Managing Director, Donor Relations

Updated: 2 months ago


Harvard Medical School


Position Description

As a leader in Harvard Medical School’s Office of Alumni Affairs and Development (AAD), the Managing Director of Donor Relations oversees HMS’ donor relations and stewardship program, which includes stewardship reporting, gift acknowledgments, donor recognition, giving societies, and creative and opportunistic stewardship touchpoints. The position is responsible for developing and directing the execution of strategic, comprehensive, integrated plans which serve to thank and engage HMS’ donor base, continually connecting them to the mission and work of the school and cultivating them toward increased giving and involvement.

The Managing Director must be a highly creative, energetic, collaborative leader with the ability to translate big-picture strategic thinking into tactical, actionable plans. He/she/they must have a demonstrated ability to partner with frontline fundraising teams to develop and refine stewardship programs for donors at all levels and define and track against metrics of success. He/she/they should be self-motivated and mission-driven, with the ability to energize, inspire, and galvanize teams toward a shared purpose.

  • Builds, drives, and continually refine a comprehensive stewardship and recognition program for HMS development which meaningfully conveys gratitude to donors at all levels and cultivates them toward continued giving and involvement with HMS. Ensures stewardship and recognition programs are appropriately aligned with fundraising priorities. Sets clear metrics for success and adjusts strategies as needed to meet goals.
  • Manages workflow and assignments for the reporting program. Ensures all stewardship reporting requirements are met, and that reports are comprehensive, appropriately personalized, and delivered on schedule.
  • With a focus on segmentation, personalization, and timeliness, oversees HMS’ acknowledgments program.
  • In partnership with frontline colleagues and the Development Communications team, develops and directs strategic plans for HMS’ stewardship societies.
  • Manages staff member who oversees stewardship for HMS’ principal and major gift donors, which involves the creation, maintenance, and execution of highly bespoke engagement plans for HMS’ top 10- 12 prospects.
  • Stays current with trends and innovations in fundraising and donor relations. Serves as a creative resource and thought partner for frontline colleagues across the office. Represents HMS in Harvard’s Donor Relations Directors group.
  • Identifies and executes on new and proactive touchpoints to thank donors and share the impact of their support. Continually recommends how to leverage existing communications and events for the purpose of engaging and cultivating donors.
  • Manages a team of five direct reports. Establishes annual goals, objectives, and budgets for Donor Relations as part of the fiscal year planning and mid-year review process.
  • Oversees and directs staff member who manages gift terms and stewardship for professorships. This work involves managing relationships with development offices across HMS’ affiliate institutions, as well as internal partners, to oversee the establishment and celebration of new professorships and respond to issues and questions related to existing professorships.
  • Writes and edits stewardship reports as needed.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required.
  • 10 or more years of related experience, preferably with comprehensive skills in donor relations, engagement, and/or communications in an academic, medical, or scientific research environment.
  • Supervisory experience is required.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Proven track record of successfully leading teams, including encouraging, managing, and motivating staff.
  • Passion for and experience leading donor relations and engagement efforts, as well as understanding the fundraising functions within a nonprofit.
  • Discerning leader who is not afraid to make decisions and stand by them.
  • Experienced writer with keen attention to detail.
  • Superior interpersonal and written communication skills; communicates openly and honestly; exercises tact, diplomacy, patience, and discretion.
  • Creative thinker who is open to new ideas and has a positive, can-do attitude.
  • Demonstrates ability to plan, organize, and prioritize a diverse workload with frequent deadlines; entrepreneurial and problem-solving mindset.
  • Integrity, high standards, and a commitment to excellence.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment and confidentiality in working with prospects, volunteers, and HMS faculty, staff, and students.

Additional Information

This position is based in Boston and some in-person on-campus work will be required, and flexible/remote work is an option. Any remote work must be performed in a state in which Harvard is registered to do business (CA*, CT, GA, IL, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VA, VT, and WA). Individual flexible and remote work options for this role will be discussed during the interview process. *Note: Harvard employees working in California must be exempt.

Harvard University continues to place the highest priority on the health, safety, and well-being of its faculty, staff, and students, as well as the wider community. Please note that all new employees will be required to complete an attestation of having received their primary series COVID-19 vaccination prior to hire, as detailed on our COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement Webpage . Individuals may request exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons prior to completing the hiring process. Additional information regarding this requirement, exemptions, verification of vaccination status, and other related policies and resources may be found on the University’s COVID-19 Information Website .

Please note that we are currently conducting a majority of interviews and onboarding remotely and virtually. We appreciate your understanding.

The Harvard Medical School is not able to provide visa sponsorship for this position.

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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 - Boston

Job Code

302060 Development Manager

Work Format

Hybrid (partially on-site, partially remote)


Alumni Affairs and Development (AAD)


00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening

Criminal, Education, Identity

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

We are committed to cultivating an inclusive workplace culture of faculty, staff, and students with diverse backgrounds, styles, abilities, and motivations. We appreciate and leverage the capabilities, insights, and ideas of all individuals. Harvard Medical School Mission and Community 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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