Vice President for University Advancement


The Vice President for University Advancement at Carlow University serves as the Chief Advancement Officer and demonstrates and reflects an understanding of and commitment to the mission and core values of Carlow University, a Catholic institution sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy. S/he is responsible for designing and implementing comprehensive, institutional advancement programs. The advancement function includes responsibility for annual fund, corporate and foundation relations, major gifts and gift planning, endowment and campaign initiatives, alumni relations, stewardship, and advancement services.

The Vice President for University Advancement reports to the President and serves on the senior administrative team of the University.

Essential Functions:

  • Advance the mission, vision, and goals of the University in concert with the University President and as a member of the Senior Leadership Team with cabinet colleagues.
  • Support the President in all phases of her advancement and fundraising activities.
  • Serve as an exemplary University advocate and affirmative presence in the community, with local leaders, with the Sisters of Mercy, and with business and corporate partners; build relationships that closely link the community, region, and nation with the University.
  • Develop and maintain close working relationships with members of the Board of Trustees, the Development and Cultivation Committee of the Board, and all key leadership volunteers including key alumni/parents/friends. Staff the Development and Cultivation Committee of the Board and support the President in inspiring increased engagement from all key volunteer constituencies.
  • Perform as a member of the President's Senior Administrative Team and provide thoughtful, supportive, strategic and innovative leadership with other administrative colleagues.
  • Engage University faculty and staff in an effort to broaden the culture of philanthropy.
  • Maintain cooperative working relationships with academic leaders, athletics, and campus departments whose cooperation is essential to effective outreach and fundraising.
  • Plan, manage and evaluate the effectiveness of advancement and alumni relations staff and programs, and drive changes and enhancements to both infrastructure and strategies.
  • Manage a personal portfolio of major and principal gift prospects, including responsibilities for personal cultivation, solicitation, closing of commitments and stewardship involving internal and volunteer partners wherever appropriate.
  • Lead by example and ensure that regular documentation and evaluation of results occurs on a systemic and predictable basis both within and across fiscal years.
  • Build a comprehensive strategy for increasing support from corporations and foundations.
  • Supervise/manage a team of committed staff that thrive on relationship and team-building and that value transparency, accountability, collaboration and communication. Responsible for evaluating performance and setting realistic, aspirational goals.
  • Establish and maintain best practice prospect tracking and management policies and protocols in reliance on information housed within the Raiser's Edge database platform.
  • Communicate progress to all key internal and external stakeholders in a regular and consistent manner using established metrics and performance dashboards.
  • Lead the advancement team in the development of annual plans and budgets for Campaigns, Alumni Relations, Annual Fund, Major Gifts, Gift Planning, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Stewardship and Advancement Services.
  • Provide overall leadership to alumni relations and inspire increased alumni engagement.
  • In partnership with University Marketing and Communications, devise and implement effective internal and external messaging and methods of advancement communication.
  • Formulate and administer the annual budget for the Advancement Office.
  • Develop policies and procedures for effective, ethical operation of the University Advancement Office.
  • Ensure that all private commitments are accepted on the basis of best practice, balancing both University and donor objectives, and within full compliance of IRS charitable accounting rules and regulations.
  • Be active and involved in the advancement profession and keep Carlow visible among higher education peer institutions.
  • Be an articulate advocate for Carlow's core values and heritage as a Sisters of Mercy- sponsored institution.
  • All other duties as assigned by the President.
  • Travel is required: the Vice President must be willing to travel 30% or more in his or her work with donors and as a representative of the University

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

The successful candidate will have a proven record of leadership and a successful track record of personally cultivating, soliciting, closing and stewarding major and planned gifts at leadership levels. Strong organizational, supervisory, team-building, and leadership capabilities are essential, as is the ability to implement strong data management practices and data-driven metrics, goals, and measurement. The successful candidate will demonstrate commitment to the mission, vision and values of Carlow University. He or she will document successful solicitation of numerous major and principal gifts, and present a history of building advancement program and fundraising performance. This leader will have a demonstrated appreciation for and reliance on data and quantifiable outcomes and reporting, with experience with database administration and management.

Education and Experience:

A master's degree is required.  A minimum of ten years of experience as a senior level advancement professional is requisite, including successful experience developing integrated fundraising programs, strategic planning and alumni engagement initiatives. Commitment to a values-based mission-centered, Catholic higher education is essential.  While higher education experience is preferred, candidates who have considerable advancement leadership experience in other non-profit settings are also encouraged to apply.

Inquiries, nominations and applications may be directed in confidence to: Robert Driver, c/o Gonser Gerber LLP, 1776 Legacy Circle Drive, Suite 100, Naperville, IL  To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, and five professional references. References will not be contacted until later in the search process.

Carlow University employees commit themselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct. They commit to act with integrity, treat others with respect and dignity, carefully steward the University's resources, avoid conflicts of interest or commitment, maintain confidentiality, and to comply with legal and professional obligations.  Carlow University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer by choice. We value diversity and we are committed to the recruitment of underrepresented groups. 

Full/Part/FT&PT: Full-time - exempt
Department: University Advancement
Contact Name/Title: Robert Driver
Contact Address: Robert Driver, c/o Gonser Gerber LLP, 1776 Legacy Circle, Suite 100, Naperville, IL 60563
Contact Email Address: