Director of Operations and Communications

Posted on 12/17/2021

Columbia Business School

New York, NY

Position Summary: 

The Individual Giving team is a critical component of Columbia Business School’s vision for the future with responsibility for stewardship of donors up to $250,000.  Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Operations and Communications leads strategy, operations, and management related to increasing the number of dollars and donors to the School’s annual fund through broad-based marketing strategies.  Additionally, the Director manages a portfolio of roughly 60 leadership donors, gifts of $2,500 or more, through visits, phone calls, and other forms of personalized outreach.  The Director is also responsible for maintaining and leveraging various internal and external relationships such as vendors and university-wide annual fund support departments.

The Director is expected to be a collaborative member of the Individual Giving team and will manage 3 full-time employees, student workers, and part-time/casual employees.  The individual will meet core and partnership values of teamwork, integrity, accountability, and respect.


  • Lead and develop all aspects of the School’s direct mail/video/email solicitation projects for the annual funds (these communications are shared with many of the School’s 40,000+ alumni).  Partner with the Executive Director to develop annual fund and leadership giving strategy based on historical donor behaviors, empirical data, industry trends, and available institutional resources.  Work with a team of colleagues who will assist in setting individual donor outreach and solicitation goals. Research and develop implementation plans for innovative approaches to annual fund solicitation.
  • Create specialized appeal letters for our constituents, including infinity groups, specialized campaigns, end of fiscal year annual fund appeals, solicitation letters, and philanthropy education copy.  Develop annual fund design concepts with key partners in External Relations and Development as well as Marketing and Communications.
  • Work to increase giving among a portfolio of approximately 60 leadership donors and potential donors with principal focus on multi-year commitments to the annual fund between $50,000 and $250,000 annually.
  • Oversee the production of the “Report to Investors” to ensure data integrity, financial accuracy and works closely to review all information submitted by the Assistant Director and the Senior Associate Director. Partners with the Vice Dean on all annual fund stewardship efforts and reporting.
  • Manage and develop three staff that support the implementation of annual fund administration, operations, communications, data reporting, and project management. Train team members on best practices in annual fund reporting, data management, annual fund appeals, and annual fund operations. Proactively works to monitor and review performance, set goals and trains team members on best practices.
  • Serve as the division-wide point of contact for overall annual fund reporting, including annual fund affinity reporting (CBS Board, faculty and staff, students, alumnae, regional, etc.).  Ensure solicitation costs, philanthropy education costs, and the data-driven results are tracked regularly, including updating weekly/monthly progress reports.  Maintain clear and accurate records and samples for annual fund and leadership giving outreach.  Manage a periodic review of all purchase orders and bid processes related to annual fund operations.
  • Manage relationships for mail production vendors and the University Annual Fund Program (AFP) partners to ensure accuracy of mailings.  Periodically reviews vendor service offerings to identify opportunities for process improvements for all mail production and works to ensure that bidding process is within budget.
  • Work closely with the Executive Director of Individual Giving to support projects related to unrestricted giving growth, including, but not limited to, Reunion, Columbia Giving Day, and Hermes Society activities.
  • Other strategic projects as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s degree required. Advanced degree preferred.
  • Minimum of 5 years of work experience required.
  • Must have demonstrated excellent written, oral, and presentation skills.
  • Highly detail oriented required.
  • Must be self-motivated with the ability to work autonomously and under time constraints and oversee diverse projects simultaneously.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite, Google suite, and donor databases.
  • Strong analytical and technical skills necessary.
  • Collegial perspective and customer focused.
  • Must have prior supervisory experience.
  • Availability to work nights and a few weekends a year to staff Reunion events and other Business School gatherings.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Minimum of 5 years of development, sales, or marketing/communications experience preferred.
  • Higher education experience strongly preferred.
  • Strong fundraising writing experience preferred.
  • Working knowledge of web development, video production, and social media campaigns preferred.

Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.

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