• Director of Development, Rutgers School of Engineering

    New Brunswick
    New Jersey
  • Overview

    Rutgers School of Engineering (herein SOE) seeks an energetic, resourceful and team-oriented advancement professional to serve as the Director of Development within the SOE development team. The Director will be joining the SOE during an exciting period as the School is growing in both size and prominence as a premier institution in the education and training of future engineers. Recently, the School has received the largest single gift in Rutgers history, a $10M gift towards undergraduate scholarships. The DOD is joining the team amidst this momentum as we move towards a multi-million dollar campaign and will work with the SOE Development team to cultivate a high potential prospect pool. In this role, the Director will work with the school’s faculty and department chairs, student organizations and development staff to identify and engage alumni and prospects to support the School and its initiatives.

    Reporting to the Assistant Dean of Development, this role will have the opportunity to contribute to the growth of the team with potential future opportunities for staff management. This position will be outward facing at the school, working with departments, faculty and student organizations to identify and engage alumni, individuals and industry partners for the School in the advancement of its mission and priorities. With the deep and high potential prospect pool, the Director will be responsible for identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding prospects and donors, and conducting discovery work that builds the major gift pipeline for SOE.


    The Director of Development will either have a background in undergraduate or graduate school fundraising with an aptitude for STEM programming, faculty engagement and the eagerness to translate SOE’s academic pursuits to alumni and friends of the School. The Director will be an employee of the Rutgers University Foundation with access to over 250 colleagues, fundraising departments and prospect research professionals. The successful candidate will manage a select pool of donors/prospects and will focus on developing and managing a well-qualified portfolio of approximately 100 major gift prospects/donors. S/he will be expected to identify, qualify, engage, solicit, and steward gifts from alumni and non-alumni interested in supporting the priorities of SOE. S/he will be expected to conduct 120 meetings with donors and prospects a year and secure approximately $1 million annually from his/her pool of assigned prospects. 


    The Director will be expected to have a Bachelor’s degree and at least three years of experience with proven success in major gift fundraising and donor engagement. S/he should have a solid record of success in identifying donors and establishing long-standing partnerships with high-net-worth individuals. The ideal candidate will have excellent organizational and interpersonal skills and will have the ability to partner with academic leaders and faculty members working on new programs and research. S/he will be able to work independently to meet objectives with minimal supervision and have strong verbal and written communication skills. Experience with corporate and/or foundation relations is a plus, along with excellent organizational, verbal and writing skills.  Must have excellent communication skills; computer literacy to include industry standard software; and experience articulating values, information, and compelling cases to multiple audiences, one-on-one, and through formal proposals and/or presentations.  Impeccable verbal and written communication skills are required.  An accessible and collegial leadership style is a prerequisite, as is the creativity and energy to convince and persuade varying constituencies of new ideas and directions.


    Rutgers School of Engineering


    Rutgers University’s School of Engineering is a vibrant academic community whose richly diverse students and faculty are committed to globally sustainable engineering. Its mission is built on a commitment to fostering the integration of education and research to achieve transformational innovation that is ethically responsible and sustainable. The school defines its mission into three overall objectives: educate and train the future engineers for a complex, diverse and global workplace; conduct state-of-the-art and relevant research that embraces technology to address societal challenges of a multi-faceted United States and a globally connected world; and, serve as a resource to local, state and regional stakeholders to advance the public interest.

    More information for the School can be found at http://soe.rutgers.edu/.

    Dean Thomas N. Farris

    Thomas N. Farris was named Dean of the School of Engineering at Rutgers University on July 1, 2009, overseeing the School’s nine academic programs, seven research centers, and administrative, budget, and student services offices. Prior to Rutgers, Farris joined the Purdue University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics as assistant professor in 1986 and was appointed school head in 1998. While there he administered undergraduate and graduate education and research programs. In 2009, the school had 30 faculty and approximately 520 undergraduate and 270 graduate students and performed more than $8.5 million in externally funded research annually.


    During his tenure at Purdue, Farris had active teaching and research interests in aerospace structures and materials with a focus on tribology, manufacturing processes, and fatigue and fracture and was named the 2008 W.A. Gustafson Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher. He has served as principal or co-principal investigator for more than $22 million in externally sponsored research of which he was directly responsible for more than $5 million.


    He has been acknowledged for research by an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship, the ASME/Boeing Structures and Materials Award for outstanding paper of 1998 SDM, the Journal of Strain Analysis P E Publishing Award in 2002, and the ASME’s Burt L. Newkirk Award. Farris is a member of the Materials Technical Committee of the AIAA, past chair of the Executive Committee of the Applied Mechanics Division of the ASME, and consultant to the Army Science Board. Farris received a B.S.M.E. in 1982 from Rice University and a Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics at Northwestern University in 1986.

    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.

