  • Three Professional Writing Samples (required)

Employees must comply with the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements. More information about the requirements can be found on the University of Chicago Vaccination GoForward.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University’s Notice of Nondiscrimination.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history.  A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment.  Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

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