Senior / Director of Development Wisconsin Medical Advancement Group – Department of Surgery

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 expand the Department of Surgery team within the WFAA Wisconsin Medicine Advancement Group. The Director of Development will be responsible for qualifying, cultivating and soliciting major gift prospects through the department’s grateful patient program.  This position will be a combination of remote, in-office, and on-site work environments.  


The Department of Surgery is the second largest academic department in the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and in the University of Wisconsin system.  The Department of Surgery at the University of Wisconsin offers one of the leading surgical programs in the nation, excelling in patient care, surgical education, and surgical research. Our surgeons perform almost 22,000 operations per year for pediatric and adult patients in the specialties of acute care and regional general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, colorectal surgery, endocrine surgery, minimally invasive surgery, otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, surgical oncology, transplant surgery, and vascular surgery. We invite you to browse the website for additional details about clinical expertise, research programs and training opportunities at


Please note:  This position can be filled at the Director of Development or Senior Director of Development level, depending on skills/experience of selected candidate. 



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

  • Develop objectives, priorities and strategies for major gift development related to capital campaigns, special programs, and ongoing fund raising in collaboration with campus staff, WFAA vice president, and colleagues.
  • Implement development strategies with assigned constituencies, building and managing a portfolio of prospects and donors in varying stages of involvement to advance them strategically through the development process.
  • Work closely with division heads, faculty, and care team members to strengthen and expand the existing grateful patient program and the Layton Rikkers Surgical Society.
  • Partner with prospect management, WFAA research and development colleagues, and campus partners to identify and qualify a portfolio of major gift prospects from existing and potential donors and alumni.
  • 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 and alumni, effectively presenting the case for philanthropic support and explaining gift opportunities.
  • Collaborate with colleagues, discussing major donor prospects, sharing advice/information, and coordinating activity on shared prospects.
  • Artfully ask for the right gift, at the right time, in the right way, developing an individualized approach for major gift prospects.

Donor Relations/Stewardship/ Recognition

  • Consult on and implement stewardship strategy, working with WFAA and campus staff to provide an engaging, thoughtful, and curated experience for donors.
  • 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 and alumni.

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 needs of donors and campus staff.

Requirements and Qualifications

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional work experience;
  • Experience and demonstrated success in fundraising or related activities;
  • Excellent oral, written, interpersonal, analytical and organizational skills required;
  • Ability to meet travel requirements (@25%).

Other Qualifications

  • Post high school training, college degree, or equivalent preferred.
  • Ability to articulate the case for private support with sufficient effectiveness so that individuals understand the vision and strategy of the UW Department of Surgery and choose to invest in the vision;
  • 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. 



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