February 15, 2019 – Major gifts officers are among the most vital roles for educational institutions. The position involves identifying potential donors, cultivating relationships and, above all, garnering much-needed contributions from key supporters.
Recruitment firms that can find the right person for this top-level fundraising position are much-valued partners of not-for-profits everywhere. And for recruiters, the business of finding major gift officers is booming.
Recently, Deerfield Associates Executive Search was enlisted to find a senior major gifts officer for Babson College in Wellesley, MA. Doug Cooney, who founded the recruitment firm, is leading the search.
Babson College is seeking a dynamic, energetic and experienced advancement professional for this high visibility opportunity, said Deerfield Associates. The new hire will be responsible for advancing relationships with those individuals who have the capacity to make a significant philanthropic investment in the college.
This advancement professional will be specifically responsible for managing a portfolio of approximately 175 to 200 prospects, including alumni, parents and friends of the school, said the search firm. The role includes moving prospective donors through the qualification and cultivation processes to solicitation, producing successful outcomes of these solicitations. Collaborating effectively with development colleagues and college leadership will also be a key component of the job. The senior major gifts officer will report directly to Michele Daly, director of development, and constituent giving.
Babson’s senior major gifts officer will be expected to: conduct a minimum of 18 face-to-face meetings per month; contribute and support overall advancement office goals including alumni participation; identify and solicit 25 to 30 key prospects annually, and prepare proposals for gift solicitations based on annual goals; contribute to the development of a strong prospect pipeline through qualification and cultivation efforts, identify partnering opportunities with planned giving and parent program officers; and prepare written briefings and suggest solicitation strategies for senior leadership and faculty visits with prospective donors, among other duties.
Candidates should have 10-plus years of fundraising experience in major gifts, said Deerfield Associates. Prior fundraising experience in an academic environment is preferred. A bachelor’s degree is required.
Prospects should also show demonstrated effectiveness in working with a diverse student body, faculty, staff and other constituents, as well as the ability to establish creditability and confidence with stakeholders. Exceptional collaboration and interpersonal skills, and the ability to be effective engaging with all levels within the college are essential, as are exceptional organizational, verbal and written communication skills.
The ideal candidate will also: be flexible and willing to assume new tasks and special projects; have strong technology skills including proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint); have the ability to envision and propose new methods to perform tasks that support entrepreneurial thought and action; take thoughtful risks; and accept new and ongoing initiatives, objectives, and solutions to gain sought-after results.
He or she must also have the ability to anticipate and embrace change; demonstrate willingness to achieve, acquire, and utilize new skills and challenging tasks; and be flexible in changing conditions, said Deerfield Associates. Also required are excellent interpersonal skills and a collaborative style.
Aspen Leadership Group Seeks Major Gifts Officer for Ithaca College
Aspen, CO-based search firm Aspen Leadership Group was selected by Ithaca College to lead its efforts to find a new major gifts officer. Principal and founder partner Ron Schiller is heading the assignment.
Babson College is a coeducational, nationally ranked private business college located 14 miles from Boston. Founded in 1919, the school has been a pioneer in entrepreneurial education. Babson lays claim to creating the academic field of entrepreneurship and has been ranked the No 1 graduate school in this discipline for 25 consecutive years, and the No. 1 undergraduate program for 22 consecutive years. The college has upwards of 2,300 undergraduate students, nearly 1,000 graduate students and more than 41,000 alumni representing over 150 countries.
Wellesley-based Deerfield Associates recruits and places candidates for senior-level administrative positions at colleges, universities and independent schools, both nationally and internationally. Established in 2001, the firm has conducted and completed more than 400 searches. Over 88 percent of Deerfield Associates’ 122 clients return for additional search work, said the firm. Its clients include Yale University, Dartmouth College, Taft School, Bowdoin College, Deerfield Academy, Mount Holyoke College, among many others.
Mr. Cooney has been involved exclusively in the profession of recruitment, talent selection and executive search since 1982. In addition to his leadership role, he serves as an executive search consultant to top tier educational institutions. Previously, he was an executive recruiter and vice president of Shawmut Bank and Connecticut National Bank, and director of executive search for FleetBoston Financial. Earlier in his career, Mr. Cooney was admissions officer for Vassar College and director of alumni relations for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media