Job Description

Executive Director of Major Gifts (Development & Alumni Engagement)
Danville, KY, United States of America
$0.00 - $0.00



Centre College is a premier national liberal arts college that serves approximately 1,400 students and provides a supportive community and a flexible, personal academic path to a meaningful life and career. Founded in 1819, Centre accomplishes its goals in an atmosphere of caring and respectful relationships among faculty, students, and staff. The College has an endowment in excess of $420 million and an operating budget of more than $65 million.

Centre welcomes and supports diversity. The College strives to create an environment where differences are celebrated, where individuals can exchange ideas and share in the richness of mutual experiences. Please view our Statement of Community

Located in Danville, KY, the historic, picturesque 150-acre campus is 30 miles from Lexington, in the famed Bluegrass Region of Central Kentucky.

Job Skills / Requirements

Centre College invites applications for the position of Executive Director of Major Gifts.  

  • Reporting to and working closely with the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, the Executive Director of Major Gifts is responsible for creating and implementing an ambitious major gift fundraising strategy for the college including developing and managing relationships and securing support from donors who are capable of making gifts from $50,000 to $5 million. The individual will manage a personal portfolio of approximately 100-125 prospects, as well as lead and mentor a team of talented and dedicated major gift officers. The Executive Director will work closely with Major Gifts Officers and advancement team members to secure a goal of $10 million in new Major Gift Commitments annually. 
Essential Job Functions:
  • Works with Major Gifts Officers and advancement team members to secure a goal of $10 million in new Major Gift Commitments annually. 
  • Manages approximately 100-125 key major gift prospects with the expectation of visiting each of these at least once annually, with a goal of shepherding these prospects through the donor cultivation cycle to a successful six or seven-figure gift solicitation. Designs and implements strategy for donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship;
  • Targeted goal of 10-12 visits per month with highly rated Major Gift and Principal Gift prospects as determined by the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement.  
  • Collects and analyzes data on donors’ patterns of engagement and philanthropy at Centre College and uses this information to guide decision making regarding the deployment of staff and volunteer resources;
  • Manages direct reports with focus on fundraising success and implements strategies across the team to increase engagement and philanthropic support for Centre College.  
  • Plans and organizes unique fundraising programs as assigned to include class reunion giving programs as well as special campus projects.  
  • Demonstrates an appreciation of and commitment to further an inclusive culture for those of diverse backgrounds such as ability, age, class, ethnicity, faith background, gender expression, gender identity, geographic region, national origin, neurodiversity, race, and sexual orientation that comprise individual and group expressions of identity. 
  • Meets regularly with the Major Gift staff, individually and as a team;
  • Will work closely with faculty and staff to promote acquisitions of major gifts for his/her own portfolio as well as for those in direct report portfolios. 
  • Completes administrative tasks related to performance reviews for direct reports, pipeline development, and benchmarking performance metrics for direct reports;
  • Works collaboratively with other members of the Development and Alumni team to ensure coordination amongst individual giving programs and to advance the overall goals of the division;
  • Develops appropriate stewardship plans for significant donors in conjunction with the Director of Stewardship;
  • Frequently leads staffing of Development and Alumni Relations events, both on campus and off campus; 
Marginal Job Functions:
  • Contributes to the overall success of the department by performing all other essential duties and responsibilities as assigned.
Education and Experience
  • Bachelor’s degree is required. A minimum of seven to ten years of director fundraising experience is required. Previous management experience supervising a team of direct reports is required. Demonstrated history of closing high level six and seven figure gifts is required. Extensive knowledge of the donor cultivation cycle and experience in the field of Higher Education is preferred.  The selected candidate will clearly articulate the mission and values of Centre College to donors, alumni, faculty and staff and other team members.  
  • This position requires a proven track record as a front-line fundraiser and manager; excellent written and oral communications; experience staffing and collaborating with donors and volunteers; experience in managing staff with a compassionate, clear, and decisive leadership and management style; the highest ethical standards; an entrepreneurial spirit; a nuanced understanding of donors’ motivations; creativity; and the ability to travel regularly.  The Executive Director will be expected to work full time in the office at Centre College in Danville, KY or the surrounding area.  This is a fully in-person position.  
  • The Director will be a proven leader who values traditions, collaboration, innovation and creativity, and is well versed in current relationship-driven fundraising and alumni engagement strategies and tactics. Successful candidates will bring significant experience in a management role in a fundraising program and possess an authentic commitment to a liberal arts education and the capacity to articulate passionately its value and relevance. 
Knowledge and Skills
  • Demonstrated success with cultivating, soliciting and closing significant major gifts;
  • Expertise in comprehensive fundraising planning, implementation, and completion;
  • Track record of performing in a team centered management context.  
  • Experience developing and articulating a strategic vision with measurable goals using data and metrics;
  • Outstanding relational skills, including an ability and commitment to listening and problem-solving, a desire and ability to earn respect and trust across all levels of the institution;
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion, especially in the efforts to successfully recruit, develop, and retain top-tier talent; 
  • The skill to advocate for the mission and priorities of the institution and development;
  • Knowledge of current best practices in Development and Alumni Relations for incorporating technology into fundraising and donor engagement strategies as well as leveraging strategic communications efforts.  
 Physical Requirements:
  •             Limited pushing, pulling, lifting.  Lifting would not exceed 20 lbs.
  •             Mobility on campus and ability to travel necessary.
TO APPLY :Interested applicants must apply through the Centre College Human Resources site at 

Employment at Centre | Centre College (with a cover letter, resume, and list of references).  Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until filled.

Education Requirements (Any)

Bachelors degree in business, marketing, psychology, communication or other related major.

Additional Information / Benefits

Medical/Dental/Vision/Life Insurance
Retirement Plan
Healthcare Flexible Spending Account
Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account
Caregiver Support Program and Employee Assistance Program
Long-Term Disability
Paid Time Off, Holidays and Sick Time
Holiday Shutdown Period
Staff Education and Development
Tuition Benefit for Dependent Children 
Gym Access
Pet Insurance
Free Library Access
Campus Bookstore Discounts
Discounted Norton Center Tickets

Benefits: Medical Insurance, Life Insurance, Dental Insurance, Vision Insurance, Paid Vacation, Paid Sick Days, Paid Holidays, Long Term Disability, 401K/403b Plan

This job reports to the VP for Development and Alumni Relations

This is a Full-Time position 1st Shift, Weekends.

Relocation is not provided and travel is not required

Number of Openings for this position: 1