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Job ID: 197455

Senior Director of Advancement, Programs & Initiatives (30007)
Northern Illinois University

Date Posted Oct. 20, 2022
Title Senior Director of Advancement, Programs & Initiatives (30007)
University Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL, United States
Department Gift Planning
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Director/Manager
  • Development/Institutional Advancement


At Northern Illinois University Foundation, our vision is to develop, support and encourage a culture of giving throughout the NIU community that will allow it to flourish and accomplish NIU’s goal of becoming the most student-centered public research university in the Midwest.

The Gift Planning team strives to be a high ROI team that provides the most fulfilling donor experience possible.

The ideal candidate is self-motivated, metrics driven, and has a demonstrated track record of high performance. The Senior Director of Advancement will live our value of helping donors discover the joy in making a difference through their philanthropy while making an everlasting impact at Northern Illinois University.

Position Summary

This fundraising leadership position reports to the Executive Director of Advancement. This is a fundraising leadership position that works within the Gift Planning Team to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward a portfolio of major gift prospects. The primary responsibilities are to manage an individual portfolio as well as a staff of advancement professionals to obtain private major and planned gifts at the highest level. This individual also supports the priorities identified by the university. While the highest priority is to generate charitable gift revenue, this position will focus on securing major gifts of $25,000 or more.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

35% Individual Fundraising Portfolio Management
    • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward a portfolio of individual, corporate, and foundation major gift donors and potential donors. Personal contact and engagement with prospects and donors and securing major gifts will be required on a consistent basis and will be a significant metric which is monitored and evaluated monthly and annually.


  • Utilize advancement support services specific to developing a portfolio of prospects and to strategically move donors to solicitation on a regular basis. These resources include management of a database of gift and prospect records, prospect research and files, and proposals.
  • Work with the Executive Director of Advancement and President & CEO of the NIU Foundation / Vice President of University Advancement in the development and implementation of donor strategies.

35% Program and Initiative Advancement Management
  • Serve as an NIU Foundation resource for academic and non-academic staff as it relates to advancement strategy, policies and procedures for various programs and initiatives including but not limited to University Athletics, University Libraries, Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Student Affairs, and the University Honors Program.
  • Lead the strategic planning and execution of the regional major gift program
  • Assist in the establishment of fundraising goals and develop and execute long-range advancement strategies for various university programs and initiatives in collaboration with advancement professional staff.
  • Involve the University President; President & CEO of the NIU Foundation / Vice President of University Advancement; various university academic and non-academic leaders; NIU Foundation board members and volunteer leaders in the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies of major gift donors. These relationships require a high degree of skilled communication and careful planning.
  • As needed, represent the University and the NIU Foundation at University events, as well as community, volunteer, and professional organizations.
  • Identify, recruit, train, and direct the activities of volunteers involved in solicitation strategies.
  • Work on special projects, distinguished donor society fundraising, capital campaigns, and partner with their advancement colleagues in the NIU Division of University Advancement.

30% Gift Officer Supervision, Training, and Coaching
  • Supervise advancement professionals responsible for fundraising activity on behalf of various university programs and initiatives including but not limited to University Athletics, University Libraries, Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Student Affairs, and the University Honors Program.
  • Supervise a team of advancement professionals responsible for securing major and planned gifts within a regional geographic location.
  • Train and coach advancement professionals
  • Work collaboratively with advancement professionals to establish individual goals and program and initiative goals
  • Assist advancement professionals with strategies and tactics to reach their goals and increase their effectiveness and success
  • This positions manages three or more direct reports.

Minimum Required Qualifications (Civil Service)
Specialty Factors (Civil Service)
Preferred Qualifications (Civil Service)
Minimum Required Qualifications (SPS)

Education and Experience Required
  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Five (5) years of experience with successful major gift solicitation.
  • Minimum 3 years of professional staff supervisory experience.
  • Minimum of 4 years of professional experience in a complex fundraising environment (higher education, healthcare, large non-profit, e.g.).
  • Knowledge of and experience in the advancement field.

Additional Requirements (SPS)

  • Demonstrable commitment to the highest standard of ethical and professional conduct in accordance with the CASE Statement of Ethics, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethical Principles and Standards, and The Donor Bill of Rights. (Membership not required.)
  • Deep, personal commitment to diversity in all forms, the recognition of all individuals to mutual respect, and the acceptance of others without biases. Demonstrable commitment to leading by example, modeling diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the university.
  • Demonstrably strong work ethic and entrepreneurial mentality. A high-level of integrity, focus and commitment to achieve ambitious goals is essential.
  • Demonstrated exceptional writing skills, strong oral communication with group presentation skills.
  • Familiarity with the “moves management” approach to major gift fundraising
  • Experience working within a matrixed organizational structure where performance responsibilities are evaluated in different divisions.
  • A flexible attitude and clear ability to modify and adapt as situations arise.
  • Ability and desire to engage in face-to-face relationship activities, primarily through the scheduling of one-on-one appointments with donor prospects who have never been engaged with NIU.
  • Ability and willingness to travel to meet donors and prospects in their homes and offices.
  • Familiarity with fundraising tools. Knowledge of computerized systems of donor record keeping, data tracking of prospects, and donors.
  • Exceptional organizational and project management skills.
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Exceptional communication skills as there will be strong interactions with both internal and external constituents.
  • The ability to synthesize multiple sources of information.
  • Ability and willingness to travel, sometimes extensively; and to work extra hours, nights and weekends to ensure the job is done exceptionally well; Ability to work autonomously, as well as manage several constituents.
  • The ability to think critically and strategically; capable of taking responsibility for specific goals within designated time frames. Capable of coordinating multi-task initiatives to successful conclusion.
  • A flexible attitude and clear ability to modify and adapt as situations and conditions change, as well as a resilience with regard to the rigors of public higher education and the increasing pressure of resource constraints.
  • A proven ability to build strong relationships anchored in trust and integrity.

Preferred Qualifications (SPS)

Education and Experience Preferred
  • Advanced degree and/or professional designation (CFRE).
  • Capital campaign experience in higher education or large complex fundraising environment (healthcare or large non-profit, e.g.) is highly desirable.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office software and familiarity with appropriate foundation fundraising tools. Knowledge of computerized systems of donor record keeping, data tracking of prospects, and donors.
  • Commitment to the ideals and culture of higher education.
  • A proven ability to build strong relationships anchored in trust and integrity.
  • The ability to effectively work in a group/team environment to assist in intra-divisional initiatives.

Physical demands/requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Travel is required for this position, largely regionally but at times, out of state. Use of a personal vehicle is required. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear. The employee frequently is required to stand for long periods of time; walk; use fingers and hands to feel, grasp, operate or handle objects, tools, or controls; and reach with hands and arms. Must be able to lift and carry 20 lbs. regularly.

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