Director of Donor Relations

  • California Lutheran University
  • Thousand Oaks, CA, USA
  • Jul 28, 2022
Full time Deans & Directors Development/Advancement/Fundraising

Job Description


Director of Donor Relations

Position Category: Staff (Exempt)
FLSA: Exempt
FTE: 1
Location: Thousand Oaks

University Background:
The mission of California Lutheran University is to educate leaders for a global society who are strong in character and judgment, confident in their identity and vocation, and committed to service and justice. Founded in 1959 in beautiful Ventura County, the university has an enrollment of about 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students who come from across the nation and around the world from a diversity of backgrounds, cultures and faiths. As a federally recognized Hispanic-Serving Institution, Cal Lutheran is looking for candidates with a dedication to and success in working in diverse communities. The university is committed to an inclusive learning and work environment that values individual differences and respects each person’s dignity.

Basic Function:
The Director of Donor Relations reports to the Executive Director of Advancement Services and is responsible for developing customized engagement plans for California Lutheran University (“Cal Lutheran” or “University”) donors and prospects. Furthermore, the Director serves as the primary liaison with the Office of the President on all University Advancement matters. They are responsible for continually improving upon University's stewardship platform. The position will design and administer a donor relations program intended to engage Cal Lutheran's most generous donors and provide a foundational level of stewardship for the entire donor base in support of our upcoming multi-year comprehensive campaign. The Director is accountable for driving standards for stewardship, and for evaluating the performance of Cal Lutheran's donor relations efforts that include events, publications, signage, and a wide variety of donor relations and recognition opportunities.Activities associated with this position involve extensive collaboration and interaction with University's internal and external audiences - donors, volunteers, alumni, friends, faculty, University colleagues, service providers and vendors. Through the creative stewardship events and targeted donor relations activities, the Director supports the mission and values of Cal Lutheran while helping cultivate a stronger relationship with current and potential donors and the community.

Representative Duties:

  • Oversee the development and implementation of a stewardship program for donors and prospects. Collaborate closely with University faculty and staff to develop highly customized stewardship plans that significantly deepen and improve the relationship that donors and prospects have with Cal Lutheran with the goal of significantly expanding their philanthropic commitment to the University. E
  • Establish and nurture effective, collegial working relationships with colleagues, university partners, and donors. Promote and demonstrate respect, collaboration, and friendly customer service in all working relationships. E
  • Support relationships between key personnel and development officers to formulate and execute best-in-class stewardship activities effectively and consistently across the University; maintain campus-wide consistency and best practices; liaison with staff and faculty across multiple projects; maintain stewardship tracking processes, policies and procedures; and communicate stewardship goals, programs, and activities to Development colleagues and leadership. E
  • Maintain a comprehensive understanding of the mission of Cal Lutheran as it relates to the educational, research and service goals of the University with the ability to communicate the institution’s needs and priorities — both internally and externally. E
  • Continuously innovate and strengthen program direction and focus. Lead collaborative effort across the University to coordinate, integrate, and instill best practices. E
  • Ensure that the technological, operational and collateral requirements of the programs in Donor Relations are met. E
  • Preserve institutional memory about donors and their relationship to the University. In collaboration with other colleagues in Advancement Services, create systems to document and maintain central records on all interactions with donors. E
  • Oversee the gift acknowledgment and pledge tracking, reminder and write-off processes with close attention to improved efficiencies and accuracy. E
  • Maintain knowledge of the University’s operating principles, business rules and procedures. E
  • Actively seek stewardship trends and best practices, including market research, business case, and strategies tailored to target audiences. E
  • Work in partnership with fundraising and communications staff to design donor-centered programs that enhance donor relationships with Cal Lutheran. E
  • Oversee annual reporting cycle for endowed and non-endowed funds with special emphasis on endowed faculty positions and scholarships. E
  • Work with accounting staff to develop and manage system for monitoring adherence to donor intent within the University’s funds. E
  • Develop and implement metrics for assessing the effectiveness of stewardship activities and events. E
  • Plan and oversee all aspects of stewardship event management and protocol from providing guidance and information to developing and implementing a plan, budget, logistics and post event analysis. E
  • Partner with stakeholders to plan event details, budgets, programs and desired outcomes; provide strategic advice and tactical leadership in event planning and execution. E
  • Work with senior leadership and development staff to lead the development and execution of an annual schedule of compelling stewardship events top engage key donor constituents, such as current and prospective donors, that will help the University with its fundraising and stewardship goals. E
  • Oversee monitoring and reconciliation of budget expenditures related to individual events. E
  • Design and implement methods of evaluating special events for fundraising outcomes, satisfaction levels and improvement opportunities. Provide an annual report of activities. E
  • Maintain an accurate and up-to-date electronic master calendar of stewardship events and donor relations-related activities. E
  • Oversee annual stewardship mailings to donors, alumni and friends. E

