Associate Director, Donor Relations and Communications

Updated: 6 months ago


Harvard Radcliffe Institute


Job Summary

The Harvard Radcliffe Institute (HRI) seeks a creative and versatile Associate Director of Donor Relations and Communications to drive strategic communications that convey the promise and impact of the Institute’s work and fundraising priorities. Reporting to the Director of Donor Engagement and working closely with the Director of Annual Giving and the Donor Relations Coordinator, the Associate Director develops materials and workflows that advance the education, cultivation, and stewardship of major gift supporters, volunteers, and other friends of the Institute.

As the External Relations (ER) team’s lead writer, the Associate Director is responsible for ensuring consistent messaging across ER communications and developing materials that support major gift fundraising ($100K+) for the Dean’s priorities. Key responsibilities include: oversight of a comprehensive major gift stewardship program, including the creation of stewardship plans for top donors, narrative impact reporting, and donor fund assignment and tracking; development of compelling fundraising cases, gift opportunities, and gift proposals; and production of communications and high-level correspondence that engage, inspire, and thank Institute supporters.

The Associate Director serves as an integral and visible member of a cross-functional team, collaborating with the HRI Communications team to advance key projects and representing HRI on University-wide development communications and donor relations committees. The successful candidate will demonstrate an enthusiasm for creative storytelling, excellent project management skills, a collaborative approach to problem-solving, and a track record of producing high quality written materials amid time constraints and multiple stakeholders.  

Position Description

Donor Relations and Stewardship:

  • Manages the Harvard Radcliffe Institute’s stewardship program, which serves to engage, thank, and retain current and future donors at all levels.
  • Proposes donor recognition and stewardship strategies, including individualized stewardship plans and events for high-level donors to the Institute, and implements programs and procedures.
  • Oversees narrative stewardship reporting (narrative and financial) for current-use and endowed funds, including: facilitating the establishment of named funds; assigning fund usage; tracking beneficiaries and impacts of funds; creating annual schedule to ensure timely reporting back to donors on the activity supported through their funds; collaborating with staff across ER, HRI, and University counterparts; and assessing donor impact and effectiveness of reporting and proposing program enhancements.
  • Prepares special correspondence for the dean and other senior administrators to advance donor cultivation and stewardship as needed; oversees drafting of routine ER-related decanal correspondence and gift acknowledgments. 
  • Advises on and facilitates the recognition of donors in both print and web-based publications in collaboration with the Communications team, as well as campus signage in collaboration with the Facilities Team.
  • Serves as liaison between External Relations, other Radcliffe Institute departments, and the University on donor relations and stewardship-related inquiries.

Development Communications:
  • Develops gift proposals in collaboration with fundraisers and senior leaders to present to prospective donors. In partnership with the Director of Donor Engagement, develops compelling gift opportunities related to the dean’s fundraising priorities. Ensures that materials are accurate and updated for use by fundraisers and senior administrators.
  • Manages donor messaging and strategic projects related to advancing Institute fundraising priorities, including print and digital publications, newsletters, event materials, multimedia, donor profiles, website content, and fundraiser resources. Aligns messaging and priorities with Dean’s Office and Communications senior administrators and develops and executes strategy to highlight the impact of philanthropy in furthering Radcliffe’s mission.
  • Drives the assessment and creation of donor communications and stewardship vehicles to support the strategic engagement of HRI philanthropic audiences, including the Dean’s Advisory Council, Schlesinger Library Council, and Leadership Society. 
  • Develops and maintains an internal content library and related training materials for fundraisers and senior administrators.
  • Leverages data and digital tools to inform strategic decisions and tactics, including the creation of user-friendly and intuitive reports and presentations suitable for use with senior leadership and volunteer leadership councils.
  • Maintains strong collaborative partnerships with HRI Communications and University Development Office Content Strategy and Donor Relations teams to achieve these efforts.

Supervisory Responsibilities:
  • Supervises the work of assigned staff, student writers/interns, and related contract employees.
  • Carries out supervisory responsibilities according to the Institute’s / University’s management policies, procedures, and any applicable laws.
  • Responsibilities include hiring and training, planning, and assigning work, conducting annual performance reviews, addressing performance issues, and resolving problems.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required with a minimum of four years of experience working in a related field such as development writing, communications, marketing, or journalism, preferably in an academic/fundraising setting.
  • Must have exceptional research, writing, editing, proofreading and content strategy skills; extensive knowledge of English grammar, editorial principles, and practices.
  • Computer literacy required. Must be proficient with Microsoft Office software applications and databases.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Excellent project management skills including developing materials on a strict timeline, working effectively with colleagues to achieve goals, and prioritizing and advancing multiple projects simultaneously. Must be highly organized and detail oriented.
  • Ability to receive and integrate feedback quickly. Experience writing persuasively, as well as using
  • visuals and data, in communications.
  • Understanding of fundraising principles and effective communication to various donor audiences.
  • Strong research and interpersonal skills and ability to develop effective working relationships with a wide range of stakeholders to gather relevant data with tact, diplomacy, and persistence.
  • Must be able to work with minimal supervision in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment.
  • Ability to maintain a high degree of confidentiality and responsibility regarding information related to Institute business and prospect information.
  • Experience and familiarity with gift terms, gift acceptance and gift policy a plus.
  • Must be highly collaborative, flexible, team-focused, and able to move projects forward with independence.
  • Must be intellectually curious, continuously seeking to enhance personal knowledge to further the work of HRI, and dedicated to being part of and contributing to an inclusive workplace and environment.
  • A sense of humor, problem-solving mindset, and collegial spirit.

Physical Requirements

  • The demands described below are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • Employee must have the ability to sit at a desk for a minimum of seven hours a day and complete tasks requiring repetitive use of hands.  
  • Occasional travel may be required. 
  • This role is offered as a hybrid position (some combination of onsite and remote) where the incumbent is required to be onsite at our Cambridge, MA location. Specific days and schedule will be determined between the incumbent and manager.
  • Able to work some nights and weekends as required.

Working Conditions

This job is performed in a temperature-controlled office environment.


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

Department Office Location

USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code

302058 Development Manager

Work Format

Hybrid (partially on-site, partially remote)


External Relations


00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening

Education, Employment, 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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