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Director of Development

Company: Cornell Plantations, Ithaca, NY
Date Posted: April 19, 2016

With more than 3,000 students and 50,000 alumni, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is the second-largest undergraduate college at Cornell, and the third-largest college of its kind in the United States. National surveys rank CALS as the best college of agriculture and related sciences in the country. Our faculty and staff are among the finest anywhere, and our educational programs are carefully designed to ensure that each student’s education is geared to contemporary, real-world issues. Through teaching, research, and extension, the three components of our mission as a land-grant college, we strive to develop tomorrow’s leaders.

Cornell Plantations is a living plant museum comprising over 3,500 acres of University land in three major areas: the Botanical Gardens, Arboretum, and Natural Areas. An administrative unit of CALS, Plantations manages and protects these areas to support teaching and research at Cornell University; to preserve habitats and rare/endangered plants; and for public use for learning and recreation.

The Director of Development provides strategic leadership for planning and implementation of fundraising and external relations initiatives for Cornell Plantations.

Specifically, The Director of Development coordinates and manages Plantations’ annual giving and membership programs, development communications, and Plantations donor cultivation/stewardship events (on- and off-campus). As the Leadership Gifts Program officer for Plantations, s/he is responsible for prospect identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship with an emphasis on securing annual gifts of $5,000 and greater. S/he also coordinates unit initiatives with CALS AA&D, central AA&D individual giving officers, central AA&D Leadership Giving Program, and the Cornell Annual Fund. 

The Development Director supports and advises the Director of Cornell Plantations and coordinates the volunteer Plantations Advisory Council. S/he has high visibility with many constituencies through individual and group interactions, volunteer management, and events. S/he researches and initiates personal contacts, and travels as needed to meet with donors/prospects. S/he collaborates with the CALS major gift officer responsible for Plantations to coordinate the Plantations Director’s travel for development. This professional is responsible for building and maintaining strong relationships with alumni, donors, friends, stakeholders, and colleagues in the larger division of Alumni Affairs and Development.

The Development Director also serves as a member of the Plantations management team, participating in decision-making, strategic planning, budget, operations, programs, and communications.

Required Qualifications:

  • The candidate must have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of three years experience in development, fund raising, or related experience.
  • Excellent communications skills, both written and verbal, effective organizational skills and strong detail orientation.
  • Ability to work effectively and collaborate in a fast-paced, demanding environment, while handling multiple tasks and competing priorities at the same time.
  • Ability to work independently while supporting the efforts of an overall team.
  • Ability to work effectively and collaborate with a large, diverse staff network.
  • Must be able to learn and effectively apply knowledge of University and College priorities and programs within fund raising efforts. 
  • Sound judgment, tact and discretion in handling highly confidential and sensitive information.
  • Develop innovative and creative options to increase potential prospect base.
  • Ability to develop effective strategies to meet stated goals. Solid event planning experience. 
  • Candidate must be willing to work occasional weekends, evenings, and to undertake business travel.
  • Must have strong computer skills with proficiency in Microsoft desktop applications.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • The preferred candidate will have experience in higher education or similarly complex environments using the concepts and principles of nurturing fund raising, campaign/project fund raising and speculative fund raising.
  • Experience in alumni affairs, development, and communications, preferably at Cornell.
  • Experience in recruiting, training, and developing volunteers.