Assistant Vice President, Digital Engagement + Annual Giving

September 2019 | Coral Gables, FL Download PDF

The University of Miami Development & Alumni Relations Department seeks an AVP, Digital Engagement + Annual Giving to lead a pioneering team that will create and integrate cutting-edge digital engagement systems to drive Annual Giving.

About the University of Miami

umiami-campus-croppedFounded in 1925, the University of Miami is considered among the top tier institutions of higher education in the U.S. for its academic excellence, superior medical care, and cutting-edge research. Ranking 53rd in the 2019 edition of Best Colleges in National Universities, UM is committed to attracting a talented work force to support a common purpose of transforming lives through teaching, research, service and innovation. Through the values of Diversity, Integrity, Responsibility, Excellence, Compassion, Creativity, and Teamwork (DIRECCT), the University strives to create an environment where everyone contributes to making UM a preferred place to work. One of the largest private employers in Miami-Dade County, UM is home to more than 16,000 faculty and staff from all over the world, and has a total undergraduate enrollment of 10,832, with over 180,000 living alumni.

About University of Miami Philanthropy

UM aims to become one of the nation’s leading research institutions and alumni play a pivotal role in shaping the University’s future. Their 2015 campaign, Momentum 2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami, raised $1.6+ billion, of which alumni accounted for $401 million, 30% of the total donors (thus constituting the largest number of alumni donations in UM’s campaign history). This campaign demonstrated that the Alumni Association was poised to be a key stakeholder in the future growth of the University. With the launch of a new comprehensive campaign in 2018, the Alumni Association has been established as a strong partner in helping to advance learning through the alumni network, elevate funding for student scholarships, and make bold strides across the globe.

2018-2025 Strategic Plan

umiami-crew-croppedBuilding on the successes of the 2012-2017 University of Miami Alumni Association Strategic Plan, and the opportunities for the next eight years, the development of the Association’s next strategic plan for fiscal years 2018-2025 is guided by the Alumni Board of Directors, a Strategic Planning Council, and executive leadership. The planning comes at a pivotal time of tremendous energy and anticipation across the University community as President Julio Frenk, along with Josh Friedman, Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, and other key University leadership guide the institution into its centennial as a leader in the field. Also striking is President Frenk’s keen interest in fundraising as the key component to accomplishing his new strategic vision “Roadmap to Our New Century.” To reinforce the importance of alumni to the University’s future, the Strategic Focus Areas have been designed to align the Association’s strategic framework with the University’s:

  • Global Network
  • Pipeline of Alumni Leadership and Financial Support
  • Lifelong Engagement Model
  • People, Processes, Technology, and Data

The Office of Engagement

Led by Erica Arroyo, Associate Vice President of Engagement, the Office of Engagement is comprised of four teams including Lifelong Engagement, Family Relations, Volunteer Leadership, and Digital Engagement + Annual Giving. Still in an early stage, the teams will function as a hybrid engagement and fundraising machine where the transition from engagement and giving is seamless and complementary.

The Digital Engagement + Annual Giving team will deploy a variety of channel-based strategies to solicit financial support from constituents including alumni, parents, donors, and friends of the University. An Assistant Vice President of Digital Engagement + Annual Giving will lead this team.

umiami-class-croppedThe Annual Giving team is tasked with devising the right appeal, at the right time, in the right way to meet constituents where they are based on personal preferences. The team will leverage the best channels per the audience type (channels include direct mail, online, social media, text, and telephone) creating highly personalized and targeted appeals to maximize engagement and financial impact. The Annual Giving team will strengthen donor relations, effectively steward, and provide a multi-million-dollar source of fundraising at the annual giving level. This team will also work collectively with the schools/colleges/units on devising a comprehensive annual giving strategy to solicit additional annual support from constituents.

About the Position

With a growing number of UM’s constituents moving away from South Florida, and increasing demands on personal time, digital engagement has grown as a top form of connection and means to build affinity. The Assistant Vice President should be a dynamic thinker and content architect who strategize relevant and meaningful and tailored messages for constituents based on analysis of their digital behaviors. This individual will lead a team charged with building a rapport with University of Miami constituents over time to establish a relationship that can be primed for solicitation. This leader will create an engagement strategy for segments of constituents to grow their affinity, metric their online engagement, measure return on investment, and prepare them for a solicitation. 

