Providence, RI

Executive Director, Major and Planned Gifts, Rhode Island School of Design

The Organization
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD or the College) seeks a strategic and experienced development professional to manage and lead its major and planned giving teams. RISD’s Division of Institutional Advancement is positioning for a historic campaign under the leadership and vision of O’Neil Outar, VP of Institutional Advancement. If you’re looking to join a cohesive and talented team dedicated to being the best and breaking records, we are interested in hearing from you.

RISD students and staff come from a wide range of geographic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, representing all forms of diversity. We seek a culturally competent candidate who will thrive in a campus environment that advances principles of social equity and inclusion, environmental and climate justice and equal access to resources and opportunities. All potential candidates must recognize diversity and inclusion as central to excellence.

RISD is located in the Creative Capital, Providence RI, and is recognized for being an arts and cultural mecca. Founded in 1877, RISD has earned an international reputation as a leader in art and design education. It is recognized for its renowned faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities, and the intensity of its studio-based approach to learning–an approach where critical thinking informs the making of works by hand. Approximately 2,500 students from around the world study at RISD, pursuing full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in 19 fine arts, architecture, or design majors, complemented by essential study in the liberal arts.

The RISD Museum, with the fourth-largest college or university museum collection in the country, is an integral part of the institution and a resource for the College and the larger community. RISD’s mission incorporates artistic and scholarly achievement with social impact, and the institution has played a vital role in preparing students for leadership roles in all sectors, as demonstrated through the outstanding and varied accomplishments of its 31,000 alumni.

The College is located in Providence, Rhode Island, which offers its own vibrant art scene and is conveniently located between two other major cultural centers: Boston and New York. The RISD campus is contiguous with the campus of Brown University and the two institutions share social, academic, and community resources.

Position Overview
The Executive Director, Major + Planned Gifts oversees the Planned Giving and Major Gifts programs for RISD. In consultation with the Vice President, Institutional Advancement, the Executive Director supervises the major and planned gifts staff, develops and executes comprehensive program strategies for major and planned giving including implementation of a multi-year plan and timeline with clear goals and metrics for cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of assigned program prospects. The Executive Director manages, coaches and mentors assigned officers to achieve their personal productivity goals and supports creative prospective major donor engagement. The Executive Director, Major + Planned Gifts collaborates with the Executive Director, RISD Fund to ensure both frontline fundraising teams seamlessly advance relationships with prospective donors found to have major and/or planned gift capacity.

The Executive Director maintains and advances a personal portfolio of 50-60 major gift ($100,000+) prospective and current donors, conducting at least 50 personal visits annually. The Executive Director devises personalized engagement plans for each assigned prospective major donor, leveraging RISD cultivation opportunities, presenting gift opportunity proposals that speak to a donor’s philanthropic goals while supporting the mission and goals of RISD. The Executive Director employs the Raiser’s Edge database to manage prospective donor strategies and moves, documenting all prospect interactions in a complete and timely fashion and ensures that supervised staff do likewise.

The successful candidate will demonstrate a proven ability to work and communicate effectively with a broad spectrum of divisional and institutional colleagues within an environment that values diversity as defined by, race, color, religion, age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, disability, national origin, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Lead, manage, coach, and mentor assigned major and planned giving officers using a moves management process informed by a multi-year plan and timeline with clear goals and metrics for each officer addressing the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of assigned prospects. The Executive Director ensures that officers achieve their personal productivity goals and supports creative prospective major donor engagement

In consultation with the Vice President, Institutional Advancement and assigned staff, develop and execute a comprehensive program to engage and secure major gift ($100K+) and planned gift commitments in support of RISD’s mission and strategic goals from alumni, parents, and friends, setting dollar goals to meet or exceeds them while monitoring progress on an ongoing basis.

With input from the Vice President, Institutional Advancement and Director of Prospect Management and Analytics, establish a strategy to advance potential donors through the relationship development process; ensure progress at the program and individual officer level; monitor officer portfolio and prospect assignments.

Implement a comprehensive major and planned giving program that engages prospects and recognizes their support, informed by feedback from collaborations with Institutional Advancement teams including: RISD Fund; Special Events; Donor Relations; Communications; Alumni + Family Relations; Prospect Management and Analytics.

Proactively engage with the Executive Director RISD Fund to ensure regular communications, strategy execution and transition of major gift prospects are identified and highlighted through the RISD Fund program to major gift officer assignments.

Work with Institutional Advancement Events team to conceptualize, plan and implement RISD events in assigned territory(s) that build the RISD brand and foster deeper engagement among top prospects and philanthropists in that area.

Work with Institutional Advancement Donor Relations team to develop and execute high-quality stewardship plans, maintaining detailed records, for assigned prospects that sustain successful relationships.

Manage and maintain a portfolio of 50-60 major giving prospective and current donors at the $100,000+ level. Develop and execute an annual solicitation plan for submitted proposals and gift closures providing gift projections of commitments. Maintain a rigorous schedule of 50 personal visits per year, creating moves management plans related to them that include strategies of engagement and solicitations.

Utilizes Raiser’s Edge prospect tracking/management system, to identify, assign, rate, and track assigned prospects, complying with department policies and procedures and ensure assigned staff do likewise.

Conduct independent research through the Institutional Advancement database, Internet sources, and referrals from RISD representatives and volunteers to identify and appropriately engage assigned prospects.

Work collaboratively and synergistically with peers on the Institutional Advancement Senior Management Group (SMG) including: Executive Director of the RISD Fund; Executive Director of Alumni + Family Relations; Executive Director of Advancement Services; and Executive Director of Campaign Planning + Strategy to achieve organizational goals and strategies.

Bachelor’s degree in relevant field required. Master’s degree in relevant field or equivalent combination of education and experience preferred. Ten years+ of fundraising experience devising and managing fundraising programs, preferably in higher education or the arts. Proven ability to manage complex organizational relationships and work effectively with executive leadership. Program strategy development and execution experience, preferably in a campaign environment. Individual and team success in securing and maintaining 7-figure+ accounts and/or philanthropy. Excellent oral and written communication and presentation skills. Demonstrated ability to write and present persuasively. Strong organizational skills working in a fast-paced environment. Demonstrated effectiveness in outreach to volunteers and other fundraising partners. Interest/experience in art and design desirable. Proven ability to work and communicate effectively with a broad spectrum of divisional and institutional colleagues within an environment that values diversity.

How To Apply

Review of applications will begin October 25, 2021, and continue until the position is filled. A resume and cover letter explaining how the applicant meets the qualifications specified in this announcement may be submitted to, attention Maureen Pena.

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