Director, Donor Relations

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Work type: Full Time
Location: Swarthmore
Categories: Staff

Director of Donor Relations


Swarthmore College is a highly selective liberal arts college located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, whose mission combines academic rigor with social responsibility. Swarthmore has a strong institutional commitment to inclusive excellence and nondiscrimination in its educational program and employment practices and encourages candidates who will further advance the goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive community. As one of the nation’s finest institutions of higher learning, Swarthmore College is global in outlook and draws students from around the nation and world. The 425‐acre campus is a designated arboretum, complete with gardens, rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails in the Crum Woods. 


The Director of Donor Relations gives creative and energetic direction to a program whose goal is to nurture and deepen positive relationships with leadership donors. Working in close collaboration with colleagues in Individual Giving, other offices in Advancement, and across campus, the Director ensures superior engagement, cultivation, and stewardship of long-term relationships with leadership donors, overseeing all aspects of leadership donor recognition. The Director plans and develops the program throughout a comprehensive campaign. S/he also participates in leadership of the division of College Advancement as a member of the Management Team.


Essential Responsibilities


Develops the Donor Relations program by engaging staff throughout the organization, including offices of the President and President’s staff, faculty, library, and financial aid, among others, to achieve increased recognition of the contributions of leadership donors. To do this the Director:

  • Participates in the development and maintenance of communications with top-level donors, potential donors, and other specific constituent groups in order to support the fundraising efforts of the College.
  • Oversees stewardship of leadership donors by designing and executing stewardship strategies, including reports, images of events, and material from offices of Financial Aid, the Provost, the Dean, and Finance and Administration, among others.
  • Leads the department in the use of creative and innovative stewardship and the development of new directions and strategies as appropriate.
  • Works in close collaboration with Individual Giving officers to develop programs and activities that increase donor recognition and promote increasing levels of philanthropy.
  • Oversees preparation and production of communications to capital and endowed donors at least twice per annum in a timely fashion and in a manner reflective of the College’s academic standards.
  • Oversees preparation and production of individualized acknowledgment letters (in addition to any standard acknowledgment) to leadership donors and ensures their timeliness and accuracy.
  • Oversees the maintenance and updating of the list of endowed funds in the College’s course catalogue.
  • With the Director of Advancement Communications, coordinates stewardship communications with internal and external stakeholders.  Outlines strategic goals and budget requirements for each initiative.
  • Oversees the management of naming opportunities throughout campus, by developing new opportunities in new or renovated facilities as well as maintaining opportunities as yet unclaimed in existing facilities.
  • Supervises donor stewardship carried out through the James L. Michener Legacy Circle, Future Founders, Edward Parrish Circle, Parrish Salon, and the like.
  • Oversees preparation and maintenance of College’s Gift Acceptance Policies; reviews and updates as necessary.
  • Prepares endowed and current restricted fund agreements, and any updates, in collaboration with gift officers and other appropriate offices on campus.
  • Collaborates with colleagues in Alumni and Parent Engagement to ensure arrangements at events involving leadership donors attain a consistent level of quality.
  • Coordinates establishment of tribute gifts, both honorary and memorial, for the division.
  • Assures a high (concierge) level of service and stewardship for all current and potential life-income-gift donors and those with Will provisions for the college.
  • Interacts directly with leadership donors individually and collectively, either independently or in collaboration with other staff and volunteers.
  • Leads in increasingly effective use of the Banner Advancement system to track, manage, and report stewardship activities.
  • In consultation with the Senior Director, Individual Giving & Donor Relations, establish and implement goals and policies for Donor Relations.


Additional Responsibilities:

  • Attends and assists other College Advancement staff at College events as needed.
  • Serves voluntarily on ad-hoc or standing College committees, as appropriate and with approval of supervisor.
  • Takes advantage of opportunities for professional development at least twice annually.
  • Performs other assignments as directed by his or her supervisor.


Required Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • A minimum of eight (8) years working in institutional advancement, or equivalent professional experience.
  • Superior organizational abilities. Attention to detail and ability to handle multiple and varied tasks independently, while also working collaboratively.
  • Superior written and oral communication skills, including in imaginative and persuasive writing.
  • Superior skill in dealing with people, using tact and diplomacy, and the ability to maintain a high level of confidentiality. Superior customer service skills.
  • Superior ability to articulate the value of higher education.
  • Ability to use a variety of computer applications, including demonstrated skills in the use of word processing and spreadsheets (e.g. Microsoft Word, Excel, Google Docs and Sheets), fundraising databases (e.g. Banner) and reporting software (e.g.

Argos), Web page design software (e.g. Drupal), and desktop publishing software.

  • Ability to work evenings, weekends, or as needed to complete projects or meet heavy demand.
  • Ability to communicate fluently in English, including the ability to speak in public.
  • Ability to speak on the telephone.
  • Ability to operate standard office equipment, including computer, printer, copier, scanner, and fax machine.
  • Valid US driver’s license and ability to travel locally, regionally, or nationally.


Preferred qualifications:

  • Advanced degree.
  • Experience managing and supervising staff.
  • Experience working in a college or university setting, especially in a comprehensive fund-raising campaign environment.


This is a full-time position that offers a competitive benefits package and paid time off.  For more information and to apply, please visit:



Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. 



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