Assistant Director, Class Ambassadors

Posted on 09/02/2022

The Assistant Director is responsible for the strategic coordination and management of a core group of undergraduate alumni volunteers who engage and solicit their classmates/peers for operational gifts to SMU.

The person in this role will work with colleagues to design and execute comprehensive annual engagement and fundraising drives for these volunteers through direct mail, email, web and social media channels, and event planning, as appropriate, with special attention to volunteers celebrating undergraduate reunions.

This position seamlessly coordinates with AGAR colleagues in ways that achieve overall annual goals as identified by the Office of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations.

Essential Functions:

  • Identify and recruit a minimum of 250 undergraduate alumni volunteers from 25 class years to serve in their respective roles, prioritizing based on loyal and generous donors, and relying on the expertise of current volunteers. Cultivate relationships that translate into a volunteer journey that evolves into additional service to SMU, including board positions In collaboration with AGAR colleagues & using best practices from peer institutions and SMU’s framework, develop & implement strategic marketing outreach calendars of activity for all volunteers to maximize coverage, frequency & variety of messaging that aligns with division-wide priorities & activities.
  • Execute a minimum of 12 multi-channel, semi-tailored engagement touchpoints per class any corresponding messages to volunteers in a timely fashion, balancing class’ individual goals with the stated priorities of SMU’s AGAR office. Facilitate volunteer questions & needs that may arise from each communication. Suggest modifications to AGAR leaders for subsequent engagement drives. Serve as conduit to volunteers for class updates. Facilitate appropriate follow-up as needed for records.
  • Collaborate with AGAR colleagues to develop and execute major initiatives including reunion weekend celebrations for five key class years, engaging these class Ambassadors with additional strategies to encourage increased participation during their class reunion year. Execute additional ambassador mtgs during their reunion year to identify event opportunities held in conjunction with Homecoming/Reunion weekend or Commencement Weekend for 50-year class. Work with events coordinators and Direct Marketing to activate direct marketing elements and event logistics for these activities.
  • Galvanize ambassadors surrounding major SMU initiatives at key times throughout the year, including SMU Giving Day and other contact sprints, by providing relevant prospect lists, talking points and other resources for peer solicitations and executing appropriate follow-up.
  • Facilitate ongoing training for volunteers through mass events and one-on-one conversations. In coordination with AGAR colleagues, build and modify volunteer training handbooks and welcome guides for Class Ambassador volunteer roles. Prepare and execute meetings with volunteers, whether online or in person, as appropriate, to ensure adequate progress to goal and motivate them to continue their volunteer efforts.
  • Evaluate progress and measure effectiveness toward reaching established goals in order to further refine strategies in subsequent efforts. Regularly measure, track and report consistent metrics related to peer activity, engagement and giving to AGAR leadership and peer volunteers themselves, highlighting progress and challenges faced by each group.
  • Cultivate and solicit volunteers to make gifts to SMU. Steward volunteers through recognition at events, inclusion in all communications, and sincere notes of appreciation.
  • Other duties as assigned
  • Occasional evening and weekend work during key university fundraising and alumni engagement weekends such as Homecoming, Founder’s Day and Commencement, required.

Education and Experience:

Bachelor’s degree is required, preferably in communications, marketing, business, and/or public relations.

A minimum of one year of professional work experience is required.

Work experience that requires an understanding of marketing and marketing strategies towards a fundraising or sales objective is highly preferred. Experience managing a large number of volunteers and volunteer relationships on an ongoing basis (vs. one-time experience), highly desired. Experience in non-profit fundraising, annual giving or alumni relations departments is a plus.

Knowledge of university fundraising or direct experience with SMU culture, a plus. Strong experience maintaining and disseminating large amounts of constituent data, preferred.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Candidate must demonstrate strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of constituencies in a diverse community. Must also demonstrate strong written communication skills. The ability to handle all activities, especially those containing confidential information, with discretion, courtesy, and good judgment is essential.

Candidate must possess strong organizational, planning and time management skills with the ability to manage multiple priorities. Must also demonstrate the ability to work in a deadline driven, fast-paced environment. Strong project/program management skills are essential.

Candidate must possess a strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite. Experience with advanced features of the Microsoft Office suite of products such as mail merges and vlookups is required.

Experience with CRMs such as Blackbaud’s BBEC, project management software such as Asana or AirTable and/or volunteer management platforms is highly preferred. Experience with managing/posting on social media, highly preferred. Experience with email marketing systems like Emma, a plus.

About the Department:

Development and External Affairs (DEA) supports SMU by securing funding for University priorities; by promoting meaningful involvement in the life and work of the University; by heightening international, national, state and local awareness of SMU; and by supporting the enrollment of a diverse and able student body.

DEA comprises the offices of Office of the Vice President, Annual Giving and Alumni Relations, Development Services, Program Services and Donor Relations, Marketing and Communications, Principal and Major Gifts, and School and Project Development.

About SMU:

SMU’s more than 12,000 diverse, high-achieving students come from all 50 states and 90 countries to take advantage of the University’s small classes, hands-on research opportunities, leadership development, community service, international study and innovative programs. The University offers a strong foundation in the humanities and sciences and undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs through eight schools.

Now in its second century of achievement, SMU is increasingly recognized for the ways it supports students, faculty and alumni as they become ethical leaders in their professions and communities. On the most beautiful college campus in the country, SMU Mustangs are energized by unbridled opportunities – from teaching, learning and research to creativity, performance and athletic endeavor.

EEO Statement:

SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601, [email protected]

To apply for this job please visit