Director, Annual Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement

McKendree University welcomes applications for the position of Director, Annual Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement located at its Lebanon, IL campus.  This is a full-time, benefits eligible position.

Reporting to the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, the Director, Annual Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement is responsible for providing results driven leadership to increase short-term and long-term support of McKendree University through meaningful and effective programs, relationships, and communications.  The director's primary responsibilities are the strategic execution and management of a comprehensive annual giving program as well as engagement of alumni. Successful candidates will be highly collaborative, motivated, and skilled at creating and executing compelling annual giving strategies. They will be deeply involved in the growth and expansion of McKendree University’s donor base across the university.


  • Provide leadership, management oversight, and strategic guidance for annual giving and alumni engagement to enhance the alumni and donor experience, grow and improve programs, and ultimately increase McKendree University support.
  • Work closely with the Communications and Marketing team to write compelling messages, execute direct mail and email solicitations, including content development.
  • Manage the alumni and annual giving team, providing training, direction, and guidance to ensure team objectives are met.
  • Within the Philanthropy Office's overall fundraising plan, plan, lead, and execute a strategic annual giving and alumni engagement plan focused on acquisition, retention, and upgrades to build a culture of engagement and philanthropy for a sustainable donor pipeline.
  • Has special responsibility for enhancing local leadership donors' affinity with the university; special focus on the William McKendree Society.
  • Maintain strong engagement and serve as the liaison with the Bearcats of the Last Decade (BOLD) Council.
  • Manage a personal portfolio of 30-40 prospects and identifying and qualifying new prospects to the portfolio as needed.
  • Communicate and articulate the vision, mission, goals, and core values of the University to prospective donors.
  • Identify and cultivate alumni and friends in key positions to build support for the University. Assesses capacity and inclination to give and areas of interest for each donor and makes recommendations for movement of assigned donors to major gift prospect tracking.
  • Conduct discovery and qualification visits with annual giving donors, generating referrals for volunteer leadership, major gifts, and planned gifts as appropriate.
  • Work with VP for Institutional Advancement to develop annual performance metrics to maximize ROI.
  • Develop and implement a regular plan of reporting engagement and annual fund progress.
  • Strategize volunteer opportunities at McKendree University; oversee the McKendree University Alumni Association Board of Directors.
  • The Director also serves as the university liaison to the Parent Association.
  • Create/collaborate on key messaging and communications media, including, but not limited to, direct mail and social media outreach.
  • Monitor and evaluate program effectiveness by creating quantitative and qualitative measurements to assess the effectiveness and success of events, communications, solicitations, and stewardship efforts. Monitors progress and make recommendations for continued development and improvement.
  • Serves as a member of the Vice President for Institutional Advancement's Leadership team.


  • A bachelor's degree in a related field.
  • Two plus years of managing an annual fund program within higher education, K-12, or non-profit sectors.
  • A minimum of three years of progressively responsible development experience, preferably in higher education fundraising, including a strong documented record of gift solicitation and volunteer management.
  • Experience planning and executing successful annual giving strategies and campaigns, including mail, phone, and digital strategies.
  • Volunteer management experience: proven ability to collaborate with, inspire, and motivate diverse constituencies.


  • Strong knowledge of development concepts, fundraising techniques, especially those related to annual giving success.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the theories, principles, and practices of fundraising for higher education.
  • Demonstrated ability to design, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive program for annual gifts, establishing goals and objectives that translate into annual operating plans and appropriate staff assignments.
  • Experience with strategic and annual planning, project management, strengthening partnerships, and process improvement efforts is essential.
  • Analytic and data mining skills are preferred, including an understanding of segmentation and new media marketing.
  • Ability to lead and supervise a small team.
  • Demonstrated oral and written communications skills. Comfortable and proficient in public speaking.


  • A master’s degree is preferred.
  • Experience with Alumni development.


Office environment; 40 hours per week; normally 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; some evening and weekend work required. Occasional standing and lifting less than 20 pounds.


McKendree University, Illinois’ first and finest, is a private university in Lebanon, IL, just 25 minutes from downtown St. Louis, home of the 11-time World Series champs (St. Louis Cardinals) and the 2019 Stanley Cup winner (St. Louis Blues). St. Louis also boasts a wonderful zoo, a first-rate botanical garden, a vibrant art scene (both performing and visual), and a plethora of top-notch restaurants. 

Interviews will begin immediately. Qualified candidates should complete and submit the McKendree Employment Application and send a letter of interest referencing job #DPE90 with a resume/CV to the Director of Human Resources at           

McKendree is an ADA/EEO/Vet/Disabled employer committed to enhancing the cultural and gender diversity of the campus. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.