Job Listings

Senior Director of Development, Major Gifts, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Harvard University
Job Location:
Cambridge, 02138
Development and Fundraising
Alumni Affairs and Development


Job Summary
Alumni Affairs and Development (AA&D)
Alumni Affairs and Development is a dedicated team supporting Harvard's advancement activity through front-line fundraising, alumni and volunteer engagement, technology, prospect management and research, business process, events, communications, and many other areas.

Our goal is to create an environment of respect that leverages the many talents, perspectives, and experiences of our employees; to deliver the strongest possible results by incorporating diverse perspectives into our daily work; and to make AA&D a great place to work for everyone. We strive to live our values of respect, inclusion, trust, collaboration, continuous improvement and innovation; and open communication and effective information sharing in our daily interactions and our work.

AA&D is comprised of the University Development Office (UDO), Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Development, AA&D Resources, the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA), and the Office of the Vice President (OVP).

The Senior Director, a full-time exempt position on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Major Gifts team, will report to, and work in partnership with the Executive Director of Development to lead, mentor, and manage a team of gift officers. As a member of the Major Gifts leadership team, the Senior Director will be responsible for coordinating a portfolio of internal leadership activities such as staff training, fundraiser goal setting, review of regional prospect assignments, strategic planning, donor engagement strategy, and other activities as assigned. This position informs decision making and is responsible for carrying out policies and strategies, and modeling best practices as a leader, fundraiser and colleague.

Position Description
The Senior Director's experience and knowledge will be critical in expanding the ability of fundraisers to form creative strategy development as they combine the FAS' priority needs with a donor's interests and desire to make an impact. The position's formal reporting line will be focused on securing gifts at the top end of the Major Gifts team pyramid and will often represent about 70 percent of the team's overall fundraising success. This includes those that are in the range of $500K - $10M multi-annual level, with a keen eye toward blended solicitations involving flexible support, gift planning vehicles, and the potential for complicated asset involvement. The Senior Director will be expected to develop and implement annual plans that impact the entire Major Gifts team and additionally, to expand philanthropic support across the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Senior Director will lead a Managing Director and several combined direct reports that play a critical role in the FAS' ability to raise six-, seven- and eight-figure gifts to support a multiyear fundraising framework and developing priorities along with engendering a habit of high-level, annual giving among our alumni, parents, and friends.

While the main focus of this position is executive leadership, a small percentage of prospect work (a select portfolio 3-5 prospects) will be done at the seven- and eight-figure level. The incumbent will coordinate the development and maintenance of relationships with these prospects and will be expected to ensure that relevant University Alumni Affairs and Development, and FAS colleagues are involved and/or informed when appropriate.

This position requires a command of advanced fundraising principles and the ability to collaborate and communicate across the FAS, Alumni Affairs and Development, and University Development Office (UDO). Additionally, the Senior Director must possess a bias for clear decision making, developing strategy and making the ask, a high level of organization, professionalism, and a broad familiarity with the objectives of capital, endowment and annual current-use fundraising. The Senior Director must demonstrate management characteristics while balancing the demands of management, leadership, and prospect work to achieve strong results while nurturing and developing frontline development talent.

Basic Qualifications
  • Bachelor's degree required. 
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in development or related transferable skills.
  • Previous management of frontline fundraisers required.
Additional Qualifications and Skills
  • Strong ability to quickly earn trust of staff and prospects.  Must have demonstrated experience engaging prospects/clients in thoughtful, personal conversations with tact and diplomacy.
  • Must be mission-driven, intellectually curious, and have a demonstrated ability of working well with others in a collaborative manner. 
  • Requires attention to detail, poise, and diplomacy given interaction with senior administration members and senior faculty; superb written and oral communication skills; flexibility; and the ability to multi-task without losing focus on both short- and long-term goals.
  • Advanced knowledge of fundraising strategies and techniques preferred; experience managing a prospect pool  and a proven record of moving prospects strategically through stages of identification, cultivation, solicitation, closure and stewardship.
  • Experience briefing and staffing high-level academic or other leaders in prospect meetings.
  • Must demonstrate ability and interest for management and administrative functions, such as nurturing and mentoring professional staff, hiring and evaluating staff, and managing basic office functions. 
  • Excellent interpersonal, public speaking, written communication and presentation skills required.  Computer literacy required; must have experience with Windows and databases. 
  • The ideal candidate exhibits a sophisticated and comprehensive understanding of major gift fundraising principles and practices, extremely high levels of professionalism, collegiality, self-motivation, organization, and familiarity with the goals and objectives of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and of the entire Harvard Alumni Affairs and Development organization.
Additional Information
  • In consultation with Executive Director, develop efforts and supporting activities that focus on prospect strategy development across the Major Gifts team and the AA&D at the top end of the prospect pyramid for the team and across the organization. This includes leveraging faculty and administrator travel, alumni volunteers, and prospect engagement events to advance fundraising objectives.
  • Recruit, hire, train and manage a team of Major Giving officers responsible for securing gifts that represent about 70 percent of the team's fundraising success. Mentor, counsel, and motivate the staff to raise aspirational philanthropic support in a professional, ethical and mission-informed manner. 
  • As a member of the Major Gifts leadership team, the Senior Director will coordinate with other senior members of the FAS development office to help further improve fundraising efficiency and efficacy. In coordination with the FAS senior staff, the Senior Director will develop and implement moves-management processes to identify, cultivate, solicit and steward major and principal donors. Develop, test and refine the case for the FAS' key fundraising priorities, including endowment, capital and current use funds. 
  • Expected to contribute to the organization through participation in University-wide and FAS committees, on the FAS Leadership Team, and work on special projects as needed.
  • Responsible for successfully meeting annual goals with a small portfolio of households capable of making seven- to eight-figure gifts at various stages of their relationship with Harvard throughout the gift cycle. 
  • This position requires overnight travel. Travel expectations require approximately 20% of time spent on the road, not including preparation for, execution of, or follow-up on, external visits.
Work Format Details
This position is eligible for 100% remote work. Employees may work from any of the Harvard Registered Payroll States, which currently includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Washington, and California (CA for exempt positions only). Certain visa types and funding sources may limit work location. Individuals must meet work location sponsorship requirements prior to employment.

About Us
  • This position requires a 6 month orientation and review period.
  • Please include a cover letter with your application.
To learn more about the AA&D team, please visit our Careers site at

To learn more about how Harvard supports diversity and inclusion throughout the University please visit the Office for Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at

Accommodations: Harvard University welcomes individuals with disabilities to apply for positions and participate in its programs and activities. If you would like to request accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, please let your recruiter know.

COVID 19 Vaccination Information: The health of our workforce is a priority for Harvard University.  With that in mind, we strongly encourage all employees to be up to date on CDC-recommended vaccines.

We invite you to visit Harvard's Total Rewards website ( to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:
  • Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.
Job Function
Alumni Affairs and Development

Department Office Location
USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code
302061 Development Manager

Work Format


Salary Grade

Alumni Affairs and Development

00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Time Status

Pre-Employment Screening
Education, Identity

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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