• Senior Alumni Relations Associate

    New Brunswick
    New Jersey
  • Overview

    The Rutgers University Foundation (RUF) seeks an entrepreneurial, detail-oriented, and energetic Senior Alumni Relations Associate (Sr. AR Assoc.) to serve as the project and administrative support to the Vice President (VP) for Annual Giving, Alumni Relations and Communications. This role provides administrative support, including maintaining the Vice President’s calendar and meeting preparation. This position also supports the VP in a large number of the unit’s leadership team activities, including but not limited to presentation preparation, budget preparation, collaboration and data gathering for reporting purposes, preparation for high level meetings, coordination with Foundation executive team members and coordination with university leadership. The Sr. AR Assoc. will also be the point of contact for the Rutgers University Alumni Association Board of Directors, preparing agendas; coordinating logistics for meetings; providing customer service to board members; managing the board portal, Directors Desk; cataloging board resolutions; and stewarding the volunteers and board actions.  The Sr. AR Assoc. is entrusted to work across the Foundation, the university and the schools and units at all levels to complete tasks as assigned by the Vice President in a timely and collegial fashion.


    The VP provides leadership to the Alumni Relations, Annual Giving and Development and Alumni Communications offices in the Foundation.  The VP serves on the Executive Leadership Group of the Foundation and the Administrative Council for the University. The Sr. AR Assoc. will support the Vice President and Associate Vice Presidents on the execution, planning and distribution of many of these duties, transitioning seamlessly between strategy, data gathering and analysis, administrative duties and volunteer and board member relations.


    The ideal candidate will have experience in project management, board management and document preparations, administrative support and customer relations with the ability to work independently and with initiative.  S/he will demonstrate an ability to be detail oriented and have a proven track record of project management. Superior writing skills are expected, as is the professionalism and ability to interact with colleagues and high profile individuals. S/he will be proactive, executing projects as assigned but capable of providing feedback and suggestions to the Vice President to aid efficiency and transparency. The successful candidate will have a high degree of comfort in taking limited information and translating to actionable plans and outcomes.  S/he will lead with an attitude that engenders confidence with other Foundation Executive Leadership members and Associate Vice Presidents.  A Bachelor’s degree is required and an advanced degree is welcome.


    Rutgers University Foundation


    Created in 1973, the Rutgers University Foundation advances Rutgers’ pursuit of excellence in education, research, and public service. The Foundation provides the bridge between donors and the universities, schools, programs, faculty, and students that make up the University. The Foundation helps to match caring people with satisfying and meaningful opportunities to make gifts that have an impact on Rutgers. Founded in 1766, Rutgers is the eighth oldest institution of higher education in the nation. Today, Rutgers-New Brunswick is a member of the Association of American Universities, is New Jersey’s premier public research institution and flagship state university. More than 100 majors offer students vast opportunities. On July 1, 2014, Rutgers University joined The Big Ten Conference of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. The Foundation is a 501© (3) tax-exempt organization with the sole mission of supporting Rutgers University. The organization includes the areas of Alumni Relations, Development and related Communications. Led by Foundation President Nevin E. Kessler and his senior cabinet – the Executive Leadership Group (ELG) – the Foundation successfully completed a $1 billion campaign in 2014 and is preparing for another multi-billion dollar campaign in the near future.


    More info on the Foundation can be found on: www.support.rutgers.edu


    Rutgers University Alumni Association


    Formed in 2008, the Rutgers University Alumni Association (RUAA) serves all alumni of Rutgers University. Staff work in partnership with a board of alumni leaders to advance the best interests and wellbeing of Rutgers University by engaging all alumni in the life of the institution. RUAA serves more than 500,000 living alumni of Rutgers University. The purpose of the association is to advance the best interests and well-being of Rutgers University by engaging all alumni in the life of the institution through communication, programming, services, and volunteer opportunities. Membership in the RUAA is free and automatically granted to all graduates of Rutgers University, or any of its predecessor schools, upon graduation.


