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Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Development Officer

Job Description

Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Development Officer

The University of California, Merced, is the newest of the University of California system?s 10 campuses and the first American research university built in the 21st century. With a little more than 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students, UC Merced offers an environment that combines a commitment to diversity, inclusion, collaboration and professional development. With bachelor?s, master?s and doctoral degree programs, strong research and academic partnerships, and community involvement, the UC Merced campus is continually evolving and requires talented, knowledgeable and dynamic educators, researchers, management and staff.

Ranked among the best public universities in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, UC Merced is uniquely equipped to provide educational opportunities highly qualified students from the San Joaquin Valley and throughout California. The campus enjoys a special connection with nearby Yosemite National Park, is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design, and supports the economic development of Merced and the region.

In Fall 2016, UC Merced broke ground on a $1.3 billion public-private partnership that is unprecedented in higher education. The Merced 2020 Project will nearly double the physical capacity of the campus by 2020, enhancing academic distinction, student success and research excellence. UC Merced is also building the Downtown Campus Center, a $33 million, three-story administrative building in the heart of Merced.


Under supervision of the Vice Chancellor and Chief External Relations Officer, the Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Development Officer will be responsible for leading donor strategy for principal ($1 million plus) and major ($100,000 plus) gifts and developing and managing the university?s giving program. This will include qualifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding principal and major gift prospects with an emphasis on seven-figure gifts supporting areas across campus including endowed chairs, scholarships and fellowships, research centers and programs, capital projects, and endowments. The CDO will serve in a vital leadership role for Philanthropy and Strategic Partnerships. The CDO will work with the development team, faculty, and key administrators to increase the number and size of individual gifts; coordinate and staff donor visits; help develop and implement strategies that promote UC Merced fundraising priorities; and provide meaningful touch points for UC Merced philanthropic engagement.


1) Major and Principal Gift Fundraising
  • Develop and implement strategies to identify, create outreach and qualify potential donors with gift capacity of $1 million or more, especially those not previously engaged with the University.
  • Maintain and further a portfolio of prospects rated with a giving capacity of $1 million or more.
  • Develop and implement programs, events and/or activities to engage and cultivate principal gift level prospects.
  • Work with University leadership to execute cultivation, stewardship, and solicitation strategies.
  • Work closely with regional staff to develop and implement programs, events and/or activities to engage and cultivate principal gift level prospects in regional areas. This may include, but is not limited to: coordinating campus visitations and organizing small gatherings conceived around prospect strategies.
  • Attain or exceed goals and fundraising targets set on an annual basis with the Chief External Relations Officer.
  • Serve on boards, where applicable, to develop and leverage relationships for the campus.
  • In conjunction with development staff, construct proposals for principal gift solicitations.
  • Utilize and keep up to date activity records in divisional CRM database system.

2) Regional Fundraising Program
  • Develop, implement and manage regional development strategies for the university including managing the regional development directors.
  • Select, train, mentor, guide, direct and evaluate staff, and, as required, takes corrective action.
  • Plan and establish annual visit, solicitation, and fundraising goals for the regional development team.
  • Create strong working relationships between the various divisions and departments across the university and the regional development team in order to provide service to their pipeline-building, stewardship and fundraising programs as it relates to regional strategies.
  • Support regional events as needed to help raise the university?s profile and bring awareness to the university?s mission in target regions.

3) Management
  • Collaborate closely with the Chief External Relations Officer in the development of annual goals, fundraising strategies, and development programs, including establishment of campus fundraising goals and divisional annual plans for achieving private support objectives.
  • Provide oversight and general guidance to the development staff in order to create an effective pipeline of major gift donors; ensure appropriate cultivation, solicitation and stewardship strategies are implemented and that fundraising goals are achieved; monitor and evaluate program effectiveness and make recommendations for continued development and improvement.
  • Select, train, mentor, guide, direct and evaluate staff, and, as required, takes corrective action.

  • Bachelor's degree in public relations, communication or related area and ten years of progressively responsible fundraising experience or equivalent experience/training.

  • Minimum of ten years of progressively responsible development experience, preferably in higher education fundraising.

Advanced degree in public relations, communications, marketing or related area preferred.

  • Experience in Higher Education fundraising is also preferred.


  • Proven skills in developing sophisticated strategies in planning, implementing and administering complex major gift solicitations.

  • Strong documented record of gifts solicited and closed in the major and principal gifts range.

  • Experience in making cold calls and resilience in dealing with initial resistance and rejection.

  • Significant volunteer and staff management experience.

  • Familiarity with prospect screening activities and applications.

  • Persuasive oral and written communication skills to prepare and present solicitation strategies, proposals and other marketing materials.

  • Ability and personality to work collaboratively with faculty, deans, volunteers, and development staff.

  • Ability to exercise initiative and accept responsibility to work proactively and with minimum supervision.

  • Skill in motivating colleagues, volunteers and donors Demonstrated ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously.

  • Skilled in database and office software and fundraising databases.

  • Ability to travel and work occasional nights and weekends.

  • Highly developed organizational skills, focus and a goal-oriented temperament, with a high level of initiative and energy.

  • Demonstrated skill in problem solving and using judgment in situations requiring independent initiative and tact.

  • Proven skills and ability to manage multi-phase projects from inception to completion. High degree of professionalism.


Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Development Officer