Executive Director of Annual Giving

University of Miami
Coral Gables, Florida

The University of Miami seeks an exceptional and experienced Executive Director (herein ED) of Annual Giving to provide strategic vision, leadership and direction for the institution’s comprehensive and high performing central annual fund operation. Reporting to the Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations and the Annual Fund, the ED will be responsible for expanding the number of alumni and parent donors and increasing the amount of current use dollars raised annually.

This is a unique opportunity for an experienced development officer to lead a team of 11 dedicated annual giving professionals and manage an operating budget of $1.6 million. The Executive Director is responsible for the organization, initiation, implementation, and supervision of a comprehensive annual giving program that will maximize current operating support from alumni, parents and corporations; provide for the consistent long-term growth of such support both within and outside of major capital fund drives; and encompass techniques of direct mail, phone campaign and personal solicitation, by both the staff and volunteers. The University has had significant success in using a major gifts - direct solicitation approach to securing new annual fund donors as well as increasing levels of support from existing donors. The new ED will be expected to continue and build upon this proactive and innovative approach to annual fundraising. The annual fund currently raises $6 million. Having raised $1.4 billion in a comprehensive campaign that completed in 2007, the University is in the midst of a new $1.6 billion capital campaign slated for completion in 2016, and the annual fund is expected to increase by 10% per year for the duration of the campaign. To this end, the ED will serve on the University’s Capital Campaign Steering Committee and develop plans to integrate the annual fund into the structure of the campaign.

The successful candidate is expected to have at least seven years of experience with a proven track record of fundraising, personal solicitations and developing a successful program in an annual fund or a major gifts operation. Previous experience in managing and utilizing complex centralized databases to meet annual funding goals is highly desired. The ideal candidate will have managed a staff and worked with volunteer based support groups and special events teams. Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills are necessary, with a philosophy of teamwork and hands on implementation. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required and the ability to interact with all types of individuals is essential. The ED must have a strong, metrics-driven approach to his/her work, an ability to work independently and set targets and goals for the annual fund based on campaign priority and as directed by university leadership. S/he should also have the charisma, cultural sensitivity, and communication skills necessary to be an effective representative of the University of Miami. A collegial, collaborative and accessible leadership style, well suited to management in a complex university setting is a prerequisite as is the creativity, energy and political savvy needed to introduce and champion new ideas. An undergraduate degree is required. Frequent travel is expected.

The University of Miami has retained Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group to assist in this recruitment. Vice President Tracy Welsh and Managing Associate Tahsin Alam are leading the search.

The University of Miami

A private research university with more than 15,000 students from around the world, the University of Miami (UM) is a vibrant and diverse academic community focused on teaching and learning, the discovery of new knowledge, and service to the South Florida region and beyond. Led by President Donna E. Shalala, the University has 12 schools and colleges serving undergraduate and graduate students in more than 180 majors and programs. The University has enjoyed a meteoric rise in rankings, with U.S. News and World Report ranking the University of Miami as 38th among the nation’s best, reflecting a dramatic rise of nine spots in just one year, and an amazing total of 29 spots since 2001. U.S. News & World Report also recognized UM as the number one school in Florida, and cited several of its programs in “America’s Best Graduate Schools.”

The University of Miami’s mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to the community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of the diversity of its University family, it strives to develop future leaders of the nation and world.

The University is located in Coral Gables, with its main campus housing two colleges and seven schools on 230 acres. Its 153-acre medical campus includes 68 acres dedicated to the Leonard Miller School of Medicine. The medical center includes three University-owned hospitals and the Eye Hospital, home to the top-ranked Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Construction of the UM Life Science and Technology Park will bring together academia and industry for collaboration in bioscience research and innovation. The internationally prominent Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science is on an 18-acre waterfront campus in Biscayne Bay. In addition, there is the south campus, located 10 miles southwest of Coral Gables, which is used for conducting research and development projects, and a Richmond campus, which houses other research facilities.

The University of Miami offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It awards 113 bachelor’s degrees, 102 master’s degrees, and 54 doctoral degrees. Approximately 1,160 degree undergraduates participate in the Honors Programs and the University has 59 academic honor societies. The budget for the 2011-12 year was $2.6 billion, with $1.8 billion projected for the medical campus. The University’s endowment value at the end of FY11 was $719.9 million. More than 13,000 faculty and staff are employed by the University, and the student-faculty ratio is 11:1. Over 16,000 students are enrolled in programs at the University; 14,736 are full-time students, and 10,000-plus are undergraduates.

