Director of Development, School of Education

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) is seeking a development professional to support the School of Education (SoE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Director of Development is primarily responsible for qualifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding major gift prospects for the SoE.  This position is in Madison, Wisconsin. Although this position allows for some remote work, the Director of Development must have easy access to the Madison, Wisconsin campus as well as an ability to travel significantly (25%).

WFAA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing support for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The School of Education (SoE) and many of its programs are widely regarded as being among the very best in the nation. In addition to our high-quality academic programs, the people who make up the School are addressing some of society’s most critical needs and furthering their fields—our renowned faculty, staff, and students conduct innovative research and scholarship that is driven by the Wisconsin Idea and the conviction that the work they do should benefit Wisconsin, the country, and the world. We offer a broad and diverse array of undergraduate and graduate programs — from elementary and secondary education, educational policy and leadership, and special education and counseling; to studio art, modern dance, and theatre; to exercise science and occupational therapy.

Who is WFAA?

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association is a private, nonprofit corporation that encourages individuals and organizations to make gifts to the university and to connect with the UW. We believe that private support grows out of good relationships between campus leaders, faculty and program staff who need support, and the alumni and friends who want to invest in UW–Madison. We provide important engagement opportunities to link those interested in supporting the UW to areas about which they are passionate, building a strong community of Badgers.

Diversity and Inclusion:

Just as the university community benefits from differing viewpoints, perspectives, and experiences, inclusion and diversity are imperative for the success of our mission. WFAA values people and the differences that they bring to the organization and creates an environment in which all staff members and constituents feel respected and have opportunities to thrive.

Primary Responsibilities

Major Gift Development

  • Implement development strategies with assigned constituencies, managing a portfolio of prospects and donors in varying stages of involvement to advance them strategically through the development process in support of SoE priorities.
  • Work with prospect management, and WFAA research and development colleagues to identify and qualify a portfolio of major gift prospects from existing and potential donors.
  • Schedule and conduct initial assessment/exploratory meetings with prospects, following up with correspondence, phone calls, and additional visits as appropriate to qualify prospects.
  • Plan and conduct visits/trips, events, and other ongoing contact to build relationships with donors, effectively presenting the case for philanthropic support and explaining gift opportunities.
  • Develop and write major gift proposals, utilizing both current and planned gift opportunities to best meet donors’ needs, interests, and financial capabilities, including structuring complex or special gifts as appropriate.
  • Artfully ask for the right gift, at the right time, in the right way.
  • Collaborate with colleagues, discussing major donor prospects, sharing advice/information, and coordinating activities on shared prospects.

Donor Relations/Stewardship/ Recognition

  • Plan and implement recognition for donors, including writing thank you letters, making personal calls, arranging meetings, hosting events, etc.
  • Plan and implement ongoing communication and stewardship with donors.
  • Participate in the external relations activities of the school, attend sponsored events, etc., to solicit, encourage, and increase the involvement of alumni/donors in UW activities.

Campus Relations

  • Communicate, problem solve, and anticipate needs of campus staff regarding accounting for donor-created funds and serve as liaison between WFAA accounting department and campus staff.
  • Request data/reports from WFAA staff to meet the needs of donors and campus staff.

Requirements and Qualifications

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional work experience.
  • 3 + years of professional fundraising experience in higher education or in a related field.
  • Excellent oral, written, interpersonal, analytical, and organizational skills.
  • Ability to meet travel requirements (@25%).

Other Qualifications:

  • Post-high school training, college degree, or equivalent preferred.
  • Appreciation of the vital role played by the School of Education (SoE) and an interest in promoting its departments and programs as well as an ability to work effectively with university officials and prominent alumni and donors.
  • Ability to articulate the case for private support with sufficient effectiveness so that individuals understand the vision and strategy of the School and choose to invest in the vision.
  • 3 + years of direct experience soliciting major gifts ($25,000+).
  • Ability to work independently, in addition to as a member of an effective development team.

WFAA is committed to provide our employees with an environment that is inspiring, creative and respectful. We offer competitive pay and an excellent benefits program, which includes a 10% 401k contribution after 1 year of service!

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association is an Equal Opportunity Employer *The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association is the “doing business as” name of the merged organization comprising the University of Wisconsin Foundation ( and the Wisconsin Alumni Association ( Its legal corporate name is registered as the University of Wisconsin Foundation.