Senior Director of Annual Giving

Posted on 04/17/2023

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Daytona Beach, FL

About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University:

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is an independent, culturally diverse institution providing quality education and research in aviation, aerospace, engineering, and other related fields with residential campuses located in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona. The University’s Worldwide campus provides educational opportunities online and at approximately 130 locations throughout the United States, Asia, Europe, and Central/South America.

As the largest and most comprehensive aviation and aerospace-focused university in the world, Embry-Riddle is a unique institution. Over the past 90 years, the University has evolved with industry to break new ground and produce top-level graduates who serve the ever-changing needs of aviation and aerospace and other STEM-related disciplines. Embry-Riddle offers programs in seven primary fields of study including Applied Science; Aviation; Business; Computers and Technology; Engineering; Safety, Security, and Intelligence; and Space.

For Academic Year 2021-22, there were over 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students that attended the University’s residential campuses and approximately 20,195 students in total enrolled with the University around the world.

The Opportunity:

The Senior Director of Annual Giving is dedicated to soliciting the private funding necessary to support the strategic goals of the University. The Senior Director of Annual Giving leads a team that works university-wide as well as within colleges of the University to discover, motivate, cultivate, solicit, and steward alumni, parents, faculty, students and friends for immediate, long-range, and future financial support, through gifts and pledges to the University, for critical operations such as student aid, faculty support, and academic program support. These endeavors raise funds for immediate University use and also for the University’s endowment.

The Senior Director of Annual Giving is responsible for setting strategic direction, executing, and managing all aspects of the University’s entire Annual Giving Program, including the direct mail programs, annual fund gift officers, gifts societies, Giving Day, Crowdfunding, the faculty and staff campaign, parent programs, and undergraduate student philanthropy.

This role will serve as the strategic advisor to the schools, overseeing all school-based Annual Giving efforts. The Senior Director also advises all non-school Annual Fund and Alumni Relations directors and is responsible for a University-wide fundraising goal.

Responsibilities include the following:

Program Management

Manage the programmatic aspect of the annual fund. This includes mass solicitation for the purpose of donor acquisition, and donor retention of alumni, parents, staff, faculty, and friends. This role will be the lead strategist and project manager for direct mail, digital giving, and other annual giving initiatives such as a parent’s program, giving circles, the faculty and staff campaign.

Specifically, the Senior Director of Annual Giving shall:

  • Manage and coordinate the strategy and priorities of the Annual Giving office, including all mass solicitation campaigns, staff, and budget.
  • Provide leadership for all direct mail, email, Giving Day, texting, social media giving campaigns, and Crowdfunding initiatives to achieve fundraising goals.
  • Evaluate all solicitation efforts and donor behavior to adjust solicitation strategy for improved ROI, donor retention, and donor conversion.
  • Partner with PAE Communications and Alumni Engagement to create an annual solicitation calendar that has a consistent brand, with the goal of acquiring new donors and upgrading annual giving donors.
  • Collaborate with the Senior Vice President of PAE to create an annual plan regarding solicitation, budget, goals, and establish desired outcomes.
  • Plan and oversee a campus-wide annual giving challenge, using all members of the Annual Giving team.
  • Partner with PAE Communications on providing staff direction for social media content that features giving campaigns and alumni donor spotlights.
  • Evaluate and, when applicable, execute new activities using new technology, advanced customization for specific audiences, and enhanced digital strategies.
  • Keep current with best practices and new and emerging technology.
  • Enter information and updates to the database.
  • Requires occasional work outside regular office hours.

Annual Giving Team Management

Asses the skillset, abilities, and training opportunities for members of the team. Create professional development plans for direct reports and develop a framework for professional development that can be shared across the Annual Giving Team. Serve as a resource, role model, and coach to development staff on the Annual Giving team for matters of prospect strategy and solicitation. Cultivate relationships with colleagues within Philanthropy and Alumni Relations office at Embry-Riddle and participate in industry associations to stay informed on best practices in the field.

Identify gift opportunities that represent a multi-disciplinary approach and that are aligned Embry-Riddle leadership priorities.

Lead and manage Annual Giving staff in a fiscally sound manner by:

  • Ensure that the appropriate systems, staffing and procedures are in place to support fundraising goals.
  • Communicate appropriate financial and performance data to direct reports.
  • Ensure that any updates to policies and procedures are communicated to all invested team members.
  • Guide the talent identification and professional development needs, processes, and outcomes within the team, adhering to diversity, equity and inclusion priorities.
  • Set clear performance expectations and hold staff accountable for outcomes.
  • Develop a quarterly report summarizing the Annual Giving team’s performance to be shared with leadership.


Demonstrate fundraising success by soliciting and closing gifts at the leadership gift level with a primary focus of solicitations in the $5K – 49K range. The Senior Director of Annual Giving will collaborate closely with the major gifts team on programming and prospect cultivation and solicitation.

  • Actively manage a personal portfolio of current and potential leadership gift prospects with interests that cut across multiple fundraising teams under Annual Giving.
  • Initiate and conduct personal meetings with prospects and donors throughout the year and lead/ participate in solicitations with development colleagues to meet and exceed individual and institutional goals.
  • Document personal fundraising activity through active implementation of the moves management system.

Strategic Partner

In partnership with the Senior Vice President, create programmatic goals that strengthen the connectivity of Annual Giving, Major & Leadership Gifts, and Gift Planning. These goals will enhance the culture of collaboration and inspire increased multi-faceted and blended gifts.

Analyze the performance of the Annual Giving team and identify opportunities where adjustments can be made to improve efficiencies and progress toward goals. Convene key stakeholders to create an action plan for addressing these opportunities and lead the appropriate steps for implementation.

Provide analysis to the Senior Vice President, as needed, on activity of the Annual Giving team related to leaderships’ priorities and in support of overall goals.

Serve on the leadership management team in PAE implementing operating and strategic plans and key initiatives, as well as improve key programs.


  • Bachelor’s degree and five years of related progressive fundraising experience with a minimum of two years in annual giving or a related field.
  • Individuals must be able to explain and/or demonstrate that they possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Ability to work well and effectively with Advancement staff, as well as deans, faculty and staff, students, alumni, volunteers, vendors, and other constituencies.
  • A demonstrated record of annual giving fundraising accomplishments, or accomplishments in a related field.
  • Strong organizational, and oral and written communication skills and ability to work effectively as part of a team. Strong planning and analytical skills. Ability to develop strategies and analyze results.
  • Experience in successful management of employees; ability to manage and lead in a team-oriented environment.
  • Ability to integrate ERAU priorities into the overall goals of Development.
  • Ability to plan and execute an annual schedule of solicitations, meeting deadlines, and juggling multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Ability to work with large volumes of detailed and sensitive information while maintaining confidentiality, accuracy, accountability, compliance, and transparency.
  • Maintain highest level of professionalism and ethics.

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