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Associate Director, Annual Giving

Company: Queen's University
Date Posted: September 12, 2016

The Opportunity

We are seeking an exceptional Associate Director, Annual Giving to provide strategy, direction, and management to the Queen’s University Annual Giving program.  

Reporting to the Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, who also serves as the Associate Vice-Principal of Advancement, the Associate Director will lead a team of six dedicated staff and will work collaboratively with staff in the Office of Advancement, as well as faculties, schools, and university affiliated groups across campus.  The Associate Director will serve as a senior member of the Alumni Relations and Annual Giving leadership team and also work closely with the volunteer Board of Directors of the Queen’s University Alumni Association (QUAA).

About Queen’s University

Widely recognized as one of Canada’s leading universities, Queen’s University has an international reputation for scholarship, social purpose, and spirit.  Founded in 1841 and located in Kingston, Ontario, Queen’s is committed to using its talents and resources to rise to the challenges facing our local, national, and global communities.

We have pledged to educate our students to be responsible and engaged citizens.  Queen’s student body is 22,000 strong, and represents more than 100 different countries along with every Canadian province and territory.  International students make up 8.3% of the full-time student population and 95% of the student population comes from outside of Kingston.

When compared to 500 other institutions as part of the Collegiate Learning Assessment, first-year Queen’s students rank in the 90th percentile for critical thinking, problem solving, written communication, and lifelong learning skills.  By fourth year, our students are in the 98th percentile, underscoring Queen’s transformative learning experience.  Over 87% of our students graduate, which rank first in Canada according to Maclean's 2016 Rankings.  Additionally, Queen's ranked 4th among medical-doctoral universities in Canada in Maclean's 2016 University Rankings, and 1st for student satisfaction.

Our faculty members are drawn from some of the most prestigious institutions in the world, and regularly receive international recognition and awards for their research and teaching contributions.  One recent remarkable example is Queen's University Professor Emeritus Arthur McDonald (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy) who is the co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics.

Queen’s is one of the leading full-spectrum, research-intensive universities in Canada that conducts cutting-edge research in a variety of areas, including computational science and engineering, globalization studies, mental health, basic and clinical biomedical sciences, healthy environments, and sustainable energy systems.  The campus has a fully integrated network of six libraries and is home to several outstanding museums and arts facilities, including the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

The Queen’s Initiative Campaign

Thanks to the collective dedication and generosity of Queen’s volunteers and donors, more than $640 million has been donated to Queen’s University during the Initiative Campaign, which concluded on April 30, 2016.

Surpassing the university’s $500 million goal set at the beginning of the campaign, the support of more than 60,000 donors – 35,000 of which were alumni – has furthered the university’s top priorities in teaching and research.

More than $85 million was invested in scholarships and bursaries to help make a Queen’s education accessible to an increasing number of talented students, and 625 student awards and 23 chairs and professorships have been created to assist students in reaching their full potential while studying at Queen’s.

Alumni Relations and Annual Giving at Queen’s

The Department of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving works to develop informed, involved, and invested stakeholders, in support of university priorities.  Our team builds strong relationships with a diverse, passionate and highly educated base of stakeholders comprising alumni, parents, members of Queen’s faculty and staff, and other friends.  

In 2015-2016, the Annual Giving program at Queen’s secured $7.2 million in annual funding to help meet Queen’s greatest needs.  Of this total, 7,000 alumni donors contributed $4.98 million, representing an alumni participation rate of 6.5%.  Many individuals begin their giving relationship at Queen’s with annual giving, and go on to make major or planned gifts.

Ideal Candidate

A strategic and energetic professional with a track record of success in direct marketing programs, the ideal candidate will have a growth-orientation and an ambition to set and achieve new heights for our University’s Annual Giving program.  The Associate Director will focus on reshaping our Annual Giving program to further expand and grow our donor base, revenue results, institutional impact, and the synergies of our philanthropic programs.  The ideal candidate will be a strong leader with a big picture mindset who is able and willing to make and manage change.

A collaborative, collegial, and consummate professional, the incumbent will gain and maintain the respect of donors, volunteers, alumni, staff, colleagues, and senior academic and administrative leadership.  The successful candidate will have a strong service orientation and will relish helping others realize a well-developed donor pipeline to enhance advancement success.  Authentic and sincere, the incumbent will have a true understanding of the interrelationships required to build a successful annual giving program in a decentralized environment.  The Associate Director will value and welcome knowledge and expertise from constituents at all levels and harness those strengths within a comprehensive program.  The new incumbent will be committed to continual process improvement and be comfortable working in a complex environment driven by diverse client needs and multiple priorities and deadlines.

