Paschal•Murray Retained by Stony Brook University to Find Major Gifts Officer

May 9, 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, executive search firm Paschal•Murray was retained by Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, to lead its search for a major gifts officer. Collette Murray, the recruitment firm’s CEO, is spearheading the assignment.

Stony Brook University has concluded the most successful fundraising effort in SUNY history. From the launch in 2011 to the finish in 2018, the Campaign for Stony Brook raised $630.7 million from 47,961 friends, alumni, foundations and corporations, exceeding the $600 million goal by five percent. The incoming major gift officer will look to continue this momentum, and is expected to work to build a portfolio and will normally carry a portfolio of 100 to 200 major gift prospects.

“The selected candidate will serve as a member of the Stony Brook advancement team, coordinating efforts with the broader work of university advancement, participating as a professional and team member in various advancement tasks and functions, and communicating clearly and consistently with colleagues about goals, progress, and activities,” the search firm said.

Qualities and experiences that ideal candidates should have include four years of full-time fundraising experience in a higher education, a large non-profit or complex healthcare system, as well as three years of exclusive focus on major gifts with successful solicitations in excess of $50,000. Candidates must have “proven record of success in cultivating, soliciting, and successfully raising funds from individual donors, businesses, corporations or foundations,” said Paschal•Murray. Experience managing numerous priorities and a portfolio of donor/client relationships is also preferred.

Stony Brook University, home to many highly ranked graduate research programs, has 24,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students, and more than 13,500 faculty and staff. Established in 1957, the university has three primary colleges and nine schools.

Fundraising-Focused Veterans

Established in 1978, Paschal•Murray is focused on the recruitment of fundraising professionals for non-profit organization. Ms. Murray has a professional record of over 35 years in senior-level advancement at major education and health institutions throughout the U.S. She started her advancement career as executive director of the Cal Alumni Association.

Ms. Murray has served as senior advancement executive at UC Santa Cruz, University of Louisville, Texas Tech University, Henry Ford Health System and Sharp HealthCare. Her administrative responsibilities for these organizations have primarily included fundraising and alumni affairs. As CEO of Paschal•Murray, Ms. Murray oversees a highly regarded and varied staff of professionals and support personnel.

Recruiting Gifts Officers

Here is a sampling of a few search firms that have been tapped to find new major gift officers for organizations from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

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. 

Development Guild DDI recruited Peter Trainor as the major gifts officer for the Pine Street Inn in Boston. Pine Street was looking for an executive with four to seven years of progressively responsible experience in a successful individual giving program as well as a proven track record in managing individual relationships and securing five-six figure gifts. 

Aspen, CO-based search firm Aspen Leadership Group was recently 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. Ithaca’s major gift officer is expected to be a front-line fundraiser with the responsibility of managing a portfolio of prospects made up of alumni, parents and friends with the giving potential of $100,000 or more. 

Tom Rosenwald and Deborah Carroll of executive search firm Buffkin / Baker were tapped to find the next major gifts officer for Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. Buffkin Baker said that the right candidate will have about three to five years of direct fundraising experience, preferably in an academic/medical setting or a comparable environment.

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

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