Senior Director of University Development, Planned Giving Job Vacancy #605656

$110,180 - $137,725 yearly
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Phoenix, AZ, USA
  • Sep 09, 2021
Full time Education

Job Description

Special Information:

  • To be considered, please submit complete applications which include: an NAU application; a cover letter outlining your interest in the position and how past/current experiences match the job requirements; a resume; along with contact information for five (5) professional references.
  • This position, based in Phoenix, Arizona, reports to the Associate Vice President, Central Advancement
  • This position requires extensive travel, with evening and weekend work included to fulfill all necessary obligations.

Job Description:

Position Overview

Northern Arizona University’s (“NAU”) Office of Advancement | Foundation (“A|F”) builds the institution’s excellence by raising awareness, engaging and strengthening meaningful relationships, and partnering with NAU’s alumni, parents, families, and friends who have the passion and commitment to make an impact at NAU through their estate giving. This is an exceptional opportunity for an experienced, energetic, and knowledgeable professional to serve as the lead planned giving strategist and a key visionary at one of Arizona’s best public universities.

Job Description

The Senior Director of Development, Planned Giving, reports directly to the Associate Vice President (“AVP”) of Central Advancement and is located at NAU’s North Valley Campus in Phoenix, Arizona. This leadership position is responsible for joining, sustaining, and leading in a cohesive A|F team that emphasizes inclusive excellence. The successful candidate will provide innovative resource development that enables NAU to remove barriers for students, enhance exceptional learning experiences and equitable environments at the university’s numerous campuses throughout Arizona, and conduct work and research that addresses meaningful issues that impact people’s lives around the world.

The Office of Planned Giving works collaboratively with all NAU colleges, schools, programs, and other areas to secure alumni and friends’ planned gift commitments including bequests, gifts of retirement assets and/or life insurance through a beneficiary designation, charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, and charitable lead trusts.  A portfolio of donors and prospective donors is managed. This leadership position also acts as a liaison among NAU’s A|F colleagues, university leadership, as well as other members of the campus community and donors/prospective donors. Additionally, this exciting position ensures that NAU is laser-focused on engaging, as well as building meaningful and strategic life-long relationships with alumni, parents, families, and friends who have the dedication and capacity to make a meaningful impact on the university’s future through their passion, engagement, philanthropy, and legacy.

The Planned Giving team is currently comprised of an Assistant Director of Development as well as a student worker; all team members are available to assist A|F staff in identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding NAU’s planned giving prospects and donors. Planned Giving is also charged with partnering directly with (prospective) donors and their professional advisors to create plans that allow the donor to achieve their philanthropic, financial, and estate planning objectives, while also supporting NAU’s and A|F’s respective mission, vision, and values, through exceptional service to both internal and external constituents. NAU is in the silent phase of a comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Primary Responsibilities

Relationship Development and Fundraising (70%)

  • Conducts face-to-face and virtual visits with prospective and current donors including strategic visits with donors’ legal and financial advisors. Manages a portfolio of diverse planned gift donors and prospective donors.
  • Serves as the point of contact for all NAU and A|F team members, as well as other national institutions regarding estate and gift planning issues, questions, strategies, and national benchmarking best practices.
  • Exercises a high level of independent judgment and serves as an experienced professional providing strategies that include highly complex gift discussions and interactions with donors capable of making significant investments to NAU.
  • Develops and drives innovative, strategic, proactive, and personalized strategies for a select group of NAU’s most generous and impactful estate giving donors along with academic units and colleagues.
  • Promotes successful, positive relations with all individuals. Facilitates and coordinates proactive communications with estate gift prospects and donors among appropriate NAU relationships. Continually identifies high-level philanthropists and formulates strategies to promote positive prospective donor/donor engagement with the university’s highest-priority needs.

Planning, Goal Setting, and Communications & Marketing (20%)

  • Creates and manages the Planned Giving office’s goals, annual fundraising and marketing plans, and budget, as well as ensures appropriate alignment with the office’s fiscal-year objectives.
  • Supervises the office’s team members and initiates any personnel actions required for the office.
  • Provides oversight of the design and development of proposals, planned gift illustrations and agreements, all print and web-based marketing materials, as well as ensures the promotion, management, and stewardship for the 1899 Society, NAU’s estate gift recognition society.
  • Designs and meets/exceeds pre-determined goals and objectives established annually with the Associate Vice President of Central Advancement. Performs additional activities as requested by the AVP of Central Advancement.

