Director of Development, College of Letters & Science

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA), the private fundraising and alumni relations organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison is seeking a Director of Development professional to help develop and implement a major gifts program benefiting three physical science departments in the College of Letters & Science (L&S). Employed by WFAA and reporting to the Associate Vice President and Managing Director for L&S, the Director of Development will work closely with the leadership of three L&S departments and WFAA staff as appropriate.

L&S is the University’s core academic unit, with approximately 17,000 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate students, 950 faculty and 215,000 alumni. Its 39 departments encompass the arts and humanities, and the social and physical sciences. In 2018, L&S received more than 11,000 gifts and pledges totaling more than $78 million. The departments of Geoscience, Physics and Astronomy are distinguished in their scholarship, teaching, and public outreach, with each rated in the top-20 programs nationally. Their areas of research excellence, too numerous to list, span the range of the physical universe as well as the origins and future condition of our planet.

The Director of Development will be responsible for assisting in the effort to identify resources that advance the strategic goals of L&S and will be instrumental in creating and executing a major gifts program in collaboration with the leadership of the three aforementioned departments. Whether it is securing support for faculty research in critical areas, building endowments to sustain vital programs, or raising funds for scholarships or innovative new projects, this position presents an opportunity to work with alumni and supporters of the sciences from across the country, while affecting the future study of the physical world at UW-Madison.

The Director of Development will work collaboratively to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Work with the leadership of L&S and the three departments to design, implement, and manage strategic plans for a comprehensive major gift program;
  • Self-direct prospect identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, stewardship and the management of a portfolio of potential and current donors, with a focus on major gifts that advance L&S and departmental strategic priorities;
  • Communicate effectively and meaningfully with individuals in diverse settings, internal and external, using a range of techniques including face to face, phone, email and written correspondence;
  • Plan and conduct prospect meetings in multiple locations, with a key strategic focus for all L&S prospects in one geographic region, using time and other resources effectively to maximize desired outcomes;
  • Foster a culture of philanthropy in the three departments by educating staff as requested and as appropriate, as well as engage departmental staff as vital partners in donor cultivation and stewardship;
  • Understand and access resources within WFAA to support the fund development process, e.g., research, annual giving, planned giving, stewardship, legal, accounting, and investments;
  • Effectively navigate relationships within and between L&S, WFAA, other UW-Madison programs, and other constituents;
  • Have a knowledge of and appreciation for UW-Madison and the L&S mission and goals.


  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree;
  • 2 + years of fund development experience, with focus on major gifts, or a strong record of related professional experience;
  • An intellectual curiosity about the liberal arts, but particularly in the physical sciences, and an interest in promoting its programs;
  • Excellent oral, written, interpersonal, analytical and organizational skills;
  • Ability to work independently, in addition to being a member of an effective development team, who has a strong, results-oriented work ethic;
  • Willingness and ability to meet travel requirements (approximately 25%).
  • Ability to articulate the case for private support with sufficient effectiveness so that individuals understand the L&S strategy and choose to invest in the vision;

L&S and the WFAA are committed to building an inclusive community free of social bias and exclusion. We recognize the value of diversity in persons and in perspectives; value people and the differences that they bring to the organization; and strive to create an environment in which all staff members feel respected personally and professionally, and have opportunities in which to thrive. All positions within both organizations will be called on to contribute in building this environment. As an equal opportunity employer, we encourage all qualified individuals to apply.

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