Director of Annual Giving

Posted on 03/02/2021

Hamilton College

Clinton, NY

About the Hamilton Fund:

Hamilton’s tradition of philanthropy stretches back to its founding. In the 1930s, President Frederick Carlos Ferry inaugurated organized alumni giving with the creation of the Annual (now Hamilton) Fund, which has enjoyed increasing support from alumni, parents, and other friends of the College ever since. In recent decades, the Hamilton Fund has never missed its dollar goal. For 32 consecutive years, until 2013, more than 50 percent of alumni supported the College — in some years, more than 60 percent. Annual giving has always been the centerpiece of philanthropy at the College; it is a central pillar of every capital campaign, including the current Because Hamilton campaign, with a Hamilton Fund target of $60 million as part of the overall $400-million effort. To date, nearly $40 million has been raised. From its beginning, the success of the Hamilton Fund has signaled to the College community the paramount importance of unrestricted giving. In addition, Hamilton pioneered the focus on young alumni, creating a program for the Graduates Of the Last Decade (GOLD) which became a model widely adopted by colleges across the country. Hamilton’s GOLD classes regularly exceed College-wide participation by two and sometimes three points. Resources provided by the Hamilton Fund are critical to sustaining the hallmarks of a Hamilton College education, including small classes, an open curriculum and a singular focus on undergraduate education that ensures that leading scholars engage daily with talented, curious students in a sustainable campus environment. Hamilton equips students for leadership in an increasingly global and complex world.

Position Specifics:

The Director of Annual Giving is responsible for strategic plans to maximize the number and impact of gifts of current-use dollars and maintain, with a goal to increase, alumni participation rates and provide direction for the team implementing the Hamilton Fund programs. The Director will provide strategic leadership, effective management, and inspiration to the Advancement team and key volunteers responsible for securing higher levels of unrestricted support from an increasingly diverse constituency. Volunteer-based fundraising is a central component to securing these annual giving dollars.

The Director supervises a team of four gift officers and one support staff member. One officer, the Director of Annual Leadership Giving, manages a substantial portfolio of $2,500+ donors who will eventually feed the pipeline of major gift prospects. The Director of Annual Giving and his/her team support our volunteers responsible for securing unrestricted annual gifts from the College’s 21,000 alumni as well as parents and friends. All Hamilton Fund staff manage the committee and volunteer work of ten or more classes, including two reunion classes, and each tends a portfolio of 200-300 donors of $500 or more. Each gift officer has an additional program-management responsibility — for example, supporting the 50th Reunion class; managing the Chapel Bell Society of recurring monthly donors; motivating the GOLD group of classes; or directing student philanthropy and the Senior Gift. The Director oversees the execution of separate strategies for increasing both the number of donors and the total of Hamilton Fund dollars given to the College each year.

Although structurally separate from the major gifts team, Hamilton Fund staff — coordinated by the Director of Annual Leadership Giving — work closely with those officers to optimize giving in reunion years, and to ensure that the Hamilton Fund is part of all gift solicitations.

The Director of Annual Giving is a senior member of the Constituent Engagement division of the Advancement office and works shoulder to shoulder with the Director of Alumni Relations and the Director of Advancement Events and Promotion to develop integrated programming that attracts ever more resources — donors, dollars, volunteers — to the College.  The Director coordinates all promotions and content for the Hamilton Fund working with the Advancement Promotions team.  The Director sets strategy as it relates to the solicitation of unrestricted gifts, including management of a Leadership Gift Program, Parents Fund, Senior Gift and the Hamilton Alumni Leadership Training program. The Director also represents Hamilton in the STAFF consortium of peer colleges, a professional association dedicated to advancing best practices in annual giving that Hamilton helped to found in the mid-1980s.

The Advancement Office also boasts an analytics team which provides data and support to inform strategy.  At Hamilton, the Director is expected to develop relationships and be the face of the Hamilton Fund with Trustees, members of the Alumni Council and within the Hamilton community.

The Director of Annual Giving reports to the Associate Vice President for Constituent Engagement.


  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Seven or more years of work experience in a relevant field preferred.
  • Experience working in a senior role in development/advancement with significant cross-team responsibilities (beyond own team management).

The Director of Annual Giving will bring many of the following professional qualities and experiences:

  • Relevant experience, preferably in higher education annual giving programs, recognized for their strength and effectiveness, or similar experience in a non-profit complex environment that emphasizes broad-based fundraising, donor acquisition, volunteer management, and stewardship.
  • Demonstrated experience using data to guide fundraising efforts. Conversant with robust data analytic skills to guide a comprehensive and intricate fundraising program.
  • Sophisticated understanding of digital communications strategies to include social media, fundraising software, and email-based solicitations.
  • Focused and disciplined administrator able to formulate an achievable timeline, establish and communicate priorities, and execute an effective strategy for a complex annual giving program.
  • Conversant in social media and other tools and how they may be used to support communication and marketing efforts and increase alumni participation rates and revenue.
  • Extensive experience providing meaningful engagement opportunities to volunteers; the ability to work successfully and effectively with a wide range of constituents and manage complex relationships.
  • A keen understanding and appreciation for the role annual, unrestricted giving has on the overall fundraising success of an organization and the fiscal health of an institution.
  • Proven management skills in establishing a team- and goal-oriented environment that empowers staff through active communication and delegation and which builds confidence, promotes diversity of thought, and celebrates achievements.
  • Talented team leader adept at motivating, training, and managing a staff with diverse skills and experience.
  • Superior communication skills with the ability to connect to a variety of audiences; clarity, crispness, and persuasiveness in written and oral communications.
  • Resourceful, goal-oriented individual with a strong work ethic, high degree of creativity, and sound judgment.
  • Political savvy to lead and navigate effectively in a complex environment; the desire and ability to build bridges and strong collaborative relationships with all members of an operation and across an institution.
  • Commitment to equity – has developed or worked with initiatives that serve underrepresented groups.
  • Skilled problem-solver who has the ability to analyze information and think strategically, critically, and creatively; the ability to translate new ideas into executable and enduring programs.
  • Familiarity with IRS regulations—as they relate to philanthropic giving—and accounting and reporting standards.
  • A commitment to building the best annual giving program among liberal arts colleges; a passion for higher education.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

Hamilton College is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity employer and encourages diversity in all areas of the campus community.

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