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  Sample job descriptions and job description tips. Employment

 Director of Stewardship

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Department: Development-Information and Donor Services/University Advancement


The Director of Stewardship is responsible for designing, implementing and coordinating an institution-wide comprehensive donor relations and stewardship system that appropriately and consistently promotes interaction with and recognition of donors at all levels.

In addition, the position must sustain positive and mutually-rewarding relations between the University and its donors; partner with Development Directors to determine the best strategies for effective stewardship of donors; maintain ongoing and active networking with internal and external constituencies; and advise on the facilitation of recognition events and coordinate various activities for donor societies

Organizational Relationships:

The Director of Stewardship reports to the Executive Director of Development-Information and Donor Services, who reports to the Vice President of University Advancement and Executive Director of the Foundation, who reports to the President of the University.

The Division of University Advancement encompasses Fundraising, Information and Donor Services, Alumni Relations, University Marketing and Communications, University Events, the Foundation Office and management of its properties.

To effectively fulfill the responsibilities of the position, the Director must work closely with the Director of Major Donor Relations, Director of University Events, Directors of Development, and Alumni Relations staff. The Director will also interact with college deans and other unit heads.

Essential Duties:

35% 1. Establishes and manages information tracking processes regarding acknowledgement, recognition, on-going communications and continued cultivation of past and current major donors to enhance their relationship with the University and increase the likelihood of continued contributions. Develops and assesses policies and procedures across the division and university that are essential for a comprehensive donor relations program.

30% 2. Designs, documents, and implements a systematic and integrated donor relations program that encompasses donor recognition events, endowed position installations, and building naming dedications. Responsible for devising and using consistent, accurate, and appropriate information-sharing mechanisms for stewarding prospects and donors. Proactively supports the stewardship responsibilities of the development staff by assisting them in establishing and coordinating individualized stewardship plans for donors to their colleges/units.

20% 3. Works collaboratively with University Advancement staff to compose letters, compile appropriate invitation lists, engage featured program participants, create programs and provide program materials, prepare program scripts and participant remarks (as needed) and create and/or obtain donor awards and recognitions.

5% 4. Recommends and facilitates on- and off-campus publicity of major gifts and donors with University Publications, with Media Relations. Advises on and facilitates the recognition of donors in both print and Web-based publications. Contributes donor and gift information for the Foundation’s Annual Report, oversees production of the donor roll, determines the report recipients, and facilitate the mailing.

5% 5. Coordinates and monitors the Foundation’s recognition entities working closely with the Director of Events, the Director of Major Donor Relations, and other colleagues in University Advancement.

5% 6. Serves as primary campus contact for the most significant donors, helping to resolve problems, questions, and concerns.

Knowledge Required:

Extremely important are the knowledge and ability to create, execute and/or support, and oversee a comprehensive campus-wide donor acknowledgement and recognition plan, including advising on complex and carefully orchestrated cultivation events and programs for the University's major donors. Excellent organizational, interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills are essential.

The incumbent must be able to generate creative solutions for stewarding donors in order to advance the University’s efforts to maintain and strengthen high-quality individual relationships with donors. This requires an ability think strategically about donor engagement. Excellent social skills, with large groups as well as with individuals, are required.

Proven skills and ability to manage multi-phase projects from inception to completion, including the ability to build consensus among team members and balance multiple concurrent priorities. It is necessary for the incumbent to possess the ability to work independently and as part of a team. Being detail oriented, well organized, focused and goal-oriented, with a high level of initiative and energy, is essential, as well as adept at problem solving and using judgment in situations requiring independent initiative and tact.

Education and Experience:

A bachelor’s degree is required with a minimum of three to five years experience, preferably in higher education (or a comparably complex organization), in development, stewardship, advancement services or related field. Previous experience interacting with donors is mandatory.


Supervisory Controls

Incumbent must have a high level of independence in accomplishing the responsibilities of the position. Goals, priorities, and major projects are reviewed and discussed on an on-going basis with the Executive Director of Development-Information and Donor Services.


Guidelines are provided by the goals and objectives of the position, by fundraising strategies and techniques, by stewardship guidelines, and by the goals of the Development Office, University Advancement, and the mission of the University. Confidentiality and discretion are mandatory.



The ability to interact comfortably, tactfully, and effectively with varied internal and external constituencies is essential. Incumbent interacts on behalf of the University with donors from all of the University’s various constituencies. Must display a high level of maturity and personal integrity and ability to understand, develop, and sustain resilient and dynamic relationships with donors, colleagues, and senior management. Incumbent must be able to effectively communicate both verbally and in writing.

Scope and Effect

This position is responsible for creating meaningful opportunities to engage donors from all “walks of life” and has a significant effect on the University’s ability to recognize and retain current and future donors—which, in turn, affects private giving that enables the University to provide the best education possible to its students—both inside and outside the classroom.

Environmental Demands:

This position does not require unusual physical ability. Little physical exertion is involved, although considerable pressures exist; ability to handle tension and stress in a positive manner is required. No risks or discomforts are imposed upon this position by the physical surroundings or job situation. Some travel, as well as evening/weekend work, is required.
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