Search for University Jobs in Senior Administration

Job ID: 222269

Director of Donor Relations (28322)
Northern Illinois University

Date Posted Sep. 26, 2023
Title Director of Donor Relations (28322)
University Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL, United States
Department Development Operations
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Director/Manager
  • Development/Institutional Advancement


At Northern Illinois University (NIU) 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 Director of Donor Relations will further the Foundation’s mission of creating life-changing opportunities for our hardworking, dedicated students and faculty through leadership and management of our donor stewardship activities and programs. This position will represent the Foundation’s value of building meaningful relationships with the NIU community and friends.

The ideal candidate demonstrates a keen attention to detail and is a strong collaborator, with an ability to connect with internal partners as well as donors and prospective donors.

Position Summary

As an integral part of the Division of Advancement, the Director of Donor Relations works to foster lasting relationships between the University and its benefactors, promoting positive attitudes toward giving among current and prospective major and planned gift donors. This position establishes and manages information tracking processes regarding acknowledgement, recognition, on-going communications, and continued cultivation of past and current major donors to enhance their relationship with the University and increase the likelihood of continued contributions. This position proactively supports the stewardship responsibilities of the development staff by assisting them in establishing and coordinating individualized stewardship plans for donors to their colleges/units.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

This position is responsible for directing the donor relations program, develops the budget and manages the departments finances, provides authoritative and detailed professional and technical knowledge in the donor relations field, directs the physical planning and logistics of the donor relations program, directs the donor relations staffing by overseeing recruitment, training and management of work, develops policies, and is primary donor relations liaison to the campus and organization.

30% Leadership of Strategic Donor Engagement
    • Oversees division-wide strategic planning and implementation based on data-driven recommendations and provides direction and guidance to colleagues on strategic priorities and projects related to the donor and constituent experience.
    • Leads the development of annual plans for donor relations, including the integration of gift planning strategies.
    • Conceives of and designs donor relations strategies and ensures implementation throughout the division.
    • Develops collaborative plans to leverage major gifts and gift planning to ensure donors are appropriately stewarded and cultivated.
    • Collaboratively meets with senior leadership, development officers, deans and presidents to design and implement donor relations strategies.
    • Create and execute strategies for a portfolio of donors who have made their final/ultimate gift to the NIU Foundation and required ongoing engagement.


30% Stewardship Program
  • Oversees and manages overall operations of the stewardship function for the Donor Relations team, including reporting, tracking, acknowledgments, events, production of collateral material, auditing of funds, and project management.
  • Oversees all aspects of writing, designing, and producing all stewardship reports in a timely manner.
  • Serves as primary advisor to the unit administrator regarding overall major program development, management, and operations of the unit; supervision and policy-making responsibility;
  • Ensures appropriate stewardship of donors and dollars, including working with university scholarship coordinator, departments, colleges, and major gift officers to ensure that expendable dollars from endowed funds are spent in accordance with donor intent.
  • Oversees and manages the guideline agreement process, including creating and updating agreement templates, reviewing, editing, scanning and tracking agreements, and drafting agreements for donors.
  • Ensures that Foundation donors receive comprehensive and timely reporting in accordance with the Foundation’s stewardship standards.
  • Provides individual donor care plans for major donors.
  • Ensures student thank-you letter process including notifying departments of procedures, collecting student thank-you information and biographical information, scanning, tracking, and mailing letters to donors. Incorporates redesign of website and student database as necessary to enhance and streamline process.
  • In partnership with senior leaders and development officers, develops and implements a comprehensive, enhanced, and coordinated reporting program for the Foundation’s top donors.
  • Ensures scholarship recipient uploads to alumni database.
  • Creates and implements stewardship plans for annual fund donors.

20% Gift Acknowledgement Program management and oversight
  • Oversees timely, accurate, and meaningful acknowledgement of gifts.
  • Manages and oversees the writing and production of acknowledgement letters for all gifts over $1,000 including letters from Foundation President, Foundation Board Chair, and University President
  • Manages all document templates to ensure that they are updated regularly and as appropriate.
  • Researches, drafts, and edits accurate and compelling donor correspondence, communications pieces and narrative reports, and generates new ideas and strategies to enhance stewardship programs.

