Director, Donor Relations

Posted on 08/21/2023

University of San Diego

San Diego, CA

University Description: 

The University of San Diego, a contemporary and engaged Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Diocese of San Diego and the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1949. Governed by an independent board of trustees since 1972, USD remains committed to a liberal arts education grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition and the pursuit of truth, goodness and beauty. Inspired by this centuries old tradition of Catholic higher education, the University welcomes people of all faith traditions and any, or no, religious background. The future success of USD relies on the contributions of those who seek to foster the development of engaged global citizens and an earnest confrontation of humanity’s urgent challenges.

Detailed Description: 

The director of Donor Relations is responsible for formulating USD’s donor stewardship and recognition strategies, designing, implementing, and coordinating a cohesive vision for the campus. The director leads and oversees the donor relations and stewardship programs, promoting interaction with and recognition of donors at all levels, utilizing traditional, electronic, and social media tools. In addition, the director must sustain positive and mutually rewarding relations between the university and its donor constituency. This position partners with University Advancement departments and campus-wide directors of development to affirm the best strategies for effective stewardship of donors, maintain ongoing and interactive networking with internal and external constituencies, and advise on the facilitation of recognition events and coordinate various activities for donor societies. The director is an effective writer and communicator, responsible for researching and creating stewardship and donor impact reports for both unrestricted and key restricted account donors. This position analyzes stewardship metrics and sets correlated accountability benchmarks. The director must bring an entrepreneurial approach to utilizing all available technologies to steward constituents ranging from recent graduates to Golden Toreros, mid-career alumni professionals to current parents.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Oversight and Strategic Planning of Donor Relations Program:

  • Design, document, and implement a systematic and integrated donor relations program encompassing all media. Responsible for devising and using consistent, accurate, and appropriate information-sharing mechanisms for stewarding prospects and donors.
  • Proactively support the stewardship responsibilities of the division (development, strategic partnerships, and constituent relations) and directors of development from academic units and athletics by collaborating in establishing and coordinating individualized stewardship plans for their donors; compose letters, compile appropriate invitation lists, and obtain donor awards and recognitions.
  • Manage donor-related activities and maintain engagement records, when assigned and deemed necessary.
  • Develop collaborative working relationships with a wide variety of university personnel to implement the donor relations strategies and enlist their involvement in donor relations activities.
  • Oversee annual Thanksgiving Card project ensuring completion in a timely manner.
  • Effectively use technology to track, manage, and report stewardship activities, including processes regarding acknowledgment, recognition, ongoing communication, and continued cultivation of past and current President’s Club level donors to enhance their relationship with the university and increase the likelihood of continued financial support.
  • Analyze stewardship metrics and set correlated accountability benchmarks.
  • Create, review, and distribute stewardship reports for unrestricted funds (Alcalá Alumni Fund, Parents Fund, etc.) and other key funds (Founders Endowed Scholarship, Veterans Center, specific capital projects, etc.) on a regular basis, utilizing print, electronic, and social media tools.
  • Create, review, and distribute donor impact reports for individual donors to help show donors how their gifts are being used and how they help our students and the institution.
  • Advise on and facilitate the recognition of donors in both print and web-based publications.
  • Contribute donor and gift information for specific publications that showcase donor and philanthropic contributions to the university.
  • Recommend and promote on- and off-campus publicity of major gifts and donors with Media Relations.
  • Participate in other donor stewardship and communication activities as required.
  • Responsible for keeping up to date with donor relations trends through research and professional development opportunities.
  • Other duties may be assigned by AVP.

President’s Club Stewardship:                                           

  • Working with the AVP and director of Annual Giving, develop a plan for ongoing engagement with President’s Club donors throughout the revolving annual giving cycle, from initial gift acceptance through renewal strategy nine months after gift receipt.
  • Provide support for established President’s Club donor recognition events, including event follow up.
  • Work with directors of development to identify events of interest for PC members and, based upon giving history, invite appropriate members to attend.

Department Management:                                                                                

  • Direct the work of the professional staff in Donor Relations; establish departmental goals and objectives; inspire productivity and new, strategic approaches.
  • Ensure direct reports adhere to defined internal controls; manage systems and procedures to protect departmental assets.
  • Conduct annual performance evaluations and provide feedback on a regular basis including, but not limited to, coaching and corrective action; report to the AVP on the work and progress of the team.
  • Promote professional growth and provide development opportunities for employees.

Special Conditions of Employment:

Effective June 1, 2023, based on CDC guidance, the University strongly encourages all campus members to stay up to date with Influenza and COVID-19 vaccination recommendations.  For more regarding information USD’s COVID-19 protocols, please visit

Background check:  Successful completion of a pre-employment background check.

Degree Verification Requirement: Persons offered employment in this position will be required to provide official education transcripts for degree verification purposes. 

Job Requirements: 

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Five years’ experience in development, personal solicitation, donor relations, and/or related professions.
  • Strong leadership/management skills, including proven ability to direct, mentor, recruit, evaluate, and motivate staff and volunteers.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including public speaking; ability to communicate positively and effectively with a diverse audience; possess exceptional critical listening and thinking skills.
  • Must exhibit attention to detail with excellent organizational and time management skills; remain professional under pressure.
  • Ability to work with various internal and external publics and to represent the university in a positive, informed, and persuasive manner.
  • Willingness and ability to work evenings and weekends.
  • Willingness and ability to travel.
  • Friendly and personable; mature, positive attitude; a team player.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Prior annual giving, direct marketing, or advertising experience.
  • Social media and/or web communication experience helpful.

Performance Expectations – Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Commitment to working as a member of a team and collaborate with colleagues.
  • Strong sense of integrity and ethical conduct.
  • Cultural competency and sensitivity a must; ability to understand different cultural contexts and viewpoints, demonstrate respect for others, adapt to different cultural settings; and accept cultural differences.
  • Ability to work with donors one-on-one for cultivation and stewardship purposes.
  • Highly proficient with new technology and CRM platforms.
  • Knowledge of online communication tools to increase contacts with alumni and others.
  • Ability to produce and utilize statistical data for evaluation.
  • Demonstrated excellence in setting priorities and working independently with minimal supervision under heavy workload, frequent interruptions, distractions, and deadlines.
  • Skill in investigating, analyzing, and solving problems.
  • Experience in coordinating several projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to handle confidential and sensitive information with tact and discretion.
  • Knowledge of USD’s policies and procedures.

Posting Salary: 

$6,684 – $8,333 per month; Excellent Benefits

The University of San Diego offers a very competitive benefits package including; medical, dental, vision, a retirement contribution given to you by the University, and access to on-campus Fitness Centers.  Please visit the benefits section of our website to view all of the perks and benefits that USD has to offer.  USD: Human Resources: Benefits

The salary range provided in this posting reflects what we reasonably expect to pay for this position.  Actual compensation offered or earned is dependent on experience, education and other factors including departmental budget.

To apply for this job please visit