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Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations - University Development

Apply now Job no: 493585
Position type: EAP - Executive, Administrative, Professional
Location: Grand Rapids
Categories: University Development

Summary: Grand Valley’s fundraising activities span the entire university and entail creativity, resourcefulness, diplomacy and impeccable credibility. The magnitude and impact of donor engagement is broad and deep and requires a highly collaborative and constituent-driven stewardship professional to build and sustain an extremely effective donor-centric program focused on delivering the highest level of stewardship to all Grand Valley donors. The Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations will develop, direct, and manage a comprehensive stewardship program that strengthens donor ties to the institution. This position will oversee acknowledgment and report production and expand the depth and impact of the stewardship program, managing stewardship efforts to support relationships between key personnel and development officers to formulate and execute best-in-class stewardship activities effectively and consistently across the university. They will work to maintain consistency and best practices; maintain stewardship tracking processes, policies and procedures; and communicate stewardship goals, programs, and activities to University Development colleagues and leadership.

Required Qualifications and Education:

  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Three to five years of experience in stewardship, donor relations, and/or fundraising, including experience in writing impactful content for donors.
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills.
  • 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.
  • Strategic and innovative thinker with the understanding and ability to develop and sustain resilient and dynamic relationships with donors, colleagues, and university leadership.
  • Ability to think intentionally about donor engagement and generate creative solutions for stewarding donors in order to maintain and strengthen high-quality personal relationships with donors.
  • Ability to work some evenings and weekends as needed, and travel when appropriate.
  • Experience working with donors, administrators, and community members.
  • Prior supervisory experience.
  • Knowledge and experience of fundraising and development functions.
  • Ability to quantify activities with donor acquisition and retention.
  • Computer literacy and database familiarity.

Preferred Qualifications and Education:

  • Master’s degree.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Previous experience developing, building, and implementing a stewardship and donor relations program.
  • Experience in higher education fundraising.
  • Experience with Millennium database.
  • Ability to work well with diverse groups including internal and external audiences.
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to focus on and manage multiple projects.

Responsibilities – Essential Functions:

  • Develop, implement and manage a comprehensive stewardship and donor relations plan for donors to include Vice President and Presidential cultivation, major gifts, and annual giving.
  • Direct and oversee all stewardship efforts including but not limited to reporting, acknowledgment process, and stewardship tracking system. Maintain calendar for donor stewardship activities.
  • Direct and plan opportunities for stewardship and donor relations to enhance cultivation and moves management process.
  • Prepare briefings and material for donor and prospective major donor visits for President, Vice President, Assistant Vice President, and ambassadors and representatives of the University.
  • Lead the stewardship and donor relations efforts, as well as the integrated stewardship team with communications, donor relations, events, and gift officers.
  • Work with Development Communications and appropriate gift officers on design and implementation of personalized stewardship materials and/or reports for major donors as well as appropriate recognition.
  • Develop procedures to ensure that reporting processes are in place to ensure appropriate and timely stewardship of gifts.
  • Work with development officers and university faculty and staff to ensure all required donor reports are delivered on time.
  • Routinely analyze effectiveness of stewardship efforts, identifying opportunities for improvement and implementing best practices.
  • Execute stewardship and donor relations activities such as Gillett Society Celebration, Scholarship Celebration, Community Leadership, and Alumni Leadership Celebration.
  • Identify new opportunities for donor engagement and stewardship to be inclusive of all donor constituencies.
  • Maintain and monitor prospect and donor activity in Millennium database.
  • Lead and coordinate donor recognition and signage.
  • Maintain positive relationships with appropriate campus offices for involvement in various activities.
  • Strategically quantify activities with donor acquisition and retention.
  • Special projects as assigned.

Salary: Commensurate with experience

Department/Division: University Development

Campus: Grand Rapids Campus

How To Apply: Apply online at and select “Apply now”. Please include a cover letter and resume. The online application will allow you to attach these documents electronically. On the application, you will be required to provide names, phone numbers, and e-mail address for three professional references. Applicants selected for interviews will be required to submit official transcripts prior to the interview. If you need assistance, call Human Resources at 616-331-2215.

Application Deadline: Consideration of applications will begin immediately and the posting may be closed at any time at the discretion of the University.

Grand Valley State University does not discriminate against students, faculty or staff in any of its employment practices or in its educational programs or activities. Grand Valley State University is guided by values for inclusiveness and community which are integral to our mission to educate students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies, and to enrich the community through excellent teaching, active scholarship, and public service. The University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution. It encourages diversity and provides equal opportunity in education, employment, all of its programs, and the use of its facilities. Members of the University community, including candidates for employment or admissions, and visitors or guests, have the right to be free from acts of harassment and discrimination, which are prohibited if they discriminate or harass on the basis of age, color, disability, familial status, height, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, veteran or active duty military status or weight. In addition, Grand Valley is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to ensure that none of its education programs and activities discriminate on the basis of sex/gender. Sex includes sex stereotypes, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and pregnancy or parenting status. The Office for Title IX and Institutional Equity serves as a resource for the GVSU community and assists individuals who may have been impacted by discrimination or harassment in connecting with resources, imposes measures that protect or support access to programs and activities, and oversees the university’s grievance process for allegations of discrimination and harassment. Inquiries regarding the application of Title IX may be referred to Theresa Rowland, Title IX Coordinator, 4015 Zumberge Hall,, (616) 331-9530.

The University will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. See TDD Callers: Call Michigan Relay Center at 711 (in State) or 1-800-833-7833 (out of State)

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. Must have the physical stamina to work long hours and/or more than 5 days per week. The requirements listed are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The information contained in this job description is for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended by the ADA Amendment Act (2008), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other applicable federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. GVSU will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request.

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