Assistant Vice President, Engagement and Annual Giving

December 2022 | Hybrid / Boston, MA
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About Emerson College

Founded by Charles Wesley Emerson as a school of oratory in 1880, Emerson College prides itself for being the only higher learning institute in the United States to exclusively focus on the studies of communication and the arts. Over the years, the institution has evolved from a small New England school to a multifaceted college with campuses in Boston, Los Angeles, and the Netherlands as well as joint global degree programs in Boston; Paris; and Lugano, Switzerland.

Emerson flag on a light post

As an institution of academic excellence, Emerson’s prestigious faculty and staff prepare their students to be innovative and thoughtful leaders in their respective fields and positive contributors in all aspects of society. Emerson is ranked number 8 in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Regional Universities in the North as well as ranked number 3 in Most Innovative Schools in the North. Recently, the Hollywood Reporter ranked the College number 6 among U.S. film schools. Emerson also appears on a number of Princeton Review lists in the 2022 edition of The Best 387 Colleges. Emerson was named one of 223 Best Northeastern Colleges; included in the Top 50 Green Colleges; and appeared on several of the Review’s “great” lists, including Great College Radio Station, Great College Theatre, and LGBTQ-Friendly.

While Emerson remains committed to its historic mission as a specialized academic institution, its curriculum reflects the emergence of interdisciplinary study and affirms new direction and innovation in the fields of the arts, communication, and the liberal arts. Located in the heart of Boston, Emerson is internationally recognized in its fields of specialization, which include communication studies; marketing communication; journalism; communication sciences and disorders; visual and media arts; the performing arts; and writing, literature, and publishing.

Emerson is home to 3,800 undergraduate students and over 700 graduate students representing 50 states and more than 55 countries. Emerson’s 503 full-time and part-time faculty members teach 26 undergraduate majors and 41 minors in the communication and arts discipline and 18 graduate programs offered in flexible formats.

About Philanthropy at Emerson

emerson students talkingComing off its best fundraising years in Emerson’s history in 2021 and 2022, it is a new era of exciting, impactful fundraising at Emerson. Under College leadership and in collaboration with the Emerson Board, Emerson is beginning to prepare for its first ever campaign. With illustrious alumni that include talk show host Jay Leno ’73; entrepreneur and makeup artist Bobbi Brown ’79; actors Henry Winkler ’67 and Denis Leary ’79; author Taylor Jenkins Reid ’05; television producers Norman Lear ’44 (All in the Family), Vin Di Bona ’66 (America’s Funniest Home Videos), Kevin Bright ’76 (Friends), Tara Sandler ’84 (House Hunters); and screenwriter and emerging director Adele Lim ’96 (Crazy Rich Asians), among many others, this unprecedented campaign will tap into a powerful donor base and allow Emerson to further its investment in the College community.

About the Assistant Vice President of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving

two emerson students walking on a sidewalkReporting to the Senior Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement, the Assistant Vice President of Engagement and Annual Giving leads the College’s efforts to educate alumni, parents, and Emerson community members about opportunities to engage with and support Emerson. Additionally, they will develop, and support innovative platforms and programs focused on alumni networking and mentoring as well as grow participation and leadership-level philanthropic support of the College.

The Assistant Vice President collaborates with Advancement, Communications, Marketing, and Digital teams (among others) to define and implement a coordinated approach that builds sustainable alumni and parent support through the various stages of their Emerson experience and helps establish a foundation for future major gift and legacy giving.

The Assistant Vice President will oversee the Director of Alumni Relations, the Director of Alumni Digital Engagement, and the Annual Giving team. Together and in partnership with Alumni volunteer leaders, they will develop and implement a comprehensive communications and engagement strategy that leads to stronger alumni ties with one another and with the College, in support of Emerson’s long-term philanthropic goals while also creating a collaborative and supportive internal, team culture setting everyone up for personal and professional success. Additionally, this person will cultivate, solicit, and steward a small portfolio of leadership-level annual giving prospects and donors.

Key Responsibilities

Annual Giving:

  • large group of emerson students walkingResponsible for setting and achieving ambitious annual fundraising and constituent participation goals for Emerson’s <$100K donors in partnership with the Annual Giving and Major Gifts teams and in close collaboration with the Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
  • Develop and implement overall strategy for the college’s individual donors and prospects (alumni, parents, and community members) with <$100K annual gift capacity; strategy will be developed with Annual Giving team members relying on robust data modeling and strategic segmentation, as well as past giving data, alumni survey results, and marketing’s FY22 personae work.
  • Collaborate closely with the Directors of Parent and International Philanthropy on the identification, qualification, cultivation, and solicitation of leadership level ($1K – <$100K) parent and alumni prospects in assigned regions and portfolios.
  • Evaluate the success of all above-mentioned efforts and, in collaboration with Annual Giving and Major Gifts team members, as well as the Vice President, revise strategies and approaches as needed.
  • Ensure all relevant work is documented in the Institutional Advancement constituent relationship management database.
  • Provide timely reporting on initiatives and results to the Vice President and other relevant entities and ensure

Alumni Engagement and Alumni Digital Outreach

  • Oversee development of programming that grows and strengthens connections between Emerson students and alumni.
  • Manage a shift in messaging and programming to emphasize alumni mentoring, networking, and career/professional development; include a focus on emerging major market (ie Los Angeles, New York, Boston). Forge close collaboration with the Major Gifts team to ensure involvement of top prospects and donors.
  • Identify and prioritize key target audience segments, utilizing alumni survey data and Marketing’s work on alumni “personae”. In collaboration with relevant Advancement and external relations staff, develop audience insights and strategies, shaping engagement programming and messaging by segment.
  • Stay abreast of key trends in higher education fundraising, philanthropy, and engagement programming; explore the relevance of new strategies, as appropriate.
  • Provide strategic direction and staffing support for the Executive Committee of the Emerson Alumni Association.
  • Ensure all relevant work is documented in the Institutional Advancement constituent relationship management database.

Key Qualifications

  • 10+ years of work experience in constituent engagement, marketing, and fundraising or equivalent, applicable professional experience; quantifiable success in previous roles
  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills are necessary as are outstanding organizational abilities with focused attention to detail and follow through
  • Refined management competencies: ability to lead in a highly matrixed and entrepreneurial environment
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team, juggle multiple competing priorities, deadlines and tasks.
  • Excellent planning and organizational skills, with an ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks.
  • An authentic appreciation for higher education and Emerson’s mission, and an ability to articulate eloquently its mission.
  • Strong analytical skills, including the ability to look at data and draw conclusions.
  • This highly collaborative position requires knowledge of fundraising principles, ethics, volunteer management and trends in higher education-including fundraising for annual gifts, major gifts and designated gifts.
  • Solid project management skills are necessary, including the ability to collaboratively set goals, effectively plan for their achievement and evaluate outcomes.

Considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and as part of continued efforts to maintain a safe campus for students, faculty and staff, Emerson requires all staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Requests for exemptions for religious or medical reasons will be considered on an individual basis in accordance with applicable legal requirements.

All qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

Jesse Bryan and Sajana Blank

Development Guild DDI

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