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Job Details

Job Number:  57784
Executive Director, Principal Gifts
Job Posted: Monday, 23 September 2019
Closing Date: Monday, 4 November 2019
(in 19 days)
Queens University
Region: Eastern Ontario Type: Full time
Location: Kingston Salary: (not entered)

Reporting to the Chief Development Officer, the Executive Director, Principal Gifts will provide strategic direction and leadership on principal gifts fundraising strategies for transformational initiatives of the highest value and priority to Queen’s University.  In partnership with the Advancement and Development Leadership Teams, campus partners and senior administrators, the incumbent will design, execute and oversee a sophisticated principal gifts program with targeted strategies aimed to maximize lifetime-time engagement and philanthropic support of gifts in the $5 million + range, largely from individuals.  This includes facilitating strategies, monitoring and coordinating initiatives; and ensuring that next steps are completed in a timely manner with the goal of furthering the university’s development goals. The Executive Director manages a diverse and sophisticated portfolio of principal gift level donors and serves as a key advisor to the Vice-Principal (Advancement), Chief Development Officer, the Development Leadership Team, volunteers, and other key campus partners, providing high level expertise, strategic direction, and facilitation in the development and implementation of principal gift fundraising strategies.


This position requires travel within and outside of Canada. Work on evenings and weekends is occasionally required.




  • Collaborates with partners to design, implement, and oversee the principal gift program at Queen’s, with strategies aimed to grow a pipeline of principal gift prospects ($5 million +) through the identification, evaluation, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of high net-worth prospects and major gift donors.
  • Helps develop and lead a sophisticated principal gifts program at Queen’s, designed to obtain transformational and maximum long-term financial support for the university. Program elements include in-person visits, data-mining, working with allied professionals, supporting family wealth initiatives, and other means of inspiring principal gifts.
  • Works with the Chief Development Officer to design and recruit a Principal Gifts Advisory Committee. Recommends prospects for service on committees/boards, facilitates engagement, orchestrates a broad range of influential volunteers, and university senior administrators, who will assist in securing principal gifts.
  • In collaboration with Advancement staff, works to expand and diversify the base of principal gift prospects and donors by researching and developing donor strategies. Personally manages a portfolio of 10+ high-potential principal gift prospects and works with a small pool of major gift prospects.
  • Serves as a trusted advisor, and university-wide resource and liaison to donors, the Office of Advancement, senior university officials, volunteers, allied professionals, executors, and others, to coordinate strategies and help secure principal gift commitments. Fosters and reinforces a non-territorial, sophisticated approach to donor-centric philanthropy which encourages collaboration, flexibility and responsiveness. Stays abreast of philanthropic developments, giving vehicles, and/or relevant legislation that may assist in maximizing revenue.
  • Collaborates with Donor Relations to establish timely and appropriate stewardship plans, ensuring gifts are handled and recognized according to sound Advancement practices.
  • Works closely with the Prospect Research team to identify potential donors at the principal gift level.
  • Helps develop a process to sustainably identify “big ideas” for consideration by prospective principal gift level donors.
  • Works with Advancement colleagues on internal and external communications, briefing notes, research profiles, funding proposals, gift agreements, stewardship reports, and accountability reports. Ensures all necessary constituents are involved in key efforts focused on specific prospects.
  • Ensures all contact reports are recorded in a timely fashion on the Advance database.
  • Develops and maintains an in-depth knowledge of the university’s activities, priorities and needs in both teaching and research. Applies this knowledge in matching the interests and needs of prospective donors with the strategic needs of the university.
  • Contributes to the strategy for comprehensive and project specific fundraising campaigns.
  • Develops measurements for timely evaluation of program performance and forecasting.
  • Manages the operating budget for the Principal Gifts unit.
  • Serves as a member of the Development Leadership Team.
  • Represents the university and the Office of Advancement on committees and to internal and external audiences, ensuring understanding and adoption of Advancement policies and procedures.
  • Promotes a culture of inclusion, with a commitment to the university’s equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion initiatives designed to foster an inclusive, supportive, and welcoming work environment for individuals with diverse backgrounds and identities.
  • Plans, prioritizes and manages the work of employees, providing strategic and tactical advice, guidance and coaching. Identifies the need for staff resources, participates on staffing committees, and makes effective recommendations regarding employee selection. 
  • Manages performance by establishing performance standards, reviewing and evaluating performance, and conducting formal performance reviews on an ongoing basis.
  • Assesses staff training and development needs, and ensures employees receive training required to improve and sustain successful performance.
  • Investigates, addresses and resolves employee/labour relations issues, including making decisions regarding disciplinary and discharge matters.
  • Undertakes other duties as assigned in support of the unit and/or department.




