Transformational Gifts Program Director

Posted on 08/19/2022

Duke Alumni Engagement & Development

Durham, NC

Reporting to the Associate Vice President for Principal Gifts Programs, the Transformational Gifts Program Director is responsible for establishing a new program at Duke University that will leverage our alumni, parent and friend networks to identify, cultivate and support solicitation of high net worth individuals, including foundations and corporations, who are not yet affiliated or engaged with Duke and whose philanthropic interests may align with the University’s highest priorities.

The director will focus on establishing a foundational platform for this new engagement and development program by working with campus partners to launch a successful set of best practices in leveraging our networks to expand the number of individuals, foundations and corporations willing to engage with Duke to learn about the University’s highest priorities as well as signature campaign initiatives. Essential campus partners include research functions, academic and campus leaders, and engagement and development officers. High net worth philanthropists will expect to interact with the university’s leaders; this individual should be comfortable working with experienced philanthropists as well as the highest levels of leadership of the University.

Personal attributes we seek include being a creative, motivated self- starter with an entrepreneurial outlook and strong intellectual curiosity, all essential for this newly created position. The best candidates will have proven experience working closely with an institution’s president, academic leaders, faculty, and fellow development professionals and will understand how to navigate a complex, decentralized university environment.

Work Performed

  • Establish a new program that will serve the entire university including Duke Health with an entrepreneurial mindset as the position is new.
  • Work with campus partners to understand how to launch a program that will be successful in identifying high net worth prospective donors, identifying influencers in the Duke constituency who can help engage these individuals, mapping them to institutional priorities, and connecting the individuals with Duke leaders who can describe the work Duke is doing in their areas of interest.
  • Launch the program testing best practices, working with campus leaders to prepare them for interactions with prospective philanthropists to Duke.
  • Gain and sustain a robust knowledge of university-wide funding priorities, and a general knowledge of school, unit and programmatic funding priorities; keep abreast of institutional and departmental priorities, university programs, personalities, and events.
  • Expand the program to serve the entire University.
  • Lead and advance all strategies for these identified individuals by collaborating with campus partners, sometimes engaging the prospective donors individually or with an influencer, and supporting the conversations set up for campus leaders.
  • This individual’s work is the through line for the beginning, middle and end of identification, cultivation, connection and solicitation of potential philanthropists of significant resources to Duke.
  • Prepare and support campus leaders for their interactions with prospective donors. Present complex funding opportunities to prospective donors in person and in writing or in partnership with campus leaders.
  • Strategic travel as needed to further fundraising strategies, sometimes in partnership with the president, provost, deans and other academic leaders to cultivate and connect prospects or attend fundraising events.
  • Maintain active communication with development officers throughout the university to inform of travel and visits with potential unaffiliated prospects.
  • Report development activity on a regular basis in accordance with university team-based prospect management guidelines.
  • Perform other related duties incidental to the work described herein.

Minimum Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree required.

Seven years progressive fundraising responsibility in major/leadership/principal gifts, preferably in higher education, with a demonstrated track record of soliciting and closing seven-plus figure gifts.

Preferred Experience

  • Experience in establishing fundraising programs that serve as a foundation for success.
  • Experience with ideation and articulation of big ideas that could be destination for significant philanthropy.
  • Ability to understand the needs and interests of institutional leadership and prospective donors in order to align those with Duke’s priorities.

Desired Skills

  • Collaborating with Others: Ability to work collaboratively, formally and informally within one’s team and across the University.
  • Ability to Influence: Professional credibility, intellectual depth, maturity, and collaborative skills to lead others by influence.
  • Curiosity & Information Seeking: Expresses an underlying curiosity in people and an ability to go beyond questions that are routine to gain an understanding of the prospects’ capacity, affinity and inclination.
  • Flexibility: The ability to adapt to and work effectively with a variety of situations and with various individuals in a complex environment.
  • Dealing with Ambiguity: Makes decisions and takes action with limited information.
  • Organizational Awareness: Ability to learn and understand organizational relationships and dynamics. Uses networks, alliances and individuals to achieve objectives.
  • Concurrent management of projects and strategies and ability to create and follow a set strategy for short and long-term goals and objectives.

Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essential job functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.

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