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Director, Individual Giving

Company: Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
Date Posted: December 21, 2016

Closing On: 2017-01-18
Location: Toronto, ON
Employment Type: Full-Time

Job Description

THE OPPORTUNITY This is an exciting time at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) as we seek an experienced and intellectually curious major gifts professional to join our expanding Advancement team in the newly created role of Director, Individual Giving. Reporting to the Senior Director, Advancement, the Director will lead all individual major gifts efforts, manage a portfolio of prospects, and coach and supervise the Manager, Individual Giving. The Director will also take an active and collaborative role with colleagues from across the Institute as part of the operational Directors Group.

ABOUT CIFAR At the core of CIFAR’s mission is a deeply rooted commitment to excellence in research at the highest international level. This commitment is founded on the belief that addressing the complex problems and exciting scientific questions of today can be achieved only by forging new ways of thinking and opening up entirely new fields of research. Since 1982, CIFAR has been an independent, virtual research institute based in Canada with internationally distributed networks, connecting the world’s best minds through interdisciplinary research programs to tackle difficult and important questions of global significance. The work of our fellows and advisors has transformed our understanding of population health, the Earth’s evolution, early brain development, artificial intelligence, the effect of institutions on prosperity, and much more. CIFAR research programs emphasize areas in which Canadian researchers are among the world leaders. Our programs are global and driven by questions, not by disciplines. CIFAR is broadening its reach and impact by building partnerships with like-minded organizations in Canada and around the world, both to launch new research programs and to engage knowledge user communities to ensure that research insights drive change and innovation in policy and practice. 

Over the last three years, CIFAR has refocused efforts and engaged in new and exciting ways resulting in:

  • Implementation of a more open, competitive and rigorous process for sourcing new research agendas called the CIFAR Global Call for Ideas
  • Expansion of our global reach through the establishment of research partnerships with many key organizations such as the Moore Foundation, Brain Canada, Max Planck Institute, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, INRIA in France and Chinese Academy of Science
  • Launch of the CIFAR IdeasExchange platform and partnerships with stakeholders in government, business, community, health, and education to actively share the knowledge created

With an annual budget of $20 million, a third of which is supported by donors, CIFAR currently funds 14 different research programs and supports more than 400 researchers globally. By supporting research at the very highest levels of excellence, CIFAR helps ensure that Canada remains the intellectual home for many of the world’s greatest researchers.


In the role of Director, Individual Giving, the successful candidate will:

Strategy & Execution

  • Provide leadership to and oversee the individual giving campaigns
  • Build and execute a growth strategy for individual giving campaigns that supports CIFAR’s strategic plan and priorities, including major gifts, planned gifts, and donor clubs
  • Develop strategic approaches for renewal and increase of existing individual donors
  • Develop and maintain relationships with a personal portfolio of new and existing individuals with capacity for giving up to $250K
  • Support the Senior Director and Vice President to develop relationships and customized approaches for individual donors at the Principal Gifts level ($250K+)
  • Manage all individual proposal development
  • Develop strategic approaches for stewardship of individual donors, ensuring a high level of quality and accountability
  • Develop and maintain deep knowledge of CIFAR’s health research programs (Genetic Networks, Molecular Architecture of Life, Humans and the Microbiome); act as the Advancement lead in aligning donor interests with these programs, advising other Advancement staff on this strategic content Advancement Operations
  • Participate as a member of the Directors Group, representing Advancement and contributing to planning and reporting efforts across the Institute
  • Participate as a member of cross-disciplinary project teams as required
  • Lead Advancement special events strategy
  • Advancement liaison to the communications team, representing Advancement on all branding and advertising issues Advancement Team & Volunteers
  • Work with Senior Director and Vice President to source and orient a group of volunteers aligned with assigned research portfolio; maximize engagement of these volunteers with Advancement efforts
  • Supervise, coach, and develop the Manager, Individual Giving
  • Contribute to team effort around all Advancement campaigns and donor strategy
  • Support the Senior Director and Vice President on Board relations, working together to maximize board member engagement with Advancement efforts
  • Contribute to Board reports and speaking notes for Board members
  • Assist in the recruitment, training and coaching of volunteers in Advancement efforts


  • A Bachelor’s degree in an academic field is required; a Masters of Business, Philanthropy or related field is an asset
  • CFRE designation or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Current knowledge of individual fundraising trends
  • Pan-Canadian/international knowledge of scientific research is an asset
  • French conversation and writing skills are an asset
  • Computer skills including strategic use of CRM and pipeline management tools


  • Mission Interest: Motivated and enthusiastic about the role of research in global issues; intellectually curious about the pursuit of knowledge and innovation
  • Strategy and Creativity: Identify points of alignment and connection between donor goals and objectives and CIFAR’s strategies and programs; synthesize research findings to express CIFAR’s outcomes and aspirations in a way that is inspiring and motivating to potential donors
  • Relationship Management: Embody a warm, respectful, and patient approach to build relationships with donors, volunteers, and researchers; promote a collaborative team environment with other staff and participate as a team member to achieve common objectives; use intuition to recognize and respond to cues given by others; possess deep experience cultivating relationships with current and prospective donors
  • Leadership: Coach and mentor staff for excellent performance and help them to grow and build competence; build bridges, overcome challenges and model success to team members and colleagues; recognize and celebrate individual and team success
  • Maturity and Flexibility: Possess a high level of maturity, confidence, and self-awareness; handle competing demands with grace; demonstrate ability to work in a dynamic environment with a high tolerance for ambiguity
  • Integrity and Initiative: Use transparency and demonstrate trustworthiness to build mutually trusting relationships; display courteousness at all times and treat others with tact, respect, and diplomacy; act as a self-starter with a nimbleness and natural capacity to overcome barriers
  • Positivity: Display friendliness, cheerfulness, and actively create and maintain a positive team and work culture
  • Communications: Demonstrate the highest level of verbal and written communication skills with all stakeholders; tailor messages to target audiences; ensure information and decisions are disseminated to team in a clear and timely manner
  • Decision Making: Demonstrate critical thinking and sound judgement in making recommendations and decisions
  • Organization: Determine team and individual priorities/work flow; show flexibility to contribute to group effort as required; analyze and respond to campaign financial results and trends; display excellent project management, planning and coordination skills

FOR MORE INFORMATION Candidates who are interested in exploring this unique and exciting career opportunity are invited to contact Sandra Taylor, Senior Consultant at KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) via email at All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence. Please send resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above by January 18, 2017 and indicate the position in the subject line.