  • University degree.
  • Minimum 10 years of progressive experience engaging with donors and managing fundraising programs, with a focus on principal, major and planned giving, preferably in a university setting.
  • Demonstrated ability to inspire and raise donor sights, articulate aspirational goals and institutional priorities, and effectively present philanthropic opportunities to high net-worth prospects and donors.
  • Strong record of involvement in seven-figure gifts.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of diverse giving vehicles, as well as a demonstrated understanding of family wealth management and integrated gift strategies.
  • Outstanding prospect management and tracking skills including proven success identifying, evaluating, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding donors at the major and principal gift levels.
  • Proven success developing and implementing strategic plans and meeting objectives.
  • Experience working as part of a large and complex organization considered an asset.
  • Demonstrated success working with volunteers to achieve shared goals.
  • Proven leadership and human resources management skills including recruiting, organizing, directing, motivating and retaining staff and volunteers.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of federal and provincial Canadian legislation affecting charities and charitable status in order to secure complex principal, planned and major gifts.
  • Understanding of the administrative, academic, and governance structures of the university environment, and the challenges faced by post-secondary institutions.
  • Strategic planning, budgeting and financial management skills to oversee and forecast the Principal Gifts unit budget portfolio and assess budget implications of strategic initiatives.
  • Holds or working towards the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) or equivalent considered an asset.
  • A valid driver’s license and passport with no travel restrictions is required.
  • Consideration will be given to an equivalent combination of education and experience.




  • Proven ability to effectively build and manage long-term and productive relationships with donors, volunteers, colleagues and organizational administrators. The ability to foster inclusiveness and diversity of ideas.
  • Adept at interpreting the interests of donors and matching them to the strategic needs of the university.
  • Ability to think and act strategically and creatively in a high-pressure work environment.
  • Ability to identify optimal approaches to secure cooperation from campus partners – senior administrators, faculties, schools, departments - in support of stakeholder engagement and fundraising strategies.
  • Persuasive and creative communication and presentation skills that allow success both within the campus environment and in the field.
  • Ability to convey technical, tax and legal material related charitable giving in both oral and written form effectively, concisely, and in a broadly accessible manner.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, with an ability to compile and interpret data from a variety of sources, select appropriate methods of analysis, monitor emerging trends and issues, and disseminate information.
  • Ability to recognize and make complex decisions with good judgement and acute sensitivity to the political environment and to the reputation of the Office of Advancement and the university.
  • Self-motivated and results driven.
  • Motivated by the opportunity to communicate the impact of a transformational gift.
  • Ability to adapt to changing new technology and trends, assess innovation for institutional benefit and impact.




  • Determines content of annual and long-term plans and strategies for principal gift programs based on sound fundraising principles and in the best interest of the university. Oversees plans to ensure established fundraising targets are met and philanthropic revenue to the university is maximized.
  • Assesses issues/priorities and provides expert guidance to senior administrators on strategic planning issues, major and principal gifts, family wealth, and integrated gift arrangements. Decides on the best strategic plan for future relations with donors and other constituents in collaboration with the Advancement Leadership Team.
  • Determines when it is appropriate to involve University administrators (including the Chancellor, the Principal, Vice-Principal’s and Dean’s) and top University volunteers (including members of the Board of Trustees and Advisory Boards) in fundraising cultivation, solicitation or stewardship strategies.
  • Recognizes when to call on other staff members in Advancement including university-wide and Faculty Development; Advancement Communications, Marketing, Events and Donor Relations; Advancement Services; and Alumni Relations & Annual Giving for their expertise.
  • Monitors and evaluates progress and impact on assigned work of the unit, assists in problem-solving, and determines necessary adjustments to courses of action to maximize effectiveness and timely work completion.
  • Evaluates job candidates and makes effective recommendations on suitable hires.
  • Makes decision and/or effective recommendations regarding transfers and promotions.
  • Evaluates employee performance and decides on appropriate training or coaching to address lack of proficiency in carrying out responsibilities, or remedial action for staff disciplinary situations.
  • Assesses investigation outcome of grievances and makes effective recommendations on appropriate course of action or next steps on grievances.
  • Makes effective recommendations on level of discipline up to discharge and probationary termination.
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Contact Details
Queens University

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