Executive Director of Major Gifts, Arts & Sciences

Job Type

Full Time




622 West 113th Street
MC4520 7th Floor
New York
United States


Reporting to the Deputy Vice President, Columbia College and Arts & Sciences, the Executive Director of Major Gifts will formulate and manage an effective major and leadership gifts program targeting Columbia alumni, parents and friends capable of giving $100,000 to $2,499,999 The incumbent will have prospect management responsibilities for an assigned portfolio of major gifts prospects and project-based fund raising assignments; supervise a team of fundraising professionals; develop appropriate timetables and methods for measuring progress toward goals; ensure a relationship-building focus on securing major gifts for the Arts and Sciences Schools (Columbia College, Graduate School and General Studies); implement processes to ensure proactive, strategic cultivation and solicitation of major gift prospects; and help foster a donor-driven fund raising culture. Perform related tasks as required. 

Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

•         Partnering with the Deputy Vice President, Columbia College and Arts & Sciences to provide strategic oversight and management of the major and leadership gift team by promoting best practices, building and supporting a high performing team of development professionals and strengthening strategies for the Arts & Sciences School fundraising efforts.

•         As the senior fundraising manager overseeing staff who raise funds on behalf of all of Arts & Sciences, including GS, GSAS, departments, and the College, the Executive Director engages as appropriate with Deans and academic leadership to ensure fundraising activity is aligned with academic and budget priorities. 

•         Works closely with the Dean's Office of the School of General Studies (GS) to partner on advancement strategy and implementation and to ensure the team is meeting their fundraising goals and priorities. Acts as the development lead in OAD for GS.

•          Lead regularly scheduled team meetings to track and discuss major gift prospects.

•         Serve as a senior member of the team responsible for the collaborative management and leadership of all activities related to campaign planning, implementation and executing a successful fundraising campaign.

•         Responsible for managing a portfolio of 150 prospects through the complete giving cycle: validation, engagement, cultivation, solicitation, gift negotiation and stewardship. Serves as a key member of a dynamic team, supporting the fundraising efforts of Arts & Sciences Schools (Columbia College, General Studies, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences)

•         Conducts a minimum of 100 personal visits annually to cultivate and solicit prospects and close gifts. Completes a minimum of 10 major gifts asks, 25 leadership annual fund asks and 10 planned giving conversations each year.

•         Works in a highly collaborative fashion, and in conjunction with colleagues, to engage faculty, staff, deans, gift officers and senior leadership;

•         Conducts regular validation meetings with prospects and alumni who have not been visited previously to help determine giving potential and opportunities for engagement. Designs and develops solicitation strategies;

•         Manages prospect relationships to enhance continued and increased support and attend events which facilitate contact with prospects;

•         Ensures maintenance of all records in the Advance database in a timely fashion;

•         Prepares solicitation materials, including proposals and executive summaries.

•         Creates and supports strong ties to the academic leaders to Centers, Institutes, Initiatives and Departments on potential fundraising opportunities.

•         Meets with administrators and faculty to understand funding priorities and opportunities for the schools, departments, centers, and institutes within the Arts & Sciences.


Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred. Minimum of 10 years fundraising or related experience required, with at least 5 years’ fund raising experience in higher education preferred, as is work experience in a fast-paced and complex setting. Management experience required. Experience directing teams a plus. Preference given to candidates with a documented record of successful solicitation of gifts within or near the range of gifts expected from the incumbent. Excellent analytical, writing and communication skills, tact, sensitivity and mature judgment are required. Must lead by example and show discretion, in addition to being organized, creative and efficient. Must be able to work successfully both individually and as a part of a team.

Excellent problem-solving and troubleshooting required, in addition to the ability to work independently in a dynamic team environment. Demonstrated ability to effectively partner with a diverse group of administrators and academic leaders. Must be able to negotiate issues, resolve problems and have strong influencing skills. The successful candidate must be a strategic thinker, effective in moving strategic agendas, politically savvy, ensure the utmost discretion in all matters, as well as possess an ability to work well with all levels of management, both internally and externally, be flexible in nature, have a sound judgment with a collaborative style that fosters teamwork and cooperation beyond the immediate team to the broader organization. Must possess the ability work with changing priorities and multiple projects.

This position requires evening and weekend work and travel as necessary.

Must have a demonstrated success in achieving fundraising goals and managing high-level donor relationships. Possess a proven ability to present complex information in a clear and compelling manner is essential. The capacity to clearly comprehend and communicate University’s mission and ongoing initiatives is required. Prior experience in a not for profit, or similarly complex organizations preferred.

Columbia University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

4-year degree