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Director of the Vassar Fund

Company: Vassar College
Date Posted: September 12, 2016

About Vassar College

Vassar College is a highly selective, residential, coeducational liberal arts college with an endowment of nearly $1 billion. Consistently ranked among the top colleges in the country, Vassar is renowned for pioneering achievements in education, for its long history of curricular innovation, and for the beauty of its 1,000-acre campus. With more than 2,400 undergraduate students and an 8-to-1 student-faculty ratio, Vassar is committed to providing a rigorous course of study among 30 departments, 6 interdisciplinary programs, 12 multidisciplinary programs, 50 majors and 1,000 courses.


There is no “typical” Vassar student; students come from every socioeconomic background, ethnicity, religion, political ideology, sexual orientation, and cultural identity. But there is definitely a Vassar “type” – intelligent, creative, idealistic, curious, ambitious, and independent. The Vassar campus boasts over 100 academic and residential buildings, with 98 percent of the student body living on campus. Twenty-three teams participate in NCAA Division III athletics with extensively expanded athletic facilities.  Under the leadership of President Catharine “Cappy” Bond Hill, Vassar College was recognized by The New York Times and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for our commitment to a diverse student body, the College completed the Bridge for Laboratory Sciences and celebrated the selection of three Vassar students as Truman Scholars among other student honors.


Looking to the future, Vassar anticipates new capital projects as a result of a Campus Master Planning process.  A national search is underway to identify Vassar’s 11th President by July 1, 2017.  Vassar is currently being led by Jonathan L. Chenette, Dean of the Faculty who is the Interim President.


About the Position

The Director of the Vassar Fund will lead a team of eight (8) and will be an important member of the Vassar development team. The Director will oversee all aspects of a $9-$10 million annual fund program. Reporting to the Assistant Vice President for Development, the Director will develop and implement strategies to grow the College’s annual giving program with an emphasis on unrestricted giving. The Vassar Fund’s success has been built over a long history through a committed volunteer community, a dedicated and collaborative staff, and a loyal base of alumnae/i support.


The Director will focus on implementing a program that includes personalized cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship for higher level annual gifts with a priority placed on identifying those prospects who can feed a major gift pipeline. The Director will also manage a portfolio of donors and manage a reunion class. S/he will provide strategic leadership and oversight to the team in the areas of Reunion Giving, E-Philanthropy and segmented direct mail, and the related vendor relationships and departmental budgets.


  • The Director will work collaboratively with colleagues in Principal, Leadership and Parent Giving to ensure that annual giving strategies are being executed.
  • The Director works collaboratively with the Alumnae/i Affairs team to ensure a successful Reunion.
  • S/he will also work with colleagues in Development Communications office to craft compelling solicitation materials and other media tools.


The ideal candidate will have at least seven years of progressive fundraising experience in higher education including demonstrable skill in soliciting and closing gifts, management, proven success in an annual giving program at a college or university, and the ability to develop creative strategies to increase giving and the alumnae/i participation rate.


Key Responsibilities

  • Enhance and grow an annual giving program with personalized cultivation and solicitation of donors.
  • Supervise the team’s cultivation and solicitation of donors who have potential to enter the major gift pipeline.
  • Create strategies to recapture lapsed donors and improve acquisition and retention of annual donors.
  • Ensure integration of annual giving applications (direct response, phone-a-thon, e-philanthropy).
  • Direct short- and long-range planning and implementation for annual fund programs.
  • Work closely with Development Communications staff to create targeted messaging that increases support for the College and expands participation in giving programs, with an emphasis on unrestricted gifts.
  • Personally manage a portfolio of donors and prospects and a Reunion class, including face-to-face solicitations.
  • Design a series of management information reports that demonstrate key leverage points, outcomes and efficiency.
  • Manage compilation and submission of regular department reports to AVP and/or senior leadership team.
  • Develop “visit and activity metrics” with Vassar Fund team members including measuring face to face solicitations.
  • Oversee a departmental budget.
  • Manages the Vassar Fund Council, its chair, members, and activities.


Key Qualifications

  • Strong appreciation for Vassar’s values and key strategic initiatives along with the ability to effectively communicate them for a diverse audience.
  • Ability to create and manage annual fundraising plans with goals, objectives, identified deliverables and timelines.
  • Seven years of progressive fundraising experience in higher education with a track record of achievement leading an annual fund program or components of one (direct mail, online solicitations, student phone-a-thon, face to face solicitations).
  • Excellent data analysis and report generation skills.
  • Volunteer management experience in higher education.
  • Supervisory experience demonstrating the ability to lead staff, set mutually established goals and manage performance.
  • Proven success managing a portfolio of prospects and cultivating, soliciting and closing mid-five figure gifts.
  • On-line fundraising and social networking experience.
  • Willingness to travel to help fulfill personal and department goals.
  • Bachelor’s degree.


Vassar College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and is strongly and actively committed to diversity within its community. Applications from members of historically underrepresented groups are especially encouraged.

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to: