Director of Development
Please send a cover letter and resume (or nominations) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications will be reviewed beginning January 31, 2023, and accepted until the position is filled
Duke School seeks a Director of Development to oversee and manage the School’s fundraising. Founded in 1947 as a lab school for Duke University education and psychology students, the now independent Duke School has become a nationally known leader in project-based education for students ages three through eighth grade. With a commitment to diversity and public service, the faculty and staff encourage students to think and act creatively in all aspects of their lives and find joy in discovery.
Duke School stands at the precipice of a new era of institutional evolution. The successful conclusion of the FIRE (Future orientation; Innovative approaches and students; Results that are impactful; Equity and Justice) Strategic Plan in 2022. Duke School has extended the strategic planning cycle of FIRE, centering on program strength and diversification and adding a dynamic learning space – The Center for IDEAS, a 14,000 square foot facility that will house a 350-seat auditorium, a tech and design makerspace lab and a project makerspace lab, performance practice space, and a social justice research center. The Center for IDEAS will serve as a hub for Innovation, Discovery, Equity, Arts, and Social justice activities.
With this successful round of strategic thinking completed, the pandemic receded, and Head of School Lisa Nagel entering her third year, the Director of Development position presents a motivated advancement professional an opportunity to serve as an essential thought partner with the Head of School and Board of Trustees to develop and execute a vision, strategy, and goals for the philanthropic giving that will fuel Duke School’s next stage of growth and impact students for years to come. Reporting to the Head of the School, the Director of Development will lead the strategic and tactical efforts to cultivate a culture of giving within the Duke School community necessary to raise the philanthropic bar at the School and support strategic imperatives.
The Duke School Director of Development position is the perfect opportunity for a leader who embraces the School’s progressive educational philosophy, who is excited to promote the School’s impact to constituents, and who is energized by the prospect of joining an organization on the cusp of its next phase of dynamic evolution.
Duke School’s Preschool, Lower, and Middle schools serve 500 students on a wooded campus just minutes from Duke University, downtown Durham and all that the Triangle region of North Carolina offers. The buildings and landscaping were designed and scaled for project-based learning, providing an interdisciplinary, exploratory, and collaborative learning environment. Learning takes place indoors and outdoors in rooms and buildings designed to encourage group interaction and underscore the School’s values.
The “Triangle” area of North Carolina is home to more than two million people and ten colleges and universities. The Research Triangle Park is home to hundreds of companies and is the largest research park in the United States. The Triangle is located midway between the coast and the Appalachian Mountains, with the highest peaks east of the Rockies.
Duke School is an institution with a clear sense of purpose. It strives “to inspire learners to boldly and creatively shape their futures” and in the process to become “the next generations of problem solvers for our complex world.” Accredited by the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), Duke School operates under a core set of beliefs:
- Learner-Centered: Learners are the center of a dynamic and collaborative learning, inquiry, and discovery process.
- Active Inquiry: Intellectual curiosity through project-based learning propels learners to explore multiple paths to creative solutions.
- Bold Thinkers: A deep love of learning and respect for our community forms bold, critical thinkers for life.
Duke School believes that all children deserve a place to learn where they are seen, valued, celebrated, and accepted for who they are and the unique value they bring to the community. This is central to the School’s mission and underscores Duke School’s strategic focus on diversity, equity, justice, and belonging. In the fall of 2022, the School received a historic gift of $1 million to support this institutional priority, endowing the School’s Scholarship for Equity in Education Program.
The Director of Development reports directly to the Head of the School and serves on the Administrative Leadership Team. The Director’s primary responsibility will be to partner with Duke School’s constituents (current parents, employees, alumni, alumni parents, grandparents, and the broader Durham community) to establish and execute a forward-thinking development program that grows annual, major, and capital campaigns; legacy gifts; and planned giving.
Garnering investment from constituents for a Preschool-eighth grade institution presents a particular challenge for a skilled development professional. It is essential to Duke School’s institutional aspirations and ongoing financial sustainability that the institution identifies a development leader in this search possessive of the vision, skills, and energy to raise the philanthropic bar in the Duke School community.
To achieve this goal, the Director of Development will oversee two direct reports: the Director of the Dragon Fund and Alumni Relations and the Development Administrative Assistant/Database Manager. With this team, and in partnership with the Head of the School, the Advancement Committee of the Board of Trustees, and key leaders of the Parent School Organization, the Director of Development will build a comprehensive fundraising program designed to support the mission and strategic initiatives of the School.
A well-structured development program has several components, including the annual fund, special events, planned giving, and capital campaigns, each of which require the engagement of multiple constituents including current parents, grandparents, alumni parents, faculty/staff, alumni, and the broader foundation and corporate community.
Duke School seeks a Director of Development with a proven track record of cultivating such constituent engagement. Furthermore, the ideal candidate will have experience overseeing development processes and soliciting gifts of $25,000 and more to meet specialized needs such as capital projects or special initiatives. As a comprehensive and up-to-date database represents the foundation on which a strong development program is based, Duke School’s Director of Development will also be proficient in maintaining the database system and leveraging the data points to inform institutional development strategies. Finally, this position offers the opportunity to represent Duke School at various school and community events.
