The vacancies include 10 positions at the associate and assistant director level or above – like staff who help manage annual giving, planned giving and family philanthropy – and three administrative roles, according to the postings. Fundraising experts said a fully staffed office can help donors facilitate “complex” gifts, which are becoming increasingly common in higher education philanthropy.
Matt Lindsay, the division’s assistant vice president of marketing and communications, confirmed that the open positions listed on GW’s jobs portal and auxiliary job websites are “current, active” searches.
“The Division of Development and Alumni Relations regularly evaluates staffing to ensure we have the resources necessary to meet the University’s engagement and fundraising goals and to respond to emerging needs,” he said in an email.
The vacancies include the associate director of development for family philanthropy, according to the job postings. Family donations hit the highest level in recent memory last fiscal year – reaching $15.7 million – following a three-year decline.
Officials removed a job posting for the director of development for family philanthropy about a week ago.
Lindsay said the positions, once filled, will provide additional capacity that will support officials’ “strategic priorities” and “initiatives.” University President Thomas LeBlanc named philanthropy and constituent engagement as one of his top five priorities as University president.
“Current GW development and alumni staff are focused on engaging constituents to strengthen the GW community and to generate philanthropic funding that benefits students, faculty and research,” Lindsay said.
Lindsay declined to provide the number of staff currently employed in the alumni office. He declined to say how officials are attracting candidates for the open positions.
Administrators are also searching for senior fundraising officials in the Elliott School of International Affairs, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Business, according to job postings.
The vacancies include a top annual giving position, according to LinkedIn. That position’s portfolio includes “comprehensive annual philanthropic and stewardship strategy,” the posting states.
“This position focuses on enhancing philanthropic engagement across the constituencies by increasing giving participation and fostering the growth of donor pipelines,” the posting states.
Officials also list an opening for a director of planned giving, a position tasked with securing major gifts – including those made through trusts and wills – to the University according to the job postings. Officials revived a planned giving campaign earlier this year and are offering a total matching pool of $1 million for donors who pledge late-in-life gifts to GW.
The vacancies also include the associate director of development for athletics and a senior associate director for constituent giving, according to GW’s job portal and LinkedIn.
During the past several weeks, officials have removed postings for an assistant director for digital direct response annual giving, an associate director of donor relations, an assistant vice president of development for law school leadership and annual giving, a director of development for family philanthropy and a senior communications associate.
Administrators have not announced if the search for those positions has been discontinued or if they have found people to fill those positions.
Richard Allen Ammons, a senior consultant and principal at Marts & Lundy – a philanthropic consulting firm – said donors are increasingly making more “complex gifts” to their alma mater by transferring assets through planned giving, so a fully staffed planned giving team can help donors navigate the transfer of funds.
“That role requires a level of expertise – it’s important for a large university like George Washington to have on its staff,” he said.
Ammons said annual giving has the “broadest reach” of a typical university’s philanthropic efforts and typically attracts first-time donors, so a dedicated staff member can help lead that area.
“Where most donors first begin is through that program,” he said. “Most donors begin to think about their own philanthropy to George Washington there. So having a good, a thoughtful program and having an experienced leader in that role is important.”
Ammons added that it “shouldn’t be difficult” for officials to attract fundraising staff since GW is located in a major metropolitan area that has an existing base of “talented” fundraising professionals.
Arthur Criscillis, a partner at Alexander Haas – a capital campaign consulting firm – said the effect of the vacancies on the office’s work is more dependent on which positions are vacant rather than on the total number of vacancies.
“You could have a couple of positions open in the annual or regular giving programs, but that program, while important, does not necessarily secure larger commitments,” he said.
Criscillis added that the market for development office staff is “highly competitive,” but high wages and a “supportive” work environment can make the roles more attractive for applicants.
“There really is key competition for development officers throughout all of the different positions, and that can make it challenging,” Criscillis said.