Reporting to the Associate Vice President for Engagement, this individual will be a pioneer in the field of digital engagement facilitating a myriad of platforms and communications. They will target messaging towards a variety of constituents of the University while leading a channel-based annual giving program including direct mail, telemarketing, online giving, crowdfunding, and digital fundraising. They will provide leadership in designing, implementing, and evaluating an annual giving program with an ultimate goal of greatly increasing the number of annual donors and amount of current use dollars raised through innovative giving strategies.

The AVP will build a long-term base of support for the University of Miami with a focus on individual gifts less than $50,000. They are responsible for developing and executing programs and strategies to foster digital engagement and thereby increase annual support to help build a pipeline for major gifts.

“Today’s philanthropists want to partner with institutions that are taking risks and creating solutions, and few universities are moving forward as quickly as UM.”
– Josh Friedman, SVP, Development and Alumni Relations

Key Responsibilities

Strategic Collaboration and Leadership

  • umiami-students-croppedDesign and develop a multi-year strategic plan and an annual operating plan for the long-term expansion of gift income and alumni and parent donor pools.
  • Serve as the primary facilitator for coordination of all school/college/unit-based annual giving efforts to develop a cohesive strategy for solicitation.
  • Serve on the University’s Capital Campaign Steering Committee and develop plans to integrate annual giving into the structure of the campaign.
  • Collaborate as appropriate with the Associate Vice President of Engagement, the Alumni Association Board of Directors, and university-wide development officers in the identification and cultivation of alumni donor prospects.

Digital Engagement Strategy:

  • Develop and execute a comprehensive digital marketing engagement strategy addressing messaging, vehicles, and timing to effectively target annual giving audiences and increase success of solicitations.
  • Utilize digital analytics tools, predictive modeling, social media mining, marketing automation, segmentation, and other data-driven techniques to ensure communications are personalized and timely, and annual giving goals are achieved.
  • Direct a sophisticated use of social media and build a digital international network to engage and mobilize constituents towards University initiatives.
  • Create and monitor digital engagement platforms and select leadership groups including a ’Canes Communities online platform, volunteer leadership portal, management of the University of Miami alumni mobile application, and development of a digitally related volunteer program.

Annual Giving Program Management:

  • Lead, manage and grow a strong 10-person Annual Giving team handling direct mail, telemarking, online giving, matching gift, UM Giving Day, and young alumni/student giving.
  • Implement a data-driven annual giving solicitation system; employ and monitor proactive strategies to increase performance metrics such as average gift size, donor retention, acquisition, and upgrades, and return on investment.
  • Develop automated metric reports to track team success toward strategic goals and KPIs and inform engagement officers for future strategies.
  • Design an omni-channel direct marketing program to acquire, re-activate, retain, and upgrade annual donors with an emphasis on growing alumni participation.

Key Qualifications

As with many positions designed to lead innovation and development of a new program, candidate experience backgrounds may be varied. Ideal candidates may fall into the two overlapping qualifications sets below:

Higher Education Advancement/Complex Nonprofit
  •  10+ years’ experience in annual alumni fundraising or related programs (equivalent combinations of education/experience may be considered)
  • Previous experience successfully creating and utilizing complex digital engagement strategies and a centralized database to meet annual fund goals
  • Demonstrated track record of fundraising, personal solicitations and the development of successful support materials





For Profit Consumer/Digital Marketing
  •  10+ years’ experience working in consumer/digital marketing role
  • Demonstrated experience building comprehensive digital engagement and targeted marketing strategies
  • Proven ability to utilize digital analytics tools, predictive modeling, social media mining, marketing automation, segmentation, and other data-driven techniques

  Required Experience

  • 5+ years’ supervisory experience managing digital engagement or development team operations and performance, preferably in a relevant development/academic setting
  • Academic or professional experience in the fields of Data Analytics/Business/Marketing and/or Communications highly preferred
  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills, verbally and written
  • Collaborative approach to teamwork and hands on implementation

The University of Miami is an Equal Opportunity Employer – Females/Minorities/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply. Applicants and employees are protected from discrimination based on certain categories protected by Federal law. Click here for additional information.

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

Bill Weber
Development Guild DDI

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