    More information on the RUAA can be found on: www.alumni.rutgers.edu


    Rutgers University


    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state of New Jersey’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Established in 1766 and celebrating a milestone 250th anniversary this year, the university is the eighth oldest higher education institution in the United States. More than 67,000 students and 22,000 faculty and staff learn, work, and serve the public at Rutgers locations across New Jersey and around the world.


    Learn more at www.rutgers.edu


    Donna K. Thornton – Vice President for Alumni Relations, Annual Giving and Communications


    Donna Thornton joined Rutgers University in 2006, was named Vice President for Alumni Relations in December 2007 and in 2015 added the departments of Annual Giving and Foundation and Alumni Communications. Thornton has played a vital role in transforming alumni relations at Rutgers. In July of 2008, the University launched the newly-formed Rutgers University Alumni Association (RUAA), its first all-inclusive alumni association. She was instrumental in reorganizing both the staff and volunteer structure to support the university's new non-dues based association.

    In her capacity at Rutgers, Thornton has university-wide responsibilities in annual giving and alumni relations, engaging Rutgers alumni with the university and facilitating their support via a robust and comprehensive annual giving program.  Thornton is member of President’s Administrative Council and the Foundation leadership team, where she is a strong advocate for the role of volunteers and alumni engagement in advancing the overall mission and goals of the institution. Thornton is often consulted for her strategic and change management skills.

    Prior to joining Rutgers, Thornton served as the COO and interim President and CEO of the University of Maine Alumni Association where she also directed the annual giving and membership dues programs.  She has extensive experience in the public and private sectors; before her position at the University of Maine she was elected to the city council in Brewer, Maine, and later served that community as its Mayor.

    Thornton is a committed advancement professional and is a sought after speaker and dedicated volunteer. She is a member and former officer of the Board of the Council for Alumni Association Executives (CAAE), former president of the Big East Conference Alumni Professionals Organization, and a former member of the CASE Commission on Alumni Relations. She holds a bachelor's degree in public management and a master's degree in public administration, both from the University of Maine.


    Senior Alumni Relations Associate


    Specific Responsibilities and Duties

    • Assist the Vice President and Associate Vice Presidents in managing their common strategic goals. This includes tracking next steps in projects and following up to assure productive team meetings. The Senior Alumni Relations Associate will be responsible for maintaining the VP’s calendar and providing timely preparation in anticipation of those meetings. The Senior Alumni Relations Associate is expected to have the experience and knowledge to not only execute on given tasks but to also suggest next steps with regards to projects and office management. S/he will be able to prepare agendas for the RUAA board and its committees as well as interact with board leadership and members in preparation for the meetings and other board activities.
    • Work in partnership with colleagues across the Foundation. The Sr. AR Assoc will work closely with the Alumni Relations team on the RUAA Board of Directors stewardship and management, collaborating closely with the AVP for Alumni Relations.
    • Create detailed presentations using the latest technologies. The Senior Alumni Relations Associate will use presentation platforms such as PowerPoint and Prezi to create content designed to appeal to a specific constituency or a broader audience.
    • Lead other projects as assigned by the Vice President to advance the goals of the alumni relations, annual giving and communications teams.
    • Work in two office locations organizing the work flow and anticipating needs depending on the VP’s and Sr. AR Assoc.’s location for the day.


    Qualities of the Ideal Candidate


    The Senior Alumni Relations Associate can be expected to have the following personal characteristics and professional qualifications:


    • Bachelor’s degree plus three to five years’ experience working as a fundraiser and/or in a fundraising/development/alumni relations/ donor relations department is This experience can be gained at an institution of higher education, K-12 school, or another non-profit with a significant commitment to fundraising and development.
    • Excellent interpersonal communication and organizational skills
    • Ability to work both independently and collaborative within a team environment
    • Excellent grammatical skills;  lively,  engaging writing style,  and demonstrated ability to create correspondence for large groups
    • Experience creating presentation Knowledge of presentation software such as Prezi or Microsoft PowerPoint
    • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing
    • Ability to maintain a positive and professional attitude working across Foundation and university staff
    • Ability to work under pressure of deadlines and maintain an extremely high level of attention to detail and professionalism



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