Assistant Director of Development

College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences 

Assistant Director of Development

College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences


The Assistant Director of Development will understand the mission, needs and value proposition of the university and College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and build relationships with prospective donors to increase philanthropic support. Donors will be identified by listening for opportunities to align interests and passions with opportunities to donate to the university. This role provides an excellent entry-level position for people interested in fundraising careers.

The aim of the role is to actively manage a portfolio of prospective donors to be asked for gifts typically up to $99,000 and to build a pipeline of major gift donors for the future. Preparation for the “ask” will include creative and strategic utilization of resources to determine the prospective donor’s capacity for giving, build their interest, raise their sights, sustain their engagement and obtain a gift. In addition, this role supports the operations of CFAES’s annual giving activities. This role manages a range of administrative operations including implementing, coordinating and monitoring annual giving projects and interacting with internal and external constituents. Central resources such as a robust donor database and reporting and analytics tools exist to help the role achieve goals.

The Assistant Director reports to the Director of Development and operates with a high degree of independence to make decisions, solve problems, negotiate and adapt to shifting priorities. Expectations include stellar communications and interactions with constituents, frequent collaboration with colleagues across the college, Advancement, the university and Wexner Medical Center, diplomacy, and discretion. A curious person who is not afraid to pick up the phone and be entrepreneurial will do well as an Assistant Director. This role requires travel (in state and out of state) and occasional evening and weekend work but also offers a flexible schedule including remote work as agreed upon with the Director.

All members of Advancement are part of creating an inclusive culture that inspires an exceptionally diverse and talented team and are measured on their adherence to the following core competencies:  leadership, continuous improvement, teamwork and collaboration, and communication/interpersonal effectiveness.

Department Overview

If you aren’t already, we guarantee you will be passionate about the food, environmental and agricultural industry once you join the team. CFAES and our community are uniquely positioned to take on critical challenges such as sustainable food security and safety, environmental and ecosystem sustainability, the intersection of human, animal, and environmental health, and the tensions and opportunities created between rural and urban communities and industries.


45% Leadership Annual Giving Fundraising
Identifies, qualifies, and cultivates a portfolio of prospective donors. Pursues connections and discovers donor values, capacity, interests and passions. Ensures quality and positive momentum within assigned portfolio to convert prospects to donors. Builds context for gift proposals, develops and implements strategic gift solicitations.

40%      Annual Giving Support
Supports Annual Giving efforts within the College. Serves as an annual giving support resource to faculty and staff. Supports annual giving campaigns including mailings, digital, and events.

10% Other

Maximizes opportunities to steward donors to further enhance relationships. Attends department and/or university events to engage with prospects and donors.

5% Miscellaneous

Completes special projects and performs other duties as assigned.

Performance Objectives

First month

  1. Become familiar with the overall structure, resources, and processes of university development.

  2. Develop an understanding of college priorities.

  3. Build relationships with college, unit, and central Advancement partners including annual giving, prospect development and donor experience.


First 2-3 months

  1. Begin to actively fundraise by meeting with existing and prospective donors.

  2. Implement lead generation and cultivation strategies, engaging appropriate partners as necessary.

  3. Incorporate best practice solicitation strategies for portfolio assignments.


First 12 months

  1. Continue building a portfolio of qualified prospects.

  2. Move the prospects through the donor engagement process.

  3. Continue working towards meeting team and individual performance goals/metrics by soliciting and closing gifts.


Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education/experience

  • At least one year of professional fundraising experience or professional transferable experience (i.e., managing relationships with required measurable output, making calls, conducting face-to-face appointments, creating and presenting proposals, and other fundamental elements of client relationship or sales-related activities)


Preferred Qualifications

  • At least one year of professional fundraising experience raising the highest level of philanthropic gifts at an organization (preferably five or six figures and above)

  • At least one year of professional fundraising experience in higher education or a hospital/health care environment

  • Experience working in other advancement departments such as donor relations and stewardship, donor communications and/or alumni relations


Metrics and Collaboration:

The annual performance of all fundraisers at Ohio State is measured by the number of qualifications, cultivations, solicitations and commitments/dollars raised the individual accrues over each fiscal year.  Each fundraiser may have different expectations regarding these figures based upon, but not limited to, their experience level, unit size, prospect portfolio, past performance, etc.  Goal setting is done with the individual’s manager prior to each fiscal year to assure transparency, consistency and alignment.

All fundraisers at Ohio State are encouraged and expected to collaborate with their colleagues throughout the University, Medical Center and within the College of Engineering. Collaboration efforts can include but are not limited to working with another academic unit or the Medical Center to collaborate on a gift from a donor, collaborating internally with the research office, faculty members and leadership to learn and discuss priorities, working with other units to learn about how they execute certain projects.

Why Join Advancement Now?

The Assistant Director of Development will assist the college through the conclusion of Time and Change: The Ohio State Campaign, the most ambitious, inclusive community-building and fundraising endeavor in the university’s 150 years. Time and Change has a financial goal of $4.5 billion – also the largest in Ohio State’s history – with three core areas of focus: student success; discovery; and healthy, vibrant communities. The campaign recently crossed the $3 billion raised mark.

Commitment to Inclusion

The Office of Advancement is committed to active allyship in addressing and dismantling the inequities created by systemic racism and implicit, long-held bias. We pledge to act with kindness, respect, and integrity at all times, trust ourselves and our colleagues and empower their whole identities, and hear and see our colleagues’ ideas, voices, and perspectives, acknowledging that we are better together.

You Need to Know

Aside from the unparalleled benefits of working for The Ohio State University and working in the diverse, smart, fun, and growing city of Columbus, Ohio, this opportunity will provide exceptional rewards that arise from working for an institution doing worldwide life-changing research. Learn more here:

Closing Statement

The Ohio State University is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, national origin, disability status, or protected veteran status.

How to Apply

Please visit to apply. Questions may be directed to Steph Mizer, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition at [email protected].


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