Associate Director, Donor Relations, Fund Stewardship

Posted on 05/22/2023

Rhode Island School of Design

Providence, RI

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) seeks an Associate Director of Donor Relations, Fund Stewardship. This is an exciting opportunity for a skilled individual to join the collaborative Institutional Advancement (IA) team who is responsible for engaging RISD’s alumni, parents, students, and donors in meaningful ways, while cultivating relationships and raising money from a variety of sources to support the priorities of the college. IA recognizes the importance of community support in realizing our vision for excellence in art and design education.

The Associate Director of Donor Relations, Fund Stewardship is responsible for developing, planning, and executing high-quality donor fund reporting and stewardship, including financial reporting, for named funds at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). The person in this role adheres to industry best practices and incorporates creativity and inclusivity to partner with gift officers, students, staff, and faculty colleagues to develop and execute ongoing donor-centric stewardship and recognition strategies for RISD’s most generous donors. The Associate Director of Donor Relations, Fund Stewardship must be culturally competent in order to thrive in a campus environment that advances principles of social equity and inclusion, equal access to resources and opportunities, and recognizes diversity and inclusion as central to excellence.

Essential Functions: 

  • Executes a comprehensive donor relations and stewardship program with a primary focus on donor fund reporting and high-touch stewardship.
  • Supports Institutional Advancement’s efforts to maintain high-quality individual relationships with donors through active and ongoing networking across campus and high-level strategic thinking about furthering the engagement of donors with RISD, resulting in individualized creative stewardship plans for RISD’s top supporters.
  • Administers the process of informing donors about the financial status of their fund, as well as the name and background of the beneficiaries selected. Requests and tracks beneficiary thank you letters and encourages scholars to thank and engage with donors whenever possible.
  • Strategizes, researches, writes and produces narrative reports, financial fund reports, and other customized pieces for top donors based on their preferences and gift designations. This involves partnerships with faculty leaders, including deans, department chairs, and named professors, across RISD to draft and edit written communications to top donors. Serving as a liaison to the Office of Financial Aid, supports the named scholarship, fellowship and other financial aid fund awarding process, ensuring endowed and current use scholarship, fellowship and other financial aid award recipients are selected according to the fund terms’ spending recommendations.
  • Oversees the Society of Presidential Fellows program through tracking and communicating with recipients, planning and, in partnership with the Director of Special Events, executing an annual induction ceremony and celebration for graduating students of the program and coordinating with the Provost’s office on mentorship opportunities for recipients. Tracks and communicates with recipients ensuring continuity.
  • Maintains an accurate, comprehensive filing and tracking system to ensure that all activity is recorded in the internal donor database (Raiser’s Edge). Analyzes captured data to provide progress reports on stewardship programs.
  • Partners with the Special Events team to execute annual donor events, including but not limited to the Celebration of Scholarships, Society of Presidential Fellows and other donor recognition events. Explore and evaluate additional stewardship and cultivation events for appropriateness at RISD as needed. Inventory and educate gift officers about additional engagement and stewardship opportunities.
  • Catalogs existing named spaces and oversees processes for new named spaces, including coordinating the ordering and placement of donor recognition plaques.  
  • Explores and utilizes new technological methods, such as videos or web-based platforms, to engage and inform donors. Develops ideas for customized presentations, recognition for named spaces and other key gifts, and other creative touches.
  • Evaluates stewardship processes for major gifts and develops best practices for top donor stewardship and recognition.
  • Manages a portfolio of stewardship donors.

Additional Functions: 

  • Staff and support key RISD campus events, including but not limited to RISD Weekend, Founders Day and Commencement + Reunion Weekend.
  • May occasionally hire, supervise and acclimate work study students and interns to assist in department activities.
  • Perform other related assignments as requested.

Required Knowledge/Skills/Experience: 

  • Preference given to candidates with experience in higher education or nonprofit stewardship activities.
  • Well-honed writing, editing, research and analytical skills required.
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively with a broad spectrum of divisional and institutional colleagues, within an environment that values diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Knowledge of, and interest in staying current in, the principles and techniques relevant to donor-centric major gift fundraising.
  • Must possess strong interpersonal skills, high EQ (emotional intelligence) and superb first-in-class customer service and communications skills.
  • Demonstrated expertise in the use of Microsoft Office, Adobe, CRM/database and Google Apps (G Suite) and Asana, or similar project management collaboration tools.
  • Proven success in the planning, organizing and executing projects with multiple internal and external stakeholders.
  • Ability to build and manage relationships with a variety of constituents across all levels of institution.
  • Ability to anticipate unexpected issues and needs and to react quickly, calmly and confidently so as to instill trust and confidence.
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively with a broad spectrum of divisional and institutional colleagues, within an environment that values diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects, priorities and deadlines.
  • Capability to work independently and collaboratively with moderate supervision
  • Bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree preferred.
  • Minimum of 5 years of related experience in fundraising, donor relations, communications or a related field.

Work Schedule: 

35 hours per week; 12 months per year

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

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