Senior Director of Development, College of Engineering

Website The Ohio State University


Advancement | Development Constituency Fundraising

Position Overview

The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering seeks a collaborative, mission-driven fundraiser to serve as a major gift officer for a variety of initiatives such as scholarships, research support, capital development and student initiatives. The Senior Director of Development will understand the mission, needs and value proposition of the College and build relationships with prospective donors to increase philanthropic support. Donors such as alumni, friends, companies and foundations will be identified by listening for opportunities to align their interests and passions with opportunities to donate to the university. The college has 68,000+ living alumni worldwide and the advancement team aims to raise around $70 million annually.

The aim of the role is to actively manage a portfolio of prospective donors to be asked for major gifts. 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. Success in the position will be guided by annual metrics such as dollars raised, qualifications, number of donor meetings and number of gift commitments. Central resources such as a robust donor database and reporting and analytics tools exist to help the role achieve goals and manage an allocated budget.

The Senior Director reports to the Executive Director 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, genuine collaboration with colleagues across Advancement, the university and Wexner Medical Center, diplomacy, and discretion. Strong partnerships with academic leadership are vital. This role does require monthly travel and occasional evening and weekend work but also offers a flexible schedule as agreed upon with the Executive 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

A successful Senior Director of Development in the College of Engineering does not need to be an engineering expert, but they do need to be curious about the impact of engineering. Since The Ohio State University was born in 1870, engineering has been central to its land grant mission. Then and now, Buckeye Engineers make the world a better place. Ohio State Engineering is where education, discovery and economic development collaborate to innovate.

Home to a top-ranked engineering program, Ohio State provides an unparalleled learning environment and career preparation alongside an unforgettable student experience. With access to 15 majors, world-class faculty and facilities, and a wide array of hands-on learning and research experiences, the opportunities are endless with Ohio State Engineering.

The Senior Director of Development will find an established environment where an entrepreneurial-minded individual can quickly thrive. Every gift secured goes towards exciting and meaningful impact from educating the next generation of problem solvers and critical thinkers to advancing incredible research in advanced manufacturing, medical devices, artificial intelligence and energy. Development is a high priority for all leaders within the college and they have designated appropriate resources to support this highly collaborative development team.

Duties and Responsibilities

95% – Fundraising

Identifies, qualifies, and cultivates a portfolio of prospective major gift 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. Maximizes opportunities to steward donors to further enhance relationships.

Hires, trains and develops, and provides daily management to assigned staff (if applicable).

5% – Miscellaneous

Completes special projects and performs other duties as assigned.

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 across the institution and can be counted as ‘Secondary’ on a gift in the solicitation, commitment and dollars raised phases of the development cycle.  A secondary fundraiser can be considered when a team is working on a multi-unit gift, the fundraiser is a subject matter expert in an area critical to the solicitation or a fundraiser has a pre-existing, meaningful relationship with the donor and their participation helps move the gift forward.

Performance Objectives

First month

  •  Become familiar with the overall structure, resources, and processes of university development.
  • Develop an understanding of the College of Engineering’s priorities.
  • Build relationships with college, unit, and central Advancement partners including prospect development, estate and gift planning, corporate relations, donor relations, foundation relations, development communications, and annual giving.

First 2-3 months

  • Begin to actively fundraise by meeting with existing and prospective donors.
  • Implement lead generation and cultivation strategies, engaging appropriate partners as necessary.
  • Incorporate best practice solicitation strategies for portfolio assignments.

First 12 months

  • Continue building a portfolio of qualified prospects.
  • Move the prospects through the donor engagement process.
  • Continue working towards meeting team and individual performance goals/metrics by soliciting and closing major gifts.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in related field or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Six years of relevant experience with at least four years of professional fundraising experience (building relationships towards philanthropic end through making calls, conducting face-to-face appointments, creating and presenting proposals, closing gifts) and two years of related experience in marketing, sales, public relations, financial advisement, account management or related field with emphasis on donor cultivation, solicitation and relationship cultivation of individuals/businesses.

Desired Qualifications (We are dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive workplace and encourage you to apply even if your experience does not align perfectly)

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

The Office of Advancement is committed to providing tools and resources for you to learn our business, proprietary databases, university-specific processes, and advancement practices.

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, enjoyable, and growing city of Columbus, Ohio, this opportunity will provide exceptional rewards that arise from working for an institution doing worldwide life-changing teaching and research. Learn more here:

Additional Information:

To learn more about the Office of Advancement, please visit

Salary range: $99,000 – $132,500

To learn more and apply, please visit:

The Ohio State University is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, protected veteran status, or any other basis under the law.

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