Vice President for Institutional Advancement

April 2019 | Fitchburg, MA Download PDF

About Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg State University exteriorFitchburg State is located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, about 10 miles from New Hampshire and 50 miles from Boston. A community of about 41,000, Fitchburg is one of the largest cities in the county, yet retains its small-town charm. Fitchburg is noted for its old mills that line the Nashua River, its hilly topography and regional parks. Among the city’s cultural attractions are the Fitchburg Art Museum with a robust contemporary art program and a permanent collection spanning 5,000 years, Top Fun Aviation Toy Museum, the only toy museum in the world that’s completely devoted to aviation-related toys, Fitchburg Historical Society, Wallace Civic Center, and Coggshall Park with miles of wooded trails. Fitchburg is a short trip by car or commuter rail to Boston and nearby popular Wachusett Mountain ski resort, and Fitchburg is one of three cities that host the world-famous Longsjo Classic bicycle race each summer. To find out more about Fitchburg, please visit

Fitchburg State University is a public comprehensive institution with a strong and proud tradition of excellence in teaching, scholarship, and public service, and is situated on a 60-acre traditional New England campus in North Central Massachusetts. The university offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, and professional fields to more than 7,000 students annually, including approximately 3,000 graduate students, and is home to over 200 full-time faculty members in the day division.

Founded as a teachers’ college in 1894, Fitchburg State has developed into a highly-regarded institution that blends liberal arts and sciences and professional programs within a small college environment and recently updated facilities. The university prepares students to lead, serve, and succeed by fostering lifelong learning and civic and global responsibility. A Fitchburg State education extends beyond the classroom to include residential, professional, and co-curricular opportunities, with particular emphasis on internships. As a community resource, the university provides leadership and support for the economic, environmental, social, and cultural needs of North Central Massachusetts and beyond.

Fitchburg State will be widely recognized for its excellence in teaching and learning in current and emergent fields, for its commitment to transforming lives through education, and for its dedication to public service. This vision requires that the university:

  • Prepare students for a global society through curricular innovation and program development
  • Achieve academic excellence by investing in our faculty and librarians in their pursuit of knowledge, professional competency, and scholarship
  • Employ innovative uses of technology in the library and across our campus to maximize student learning
  • Create a culture of diversity to meet the needs of the region and enhance the personal and academic lives of the university community
  • Build partnerships within our community to provide real-world opportunities for our students and collaborative solutions to community issues

About Philanthropy at Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg State University - science classIt is an exciting time for philanthropy at Fitchburg State University. Formal philanthropy is relatively new at Fitchburg State, providing tremendous opportunity to grow the annual fund upon the foundation that has been laid.  Major gifts and planned giving are in their infancy, allowing for significant growth and opportunity.  Additionally, there is strong commitment and momentum for the Theater Block Initiative, a project designed, in part, to assist with the revitalization of the Fitchburg Community. Additionally, with the Dean structure now in place at the University, the Deans are eager to be involved in fundraising efforts. Fitchburg State’s commitment to applied learning and training students sets them apart and provides a strong platform for fundraising for the university.  Fitchburg State distinguishes itself with a number of recognized programs that include criminal justice, nursing, game design, communications media and cyber security which provide important funding opportunities.  All fundraising is done through the Fitchburg State University Foundation.

About the Position

Fitchburg State University interiorThe Vice President of Institutional Advancement provides strategic direction, vision and management of the university’s comprehensive fundraising programs, and serves as a key adviser to the president on all matters related to institutional advancement. The Vice President is responsible for the cultivation of donors, alumni, corporations, foundations, community groups, and others as part of an overall development plan and will lead a professional staff to set and attain annual campaign, development, and constituency relations goals.  Additionally, the Vice President will oversee and manage the Theater Block campaign and will partner with the President to achieve campaign goals and milestones. The Vice President will be a highly visible representative of the university to a wide array of internal and external audiences and manage a portfolio of prospects (through face-to-face visits, written proposals, and other direct contacts) by identifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding major individual gifts.  The Vice President reports to the President and participates as a member of the President’s Executive Cabinet.  In addition, the Vice President will manage and direct other fundraising programs with professional staff, support staff, and the student and volunteer staff in developing and implementing the university’s comprehensive fundraising programs and related activities.

Key Responsibilities

  • Manage all fundraising programs, establish strategies, and develop detailed annual plans to achieve attainment of institutional goals.
  • Oversee, plan, and implement major gifts, annual giving, planned giving, foundations and grants, and prospect research programs in accordance with annual goals set by the President of the university.
  • Oversee all aspects of alumni relations to deepen engagement with the University.
  • Research, identify, cultivate, and personally solicit major donors and prospects.
  • Meet, or exceed, fundraising goals in collaboration with the President and Foundation Board.
  • Ability to develop professional relationships with varying internal and external constituents of the university as it relates to institutional and departmental goals regarding philanthropic activities.
  • Staff the Foundation Board and serve as the liaison between the President’s Office and the Fitchburg State University Foundation Board on matters related to Foundation activities, programs, and fundraising.
  • In addition to the Foundation Board, support the Alumni Association Board and a variety of committees related to advancement activities.
  • Oversee the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations in directing annual, capital, and special-giving programs for alumni, supervise the maintenance of accurate alumni database records, and increase alumni outreach.
  • Oversee all aspects of the Theater Block campaign and prepare the President for solicitations, accompanying him as needed.
  • Recruit and organize volunteers to help the university meet its fundraising goals.
  • Assist in writing and editing various reports and publications for distribution to the appropriate constituencies.
  • Administer budgets and management policies and procedures for the office.
  • Recruit, retain, and motivate a highly competent and dedicated staff.
  • Provide flexible, responsive, and high-quality customer service.
  • Support the teaching and learning process in a student-centered environment.

Key Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred.
  • A minimum of 7 – 10 years of progressively more responsible development experience, including major gift experience in an established, multi-faceted development program.
  • Successful senior level fundraising (e.g. capital campaign and major gift solicitation) experience.
  • Knowledge of fundraising procedures and best practices in advancement.
  • Knowledge of higher education principles, practices, and procedures.
  • Knowledge of contemporary information management systems and procedures.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with donors, their families and financial advisors, as well as university constituencies.
  • Experience and ability to work effectively with volunteers and to supervise professional and staff personnel.
  • Superior written and oral communication, motivational, and organizational skills; well versed in negotiating and closing significant gifts and ensuring the success of a results-oriented advancement program.
  • Ability to embrace the culture and values of the university and to persuasively articulate its mission and aspirations.
  • Weekday and evening travel, varied hours, and weekend travel as necessary.
  • Ability to perform the above duties with, or without, reasonable accommodations.
  • Other duties as assigned.

An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer 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. Females, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applications, including a position-specific cover letter and resume, may be submitted online at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Jordyn Rappaport at

Suzanne Battit
Vice President
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