Director of Development – Virginia Commonwealth University

At VCU, we Make it Real through learning, research, creativity, service and discovery — the hallmarks of the VCU experience. A premier, urban, public research university nationally recognized as one of the best employers for diversity, VCU is a great place to work. It’s a place of opportunity, where your success is supported and your career can thrive. VCU offers employees a generous leave package, career paths for advancement, competitive pay, and an opportunity to do mission-driven work.


Position Primary Purpose and General Responsibilities

The Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at VCU is dedicated to producing and sharing new art and ideas, and to supporting creative communities. We are driven by our commitment to cultural equity and inclusion. The ICA’s program includes exhibitions, film screenings, talks and discussions, publications and performances, and features artists and thinkers from around the world. Designed by Steven Holl Architects, the ICA’s 41,000 square foot building opened to the public in April 2018. We welcomed over 100,000 visits in our first year.

Reporting to the ICA’s Executive Director, the Director of Development will plan, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive fundraising program for the ICA to realize gift income—cash and deferred and endowed and current—in order to achieve the Institute’s operating and strategic objectives. They will develop and oversee a fundraising and engagement plan for individual donors, corporate and foundation supporters, and the ICA’s membership.

Annual performance reviews will be based on written, mutually approved operating plans and metrics developed in partnership with the ICA’s Executive Director and the VP Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) office of Virginia Commonwealth University. The Director of Development will be supported by a small team, including the Membership and Development Coordinator.

Review of applications will begin August 26, 2019.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Lead efforts to design, implement, and evaluate strategies for the stewardship of all aspects of fundraising, including individuals, members, corporations, foundations, and government.
  • Plan, implement, and evaluate comprehensive fundraising program for the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) to realize gift income— cash and deferred and endowed and current—in order to achieve the ICA’s operating and strategic objectives.
  • Build and diversify the ICA’s funding base, matching opportunities with programmatic priorities.
  • Manage a portfolio of major gift/planned giving prospects.
  • Working in alignment with DAR and other central VCU development-related departments, develop and/or oversee the development of grant proposals for government, foundations, and corporations.
  • Solicit major gifts through meetings via face-to-face, telephone, or online conference appointments; and personalized mailings in order to obtain first-time or increased major donor contributions.
  • Advise ICA staff of appropriate fundraising strategies in order to assist in securing philanthropic commitments
  • Provide assistance to donors regarding tax laws, university policies, and procedures.
  • Maintain prospect records, plans and contact reports in the database of record.
  • Research, plan and develop materials such as articles, press releases, and letters of appreciation in order to support fundraising, stewardship, and donor recognition programs.
  • Resolve concerns and challenges in partnership with respective administration/faculty/staff to honor donor intent and maintain a positive and engaged relationship between stakeholders and the Unit.
  • Recruit, train, and manage volunteers to partner in the solicitation and engagement process.
  • Develop integrated fundraising plans that support the mission and strategic goals of the university.
  • Coordinate with member engagement and communications staff as activities relate to giving, and in partnership with the Unit team and central DAR office.
  • Participate fully in the Development and Alumni Relations team across all university and VCU Health units, including serving as a mentor or volunteer in the development community at VCU, in Richmond, and/or nationally.
  • Manage a department with up to three staff members, full and part time.


Minimum Hiring Standards

  • Bachelor’s degree or a combination of relevant education, training, and experience required.
  • Minimum of 5 years’ professional experience in fundraising, public relations, marketing, or a related field, or 3 years of progressively responsible development in higher education, art or cultural institutions, or a related field
  • Appreciation for the role of contemporary arts in society.
  • Demonstrated experience in facilitating leadership annual fund or major gift closures.
  • Demonstrated experience identifying grant opportunities and drafting, submitting, and tracking grant proposals.
  • Working knowledge of tax laws affecting charitable giving.
  • Must be able to travel involving automobile and/or airplane. Overnight and long-distance travel will be necessary.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan, execute and steward major gift relationships, having a demonstrated track record of successful gift solicitations.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff and student environment or commitment to do so as a staff member at VCU.


Preferred Hiring Standards

  • Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) or similar professional certification.
  • Master’s Degree or work experience at a level that equates to an advanced degree.
  • Deep appreciation for the mission and aspirations of VCU and VCU Health.
  • Desire to play a meaningful role in the life of VCU and in the Richmond community.
  • Experience working in a large, complex university or nonprofit setting.
  • Professional credibility required to engage and leverage senior administrative leadership, deans, faculty, volunteer leadership, and other key stakeholders.
  • Collaboration skills that are consistent with bringing out the best in a matrix team, instilling pride and ownership in a team effort.
  • Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment and commitment to do so as a professional employee at VCU.
  • Personal attributes: self-starter, honesty, integrity, enthusiasm, team player, follow through and commitment, attention to detail, organization, self-confidence, and broad-based fundraising experience.
  • Personal commitment to the fundraising industry as evidenced through work ethic and aspiration to best practices.

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