Associate Director of Director / Director of Development, UW Athletics

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA)*, the private fundraising and alumni relations organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison is seeking a development professional to fundraise on behalf of the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison dedicates itself to the mission of providing athletic opportunities to a wide range of student-athletes in an environment in which all they can achieve their academic and competitive goals. The Division strives to provide equitable opportunities for all student-athletes and fosters the principles of sportsmanship, respect, and fair play in all facets of competition. The Division sponsors 23 varsity sports programs competing under the regulatory guidelines established by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the Big Ten Conference and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).  This position is located in Madison, WI.

The Director of Development will play a key role in developing the intermediate and long-term development efforts of the Division. This position will primarily focus on major gift identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship for facility projects, endowed scholarships, and planned gifts. This position will personally manage a major gift portfolio of prospects and donors along with allocating significant time to qualifying new prospects. The incumbent will also arrange for the solicitation and stewardship of gifts by the Athletic Director, Deputy Athletic Director, Assistant Athletic Director for Development, coaches and other staff, as needed. The incumbent will provide donor service in all aspects of the development program including annual fund, premium seating, facility campaigns, endowed scholarships and planned gifts. In addition, the incumbent will develop major gift marketing materials and proposals. This position requires evening and weekend work during UW athletic and other special events as well as some regional travel.  This position is a 100% in-person role that will require relocation to the greater Dane County area.

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. In 2014, the UW Foundation merged with the Wisconsin Alumni Association® to better serve a growing population of UW alumni and donors. 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 UW–Madison alumni to each other and to their alma mater, 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

  • Develop objectives, priorities and strategies for major gift development related to capital campaigns, special programs, and ongoing fund raising in collaboration with Athletic Department external relations staff, Athletic Development Office staff, WFAA colleagues, and campus partners.
  • 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.
  • Work with prospect management, 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 prospect.
  • 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 activity on shared prospects.
  • Coordinate development efforts with the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, working closely with Athletic Development Office staff, coaches, and Athletics leadership to develop and implement strategies related to gift opportunities and optimizing campus involvement in the development process.

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.
  • Work in collaboration with affiliated organizations and boards.
  • Participate in the external relations activities of the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, attend sponsored events, etc., to solicit, encourage, increase the involvement of alumni/donors in UW activities.

 Campus Relations

  • Work with WFAA and Athletics leadership to develop plans for a comprehensive advancement structure and operations.
  • Communicate, problem solve, and anticipate needs of the Athletic Development Office regarding accounting for donor created funds and serve as liaison between WFAA accounting department and the Athletic Development Office.
  • Request data/reports from WFAA staff to meet needs of donors and the Athletic Development Office.
  • Serve as WFAA liaison with the Division and other UW entities and friends/booster groups.


  • Make travel arrangements for self.
  • Write regular progress reports on prospect cultivation and solicitation, completing and filing thorough reports of all contacts in a timely manner.
  • Report/record/document development activity and results.
  • Write Memoranda of Agreement. (MOA’s)
  • Monitor giving patterns and results for prospects/donors in portfolio and provide regular written or oral reports on progress and results of work with these prospects.

Requirements and Qualifications

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional work experience.
  • 3 + years of professional fundraising experience in higher education, intercollegiate athletics, or in a related field. 
  • Ability to meet travel requirements (@25%).

Other Qualifications:

  • Excellent oral, written, interpersonal, analytical and organizational skills.
  • Self-directed, team player who has a strong, results-oriented, work ethic.
  • Master’s degree or equivalent professional work experience.
  • 5 + years of professional fundraising experience in higher education, intercollegiate athletics, or in a related field, including professional sports. 
  • Understanding of the operation of a major research university and passion for promoting its intercollegiate athletic programs.
  • Experience using database management software (e.g. Paciolan, Advance, Salesforce, Blackbaud, Ticketmaster, etc.)
  • Previous experience in intercollegiate athletics and an understanding of NCAA rules are preferred.
  • 3 + years of direct experience soliciting major gifts ($25,000+).

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.