Senior Director of Development

Posted on 01/26/2024

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

The Senior Director of Development is the lead fundraising officer for the school and a member of the school’s leadership team. The position’s primary responsibilities include working closely with the Dean, Area Chairs, volunteer/advisory Boards, Faculty, and Senior Staff members to develop fundraising priorities and strategies. The position also partners with central Advancement, advancement colleagues, and school colleagues to advance philanthropic giving to key priorities through ongoing annual fundraising, alumni engagement, corporate and foundation relations, and major, principle, and planned giving.

Under a dual reporting relationship to the Dean and the Associate Vice President of Development, the Senior Director of Development manages development activity for the school by undertaking the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of prospects with metrics established by Central Advancement.

The Senior Director oversees the school’s capital campaign activities and insure the alignment of the school’s capital campaign with any future comprehensive campaign on the part of the university. This is a position that is heavily focused on networking and building relationships and committed to the tracking of measures and metrics to build a pipeline of donors to support the aspirations of the dean, faculty and students of the school and the university as a whole.

This position is expected to travel independently and to work a flexible schedule, including occasional evenings and weekends.


  • Carries and maintains a portfolio of 50 – 60 Prospects that are being moved through the donor engagement process culminating in, MAJOR or PRINCIPAL gifts (as defined by George Mason’s Advancement team); 
  • Actively engages each prospect in their portfolio to ensure prospect movement and portfolio penetration annually;
  • Meets or exceeds all metrics and expectations set by Central Advancement;   
  • Displays good judgment and confidentiality; 
  • Supports successful execution of a comprehensive fundraising program that appropriately partners with and leverages resources from the central advancement team to accomplish objectives; 
  • Develops strategies and implementation of major and principal gifts for the School, in concert with central Advancement and Alumni Relations; 
  • As appropriate, is personally responsible for the direct solicitation of gifts and for preparing the Dean, members of School advisory boards, members of the school’s Advancement team, faculty, staff, and other members of the School and/or University to make solicitations; 
  • Coordinates the efforts of those who can assist in fundraising; tracks contacts, asks, and funds raised; drafts proposals and pledge agreements for potential donors; and proposes and coordinates appropriate cultivation and stewardship activities; 
  • Travels as necessary for donor outreach and cultivation; 
  • Works with offices across campus to coordinate related activities that further the University’s mission and achieve fundraising goals;
  • Finds new and creative ways to engage donors that will enrich the donor experience and add value to the academic life of the University;
  • Works with staff to engage all alumni to advance the percentage of active involvement and increase alumni donations; 
  • Engages a wide range of colleagues, alumni, donors, prior faculty and staff, and individuals who might be able to help in pursuing/winning major gifts; 
  • Assists in overseeing the School’s portfolio of donors and potential donors both individually and through the management of the team to maximize unit revenue from philanthropic giving; 
  • Communicates and executes the advancement and alumni relations agenda with the school’s volunteer boards and alumni affinity groups; 
  • Assists with planning and implementation of school efforts to raise individual, corporate and foundation funds; 
  • Conducts discovery visits with prospective donors as identified by Central Advancement Research and will also hand-off or disqualify individuals from their portfolio based on an unwillingness to connect, lack of affinity, or philanthropic interest in another aspect of Mason; 
  • Strategizes about which major gifts would have the greatest value to and impact on the School and prioritizes said gifts. Works with donors to try to interest them in gifts that have the greatest value to and impact on the School. Understands that certain gifts will transform the school more than others, and takes responsibility for pursuing and capturing more valuable gifts; and 
  • Although this position does not have responsibility for cultivating and getting gifts of under $5000, the position helps, proactively and in any way possible, team members in the School who are responsible for securing these annual and leadership annual gifts.

Supervision of Staff:

  • Sets goals for performance and deadlines in ways that comply with the university’s plans and vision and communicates them to subordinates;
  • Organizes workflow and ensures that employees understand their duties or delegated tasks;
  • Monitors employee productivity and provides constructive feedback and coaching;
  • Maintains timekeeping and personnel records;
  • Prepares and submits performance evaluations;
  • Hires and trains new employees; and
  • Ensures adherence to legal and university policies and procedures and undertakes disciplinary actions if the need arises.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in related field or combination of education and experience;
  • Demonstrated successful professional advancement and/or fundraising-related experience;
  • Demonstrated record of successful major gift solicitations (generally ten or more years) and experience designing and executing donor identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship strategies;
  • Supervisory experience (generally two or more years);
  • Experience managing multiple projects simultaneously and meeting continuous deadlines;
  • Experience documenting appropriate information in a donor management database system;
  • Excellent research, writing and interpersonal communication skills;
  • Demonstrated experience with personnel management;
  • Proficiency in the use of Microsoft Office Suite;
  • Creative approach to involve and solicit major donor prospects and possess the ability to motivate;
  • Ability to travel independently; and
  • Valid driver’s license: must currently possess an appropriate, active, valid motor vehicle operator’s license that meets all of GMU’s requirements for operating state vehicles and equipment under Mason’s Vehicle Use Policy 1411 The Office of Risk Management reserves the right to review the driver’s licenses and Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs) of all candidates selected with employment contingent upon a favorable review.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Extensive experience in major gifts fundraising in higher education;
  • Demonstrated successful professional advancement and/or fundraising-related experience in a higher education setting;
  • Familiarity with CRM fundraising software;
  • Understanding of, and the ability to articulate, the accomplishments and goals of a complex organization; and
  • Ability to demonstrate sound judgment necessary for interacting with donors, prospects, trustees, faculty and staff.

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