Senior Director of Development

Kalamazoo, Michigan
Sep 22, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Western Michigan University (WMU) invites applications for the position of Senior Director of Development. The Senior Director reports directly to the Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations as well as other members of the development team and supports WMU's fundraising efforts by identifying, recruiting, cultivating, and soliciting individuals to provide financial support for the University.


Founded in 1903, WMU is a learner-centered, discovery-driven, and globally-engaged research institution with an enrollment of 24,000, of whom nearly 5,000 are pursuing graduate degrees. Classified as a “higher research” university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, WMU offers more than 250 degree programs, including 31 at the doctoral level. Many of its degree programs enjoy national and international recognition. Committed to diversity in all its forms, the University attracts students from a rich variety of backgrounds and identities representing every state in the union and over 100 nations around the world.

Nearly 900 WMU Board-appointed faculty members have studied and earned degrees at many of the world’s leading universities. They engage in teaching, research, creative activity, and service primarily on the main campus in Kalamazoo and at 18 locations throughout the region and around the world. Additionally, WMU has a substantial online presence through its Extended University Programs and a wealth of articulation agreements with other institutions and international partnerships.

In 2014, in partnership with the community and two local teaching hospitals, WMU launched a private medical school, the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. WMU also recently announced a formal affiliation with one of the nation’s largest and most diverse law schools, renamed the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

WMU is one of only 103 public institutions with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. For 26 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has listed Western Michigan University among that publication’s top national universities. Military Times EDGE magazine ranks WMU among the best U.S. institutions for military veterans, the only Michigan school to appear on its annual Best for Vets list all seven years of the list’s existence. Western regularly appears on Washington Monthly’s annual list of Top 100 National Universities, a designation that recognizes contributions to the public good. In addition, the University has been recognized nationally for its many award-winning sustainability programs and environmental leadership.


At Western Michigan University, the Senior Director develops the overall fundraising strategy and goals in coordination with the Vice President of Development & Alumni Relations and other members of the development team. These duties include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Provide direct supervision, coaching and mentoring to a team of approximately 10 - 12 engagement managers and major gift officers and assist in developing and monitoring progress toward fundraising goals. Supervise prospect management and research team.
  • Provide the structure and guidance necessary to promote a high-performance culture that empowers the development team to meet the needs and expectations of Development & Alumni Relations. Set mutually acceptable individual and team goals, holding staff accountable for performance and ensuring that each individual effectively utilizes moves management and is strategically focused on identified funding priorities.
  • Design and implement comprehensive strategies to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward major gift prospects and donors based on University and Foundation priorities. Personally cultivate and manage a select portfolio of major gift prospects with the capacity to make commitments at the six and seven figure levels.
  • Maintain a comprehensive and detailed knowledge of current fundraising priorities within the University. Implement effective engagement strategies involving campus partners, trustees and other stakeholders to effectively utilize a wide network to support development efforts.
  • Serve as a core member of the Development & Alumni Relations leadership team.


  • Must have excellent interpersonal skills, strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrated success in designing strategy for securing principal and planned giving for a large unit, personal solicitation of major and planned gifts, major gift stewardship, principal gift and prospect management, volunteer management, and event planning.
  • Travel regionally/nationally as well as attend evening and weekend activities as required.
  • Experience with comprehensive campaigns in higher education.


  • And or certified fundraising certification from an accredited university.


Parker Executive Search is assisting WMU in the search for the Senior Director of Development. The University invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest, full resume/CV, and contact information for at least five references), or expressions of interest to the search firm assisting WMU. Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made.  It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted prior to October 31, 2017.  For a complete position description, please visit the Current Opportunities page at Please send materials to the following:

Porsha Williams, Vice President

Grant Higgison, Associate

770-804-1996 ext: 118 ||

Western Michigan University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.  Minorities, women, veterans, individuals with disabilities and all other qualified individuals are encouraged to apply.