Associate Director of Development, College of Engineering

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association* (WFAA) is seeking a development professional to join the advancement team working on behalf of the Department of Mechanical Engineering within the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Associate Director of Development is primarily responsible for qualifying major gift prospects and soliciting major, estate and leadership annual gifts in support of the department and College, including multi-year annual pledges of at least $1000/year, as well as major and estate gifts of $25,000 and above. The Associate Director is responsible for raising at least $500,000 in philanthropic support annually.

This exceptional opportunity comes at an exciting time in the history of the University of Wisconsin, which is in the midst of the University’s fourth and largest comprehensive campaign. This position is an integral part of a highly collaborative, energetic and innovative development team for the UW-Madison College of Engineering.

WFAA is the private fundraising and alumni relations organization for UW-Madison. The College of Engineering is one of the University’s major units, with more than 4,000 students and over 40,000 alumni. Development efforts strive to involve alumni and friends in the life of the departments and College, resulting in their increased engagement and philanthropic support.

The successful candidate for this position will drive strategic development initiatives related to the identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of individual donors, with an emphasis on lead annual gifts for the department and the College. The successful candidate will be forward thinking, dynamic, energetic, and an innovative team player who can effectively engage donors with the vision and strategy of the department, college and campus.

Primary responsibilities:


  • Develop strategies for lead annual gifts and initial major gifts related to capital campaigns in order to meet fund raising goals, and ongoing fundraising support in collaboration with department chair/dean/advancement dean/faculty/staff, WFAA team and colleagues.
  • Implement development strategies with assigned constituencies, managing a portfolio of prospects and donors in varying stages of involvement to advance them strategically through the development process.
  • Work with prospect management, WFAA research and development colleagues to identify and qualify a portfolio of major gift prospects from existing and potential donors.
  • Plan and conduct visits/trips, events and other ongoing contact to build relationships with donors, effectively presenting the case for philanthropic support and explaining gift opportunities.
  • Minimum of 25% travel.

Donor Relations/Stewardship/Recognition

  • Plan and implement recognition for donors, including writing thank you letters, making personal calls, arranging meetings, hosting small VIP prospect gatherings, etc.


  • Write regular progress reports on prospect cultivation and solicitation, completing and filing thorough reports of all contacts in a timely manner.
  • Collaborate on writing of Memoranda of Agreement (MOA’s) as necessary.
  • Monitor giving patterns and results for prospects/donors in portfolio and provide regular written or oral reports on progress and results of work with these prospects.


  • Communicate effectively and meaningfully with groups and individuals in diverse settings using a range of techniques including face to face, telephone, email, written correspondence, public speaking and meeting facilitation.
  • Build and maintain effective working relationships at all organizational levels – colleagues, chair, dean, campus staff, donors, volunteers and others.
  • Possess excellent interpersonal skills, including political acumen, and ability to work collaboratively to achieve common goals.
  • Demonstrate strong initiative and attention to detail.
  • Available for some evening and weekend work.
  • Continually acquire and utilize professional knowledge/skill/ability and share that expertise with others in the organization.
  • Use a computer for communicating via e-mail, writing, researching prospects, completing reports, etc.
  • Travel by car, plane, cab, and foot (or with assistive device, e.g. wheelchair).
  • Act in accordance with the WFAA core values.
  • Have a knowledge of and appreciation for UW, College and WFAA mission, history and goals.

Support a service-oriented atmosphere in accordance with WFAA mission, values and philosophy

  • Strategic beliefs
    • The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a transforming impact on students, alumni, and society;
    • Authentic, lifelong relationships and engagement with alumni, donors and friends are fundamental to sustaining the reputation and continued success of the University;
    • Philanthropy has an essential and growing importance on the future progress of UW-Madison;
    • The highest level of stewardship and fiduciary responsibility in financial, investment, data and gift administration is vital to maintaining trust with our stakeholders;
    • Diverse views, experiences and perspectives strengthen WFAA and the university community.
  • Organizational values
    • We are serious about delivering results;
    • We work together and with our campus partners as a team;
    • We are committed to alumni, donors, volunteers and others;
    • We are open-minded;
    • We create a positive work environment.


  • Minimum of a bachelor degree; advanced degree preferred.
  • Minimum 3 years’ experience in gift development.
  • Ability to articulate the case for support with sufficient effectiveness so that individuals understand the vision and strategy of the department and College, and choose to invest in the vision.
  • Excellent oral, written, interpersonal, analytical and organizational skills required.
  • Self-directed, team player who has a strong work ethic, ability to multi-task, and a results orientation.
  • Ability to work effectively with University officials, faculty, prominent alumni, business leaders and other high-level individuals.
  • Entrepreneurial skills, creativity, and ability to innovate.
  • Ability to meet travel requirements (minimum of 25%).

The Associate Director of Development reports to a Managing Senior Director of Development at the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association. This is a full-time position involving travel. We offer a competitive salary and an excellent benefit program!