Management (10%)

  • Manages the day-to-day operations of Planned Giving’s fundraising programs.
  • Supervises the office’s team members and initiates any personnel actions required for the office.
  • Serves as a member of A|F’s Central Advancement Team’s senior leadership team.
  • Attends A|F team meetings and conducts regular continuing education presentations. 
  • Acts as the Office of Planned Giving’s subject matter expert and mentor; may assign work to others and monitor the work’s execution.

Minimum Qualifications

  • A bachelor’s degree in relevant field  AND
  • 5-7 years of experience developing and managing meaningful planned giving relationships with a portfolio of individuals who can be high-level (prospective) planned gift donors AND
  • 3-5 years of management experience OR
  • A combination of related education, experience, and training may be used as an equivalent to the above Minimum Requirements

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree, Juris Doctor or Law degree.
  • Certified Specialist in Gift Planning (“CSGP”) certification.
  • Fundraising at a comprehensive research university and/or experience in the estate-planning sector with in-depth experience of planned giving vehicles.
  • 8-10 years of experience developing and managing meaningful giving relationships with a portfolio of individuals who can be high-level (prospective) planned gift donors
  • Comprehensive campaign experience with gift planning, gift recording, and implementation of best practices.
  • Demonstrated experience empowering, supporting, and managing a high-performance AIF and Planned Giving team.
  • Ability to think broadly and creatively about strategies to engage and cultivate a defined group of prospective donors to secure planned gifts that meet NAU priorities.

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities


  • Experience with investments, wealth management, financial markets, and real estate.
  • Knowledge of estate giving development trends in higher education.
  • Personal commitment to the values of inclusive excellence in all internal and external activities.
  • Firsthand knowledge of national best practices related to advancement, estate gifts, and comprehensive campaigns.
  • Success in leading complex, innovative, and creative gift strategies and negotiations in collaboration with academic executives, volunteers, as well as donors’ financial and legal representatives.
  • Expert appreciation and practice of how to research, validate, cultivate, solicit, and steward estate giving donors and prospective donors.
  • Proven success working with stakeholders; excellent strategic planning and project management skills; experience in a data-driven environment; organizational skills; and the ability to lead, influence, and motivate others.
  • Successful ability to travel as well as to communicate virtually. 


  • Result-oriented and critical thinker
  • Outstanding computer skills in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams), Zoom and other virtual meeting software, as well as Crescendo, or other, estate planning software as well as excellent relationships with planned giving vendor(s)
  • Skilled in use of advancement/fundraising/relationships databases with a preferred understanding of Blackbaud and Advance software


  • Demonstrated commitment to valuing inclusive excellence and creating a safe, welcoming, inclusive work environment where innovation is encouraged, and collaborations/partnerships are expected.
  • Extensive gift planning experience in an academic/university setting.
  • Exceptional with relationship mastery, communications, strategic thinking, and organizational acumen.
  • Ability to work strategically, implement and build constituency programs and activities, along with a talent for motivating volunteers and donors/prospective donors.
  • Passion for estate gift fundraising, and the desire to work collegially within a successful goal- and results-oriented fundraising organization focused on engagement and relationship development with highest level estate gift donors and prospective donors.
  • Ability to work collaboratively; formally and informally, within a team and across organizations.
  • Prioritize and coordinate tasks with attention to detail, deadlines, concurrent management of projects, and the ability to create and follow identified strategies for short- and long-term goals and objectives.
  • Uses sound judgment to make appropriate, timely decisions. Makes decisions and acts with limited information. Anticipates the impact of change and directs others in a smooth and efficient manner.
  • Ability to communicate ideas, thoughts, and facts effectively and persuasively both verbally and in writing.
  • Is an "active listener.” Establishes rapport with and is receptive to speakers.
  • Ability to learn and understand organizational relationships and dynamics. Uses networks, alliances, and individuals to achieve objectives.
  • Ability to work   independently as well as part of a team.
  • Demonstrates strong problem solving, organizational, and analytical capabilities.
  • Ability to thrive in a high-stakes, fast-paced environment while effectively executing an estate gifts program focused on national best practices, collaborative processes, and performance metrics.

Application deadline:
October 21, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. 

Annual Salary:

Commensurate with experience.

**The starting salary will be determined by the qualifications of the selected applicant balanced with departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information.