Senior Vice President of Development

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA)*, the private fundraising and alumni relations organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison is recruiting for two Senior Vice President (SVP) of Development. Under the general direction of and in collaboration with the President and Chief Advancement Officer, the Senior Vice President of Development (SVP) positions provide executive-level leadership to all WFAA development programs, including strategy, policy, oversight, assessment, and improvement. The SVP of Development also  actively manages a portfolio of principal gift donors.   

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 WFAA Development Function    

  • Serve on the Advancement Leadership Team, providing vision and strategy for advancement and development.   
  • Lead senior Development staff in strategic and operational planning to create a comprehensive and integrated development program, including developing new initiatives and planning / managing campaigns.   
  • Identify, assess, and prioritize existing and new potential programs and initiatives in support of campus and WFAA objectives.   
  • Provide executive leadership and oversight of major gift development programs (School/College, Cross-Campus Initiatives, Medical, Athletics, Principal Gifts, Planned Giving, Foundation Relations, and Stewardship).   
  • Provide leadership to those who manage the day-to-day development operations functions including establishing accountabilities and evaluating performance regularly.   
  •  Oversee the recruitment, management, evaluation, professional development, and retention of development staff. Responsible for the team’s management structure and building and leading a high performing, collaborative team that is committed to WFAA’s success.   
  • Develop staff and leadership performance and capacity within the development function, including attention to talent management and succession planning.   
  • Monitor the effectiveness of programs through coordination with staff, appropriate committees, and Board of Directors assuring that fund development is carried out in keeping with the organization’s values, mission, vision, plans and expectations.   
  • Develop, document, review and enforce policies concerning fund development.   
  • Lead in the establishment of performance measures, monitor results and help the CEO, President and Chief Advancement Officer, and Board of Directors evaluate the effectiveness of the organization’s fund development programs.   
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and laws, accountability to donors and compliance with code of ethical principles and standards of professional conduct for fundraising professionals.   
  • Participate in WFAA committees, task forces, etc., addressing development or leadership issues.   


  • Manage a major gifts portfolio consisting mainly of principal gift level donors and leadership gift prospects, providing concierge level attention, and facilitating the donors’ overall relationship with the University and WFAA.   
  • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward major gift prospects and donors appropriate for SVP of Development level.   
  • Ideate, explore, and pursue innovative approaches to conceiving and structuring transformational gifts, new fundraising programs, engagement/communication strategies, etc.   
  • Coordinate development strategies with the Chancellor/Provost and their teams relative to top donors and prospects.    

Management of Information and Financial Assets    

  • Encourage and facilitate technology application to enable programs and processes to optimize resources, including 4WARD, data analytics, prospect identification models, etc.  
  • Ensure appropriate levels of staffing and financial resources to implement development programs.   
  • Recommend and manage the development function budget.   
  • In conjunction with the Advancement Leadership Team, recommend allocation of resources to optimize organizational outcomes.    

Partnership with the University and its Community    

  • Appropriately represent the institution, its board and the CEO and President and Chief Advancement Officer to donors, prospects, regulators, campus partners and the public.   
  • Foster and maintain productive relationships with the Chancellor, deans and other key university leaders to ensure the coordination and cooperation among the University’s schools, colleges, other campus units in matters relating to fundraising.   
  • Along with the CEO and President and Chief Advancement Officer, Chancellor, and Provost, work with deans and other academic leaders to define fundraising priorities and goals and facilitate the active participation and accountability of all parties in their achievement in preparation for the university’s next comprehensive campaign and beyond.   
  • Coordinate activities with the Chief Alumni Officer and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer to ensure respective objectives are common or complimentary and to maximize operational synergies and efficiencies.    

Board and Volunteer Development and Relations    

  • Along with the President and Chief Advancement Officer, staff the Board Advancement Committee, developing agendas, presenting results, and identifying opportunities for board members to provide feedback.   
  • Value the contributions of volunteers and seek ways to engage alumni and friends of the University to their best advantage, providing recognition that is genuine and meaningful for volunteers at all levels.

Requirements and Qualifications

Professional Qualifications:    

  • Bachelor’s degree required, an advanced degree or equivalent experience preferred.
  • 10+ years of development leadership experience with an exceptional track record of leadership, fundraising, and engagement in large and complex universities or other similar institutions.
  • Successful partnerships with a wide range of donors, leading to important and transformational gifts and the execution of highly sophisticated stewardship strategies.
  • Familiarity with the economics and complexities of a large public research university
  • 8+ years of demonstrated effectiveness as a people leader, with a history of building strong teams of high performing and collaborative individuals and successful recruitment and retention of talented staff.   
  • Excellent interpersonal skills. Must be able to relate well to, and build positive, productive relationships with, academic and administrative leadership, fundraising and governance volunteers, faculty, staff, alumni, other external constituents, and advancement professionals across the University and WFAA. Must be a skilled collaborator and team player, creating relationships built upon mutual trust.
  • Demonstrate considerable breath of knowledge, strong intellectual curiosity, interest in and capacity for learning across a wide range of fields, and a profound excitement about and commitment to our mission.

WFAA is committed to providing 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.