Chief Development Officer, SPA (12915)

Washington D.C.
Commensurate with experience
Jun 05, 2017
Jul 10, 2017
Full Time


Working in and reporting to the University Office of Development and Alumni Relations, the Chief Development Officer for the School of Public Affairs (“SPA”) is the principal fundraiser for SPA at American University. The Chief Development Officer works on behalf of the Dean of SPA, shaping and executing plans for fundraising to meet the financial needs of the Dean’s academic priorities for the School. The Chief Development Officer works primarily in the area of major gift fundraising for SPA and participates in the Dean’s senior management team in order to understand fully and discuss implications of academic programs for development. The Chief Development Officer plans, implements, and oversees the major gift fundraising program ($10,000 and higher) for SPA with emphasis on gifts of $100,000 to $1,000,000+, as well as collaborates on management of the School’s annual giving program.

The Chief Development Officer serves as a key member of the Dean’s management team and as an ambassador of SPA. The Chief Development Officer assists with the development of publications for SPA and other programs and special events by the Dean and Vice President of Development. The Chief Development Officer supervises the activities of one additional fundraiser (Director of Development, SPA), and they work as a collaborative team in support of donor cultivation, solicitation, stewardship, alumni programming, and special events. In coordination with the Dean, the Chief Development Officer and SPA Development team strategically recruit and staff members for the SPA Dean’s Council. The Chief Development Officer and SPA Development team strive to maximize the Council’s effectiveness, working closely with the Dean’s office to establish agendas and programs for meetings and communications.

As a specific component of the Chief Development Officer’s responsibilities, the Chief Development Officer works with the Dean of SPA to engage the Dean in donor/constituent specific Development strategies, secure dates and plan for the Dean’s development activities, including local and regional constituency events, travel for cultivation and solicitation, correspondence and regular contact with donors. 

The Chief Development Officer operates under the University’s prospect management system, APEX (American Prospect Engagement and Cultivation System), with the expectations of achieving the metrics below through demonstration of a high degree of professionalism, discretion, and refined written and oral communication.

  • Management and strategy development of a pool of 150 assigned, rated, and staged prospects generally rated $100,000-$1,000,000+;
  • Meaningful contact or consistently demonstrated attempted contact of 100% of the assigned portfolio during any six month period;
  • Regular maintenance of prospect pipeline (i.e., planned and executed solicitations) to reflect a minimum of 15 major gift solicitations per year.
  • Varying by stage of cultivation, consistent movement of prospects in assigned portfolio in prescribed timeframe. (As an example, it is expected that prospects will only be in qualification and early cultivation mode for 6 months, regular cultivation for 12 months, and pre-solicitation cultivation and consideration mode for 6 months.)
  • A minimum of 10 planned, strategic visits per month with many other interactions, meetings, events, and unplanned visits.
  • Regular updates to contacts, staging, ratings so that all reports are current for supervision meetings and monthly progress reports.
  • Work in concert with Development and Alumni Relations colleagues, including particularly close collaboration with the Planned Giving Team, and Office of Prospect Research & Management to conduct entrepreneurial prospect identification and qualification work equal to approximately 10-20% of all activity. (More if Chief Development Officer meets expectations of progress with assigned portfolio).
  • The Chief Development Officer’s financial objectives will be established collaboratively and with close review of the capacity and readiness indicators of the Chief Development Officer’s prospect portfolio.

The Chief Development Officer coordinates closely with the Director of Development, Annual Giving to ensure messages and priorities are consistent for the mail and phone programs; as well as with directors in other areas (Planned Giving, Regional Advancement, Strategic Partnerships, other units) on mutual interest prospects and programs.

Educational Requirements:

Bachelor’s degree from an accredited educational institution.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Seven or more years progressively responsible development experience required, with at least four years in demonstrated success in securing major gifts of $100,000+
  • Supervisory experience
  • Familiarity with and experience following guidelines of an established Prospect Management System
  • Computer literacy with MS Office suite or equivalent and familiarity with fundraising systems
  • Superior written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills      

Preferred Requirements:

  • Experience in higher education, working with high-level executives/academics/leaders, managing volunteers, major gift solicitation and closure at the $500,000+ level
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to analyze and articulate reasons for giving
  • Strong priority setting
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously in a deadline-oriented environment
  • Maturity and diplomacy
  • Analytical, research, and project management skills 

Additional Information:

This position requires regular local travel, and out of area travel approximately 25-40% of time.  Position also requires occasional evening and weekend work. 

Hiring offers for this position are contingent on the successful completion of a background check     

American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under federal or local laws (collectively "Protected Bases") in its programs and activities.

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