- Update the School’s strategy for philanthropy for its expanding needs and to tap into the growth of the Triangle community.
- Lead the School’s development efforts, including annual, endowment, planned giving, capital campaigns, alumni relations, and stewardship.
- Lead a team that is expected to raise gifts in excess of $400,000 annually while executing on strategic goals related to the comprehensive and strategic fundraising program.
- Actively manage the strategy and implementation to conclude the current $4.5 million capital campaign to establish the new Center for IDEAS.
- Oversee all capital campaign activities, including support of the steering committee, volunteer management, funding priorities, expenses, and campaign events.
- Serve as a thought partner with the Head of the School and Board of Trustees to develop and execute a vision, strategy, and goals for philanthropic giving at the School.
- Provide materials, strategy, and support for the Head of the School’s donor prospect meetings, attending donor meetings as needed.
- Enhance existing relationships with School constituents (new parents, current parents, alumni parents, alumni, and grandparents) while building new relationships, systems, and programs that further tap into the generosity and resources of the community.
- Identify corporate and foundation funding opportunities and help draft grant applications.
- Personally solicit major donors.
- Create and manage an annual calendar of development activities in coordination with the Director of the Dragon Fund, the Director of Marketing and Communications, and the Head of School.
- Act as the liaison to the Advancement Committee of the Duke School Board of Trustees, collaborating with committee chair(s) on volunteer coordination and attending and presenting at Board meetings.
- Attend Governance Committee meetings of the Duke School Board of Trustees, collaborating with committee chair(s) and the Head of School on matters related to the cultivation of trustees, governance consistent with NAIS principles of good practice, and pipeline for identifying potential trustees.
- Serve as a member of the School’s Leadership Team, collaborating with colleagues on the creation and execution of annual goals, strategies, and action plan items to fulfill the mission of the School.
- Provide monthly development dashboard reports for the Board and Leadership Team colleagues, continuously assessing progress toward goals, and recommending shifts in strategy as needed.
- Manage work of the Director of the Dragon Fund and Alumni Relations and Development Administrative Assistant/Database Manager, providing mentorship as needed.
- Assume responsibility for managing the department’s budget.
Marketing & Communications
- Work in partnership with the Director of Marketing and Communications to create development-specific communications, including campaign communications, the Annual Report, and other related publications.
- Collaborate with the Admissions Office on PR initiatives that expand and enhance the school’s visibility and reputation.
- Keep current on major School topics and issues, serving as an ambassador to School constituents and the broader community.
Management & Outreach
- Serve as a direct liaison with the Business Office on all development-related funding and expenses, including reconciliation and reporting.
- Serve on the Board Development Committee and produce frequent annual and capital fundraising progress reports and analyses for the Head of the School, the Development Committee, and the Board of Trustees.
- Serve as a liaison to the Governance Committee of the Board of Trustees, recommending trustee candidates, recruiting new trustees, and training trustees in development functions.
- Have proficiency in the School’s development database, Raiser’s Edge, including entering gifts, updating constituent records, and processing acknowledgment letters.
- Communicate philanthropy progress, prospect pipeline, prospect list, and other key philanthropy updates and milestones to the Head of the School, Leadership Team, Advancement Committee, and the Board of Trustees.
- Supervise and work directly with the Development Team on goal setting, team meetings, and staff support, and manage direct reports’ evaluation and professional development.
- Serve as a leader for the School community, participating in the daily life and operation of the School, extending beyond the responsibilities of the development role.
- Promote an inclusive approach through a lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Attend School-wide events to meet and engage with members of the Duke School community, including the occasional evening and weekend event.
Required Skills & Characteristics
Duke School is a great fit for professionals who believe in the School’s progressive educational mission and its commitment to equity and social justice. Candidates should possess strong personal drive and motivation, demonstrate exemplary professional behavior and values, and be resourceful, responsible, and collaborative.
The ideal candidate will have 5-7 years of proven fundraising success; an advanced degree and/or professional fundraising certification is preferred. Familiarity with independent school or higher education fundraising is a plus. Additional skills and characteristics include:
- A proven track record in fundraising and constituent relations.
- Excellent analytical, time management, and organizational skills, including ability to prioritize projects based on School goals.
- Capacity to work effectively and collaboratively with colleagues, members of the board, donors, volunteers, consultants, and all other constituents.
- Familiarity and experience with Blackbaud products, including Raiser’s Edge and NXT.
- Knowledge of best practices in independent school fundraising.
- Ability to maintain a high level of confidentiality.
- Strong oral and written communication skills and interpersonal skills.
Duke School is committed to attracting a culturally responsive community builder for this position. We seek to attract and retain such outstanding employees through a comprehensive package that includes a competitive salary in the range of $115,000-$130,000 and a generous employee benefits package that includes medical, dental, life, disability, 401(k) plan, tuition assistance, professional development, paid holidays, and vacation.
Duke School is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
3716 Erwin Rd.
Durham, NC 27705