Associate Vice President

Pennsylvania, United States
29 May 2019
End of advertisement period
29 Jul 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

The Development and Alumni Relations organization at the University of Pennsylvania is one of the premier development organizations in the world.

Penn’s Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) team members benefit from an exceptional work environment where professional excellence and individual pride in achievement are grounded in a strong institutional commitment to integrity and collegiality as we strive for collective success. For talented and innovative individuals, a career at the University of Pennsylvania offers the chance to be part of an exceptionally exciting environment at the nation’s first university.

We seek talented individuals who will constitute a community that draws on the strength that comes with a substantive institutional commitment to diversity. Diversity is prized at Penn as a central component of our mission and helps create an educational and working environment that best supports the University’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship.

Penn’s commitment to achieving eminence through diversity is ultimately a commitment to creating a more vibrant university so that our employees will be both stimulated and empowered to shape a better world.

The Office of Principal Gifts works with the University of Pennsylvania’s most generous prospect pool to maximize their levels of support for Central, School and Center priorities. As part of the Principal Gifts department, responsibilities include managing the relationships of the University’s most generous donors and strategically organizing use of and staffing the President, Provost, Deans, Trustees and other high level volunteers in principal gift cultivation and solicitation. In addition, develop and manage the Academy of the University of Pennsylvania, the highest-level stewardship program hosted by the President.

Responsible to the Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, the AVP for Principal Gifts provides strategic support and counsel to DAR staff in the management of the principal gifts activity of the Schools, Centers and University leadership. Working closely with the Senior Vice President, provides leadership in the prospect strategy process across the department insuring on-going focus and dialogue on creative prospect cultivation, solicitation and stewardship strategies for prospects at the principal gift level.

The position will also work in collaboration with the development liaison to the President’s Office and Secretary of the University to coordinate activities and proposals supporting the President’s highest priorities.

The AVP will manage a staff of talented and dedicated individuals with responsibilities for principal gift prospects, stewardship at the highest level and parent leadership prospects, as well as managing their own portfolio of principal gift prospects.

As a member of the Senior Vice President’s management team, the AVP will serve as an active participant in policy development and strategies for DAR initiatives and support of University wide fundraising. The AVP will represent the Senior Vice President and the department on various University committees and at functions.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Personally cultivate and solicit prospects on behalf of the University, with particular focus on principal gift level donors.
  • Advise the Senior Vice President, President, Dean and Center Directors on the development of strategies to improve gift proposals and closures at the highest level across the University.
  • With a donor-centric perspective, connect donors with those programs and priorities which will maximize their giving to Penn. Be known and seen as an ‘honest broker’ focused on matching donor desires with University priorities.
  • Coordinate fundraising plans with the Associate Vice President for Individual Gifts, the Senior Philanthropic Advisor, the Associate Vice President of the School and Center Programs, and the chief development officer in each the Schools and Centers.
  • Manage the Principal Gifts team of senior front-line fundraisers, and the Principal and Leadership Gifts Stewardship function. Lead and direct a staff to achieve optimum results by:
    • Communicating financial and key performance indicators and results to staff members
    • Establishing priorities and goals for all staff.
    • Managing staffing needs and identifying areas for organizational development updates or changes
    • Guiding the talent identification and professional development needs, processes and outcomes within the entire unit in line with the University’s diversity and inclusion priorities
    • Setting clear performance expectations and holding staff accountable for outcomes through frequent feedback and coaching
    • Ensuring open communications among team members, engaging in team building efforts and holding regular staff meetings that embrace and support the group’s diversity
    • Inspiring and motivating staff to achieve optimum results
  • Provide leadership in prospect strategy development by bringing together central senior fundraisers with school colleagues in various settings to discuss prospect pipeline in a regular and systematic way. Provide opportunities for staff to exchange best practices in prospect development.
  • Write and edit complex briefings for University leadership with purpose, background, budgets where appropriate, and clear talking points for prospect meetings. Attend and staff meetings as appropriate, or determine best staff person to do so.
  • Work closely with Deans, Center Directors and other academic leaders to create strategies, assist with principal gift prospect pool development, proposal development and coordination of university resources to move projects and gift conversations forward. Know and communicate university policies to assist schools/centers and central colleagues to move complex projects through to completion.

BA/BS, Master’s preferred; 10 or more years of experience in development, including direct solicitation experience with influential alumni and board leadership and prior management experience required.
Experience working closely with senior administrative and academic leadership.
Strong planning and organizational skills.
Demonstrated ability to interact comfortably and represent the University in multiple settings. Demonstrated credibility with board leadership, academic leadership and staff.
Strong communication skills, both oral and written.
Ability to function independently, yet relate to a centralized framework for fundraising, participating in and contributing to a total team effort.
Willingness to travel. Valid driver’s license required.

Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

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