The Associate Director will be a strong, persuasive communicator and be accomplished at adapting messages and communications to different segments and audiences within a very broad pool of constituents.  Proficient and experienced in both new and traditional communication channels, the ideal candidate will bring creativity to bear on ideas for engaging constituents.  Curious and smart, the successful candidate will have an analytical, metrics-oriented approach and an understanding of using sophisticated demographic data to guide strategy and maximize results.

An inspiring leader who provides clear direction, the Associate Director will enjoy developing, mentoring and bringing the best out of teams and individuals.  The new incumbent will take pride in the work that they and their team are accomplishing.  

While being sensitive to tradition, the Associate Director will champion new ideas and innovation, and will be comfortable working in a changing environment that greatly values consultation.  They will seek to establish a presence on campus and externally, and will work to raise awareness and support for a new strategy and shift in Annual Giving at Queen’s.  Politically astute, adept at building bridges, and navigating varying power bases and personalities, the ideal candidate will possess a high degree of diplomacy and personal integrity.  

Duties and  Responsibilities

Working collaboratively with staff in the Office of Advancement, as well as faculties, schools and university affiliated groups across campus, the Associate Director will oversee and provide high-level expertise and direction in the development of annual giving strategies designed to integrate an effective donor engagement and annual giving program across the University.

The new incumbent will also work closely with the volunteer Board of Directors of the Queen’s University Alumni Association (QUAA), participating in Board planning retreats twice a year, and monthly meetings by teleconference.  The Associate Director, Annual Giving will partner with the Executive Director, ensuring that they are an informed advocate for alumni philanthropy. 

Specifically, the Associate Director’s responsibilities include:

Strategic Planning and Program Management

  • As a senior member of the Alumni Relations and Annual Giving leadership team, develop short and long-term strategic direction and programming to raise funds from alumni and friends.  Plans and programs will reflect the strategic objectives of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving specifically, and Advancement shared goals more broadly.
  • In consultation with the Associate Vice-Principal (Advancement) and Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, provide leadership in developing and implementing strategic plans based on an analysis and thorough understanding of the emerging trends of alumni, volunteers, students, and donor behaviour, including demographic cohort trends.  Modify existing programs to align with these trends and that assist in meeting the University’s goals. 
  • Establish, achieve, and provide reports on Annual Giving monetary targets and growth objectives (including donor retention, increased levels of giving, the percentage of new donors and others) from alumni and other prospect audiences; analyze results and response rates accordingly. 
  • Develop a strategy that will increase fundraising awareness and encourage participation of the alumni network.
  • Develop and manage a portfolio of annual giving top prospects; develop and implement plans for their cultivation, involvement, solicitation and stewardship; supervising procedures for the collection of alumni funds.
  • Provide high-level expertise and mentorship to faculties, schools, departments, university-affiliated groups across campus to guide them in the development of annual giving strategies that deliver on fundraising priorities.
  • Act as an internal expert-consultant on annual giving key performance indicators, loyalty programs, rapid revenue generation campaigns, strategic mass market segmentation, collective impact stewardship, online and experiential mass marketing, student philanthropy, and mass recognition programs.
  • Support major gift and planned giving efforts by building the prospect pipeline and ensuring effective communications with colleagues about prospective donors and strategies. 
  • Develop effective liaison with the Principal, Vice-Principals, Deans, and other senior University officials and provide high level guidance on annual giving strategies to ensure the highest strategic use of their roles in building and maintaining relationships with alumni.
  • Work effectively with volunteers, including the Board of Directors of the Queen’s University Alumni Association; partner closely with the Executive Director to accomplish shared strategic goals; identify, recruit, and manage a portfolio of volunteers as necessary for peer to peer solicitation as appropriate.             
  • Act as an ambassador of Queen’s University representing the University and the Office of Advancement to external audiences on a local, national and international level.  Build, cultivate, and maintain relationships with prominent alumni, donors, volunteers, other friends, community and professional organizations to inspire philanthropic support for the University.
  • Represent Queen’s University at meetings and conferences with colleagues from other higher educational institutions for the collection and exchange of ideas and information.
  • As a senior member of the Alumni Relations & Annual Giving leadership team, lead strategic discussions, and make decisions on the direction in collaboration with the Associate Vice-Principal (Advancement) & Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving that influence the department and the Office of Advancement more broadly.