    Annie Nienaber, Assistant Dean of Development, School of Engineering

    Annie Nienaber joined the Rutgers School of Engineering in January 2015, serving as the Director of Development before taking on the Assistant Dean of Development role.  During her time at the SOE, she has been instrumental in both deepening the strategic engagement of principal and major gift donors as well as broadening the pipeline of future major gift prospects, resulting in increases of both number and amount of principal gifts, major gifts, donor counts and gift counts.  Prior to her time at Rutgers, Annie served as the Assistant Director of Development for Scholarships, Student Aid and Access at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which she also holds B.A. and M.A. degrees. 

    By the Numbers

    The SOE has over 25,000 living alumni, an undergraduate enrollment of nearly 4,000 students, and over 1,000 graduate students.   This fiscal year, the School has already raised in excess of $13M, including a commitment of $10M for an endowed scholarship, the largest gift received from an individual alumnus at the School of Engineering, as well as the largest scholarship commitment ever made to Rutgers University.  The school has recently celebrated the opening of Richard Weeks Hall of Engineering, a state-of-the-art facility made possible by over $20M in commitments from alumni, and will soon break ground on an additional student project facility made possible by a $2M naming gift.  Last fiscal year, the SOE received a record 2,526 gifts from 1,563 donors. 




    Specific Responsibilities and Duties:


    • Actively meet with current and prospective donors with the capacity to make gifts of $100,000 and higher; have a minimum of 120 visits with prospects/donors annually; shepherd donors/prospects through every step of the donor solicitation cycle (identify-qualify-engage-solicit-steward); collaborate with various partners to expand pool of potential donors and strengthen engagement of current donor pool; utilize all methods of solicitation such as planned giving and gifts of securities. As a result of this work, the Director should be able to secure a minimum of $1 million annually from his/her assigned prospects/donors.
    • As a member of the SOE development team, the Director will be expected to cultivate and maintain strong working relationships with assigned prospects, department chairs, and faculty members. S/he will seek and utilize various connections to alumni and friends in order to facilitate meaningful prospect engagement, solicitation and stewardship.
    • Develop and maintain a positive, professional working relationship with deans, chairs, faculty, and various campus offices. Model “best practices” for relationship-driven fundraising for campus partners, and guide their participation in the donor cycle. Clearly articulate, in written and verbal form, the needs and priorities of the school.
    • The Director will support the dean and other campus partners with organizing and facilitating donor/prospect meetings, managing logistics for these meetings, and drafting briefing materials, follow-up reports, documents, and other correspondence with donors/prospects. Additionally, the Director will have a broad awareness and understanding of current trends in higher education and philanthropy.
    • Work with alumni and non-alumni volunteers to identify, engage, solicit, and steward potential donors. Attend school, alumni, and campus functions to develop a familiarity with the culture of the school, campus, and alumni base. Appropriately participate in the design and execution of donor/prospect programs and events.
    • The Director should attend functions related to departments within SOE to develop a familiarity with the culture of assigned units. S/he must be able to build and maintain positive working relations with external groups that have an interest or tie with the academic units in his/her portfolio. The Director will be directly involved with alumni events only where the event directly relates to major gift fundraising activities.
    • Maintain information about donors/prospects in the development database and draft appropriate reports about assigned prospects/donors for partners in assigned departments. The Director will prepare meeting briefing memos for the deans and other campus partners; draft meeting call reports for the University’s files; ensure the maintenance of records in the Development database; and use technology effectively to research, organize and present information about assigned donors/prospects.


    Qualities of the Ideal Candidate


    The Director of Development can be expected to have the following personal characteristics and professional qualifications:


    • A minimum of five to seven years of experience in fundraising or related programs. Demonstrated success in cultivation, solicitations, gift closure, and stewardship of five and six-figure gifts.  The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of fundraising, communications, or research programs;
    • Demonstrated personal interest in and affinity for the needs and aspirations of a best-in-class engineering school. A B.A./B.S. in a related field is preferable;
    • The ability to quickly gain substantive knowledge and comprehension of social programs, projects, and activities to effectively present potential giving opportunities to prospective donors;
    • Evidence of strong interpersonal skills, and to work effectively and collaboratively with various groups of diverse constituencies;
    • Creativity and insight in identifying effective collaborations between institutional goals and needs and prospective donors. The ability to quickly and adeptly learn new concepts, and to effectively communicate them to donors;
    • Experience in non-constituent relations and outreach, especially proven success with raising funds from alumni unaffiliated to a specific school. The maturity, judgment, and respect requisite to intelligently engage with leaders of corporations and industries;
    • Integrity, creativity, energy, and independence; a collegial, understanding leadership style that will value team members and institutional partners and will allow an appropriate amount of responsibility delegation;
    • The ability to travel and work during evenings and weekends as needed.



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