Director, Alumni & Constituent Engagement

Posted on 11/30/2022

Southern Methodist University

Dallas, TX

The Director will develop & implement the strategic, long-range goals for a comprehensive engagement program designed to deliver meaningful opportunities for event participation, volunteerism, service, personal and professional development & philanthropy for more than 100,000 alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and current students.

Leading a team of 11 full-time staff charged with program management & execution, the role drives the centralized University-wide strategy for integrated, comprehensive initiatives tailored for affinity groups, current students, young alumni, reunion-year alumni, class Ambassadors and current parents, as well as other populations.

Board management and local and engagement through local & regional events – including signature event programs – compliment the role’s portfolio.

The position reports to the Senior Executive Director of Annual Giving & Alumni Relations with strong collaboration across internal & external teams.

Essential Functions: 

  • Strategically design comprehensive annual programs aimed at increasing the number of donors & dollars generated, especially from undergraduate alumni, current students and parents. Each holistic program contains an annual cadence of integrated activities including in-person events, volunteer opportunities, board management, mass marketing, & solicitations tailored for each constituency & designed to provide an ongoing journey for participants through the Mustang life-cycle. Programs of oversight include SMU’s mass parent engagement strategy tasked with cultivation, engagement & peer/front-line fundraiser solicitations towards the generation of $5M, annually; a comprehensive student and young alumni journey to generate a donor and volunteer pipeline with increased engagement, participation & annual giving dollars generated YOY; multi-year peer-to-peer volunteer programs including an infrastructure with up to 500 class ambassadors/reunion volunteers aimed at increasing annual giving dollars & donors with a focus on peer communication, engagement & donor retention.
  • Enhance strategy for comprehensive programs engaging alumni who identify with populations including the Black Alumni, Latino Alumni & API Alumni of SMU, among others. Deliver a holistic approach to programming that increases engagement, cross-constituency collaboration, volunteerism, event attendance. Drive philanthropy that directly fuels annual giving scholarships for each group, respectively.
  • Oversee a cohesive & collaborative recruitment, direction & engagement strategy for up to seven boards, including alumni, young alumni, three affinity group boards, parent leadership council and student philanthropy council boards. Establish direction for sub-committees including those on standard boards, reunions, and other targeted areas. Build and source trainings that activate volunteers for increased engagement and philanthropy through regular meetings & interactions.
  • Set strategic direction for the staff member leading the team tasked with executing an active, year-round calendar of 75-100 alumni engagement events both on and off campus with the goal of increasing YOY event attendance and philanthropic ROI. Serve as the University’s ambassador for activities involving relevant constituencies. Quarterback the implementation of four alumni scholarship and recognition award program events.
  • In collaboration with AGAR and DEA colleagues, supervise the direction of all marketing and communications plans associated with all constituent programming under the journeys teams’ purview, including corresponding solicitations, invitations, training resources, website updates and social media activations. Quarterback the implementation of new technology, training materials and channels as needed to equip all programs & volunteers for optimal success.
  • Reporting and Advocacy: Proctively evaluate programs using benchmarking data to guide decision-making. Generate, analyze and present regular reports to the SED of AGAR to optimize future activity. Prepare reports for the BOT and other senior leadership. Serve as liason, as needed, to DEA & SMU colleagues on matters involving constituent engagement strategies. Provide cross-departmental support & best practices to optimize strategy so that it compliments overall AGAR/DEA goals and tactics.
  • Staff and Budget Management: Responsible for staff management and development of 11 full-time employees. Maintain fiscal stability through budget preparation, control and implementation. Champion the responsibility for generating revenue to support alumni programs and projects, in accordance with the University’s fund raising policies and guidelines.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  •  Occasional evening and weekend events and board meetings around key weekends related to University initiatives will be required but scheduled well in advance.


Education and Experience: 

Bachelor’s degree is required, preferably in marketing, communications, public relations, higher education management. Master’s degree is preferred.

A minimum of seven years of work experience is required.

Experience with the following is also required:

  • Building holistic programmatic infrastructures with supporting timelines
  • Leading project management workflow, including within digital platforms
  • Driving multi-channel marketing practices and techniques, including copy creation
  • Managing volunteers, boards/advisory councils
  • Providing substantive leadership for mass engagement events
  • Cross-departmental collaboration
  • Strategic planning and implementation

Previous role in alumni relations/advancement (development fundraising), highly preferred. Previous role in non-profit environment, desired. Experience with driving fundraising campaigns is a plus.

Advanced skill working with boards or high-profile constituents, 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.
  • Candidate must possess strong problem-solving skills with the ability to identify and analyze problems, as well as devise solutions. Must also have strong organizational, planning, and time management skills. Strong analytical ability to adjust annual tactics based on data is essential.
  • Candidates must have a strong proficiency in MS Office Suite. Must also have project management software competency (e.g. Asana, etc.). CRM database skills are required preferably w/Blackbaud CRM. A strong proficiency in video conferencing software and virtual communication tools (i.e., Slack, Teams, etc.) is essential.
  • Experience with or knowledge of is highly preferred. Experience with or knowledge of Gravyty platforms (Grad!Engage, Grad!Advance), desired. Experience with or knowledge of Give!Campus,is a plus.
  • Experience with or knowledge EverTrue, highly preferred; data visualization software, desired.
  • Knowledge of best practices for parent and student engagement programs, highly preferred. Knowledge or skill with marketing segmentation, research, forecasting and metrics to achieve specific goals, desired.
  • CFRE preferred. Google certification desired. MS Office certification is a plus.

Deadline to Apply: 

The position is open until filled.

Priority consideration may be given to submissions received by December 2, 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].


SMU offers staff a broad, competitive array of health and related benefits. In addition to traditional benefits such as health, dental, and vision plans, SMU offers a wide range of wellness programs to help attract, support, and retain our employees whose work continues to make SMU an outstanding education and research institution.

SMU is committed to providing an array of retirement programs that benefit and protect you and your family throughout your working years at SMU and, if you meet SMU’s retirement eligibility criteria, during your retirement years after you leave SMU.

The value of learning at SMU isn’t just about preparing our students for the future. Employees have access to a wide variety of professional and personal development opportunities, including tuition benefits.

To apply for this job please visit