E= Essential Duties

Knowledge Of:

  • University fund-raising goals and objectives
  • University Strategic Plan
  • Working knowledge of the principles and practices of philanthropy
  • Demonstrated proficiency in Microsoft Suite with ability to learn new technologies in a prompt and efficient manner
  • Online tools (including social media) to support communications
  • Project management, time management and organizational skills
  • Writing and editing skills spanning multiple styles is required; strong understanding of and adherence to editorial style (likely AP) and standards

Ability To:

  • Apply mature judgment and analytical skills to execute work and programmatic activities
  • Interpret financial data for fund tracking, donor stewardship practices and draft customized stewardship related reports
  • Create, execute, and oversee a comprehensive stewardship plan
  • Work occasional evenings and weekends as needed
  • Learn other computer programs—including The Raiser’s Edge or another constituent database
  • Use unquestionable integrity and strong sense of professional ethics
  • Be detail-oriented, well-organized, focused and goal-oriented, with a high level of initiative and energy
  • Manage multi-phase projects from inception to completion
  • Build consensus among team members and balance multiple concurrent priorities in a dynamic and ever-changing environment under minimal supervision
  • Be a strategic and innovative thinker with the understanding and ability to develop and sustain resilient and dynamic relationships with donors, colleagues, and senior leadership

Minimum Qualifications:
Any combination equivalent to: A bachelor’s degree preferably in English, communications, marketing, or equivalent experience in a related field and five years’ experience working directly with donors to include strong knowledge of the donor cycle, preferably in higher education, hospitality, or non-profit setting and/or prior professional experience working with constituents in a related field such as sales, event planning, marketing or business development

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Prior experience using strategic communications planning/key messaging platform techniques and tools preferred
  • Demonstrated skill, knowledge, and ability to create, execute, and oversee a comprehensive stewardship plan is preferred
  • Cal Lutheran is a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) that administers an array of Title III, Title V, and TRIO programs including the McNair Scholars Program. We are looking for candidates with a demonstrated commitment to success working in diverse, multicultural and multi-racial communities. Cal Lutheran encourages applicants from all faiths, and advocates for justice and fairness for all people

Licenses and Other Requirements:
Valid California driver’s license
Availability to work weekends and nights
Flexibility to travel 65%

Physical Abilities:

Working Environment:
Office and remote work environment; driving a vehicle to conduct work; evening or variable hours

Posting Number: Staff001022022
Number of Vacancies:
Desired Start Date: 07/11/2022
Position End Date:
Open Date: 07/26/2022
Close Date: 8/17/2022
Open Until Filled: No

Application Procedure/Special Instructions:

To apply, visit

California Lutheran University is committed to providing equal opportunity in employment for all persons, regardless of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by applicable law. No person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any program, activity or facility of the University on the basis of these factors in a manner consistent with applicable federal and state laws, regulations, ordinances, orders and rules, and University’s policies, procedures, and processes.

Upon request, reasonable accommodations in the application process can be provided to individuals with qualifying disabilities. Please contact the Human Resources Department for further information or to request an accommodation.

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