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Job ID: 210113

Senior Director of Advancement (30007)
Northern Illinois University

Date Posted May 1, 2023
Title Senior Director of Advancement (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 and works within the Gift Planning Team to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward a portfolio of individual major gift prospects. Primary responsibilities include managing an individual portfolio as well as a staff of advancement professionals to obtain private major and planned gifts at the highest level. The Senior Director also supports philanthropic efforts toward university priorities. 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

40% 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.


40% Campaign Fundraising Priority Leadership
  • Serve as the advancement lead for assigned campaign or other fundraising priorities.
  • Lead the strategic planning and execution assigned campaign fundraising priorities.
  • Assist in the establishment of fundraising goals and develop and execute long-range advancement strategies for various campaign fundraising priorities 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.
20% Administration and Planning
  • Work with faculty and staff, campus wide, regarding development, alumni and donor relations responsibilities.
  • In support of College-Based Advancement leadership, serve as a resource for deans, department chairs, associate deans, and administrative staff as it relates to policies and procedures related to philanthropy and alumni relations.
  • Involve close collaboration with university leadership, college leadership, advancement leadership, NIU Foundation board members and volunteer leaders in the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies of major, principal, and planned gift donors.
  • As needed, represent the University and the NIU Foundation at University and college events, as well as community, volunteer, and professional organizations.
  • Identify, recruit, train, and direct the activities of volunteers involved in solicitation strategies.

Minimum Required Qualifications (Civil Service)


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


Specialty Factors (Civil Service)


Preferred Qualifications (Civil Service)


Minimum Required Qualifications (SPS)

  • 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)

  • 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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