Assistant Director, University Donor Relations and Engagement

Updated: 3 months ago


Alumni Affairs and Development


Job Summary

Alumni Affairs and Development (AA&D) 
Alumni Affairs and Development is a dedicated team supporting Harvard’s advancement activity through front-line fundraising, alumni and volunteer engagement, technology, prospect management and research, business process, events, communications, and many other areas.

Our goal is to create an environment of respect that leverages the many talents, perspectives, and experiences of our employees; to deliver the strongest possible results by incorporating diverse perspectives into our daily work; and to make AA&D a great place to work for everyone. We strive to live our values of respect, inclusion, trust, collaboration, continuous improvement and innovation; and open communication and effective information sharing in our daily interactions and our work.

AA&D is comprised of the University Development Office (UDO), Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Development, AA&D Resources, the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA), and the Office of the Vice President (OVP).

Through strategic planning and coordination across Schools and units, the assistant director provides comprehensive engagement and stewardship opportunities for the University’s most generous donors. Responsibilities include serving as the programmatic lead for the Committee on University Resources (COUR) and supporting programmatic development and logistical execution for Harvard’s Global Advisory Council (GAC). In partnership with the senior associate director, the assistant director provides operational support and is a key thought partner in re-evaluating University-wide donor engagement and recognition programs. These responsibilities require coordinating with and gaining buy-in from University leaders, senior administrators, and faculty, as well as fundraising, donor relations, communications, and events colleagues across the University.

Position Description

  • Working closely with the senior associate director of engagement, plays a key decision-making role in formulating academic and creative programming for University-wide recognition and engagement vehicles such as the COUR and GAC, as well as premier donor gift announcements that require programmatic components. Leverages relationships with prospect managers to deliver timely and strategic program follow up.
  • In partnership with the senior associate director, responsible for program development for the COUR Annual Symposium. Work includes researching faculty speakers; developing content for in-person, remote, and hybrid events that aligns with strategic areas of focus for the University; and developing focused stewardship and donor engagement experiences. The assistant director will develop proposed program outlines, assist in recruiting faculty and program participants, and prepare speakers by refining content to be shared with donor audiences.
  • Supports the senior associate director in managing programmatic components for GAC gatherings. 
  • Working closely with colleagues across AA&D, provides project support for principal gift announcements and celebrations where faculty programming is included.
  • In partnership with the senior associate director, periodically reviews engagement and donor recognition platforms and policies to maximize impact of select groups. Projects may include adjusting membership giving thresholds, development of new donor recognition societies, and creation of additional programming for established groups.
  • Provides ad hoc research and other support for University-wide donor relations projects as needed. May include drafting gift acknowledgments and ad hoc correspondence during busy times of the year. May also include narrative stewardship reporting. Must be able to serve as an editor and proofreader for documents produced by colleagues in University Donor Relations and Engagement.
  • The above covers the most significant responsibilities of the position. It does not, however, exclude other appropriate and legitimate duties that may be required.

Basic Qualifications

  • College degree from an accredited institution required.
  • Minimum of six years of experience in higher education or related field required.
  • Strong project management, writing, editing, and proofreading experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage complex projects, develop engagement opportunities and donor events, and meet deadlines with limited supervision.
  • Must occasionally work additional evening and weekend hours. Position may include some travel.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Excellent communications and interpersonal skills, as well as an ability to establish and promote good working relationships with alumni, colleagues, faculty, administrators, students, and vendors. Must have proven capability to evaluate problems accurately and display good judgment. Must be able to work as a member of a team and independently.
  • Must be able to create and deliver compelling presentations of ideas and program concepts to administrative and University leaders.
  • Must have a proven track record of project management, having seen complex programs through every phase until completion. This individual should demonstrate excellence in aligning project deliverables with strategic organizational objectives.
  • Must have excellent organizational skills with the ability to work on multiple tasks, prioritize work appropriately, and adapt easily to changing priorities. Must be flexible, resourceful, and able to accomplish multiple tasks under deadline pressure. Must demonstrate strong work ethic and ability to take initiative.
  • Requires strong research, analytical, and creative skills. Must pay exceptional attention to details and accuracy. Must be able to treat confidential information with a high level of discretion.
  • Excellent computer skills with the capability to master new software applications and technologies, including database management.
  • Energetic, motivated to learn, curious about academia, and adept in adapting to change.

Additional Information

  • This position requires a 3 month orientation and review period.
  • Please include a cover letter with your application.

To learn more about the AA&D team, please visit our Careers site at

To learn more about how Harvard supports diversity and inclusion throughout the University please visit the Office for Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at .

Accommodations: Harvard University welcomes individuals with disabilities to apply for positions and participate in its programs and activities. If you would like to request accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, please let your recruiter know.

COVID 19 Vaccination Information: The health of our workforce is a priority for Harvard University.  With that in mind, we strongly encourage all employees to be up to date on CDC-recommended vaccines.

Work Format Details

This position is eligible for 100% remote work. Employees may work from any of the Harvard Registered Payroll States, which currently includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Washington, and California (CA for exempt positions only). Certain visa types and funding sources may limit work location. Individuals must meet work location sponsorship requirements prior to employment.


We invite you to visit Harvard's Total Rewards website ( ) to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

  • Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.

Job Function

Alumni Affairs and Development, Communications

Department Office Location

USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code

CM0057 Writer III


Alumni Affairs and Development


00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening

Education, Identity

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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