Assistant Director, Parent & Volunteer Engagement

Posted on 11/28/2022

Southern Methodist University

Dallas, TX

This role is an on-campus, in-person position.

The Assistant Director will manage fundraising efforts related to parents at the leadership level of $1K to $99K, including oversight of the Parent Leadership Council, the principal peer fundraising body for generating annual support from parents.

The role will conduct discovery visits and collaborate with colleagues to develop solicitation and stewardship campaigns for parents using mail, phone and digital channels as well as signature events and select volunteer service opportunities.

They will act as a resource for their colleagues on parent giving strategies that will lead to growth of SMU’s parent donor base through the donor pipeline.

They will also build and execute the framework for SMU’s alumni volunteer engagement program, including managing two staff who execute the robust class ambassador/reunion strategy that engages up to 500 volunteers across 50 undergraduate class years, annually, in ongoing connections and peer solicitations

Essential Functions: 

  • Program Management: Build & implement a comprehensive framework for parent philanthropy at SMU that encourages increased engagement YOY. Partnering with other DEA departments, Admissions & Student Affairs, create collaborative strategies that nurture parent engagement & generate annual support from parents, with a primary focus at the leadership level ($1,000 – $99,000) or above. Champion & manage annual fundraising goals, objectives, & projections related to parent giving. Lead strategy for parent mass appeals from concept to delivery. Prepare & distribute regular reports to update staff, BOT & others on parent fundraising activity results. Monitor & analyze giving patterns, using these results to measure success of current strategies & inform YOY projections & plans.
  • Volunteer Management: Identify, recruit, train & personally manage up to 100 parent peer fundraising volunteers via in-person visits, quarterly meetings & other channels. Use appropriate digital tools & management platforms to engage & inform volunteers. Establish, cultivate & steward working relationships with key stakeholders to effectively transition them into principal gift prospects.
  • Event Mgmt: Partner with DEA colleagues and the Office of Student Affairs to design and implement annual parent philanthropy events both on campus and regionally. Create and execute strategy to engage parents of incoming students, in partnership with AGAR Admissions, Student Affairs and Major Gifts colleagues.
  • Solicitation and hand-offs: Build relationships & personally solicit annual gifts and multi-year commitments at the leadership level to achieve annual fundraising goals and performance metrics, particularly from Parent Leadership Council volunteers. Oversee parent fundraising efforts during SMU’s annual giving day, including securing challenge gifts from PLC and other parent prospects. Recommend assignment of potential parent giving prospects to development officers on an ongoing basis & facilitate hand-offs, as needed to major gift officers and other fundraisers. Keep accurate records of contacts, recording interactions in the CRM
  • Class Ambassador Program Management: Build and implement a peer-to-peer class ambassador solicitation program structure that serves up to 50 undergraduate alumni class years, annually. In collaboration with colleagues, set quarterly and annual content plans that staff will disseminate to volunteers, ensuring they align with fundraising goals and priorities to increase annual participation within each class. Ensure consistency in program implementation and volunteer management, including recruitment, training, communication & retention/stewardship methods. Set & oversee supplemental volunteer engagement strategies for reunion-year alumni (i.e., committees), including collaborating with colleagues on recruitment marketing, event management and special solicitations or stewardship. Manage two full-time staff members charged with day-to-day program implementation & volunteer management. Manage peer fundraising platform (GiveCampus), including reviewing product enhancements data and script loads, and data flow for accurate prospect assignment, reporting and projections. Work closely with data analysts and other DEA/OIT colleagues to conduct regular audits to ensure accuracy and reliability of data flow. Benchmark regularly with colleagues who also use the platform to identify new strategies for increased ROI.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree is required. Degree in marketing, communications, or nonprofit management, preferred
  • A minimum of three years of work experience is required. Experience working in a performance-based environment and professional volunteer management experience are also required.
  • Professional work experience managing boards or committees, highly preferred. Higher education development and front-line fundraising experience, highly desired. Experience in personally soliciting gifts and securing development visits is a plus.
  • Experience working with parent volunteers in a collegiate or private institution setting, highly preferred

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: 

  • Candidate must demonstrate strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate broadly across the University and develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of constituencies. Must also demonstrate strong written communication skills. Ability to work effectively in a team environment with a mix of faculty, parents, alumni and staff colleagues, preferred.
  • Candidate must possess strong problem-solving skills with the ability to identify and analyze problems, as well as devise solutions. Proven ability to analyze data and drive strategy from learnings, required.
  • Candidate must have strong organizational, planning and time management skills. Demonstrated work experience effectively managing multiple projects is essential.
  • Candidate must have a strong working knowledge and experience with Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Experience with volunteer management software, esp. GiveCampus, highly preferred. Experience with, AirTable, Asana project management software, highly desired. Experience within prospect management software, CRM/Database – BlackBaud, SalesForce, etc. is a plus.
  • Experience with email management software, i.e., MailChimp, Emma, etc., highly preferred. Strong ability to adapt to new technologies, desired. Knowledge of SMU’s philanthropic priorities is a plus.

Deadline to Apply: 

December 22, 2022

Priority consideration may be given to submissions received by December 9, 2022.

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].

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