Managing Senior Director of Development, College of Engineering

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) is undertaking an search for a Managing Senior Director of Development to lead the College of Engineering at UW-Madison. The Managing Senior Director of Development is responsible for providing first level management to assigned development programs and staff. The incumbent will also manage a major gifts portfolio of donors and prospects in the context of this leadership role sized appropriately for the unit. This position is a hybrid role and will require you to work in our office located in Madison, WI at least two days weekly.

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

Strategic and Operational Leadership of Major Gift Development Programs:

  • In partnership with campus leadership, provide vision and direction consistent with the overall WFAA strategic plan for assigned campus constituencies and/or programs.
  • Build and support strong relationships among WFAA and campus leadership around development initiatives.
  • Main conduit to Dean-includes unit development orientation for a new dean, coordination of dean’s activities, and lead in unit’s development strategic planning with dean.
  • Design and implement successful development strategies for assigned constituencies/units.
  • Coordinate development efforts of staff within and across units/departments.
  • Provide guidance for development staff, campus partners and others as appropriate, to design the development plan for each unit, including short- and long-range priorities, plans, and strategies to secure major gifts and grow the book of business.
  • Coordinate/integrate efforts involving multiple departments, regional/constituency development activity, and other complex initiatives.
  • Estimate program expenses for the budget.
  • Align development programs with the overall mission and strategic objectives of W and UW-Madison.
  • Monitor and assess progress related to major gift development initiatives, and make appropriate decisions based on these analyses.

Human Resources Management:

  • Determine staffing needs, design jobs, write/update job descriptions, allocate staff and assign/delegates duties accordingly, consistent with the WFAA budget and organization structure.
  • Recruit, interview and select highly talented and qualified staff for open positions.
  • Oversee the orientation, training, mentoring and coaching of development staff members, encouraging an appropriate level of independence and supporting professional growth.
  • Effectively lead change initiatives affecting staff.
  • Act as an experienced resource and mentor for development directors and other staff who find themselves in complex or unfamiliar situations.
  • Identify the current and long-term development/training needs of individuals and groups, and provide or facilitate access to appropriate development experiences. Approve professional development expenses.
  • Establish, delegate, communicate, monitor, and reinforce staff assignments, accountabilities, performance expectations and goals.
  • Provide ongoing feedback and recognition as well as periodic formal performance appraisals to staff as part of a comprehensive performance management system intended to inspire accountability, success, continuous improvement, and professional growth.
  • Collaborate with staff on their work, providing guidance, problem solving, insight, etc., to support their success.
  • Communicate, support and apply WFAA policies and procedures in collaboration with Human Resources and other management team members.
  • Review and approve expense reports, reinforcing the WFAA travel expense policy when necessary.
  • Develop and implement systems for identifying and satisfying communication needs of staff, including organizing and leading staff meetings.
  • Foster a positive work environment, characterized by open communication, collegiality, support, accountability and motivation to optimize staff performance, satisfaction/morale and retention.

Major Gift Development: 

  • When called for, provide intensive assistance or take leadership in unusually complex or difficult donor or recipient situations.
  • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and provide stewardship for major gift prospects and donors.
  • Create and implement development strategies with assigned departments focusing on top donors and prospects.
  • Establish strategies and action plans to fully develop the potential from private gift sources.

Requirements and Qualifications

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional work experience.
  • 5 + years of experience in a fund raising capacity or related experience.
  • Ability to meet travel requirements (@25%).

Other Qualifications:

  • Experience providing direct or indirect supervision, ideally frontline development directors and development support/operations staff;
  • Team leadership experience;
  • Project management skills;
  • Negotiation experience;
  • Conflict resolution; motivation, listening; organizational skills;
  • Ability to communicate effectively and meaningfully with groups and individuals to build effective working relationships;
  • Situational leadership; judgment; facilitation; consensus- building;
  • Creativity / innovation;
  • Strong business acumen;
  • Political savvy; 
  • Major gift development expertise;
  • Ability to work in an office setting as well as travel to and in-between local and out of town appointments.

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.