Counting more than 163,000 alumni in fields spanning from architecture to marine zoology, UM is proud to have produced some of the nation’s and the world’s most successful researchers in academia and industry. UM is home to more than 2,800 extramurally funded research projects (compared with 1,700 in 2011). UM faculty receives approximately $360 million annually from public and private agencies to conduct research, build state-of-the-art facilities, and support over 5,500 graduate students and postdoctoral trainees. $150 million plus in National Institutes of Health funding has made the medical school the top NIH-funded medical school in the state. The gains are a reflection of the University’s recruitment of top physicians and highly productive scientists from across the nation.

More information is available at www.miami.edu

Donna A. Arbide
Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations and the Annual Fund, and Executive Director, UM Alumni Association

Donna Arbide has worked at the University of Miami since 1986 in various capacities. She joined the Office of Alumni Relations in 1993, and served as the Executive Director of the Alumni Association since 2001. In 2004 she became the Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations.

Under her leadership, the UM Alumni Association has made great strides including an increase in alumni participation from 12% in 2001 to 19%, which is the University’s highest. In addition, UM’s overall Alumni Giving has jumped 103 spots to #57 since 2001, an increase that directly affects UM’s #38 ranking in U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges.”

With Donna’s supervision, the Alumni Association has completed two strategic planning processes, and is now completing its third. She has expanded national alumni programming; enhanced the alumni education program; and expanded membership to include more than 163,000 members.

She is the driving force behind the vision of the new on-campus alumni facility: the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center. Thanks to her, and the efforts of UM’s dedicated alumni, the Alumni Association raised more than $23 million dollars to build the long awaited–home away from home–the Newman Alumni Center, which celebrated its grand opening on October 8, 2010.

Donna serves on the CASE Commission for Alumni Relations and has been a faculty member for the Summer Institute for Alumni Relations. Donna earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Alabama in Huntsville 1984, and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Miami in 1995.

Alumni and the University of Miami Alumni Association

There are 163,000 graduates/alumni of the University of Miami, of which 80,107 reside in Florida, including more than 43,000 in Miami-Dade County. Living alumni are in all 50 states and 148 countries.

The recent opening of the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center marked a momentous time in the Alumni Association’s history. Alumni now have a 70,000-square-foot "home away from home" on the Coral Gables campus, complete with a library, business center, living room area, grand room, and café—fittingly named Sebastian's Café. The Newman Alumni Center is the only building on campus completely funded by alumni, with contributions from more than 600 donors. The new center is now home to new campus-based traditions, including the Get Carded receptions. These events welcome new graduates to the UM Alumni Association, give them their official UM alumni card, and enable them to take a photo next to the life-sized bronze sculpture of Sebastian that adorns the Newman Alumni Center entrance.

This year, the Alumni Board of Directors, Alumni Council, and the President's Council led the Association into its third strategic planning process, focusing on areas such as acquiring alumni data, increasing young alumni involvement, telling the University of Miami story, generating alumni/parent leadership opportunities, and growing participation of alumni/parent donors.

Additional accomplishments from fiscal year 2010-2011 include:

  • Spearheading the University's launch of a mobile phone application

  • Garnering two awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for:

    • The Hurricane Points of Pride booklet

    • Overall Alumni Relations Programs

  • A successful three-city tour with new head football coach Al Golden Division of University Advancement, Leadership, and Fundraising Programs

The Division of University Advancement is the central department tasked with organizing all advancement activities for the University of Miami, including fundraising, alumni relations, advancement services, communications and marketing, and government and community relations. The mission of the Division is:

“To promote relationships with and seek financial support from the University’s key audiences, to serve alumni, and to build the University’s brand to enhance its reputation and visibility.”

There are 298 staff overall throughout the University involved in advancement activities. Of those, 81 individuals are front-line major gifts and annual fund fundraisers. The University’s records number over 465,000 constituents, including alumni, donors, friends, parents, corporations, foundations and other organizations. Approximately 65,000 gift checks are processed each year. Recent accomplishments include significant increases in private, cash gifts and grants this past year. Charity Navigator, the largest independent evaluator of charities in the U.S., recognized UM in 2011 with its highest 4-star rating for successful fundraising and financial management during the last 11 years. The University of Miami’s last campaign, Momentum: the Campaign for the University of Miami, exceeded its goal of $1 billion a year ahead of schedule with $1.4 billion in total dollars raised.

The Division of University Advancement is under the capable leadership of Sergio M. Gonzalez, Senior Vice President for University Advancement and External Affairs. Sergio was appointed in December 2001. He is responsible for the implementation of all fundraising and alumni affairs for the University, as well as Communications and Government Affairs. Previously, he served as chief of staff for Miami-Dade County Executive Mayor Alex Penelas. He served as the director of Miami-Dade County Mayor’s Office of Job Creation and Welfare-To-Work and was the executive director of South Florida 1999 Super Bowl Host Committee. Gonzalez was the initial executive director of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. He received his Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, and his J.D. degree from Columbia University.

