Executive Director of Annual Giving Programs

Posted on 03/01/2022

The University of Rochester

Rochester, NY

The University of Rochester is one of the country’s top-tier research universities. With more than 200 academic majors and more than 3,000 faculty and instructional staff, the University is noted as being exceptionally collaborative. It offers both the intellectual excitement of a major research university with a top medical center and the intimacy and opportunities of a great liberal arts college.

The Rochester Model: 2021 Strategic Plan for University Advancement

The University of Rochester concluded The Meliora Challenge campaign on June 30, 2016, raising more than $1.37 billion. This was the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in the University’s history, exceeding the initial goal by more than $168 million. With the campaign’s completion, University Advancement launched The Rochester Model: 2021 Strategic Plan for University Advancement. The six-year plan sets forth specific, measurable ways to grow private giving, advocacy, and engagement in support of the University’s mission. The Rochester Model balances ambitious metrics with a commitment to long-term, meaningful engagement. It recognizes that by developing lasting relationships with our alumni, parents, and friends, the broader community will be fully invested in—and responsible for—the University’s success.

Position Overview: 

The annual giving office is divided into two sub areas: (1) George Eastman Circle (leadership Annual Giving society and volunteer program) (2) Direct Response & Donor Participation

Reporting directly to the Associate Vice President for Annual Giving and School Programs, the incoming Executive Director will be analytical, goal-oriented and focused on the highest standards of quality. The Executive Director will provide strong leadership to a successful business unit and work closely with school/unit officers in setting solicitation goals and strategies. S/he will focus heavily on increasing participation in giving through strategic, creative and multi-channel approach for each constituent based on analysis and benchmarking for best practices. The Executive Director is responsible for achieving overall donor participation and dollar goals for the Annual Giving program and all 21 unit assignments. S/he will also serve as the second in command for annual giving functions, in the absence of the Associate Vice President.

Reporting to the Executive Director is a team of 12 staff (org. chart available) who oversee and execute the academic, medical, reunion giving, young alumni, digital, stewardship and participation plans in the Direct Response program.

Principal Responsibilities: 

  • Establish revenue goals, determine schedules and establish budget. Responsible for a 2%- 3% increase for dollars and donors in FY22. This fiscal year’s goals are $25 million in annual giving cash, 22% undergraduate giving and 40,000 donors. (40%)
    • Make and manage decisions about strategies, solicitation methods, segmentation and timing. Devise new programs and marketing to enhance the annual fund program of the institution, including participation levels and expendable dollars.
    • Meet quarterly and yearly fundraising goals set by the Associate Vice President and Senior Vice President
    • Responsible for contributing toward advancement’s overarching goals while adhering to the organizations values and supporting the mission
  • Work with colleagues and partners to manage and market a comprehensive Annual Giving Program. Manage the year-round student call center, which is responsible for receiving pledges from ~8,000 donors a year and making thousands of solicitation and engagement calls for giving, event attendance and stewardship. Manage the direct mail, email solicitation, crowdfunding online and digital giving campaigns. The program is responsible for raising 90% of the University’s annual fund donors each year. Focus on upgrading donor giving through various strategies and approaches. (40%)
    • Work with direct reports and partners in Advancement Services to create a suite of reports to track and analyze donor behavior year over year and over time. Manage newly acquired Fundraising Performance Management system to analyze data like average gift size, response rates, first time donors, retention rates and more to determine adjustments to current year plans and future plans.
    • Hire, train, promote professional growth, evaluate and manage a team of talented staff. Delegate and guide projects and responsibilities.
  • Through appropriate staff, lead the department to the highest levels of “customer service” and quality control for all external and internal constituents of the Annual Fund program. Manage stewardship for annual giving donors (40,000+ donors per year) through targeted and customized approaches based on allocations, size of gift and other data points. (10%)
  • Identify potential Leadership Annual Giving donors and potential Major and Principal Gift prospects for the University. This function will include the creation and maintenance of key reports to reflect the annual activity of all donors, singling out donors with high potential and consistent annual fund behavior. (5%)
  • Other duties as assigned (5%)

Primary Accountabilities: 

  • Manage or influence all mass annual fund appeals.
  • Guide and contribute toward the process and approach for volunteer management of class and affinity based philanthropy volunteers.
  • Manage and build targeted constituency and solicitation programs in Annual Giving, for the entire University, medical center and other community appeals include Memorial Art Gallery.
  • Ability to work with high level university administrators, faculty and volunteers
  • Collaboration with Associate Vice President on oversight of the operating budget.


  • Minimum of eleven years of Advancement experience with at least five years in development work at an institution of higher education or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Direct Annual Fund experience preferred.
  • Proficiency with direct mail, digital solicitation, telemarketing and online fundraising. Knowledge of segmentation, development writing, solicitation design, website content and database management
  • Experience with analyzing data to make informed business decisions toward achieving goals.
  • Strong knowledge and demonstrated ability to build annual giving constituent-based programs
  • Experience working with leadership and with outside vendors
  • The highest regard for quality control and a focus on outstanding “customer service”

Skills and Abilities: 

  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to lead teams and work independently.
  • Collaborative and customer-service oriented.
  • Strong analytical skills and technical proficiency
  • Strict attention to detail and goal-oriented.
  • Proficiency with state-of-the-art Development IT System

The University of Rochester Office of Advancement’s commitment to diversity has always been top-of-mind, and we firmly believe that a diverse, equitable, and inclusive atmosphere benefits all members of our community. We actively seek out and include individuals from diverse backgrounds and origins who carry their own valued and important perspectives.

To apply for this position, please send an email with a cover letter and resume to [email protected].