Director of Annual Giving

Posted on 03/21/2023

Hackley School

Tarrytown, NY

Hackley School, an independent coeducational K-12 day school, seeks a creative and values-driven Director of Annual Giving to provide strategic and collaborative leadership to the School’s annual giving program. The Director of Annual Giving (“Director”) will partner with all stakeholder groups to advance a culture of philanthropy that matches the strengths, authenticity, and generosity of the Hackley community itself.

Hackley School was founded in 1899 through the generosity of Mrs. Frances Hackley, who, in partnership with leading Unitarians of the era, sought to create a non-sectarian school that embraced Unitarian values of intellectual questioning and inclusiveness, welcoming students of diverse religious, economic, ethnic, and national origin. Hackley has evolved since its founding into a coeducational K-12 day school with five-day Upper School boarding. Those who walk through the entrance of Hackley’s main building are greeted by the engraving, “Enter Here to Be and Find a Friend,” a core value that permeates Hackley’s beautiful 285-acre campus, known as the “Hilltop.” Located just 30 miles north of New York City, the campus features the sprawling Johnson Center for Health & Wellness, numerous playing fields, and the Hackley Forest complete with outdoor classrooms, an orchard, and an apiary. Today, Hackley teaches 850 students across three divisions (Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools), boasting an average class size of 16 and a 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Hackley offers an exceptional, well-rounded experience – reimagining a liberal arts education with a broadened curriculum of competencies and experiences to meet the needs of tomorrow’s learners and citizens. The School cultivates a strong and distinct culture emphasizing relationships, diversity of perspectives, accomplishment defined by serving a greater public purpose, and enduring academic skills. Students, parents, alumni, faculty, and the administration form deep relationships in an inclusive community in which they respectfully challenge and support one another to grow in new ways for meaningful connection. This deep sense of belonging empowers students and alumni to transcend beyond individual achievement and exemplifies another of Hackley’s core values – to go forth and spread beauty and light – rising to complex challenges and anticipating the needs of a constantly changing modern era as citizens of the world.

Redefining Excellence: Learning Beyond Boundaries, an exciting strategic plan developed by a steering committee of diverse stakeholders and launched in 2018, charts a vision for the next era of Hackley that promotes learning opportunities for students beyond the borders of disciplines, classroom, and campus. Redefining Excellence positions the School as an educational leader and incubator that pushes the boundaries of existing programs, promotes lifelong professional learning within Hackley’s faculty and the next generation of independent school educators, and champions a culture of wellness – both at the student and institutional levels – as cornerstones of a healthy learning environment and school community

Reporting to the Associate Director of Advancement and working in collaboration with advancement staff, faculty colleagues, and volunteers, the Director will be responsible for maximizing annual giving and communicating its integral role in propelling Hackley forward. Parents, alumni, and friends of the School have a long history of investing their time and resources. The Director will build on this goodwill and recent annual giving success (the team raised the most money ever for the Hackley Fund in 2021-2022) by partnering with colleagues across the advancement team, especially in communications, alumni relations, and events, to solicit increased funds while simultaneously educating all constituents on the importance of annual giving to the School’s future and goals.

The Director of Annual Giving will take ownership of the planning and execution of Hackley’s annual giving program, setting goals and establishing strategies to meet and exceed targets. They will think expansively about their own responsibilities, serving as a true citizen of the advancement team and broader Hackley community. The Director will demonstrate a high EQ and a willingness to approach interpersonal relationships judiciously and with empathy – bringing a spirit of building genuine trust and caring in the attainment of mutually beneficial goals. They will be highly communicative and responsive to the needs of a diverse set of volunteers and donors. The Director will be well-rounded in their approach, balancing the relational aspects of annual giving with a keen eye to data-informed decision making.

Roles & Responsibilities: 

Building a Compelling Case for the Hackley Fund: Combining classic annual giving strategies and structures with innovative and unique messaging and outreach approaches, the Director will create a compelling case for support of the Hackley Fund (Hackley’s annual giving program) and a comprehensive communications and marketing strategy for current and potential donors. Messaging will uplift the best of Hackley, encourage deeper volunteer engagement and increase leadership giving and overall donor participation. In collaboration with advancement colleagues, the Director will develop and manage the production of annual giving materials across a variety of media including print, digital, and social media channels.

