The Winchendon School (TWS) seeks a seasoned and mission-enthusiastic fundraiser to serve as our Director of Philanthropy and lead our major gift efforts with individual donors as well as increasingly with foundations and other institutions. While well-established as an almost 100 year-old boarding school outside of Boston serving approximately 250 students in grades 9-12, TWS is also in the early stages of a strategic plan which anticipates the opening of a series of satellite campuses for day students in major urban markets over the next decade. TWS will open its first satellite campus in NYC in September 2018.
TWS is looking for a strategic thinking and highly engaging leader who can guide our fundraising efforts during this exciting inflection point in our history. We expect that this strategy will broaden our appeal with existing constituents including past parents and alumni as well as with prospective donors in our new host cities.
The ideal Director will:
Take the lead in cultivating relationships with existing and prospective donors, including traditional supporters from our ranks of alumni, past parents, and friends - as well as creating opportunities with foundations and other potential institutional donors.
While the Director will maintain her/his own portfolio of prospective donors, she/he will be even more focused on stewarding relations for an eventual “ask” by the members of the leadership team including the two campus heads (MA and NY), the COO, CEO. and possibly certain BOT members.
Commit to developing individual, donor-centric strategies
Quickly become passionate about TWS’ mission and commitment to providing a highly distinctive, supportive and most often highly transformative education for students who haven’t always thrived in more traditional settings.
The Director of Philanthropy is a senior administrator reporting to the Chief Operating Officer and also collaborating closely with and supporting all members of the school’s leadership team including the CEO and COO, Head of Schools (MA and NY), and certain members of the BOT. Unlike some organizations, the Director will have purposefully limited administrative responsibilities in order to free her/him to focus on stewardship, research, networking and coordinating leadership efforts. The Director will be supported by a database and research administrative assistant in MA, as well as the alumni relations and communications teams on TWS’s main campus. S/he will need to work closely with and support their efforts, but will not have to oversee them. (Those teams also report through the COO.) It is anticipated that the Director would build a small team of gift officers or solicitors as fundraising expectations increase in coming years.
The position is charged with the responsibility for all activities involving the planning and management of the School’s fundraising program including prospect research, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. The Director will coordinate the efforts with all major prospective donors (annual > $5k, major > $25k) and be responsible for the achievement of key fundraising goals. Our overall goal is to quickly (over the next 2-3 years) rebuild the School’s philanthropy efforts such that we are generating $1mm annually in receipts towards combined annual and major gifts efforts - and then to expand that to support the expected growing network of satellite campuses. We do not project that we will consider a formal campaign until ‘20-21 if then. Other responsibilities will include:
Developing and maintaining positive relationships with donors and key stakeholders
Leading the School’s stewardship strategies and policies.
Preparing an annual fundraising plan for review and approval by the COO and CEO
Providing leadership and guidance for office staff as to how to best leverage database systems (Blackbaud), complete effective research, and communications content for major prospects.
Coordinating the strategy for annual fund initiatives, working with the alumni, parents and communications staff for the implementation of appeals(printed, verbal, in-person and potentially events) and then focusing his/her and the leadership team’s efforts on those who can make larger (>$5k) donations.
While the Director will not have direct oversight for the alumni/parent and communications staff, s/he will work very closely with them, helping establish strategy, priorities, and messaging, as well as mentoring less experienced employees who are committed to the School’s overall fundraising, engagement and communications efforts.
Candidates must possess the following background, skills, and habits:
Minimum of 7-10 years of successful high-net-worth donor stewardship and fundraising - some experience seeking grants from foundations and other institutions preferred
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills - listening, spoken, written, digital
Comfortable working in a fast-paced, sometimes ambiguous, often remote, team-based environment
The confidence and desire to be constantly engaging new prospective supporters
Independent, self-disciplined and digital savvy - comfortable working and supporting oneself independently - and able to leverage technology to effectively communicate and collaborate with colleagues and prospects.
Location is flexible, although the successful candidate will need to travel seven to ten days each month plus expect to be on one of the School’s campuses for a day or two each month. Many of the School’s current and potential donors reside at least part of the year in the northeast. Limited international travel, especially to Asia, may also be appropriate given the School’s goals. Accordingly, the candidate ideally will live within 75 miles or so of Boston, Hartford or New York.