10% Donor Recognition Program
  • Oversees strategy for creative, consistent, efficient, and donor-centric reporting, acknowledgment, and recognition programs.
  • Oversees the coordination and monitoring of the Foundation’s recognition entities by working closely with the colleagues in University Advancement and Alumni Association.
  • Develops relationships and maintains open communications with colleagues across campus as well as with donors.
  • Ensures the highest quality, timeliness, and accuracy of all gift society recognition communications, listings, activities, and events. Redefines recognition programs as needed per relevance to donor needs.
  • Convenes representatives from the colleges on a regular basis to provide training, assistance, and updates regarding the societies.
  • Oversees management of donor walls and tracking of all room naming / donor plaques.
  • Oversee the coordination and convening of a working group of donor relations colleagues on campus.

10% Department Management
  • Manages Donor Relations staff by providing training, guidance, and leadership. Collaboratively develops the team’s priorities and enhances effectiveness.
  • Develops overall program budget; prepares budget proposals for projects, taking into consideration allocation of costs, available and needed resources; and monitors/manages the financial activities of the unit to meet financial objectives.
  • Maintains an organizational structure and operating plan for the Donor Relations office. Establishes work procedures, standards and schedules for each area of responsibility.
  • Continually seeks to evaluate and improve policies and procedures within the Donor Relations area. Establishes challenging and relevant annual goals.
  • Creates, interprets, develops and implements policies and procedures to program workers; provides primary support to a unit administrator or other executive, and assumes full direction for an office, administrative, or operational matters in the absence of the unit administrator;
  • Serves as primary campus contact for the most significant donors, helping to resolve problems, questions, and concerns.
  • Other duties may also be assigned.

Minimum Required Qualifications (Civil Service)


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) (Civil Service)


Specialty Factors (Civil Service)


Preferred Qualifications (Civil Service)


Minimum Required Qualifications (SPS)

    1. Bachelor’s degree.
    2. Five (5) or more years of successful demonstrated donor relations experience in stewardship, development, and alumni relations, preferably in a Foundation or Alumni Association.
    3. Two (2) years of extensive experience interacting with donors.
    4. Three (3) years of project management skills, including evidence of leading project teams and simultaneous multiple complex tasks with competing deadlines.



Additional Requirements (SPS)

  1. 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.
  2. Demonstrated sound judgment in situations requiring independent decision-making and in handling confidential and sensitive material.
  3. Exceptional verbal, writing, research, and editorial skills, preferably demonstrated in an academic setting; ability to find relevant information and synthesize to compose clear and effective prose. Writing sample required.
  4. Proven skills and ability to manage multi-phase projects from inception to completion, including the ability to build consensus among team members and balance multiple concurrent priorities. It is necessary for the incumbent to possess the ability to work independently and as part of a team. Being detail oriented, well organized, focused and goal-oriented, with a high level of initiative and energy, is essential, as well as adept at problem solving and using judgment in situations requiring independent initiative and tact.
  5. Strong customer-service focus; and a proven ability to work patiently, persuasively, and effectively with a wide variety of people, including students, faculty, staff, donors, and alumni.
  6. Commitment to the ideals and culture of higher education.
  7. A proven ability to build strong relationships anchored in trust and integrity.
  8. The ability to effectively work in a group/team environment to assist in intra-divisional initiatives.
  9. Business proficiency in Microsoft Office Word, Access and Excel, including the tabulation of budget figures, creation of scenario planning tools and merging files; experience in enterprise systems for event and scheduling management. Experience with computer databases and tools, particularly Millennium, EverTrue and Advizor; Knowledge of computerized systems of donor record keeping, data tracking of prospects, and donors.
  10. Exceptional organizational and project management skills.
  11. The ability to synthesize multiple sources of information.
  12. Ability and willingness to travel, sometimes extensively; and to work occasional extra hours, nights and weekends to ensure the job is done exceptionally well; Ability to work autonomously, as well as manage several constituents.
  13. Experience working within a matrixed organizational structure where performance responsibilities are evaluated in different divisions.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.

Preferred Qualifications (SPS)

1. Minimum of 2 years of professional experience in a collegiate environment.
2. Advanced degree and/or professional designation (CFRE).
3. Capital campaign experience in higher education is highly desirable.
4. Membership and/or previous involvement with the Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP).

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.
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear. There is a high level of keyboarding and phone use.
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. Ability to work outside of normal working hours to complete tasks.

Please reference in your cover letter when
applying for or inquiring about this job announcement.

Contact Information

Please see the job description for contact details
pertaining to this university job announcement.


Refer this job to a friend or colleague!

New Search | Previous