The Executive Director of Annual Giving

The ED will provide strong strategic leadership for the University’s Annual Giving operation while working closely with colleagues in central development. The ED reports directly to the Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations and the Annual Fund, and leads a team of 11 fundraising and support professionals dedicated to raising current use dollars.

The following are the specific responsibilities and duties of this position:

  • Design and develop a strategic plan and an annual operating plan for the long-term expansion of gift income and alumni and parent donor pools. The strategy will incorporate increasing donor retention and pledge fulfillment, and acquisition of young alumni donors and leadership donors ($1K+).

  • Serve on the University's Capital Campaign Steering Committee and develop plans to integrate the annual fund into the structure of the on-going capital campaign.

  • Raise approximately $6 million in annual fund support with plans to increase 10% per year for the duration of the capital campaign, which launched publicly in Spring 2012. Increase the number of alumni donors from 22K annually to 30K annually by 2017.

  • Provide leadership and direction for mail, phone, internet, and social media fundraising strategies while incorporating young alumni and leadership giving strategies within each as appropriate.

  • Develop a (inter)national annual fund volunteer structure who's goals and priorities align with the overall Annual Fund comprehensive strategic plan and the goals and priorities set in an annual operating plan.

  • Conceptualize and develop a strong Annual Fund brand and message. Scope will include but not be exclusive to annual fund case statements, all positioning and marketing materials, internet and social media design and messaging. Review and approve all annual giving communications, including direct mail appeals, brochures, postcards, form letter acknowledgments, etc.

  • Take responsibility for the recruitment, retention, training and development of a strong annual fund team that provides the stability and continuity necessary to insure uninterrupted current operations support at the highest possible levels.

  • Develop and maintain a strong working relationships with the Division of Advancement including staff in major giving fundraising, special events, gift recording, information technology, and donor relations.

  • Work closely with Development Communications and University Communications in coordination of any high-end giving strategies, mass marketing appeals and overall Annual Fund branding.

  • Staff various committees and subcommittees for the Alumni Association Board. Assists the Executive Director with any other matters of responsibilities deemed appropriate.


The Executive Director can be expected to have the following personal characteristics and profession experience:

  • A minimum of seven years of experience in current use fundraising or related programs. The ideal candidate will possess a proven track record of fundraising, personal solicitations and the development of successful support materials for a sophisticated and comprehensive annual giving campaign preferably from a higher education environment. This includes, but is not limited to, the development of case statements, mass outreach communication materials, close stewardship and follow up of top annual fund donors, and the integration of the annual fund into the organization’s greater fundraising goals.

  • Track record of success in leading and managing a highly motivated staff of fundraising and support professionals. The ideal candidate will have experience in setting the agenda for a team, developing concrete evaluation systems for performance, hiring new staff and engendering camaraderie and team work. A collegial, collaborative and accessible leadership style that is well suited to management in a complex university setting; the ability to manage effectively in an ambiguous environment comprised of multiple constituencies with varying points of view.

  • The maturity, perspective, and credibility necessary to influence members of the senior development team as well as key alumni volunteers, most of whom are leaders in their respective professions and communities. The intellectual depth necessary to understand and translate academic, technical, and other information for a variety of audiences, crisply and concisely.

  • A high degree of comfort working with and deciphering centralized alumni database systems to leverage critical information required for the annual fund team to achieve its target of reaching a wider audience of alumni, parents and friends of UM every year. Personal experience in managing or maintaining database systems is a plus. The drive to work with, and not be hindered by, occasionally ambiguous data that is typical of a large alumni body.

  • Honesty, integrity, enthusiasm, and perspective; a very strong work ethic, supported by commitment and follow-through.

  • Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills are necessary, with a philosophy of teamwork and hands on implementation. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required and the ability to interact with all types of individuals. Travel is expected. Knowledge of Access, Excel, Microsoft Word, and demonstrated working knowledge of the philanthropic aspects of tax law is required.


Applications, including a cover letter, describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word format), and where you learned of the position should be sent to: umiami-edag@nonprofitprofessionals.com. In order to expedite internal sorting and reviewing processes, please type your name (Last, First) as the only contents in the subject line of your e-mail.

The University of Miami is committed to recruiting and employing qualified candidates without regard to race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, veteran or disability status or any factor prohibited by law, and as such affirms in policy and practice to support and promote the concept of equal opportunity and affirmative action in all educational programs and employment activities.

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