  • Work closely with Alumni Relations and Annual Giving staff to ensure effective program delivery and/or services by aligning departmental priorities with the Advancement strategic plan.  Meet with staff on a regular basis to review progress against annual goals.  In consideration of progress to date, take a lead role in identifying and implementing further opportunities and strategies that may have arisen to ensure goals will be met. 
  • Build and develop an outstanding high-performance team of annual giving professionals.  Plan, prioritize, and manage the work of employees, providing strategic and tactical advice, guidance and coaching to ensure effective program delivery and/or services.  Assess staff training and development needs, and ensure that employees receive the training required to improve and sustain successful performance. 
  • Identify the need for staff resources, participates on staffing committees, and make effective recommendations regarding employee selection.  Manage performance by establishing performance standards, reviewing and evaluating performance and conducting formal performance reviews on an ongoing basis.  Investigate, address, and resolve employee/labour relations issues, including making decisions regarding disciplinary and discharge matters.
  • Provide budget and staffing leadership for the Annual Giving unit; oversee the unit’s budget and participates in budget submission activities including analyzing data, developing and preparing annual budget documents; assists in preparing Service Level Agreement.     

Required Qualifications and Key Competencies 

  • Significant experience and a successful track record in working at a professional or managerial level in developing and managing multi-channel fundraising programs.  Consideration will be given to the equivalent combination of education and direct marketing work experience in other sectors.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively build and manage volunteer relationships that enhance and advance the profile of the University.
  • Proven leadership and management skills in recruiting, supervising, directing, coaching, motivating, and retaining talented staff.  Experience with competency-based model an asset.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and strong ability to listen and to communicate with influence and persuasion. 
  • Proven program and project management skills with demonstrated “hands-on” experience.
  • Established track record in strategy development and implementation, budget and revenue forecasting and program analysis, and meeting objectives.
  • Demonstrated successful experience in a highly visible, fast-paced environment requiring a high level of professionalism and quick, appropriate decision-making skills.
  • Tact, discretion, maturity, and good judgment.
  • Clear understanding of and strict adherence to ethical fundraising standards.
  • Knowledge of the university environment and the challenges faced by post-secondary institutions.
  • Availability to travel periodically and work occasional evenings and weekends.
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher is required. A Queen’s University degree will be considered an asset but is not mandatory. 

Living in the Kingston Region

Nestled on the northeast shore of Lake Ontario, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, historic Kingston is a thriving community of 170,000 residents, boasting a superb quality of life due to its big-city amenities, affordability, waterfront location and rich natural landscape.  As the gateway to the 1000 Islands and the UNESCO designated Rideau Canal, Kingston is a city rich in history, culture, critically acclaimed attractions and cuisine.

Located about 2.5 hours drive from Toronto and Montreal, two hours from Ottawa, and 40 minutes from the U.S. border, Kingston is easily accessible by highway, air, train, and bus.  Established as a fort in 1673, our city has a rich civic and architectural heritage, a safe and welcoming environment, and economic anchors of academia, government and industry.  Kingston's industrial base consists of several thriving multinational companies and a strong core of small and medium sized businesses in a variety of sectors including manufacturing, mining, research and development.

More than anything, Kingston is a university town, home to 30,000 students studying at three post-secondary institutions, including Queen’s.  Within a ten-minute walk from campus, students can access all that our downtown core has to offer: shops, restaurants and cultural resources, waterfront pathways and the 19th century buildings and homes that signify Canada’s “Limestone City”.  Kingston’s civic pride in its gardens and green spaces has made it a frequent Communities-in-Bloom winner.  In the annual ranking released by MoneySense magazine in 2015, Kingston maintained its dominance in accessible health care — placing in the top-25 percentile of the 209 cities ranked with 4.4 doctors per 1,000 people.  Kingston also ranked in the top percentile with low taxes and easy commutes.

Cultural, recreation, and community activities abound in the Kingston region.  Kingston has a symphony orchestra, many homegrown musical groups, amateur and professional theatre companies, performing and fine-arts schools and programs.  In addition to a wide variety of organized sports and recreation programs, our region also offers easy access to nature for water sports and hiking.

For More Information

KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this search on behalf Queen’s University.  For more information about this leadership opportunity, please contact Sylvie Battisti, Senior Search Consultant by email at  Please send resume and letter of interest to the above email address by October 6, 2016.  All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence. 

The University invites applications from all qualified individuals. Queen’s is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ persons.  The University will provide support in its recruitment processes to applicants with disabilities, including accommodation that takes into account an applicant's accessibility needs.