Assistant Director, Class Giving and Engagement

Posted on 06/18/2024

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 identify, recruit, and support up to 250 volunteers in their peer solicitation and communication efforts, generating/managing operational giving and engagement goals for each class and personally soliciting these volunteers for annual gifts.

The positions 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. 

The 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, recruit, equip, manage & steward a min. of 250 alumni volunteers who act as peer-to-peer fundraising and engagement ambassadors for their classmates (25 classes per staff member.) Cultivate relationships with these volunteers & structure their activity to help them bring more prospects into the donor & engagement pipeline while expanding their own philanthropic support.

  • Collaborating with AGAR/DEA colleagues & using best practices from peer institutions, develop & implement a comprehensive annual strategic marketing outreach plan of activity for volunteers’ use that will maximize their messages’ effectiveness. Build/distribute monthly multi-channel, semi-tailored engagement touchpoints that align with divisional priorities/activity for each class.
  • Balance specific class goals with the stated priorities of SMU’s AGAR dept. Manage all volunteer questions/follow-up that arise from their peer communication. Suggest & implement modifications for subsequent engagement drives following analysis. Execute all standard volunteer management activity: act as conduit to volunteers for class updates, facilitate appropriate follow-up for records.
  • Collaborate with AGAR colleagues to develop & execute additional peer engagement strategies for 5 classes during their reunion years – including event celebrations. Create/distribute added marketing resources to volunteers to support their enhanced peer engagement goals surrounding giving and attendance. Execute additional meetings to support event opportunities held in conjunction with Homecoming/Reunion weekend or Commencement Weekend for 50-year class. Work with events coordinators and AGAR peers to enhance and distribute direct marketing elements and event logistics for reunion activities. Load data and sample messages for peer-to-peer engagement in platform, and assist volunteers in galvanizing their assigned prospects to solicit donations and event attendance. Report regularly to share metrics and ROI with volunteers, stewarding them appropriately. 
  • Galvanize ambassadors surrounding other major SMU initiatives at key times throughout the year, including SMU Giving Day, admitted student YIELD season, and other contact sprints by providing relevant prospect lists, talking points and other resources for peer solicitations and executing appropriate follow-up. Use online volunteer management tool to facilitate all interactions, build scripts and talking points and follow-up with volunteers on metrics and results based on their contact activity. 

  • Facilitate ongoing training for volunteers through mass events and one-on-one conversations. In coordination with AGAR colleagues, build and modify volunteer training handbooks & Class Ambassador volunteer resources. Prepare and execute online and in person meetings with volunteers to ensure adequate their progress to goals and motivate them to continue their volunteer efforts. Craft & regularly refresh marketing messages in online volunteer management platforms for their peer-to-peer use.
  • Evaluate progress and measure effectiveness toward reaching established goals in order to further refine strategies in subsequent efforts. Regularly measure, track and report metrics related to volunteer rosters, peer-to-peer engagement activity, communications and giving to AGAR leadership and peer volunteers themselves, highlighting progress and challenges faced by each group. Celebrate volunteers regularly to inspire year-over-year service, finding opportunities to showcase their success.
  • Personally cultivate and solicit class ambassadors to make individual gifts to SMU at the leadership level each year(up to $25K), particularly surrounding SMU giving day. 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 managing volunteers using an online database, preferred. Experience in non-profit fundraising, marketing and communication, annual giving or alumni relations departments, highly desired. 

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Candidate must demonstrate strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate effectively with individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds. 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.

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

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. Microsoft certification licensure highly preferred. SEO certification/training desired. 

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

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