Fundraising: In collaboration with the Associate Director of Development, the Director of Annual Giving will spearhead all annual giving goal setting and execution. They will continually evaluate and, where necessary, redesign aspects of annual giving with the aim of maximizing gift contributions in the $1,000 and $12,500 gift range. The Director will work closely with appropriate colleagues to identify, steward, and solicit a robust portfolio of leadership annual giving prospects and forge strong relationships with families (of current students and alumni), alumni, and grandparents to influence and maximize contributions. They will work closely with frontline fundraisers to qualify and support the moves management of annual fund donors for major gift cultivation and solicitation.

Volunteer Management and Support Volunteers are at the heart of Hackley’s fundraising efforts. The Director will increase Hackley’s giving capacity and amplify its reach by building and supporting a robust volunteer peer-to-peer network. Tapping into shared experiences and the various ways in which volunteers come into contact with the life of Hackley, the Director will manage the recruitment, training, and retention of volunteers. Emphasis will be placed on attaining broad representation across classes that benefits from the energy of incoming parents as well as the wisdom of experienced volunteers. The Director will provide guidance and support to volunteers in the form of strategy setting, messaging, and goal setting, engaging them in ways that are both meaningful and fun.

While parents continue to be a strong source of regular support, with participation rates consistently between 80% and 90%, there is a particular opportunity to enhance alumni engagement and giving. The Director will partner with the Director of Alumni Engagement to create an efficient and effective alumni volunteer strategy that aligns with Hackley’s institutional priorities and increases alumni support of the Hackley Fund with a particular focus on Reunion-year giving and donor retention.

Data Analytics and Metrics The next Director will bring an understanding of data analytics, metrics, and evidence-informed decision-making to help maximize philanthropic support. They will use data, including donor research and giving trends, to help identify missed opportunities and to focus outreach and tailor messaging for appropriate audiences. They will analyze giving patterns among Hackley constituencies and create a strategy that includes direct mail segmentation and a/b message testing, to develop, solicit, and retain an ever-increasing base of regular donors. In close collaboration with advancement colleagues, they will champion the translation of data into knowledge for strategy-setting and shifting, the reduction of duplicated efforts, and a more focused allocation of resources for the greatest return on investment. They will bring a spirit of experimentation and of piloting ideas in which data is additive – augmenting Hackley’s advancement activities and relationships for improved outcomes.

Success Profile:

  • Communicates both Hackley’s commitment to its enduring traditions and its exciting vision for the future – tailoring those messages as necessary to reach different audiences.
  • Continually evaluates and, where necessary, redesigns aspects of the annual giving program with the goal of maximizing gift contributions in collaboration with the Associate Director of Advancement.
  • Demonstrates an ability to successfully manage multiple projects at the same time.
  • Prioritizes prompt and clear communication with donors, volunteers, and colleagues.
  • Success and experience with both data analytics and frontline fundraising.
  • Maintains currency with best practices, innovative developments, and trends in the annual giving field.
  • Capitalizes on opportunities to continue developing as a professional.
  • Engages fully in the life of the school.
  • Builds and maintains a professional rapport with a broad audience – alumni, donors, parents and all other staff.


In addition to the abilities to achieve the above core responsibilities, ideal candidates will possess the following qualifications and attributes:

  • A minimum of five years of progressive experience in annual giving or direct response marketing, preferably in an academic setting.
  • BA/BS degree required; a Master’s degree is preferred.
  • Demonstrated self-initiative and the motivation to achieve challenging goals.
  • Strong leadership experience with a track record of meeting or exceeding goals.
  • Demonstrated success in using data and metrics to drive decision-making.
  • Success in building/growing and deploying a volunteer program to enhance programs and contribute to strategy.
  • Exceptional ability to analyze and synthesize information for multiple constituencies.
  • Comfort with direct-ask solicitations, or at least the curiosity and willingness to learn, and excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Commitment to working collaboratively within an advancement department and across the Hackley School community.
  • An ability to travel and work some nights/weekends as required.
  • A healthy sense of humor and good balance of confidence and humility.

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