Associate Director of Development

Posted on 08/22/2022

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

MSU College of Engineering is seeking an Associate Director of Development to increase philanthropic support for student-focused, faculty-focused, capital and programmatic priorities. The preferred candidate will be an outcomes-oriented, proven fundraiser who has a strong proclivity for teamwork, collaboration, diplomacy and an authentic appreciation for the power of philanthropy in higher education.

The Michigan State University College of Engineering will be recognized as the fastest rising College of Engineering in the nation and will deliver the highest quality engineering graduates, cutting-edge research and innovative technology for the benefit of society locally and globally.

MSU is poised to significantly expand its fundraising activity from prospects within Michigan, across the United States and abroad who are interested in the College’s agenda to impart knowledge to students at all levels including secondary, undergraduate, graduate, and lifelong learning is implicit in this core value. The College believes that

the discovery of new knowledge through innovative research that encourages entrepreneurship and economic development to benefit our global society. To support this mission, the College of Engineering seeks a major gift officer with a proven track record in closing 6 and 7 figure gifts.

Duties and Responsibilities: 

Partners with the Senior Director of Development and the Development and Alumni Relations Team for the College of Engineering with planning and implementing a comprehensive fundraising program. The Associate Director of Development will manage a portfolio of major gift prospects to fully develop potential gift (cash and deferred) income to support the mission of the college.

The Associate Director of Development will manage a portfolio of 100-120 major donor prospects, focusing efforts on prospects whose philanthropic capacity is $100,000 or more to maximize the fundraising potential within the College and on behalf of Michigan State University. The Associate Director will average 12-15 strategic visits per month, which will result in greater engagement and movement toward a major gift solicitation at a rate of 2 to 4 solicitations per month, with all solicitation efforts cleared and coordinated with the College and University Advancement at Michigan State University.  The Associate Director will dedicate a significant amount of time traveling to manage prospect activity within key major metro areas, both in-state and out-of-state as noted above.

The duties of the Associate Director of Development are as follows but are not limited to:


  • Identify and maintain an active pool of 100-120 prospects under strategic management. Specifically, identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit, and steward a portfolio of major donor prospects.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with University Advancement colleagues and College of Engineering administrators and faculty to create and carry out fundraising strategies and solicitation of gifts of $100,000 and more, averaging 2 to 4 major gift solicitations a month.
  • Work to build strong, engaged relationships with major gift prospects to determine and merge prospect passions/interests/needs with the College’s funding priorities.
  • Achieve individual and College fundraising goals through active and consistent prospect/donor outreach that includes 120 significant contacts annually. Utilize phone calls, email, mail, social media, and other strategies to identify, connect with and engage alumni to solicit financial support for the College. Attends college events as needed.
  • Collaborates with major gift officers from University Advancement and other units to maximize philanthropic support and strategize on transformative giving opportunities.
  • Engage 12-15 major prospects per month through personal visits, which result in strategic “moves’ toward closure of major gifts.
  • Work collaboratively with and support volunteers, other development staff, and college representatives to cultivate and solicit donors for college-wide priorities.

External Communication and Donor Stewardship:

  • Support the development of briefings, proposals, and talking points for fundraising priorities.
  • Assist in developing and implementing a major donor communication and stewardship plans for the College that includes donor updates, engagement events, and gift stories.
  • Monitor all prospect contacts to ensure positive and purposeful prospect and donor relations.

Program Management: 

  • Serve as a fundraising consultant and advisor to department/division heads and faculty; develop strategies that grow philanthropic support for their respective areas.
  • Assist with coordinating and participating in alumni and donor engagement, prospecting, recognition, and stewardship events, as appropriate.
  • Utilize alumni and donor database to coordinate with other development colleagues, record contact activities, update donor information, record strategic moves management steps, and gift documentation as appropriate.
  • Lead by example in fostering a work environment that recognizes and rewards cross-functional collaboration and team-based efforts. Celebrate current achievements and set clear expectations for future success.

Unit Specific Education/Experience/Skills:

Knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in Liberal Arts, Communications, Public Relations, Marketing and/or Business; three to five years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in public relations, volunteer administration, professional and higher education fundraising, marketing, or related field; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Desired Qualifications: 

  • A Bachelor’s degree is preferred.  An advanced degree in business, communications, public relations, marketing, or some other related field is desirable.
  • Five years of experience in major gift fundraising, including a proven track record of securing corporate, foundation, and major gift support from individuals of $50,000 or more, is necessary.
  • Strong verbal and written communications and interpersonal skills are required.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a complex higher education institution, and understanding and experience in development are highly desirable, as is a collaborative team-oriented style.
  • Experience in academic medicine or biomedical research fundraising is preferred.
  • Knowledge of fundraising and tax law affecting charitable giving is necessary.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license.
  • In-state and out-of-state travel required.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement: 

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Application Materials: 

Resume and cover letter

Together-we-will Statement: 

The university is requiring all MSU students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with limited exceptions. Learn more at:

Work Hours: 

In general; 8-5, with exception of fundraising engagements

Remote Work Statement: 

MSU strives to provide a flexible work environment and this position has been designated as remote-friendly. Remote-friendly means some or all of the duties can be performed remotely as mutually agreed upon.

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