Director of Major Gifts(1)


Carlow University, a private, Catholic, liberal arts, comprehensive University in Pittsburgh, PA. Carlow University was founded in 1929 by the Sisters of Mercy, an international community of Roman Catholic women with a mission to serve the poor, the sick, and the uneducated. Carlow, an institution grounded in the liberal arts while also offering strong professional programs, is committed to engaging its diverse community in a process of life-long learning, scholarship, research, and service. Degrees are offered at the baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral levels. Carlow is recognized as a College of Distinction, a Catholic College of Distinction, and a Pennsylvania College of Distinction for 2016-17. Carlow has also been selected by Abound as a provider of Top Degrees for Adult Undergraduates for 2017 and is regionally ranked by US News & World Report. The University was recently named one of Money Magazine's "Best Colleges for Your Money."

The Director of Major Gifts is responsible for identifying, cultivating, soliciting, closing and providing stewardship to prospects and benefactors, and individuals, capable of making major gifts to further the mission of Carlow University. Major gift prospects are individuals who have been determined to have the ability to make gifts that generally range from $5K and higher.  Major gifts also include deferred gift commitments. This gift officer will develop and implement strategies for securing financial support from this group and will manage a portfolio of prospects.  Extensive travel within the Pittsburgh region and nationally is required.

Reporting directly to the Vice President of University Advancement, the Director of Major Gifts  will develop an overall major gifts plan for the department, and will acquire, renew and upgrade major donors in his/her individual portfolio.  The Director of Major Gifts will manage the departmental processes to achieve individual and departmental fund-raising and stewardship goals.

Essential Functions

  • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward an assigned pool of 125-150 major gifts prospects annually. 
  • Assure stewardship of gifts received and timely, appropriate recognition of donors.
  • On a regular basis, even daily, evaluate major gift prospect portfolio, advance prospects through gift cycles and solicit when appropriate.
  • Work collaboratively with other University departments and constituent groups to create optimal cultivation and solicitation strategies matching the interests and objectives of prospects.
  • Partner with the VP for University Advancement with fundraising strategy, management, recordkeeping, and moves management of the prospect pool.
  • In consultation with the VP for University Advancement, establish yearly goals for major gifts. Assess progress toward goals regularly.
  • Participate in the development and/or revision of policies and procedures relating to the major gifts process, marketing materials, major gifts cultivation, and stewardship and recognition activities. 
  • Maintain a comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the University infrastructure, policies, and procedures.
  • Cultivate relationships leading to five to seven-figure gifts and planned gifts.
  • Communicate recognition of major gifts with campus community and broader constituency.
  • Prepare timely written visit reports and proposals, gift illustrations, informational materials and other materials to advance the solicitation process. 
  • Ensure appropriate processing and tracking of gifts, gift acknowledgment and recognition for portfolio.
  • Attend Advancement and University events to build and maintain relationships with prospects, benefactors and individuals.
  • Supervise major gifts program.
  • Manage budget for major gifts activities and ensure expense reports are submitted on a weekly basis.
  • Demonstrate and reflect an understanding of and commitment to the mission and core values of Carlow University and the Sisters of Mercy on campus and to the larger community.
  • The intent of this list of primary duties is to provide a representative summary of the major duties and responsibilities of this job. Incumbents perform other related duties as assigned. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary based upon departmental needs.


  1. Bachelor's Degree required with Master's preferred.
  2. 5 years of development experience with relevant experience in cultivating, soliciting, closing and stewarding donors and with increasing levels of responsibility.  Previous major gift solicitation experience in private higher education with a proven record of successful gift closings.
  3. Ability to travel and work evenings and weekends. Position requires 60- 70% time in face-to-face visits.
  4. Demonstrated high ethical standards aligned with the Donor Bill of Rights and the AFP Code of Conduct.
  5. Personal belief in mission, goals and objectives of private higher education, generally and Carlow University specifically.
  6. Excellent communication skills, both oral and written, with strong presentation skills, including the display of tact and diplomacy in difficult and sensitive situations and with a high level of comfort with direct donor interaction, including when discussing personal and family finances and highly sensitive information. 
  7. Strong organizational skills, including the ability to manage multiple projects concurrently, to manage priorities, and to adhere to pre-determined schedule.
  8. Ability and motivation to work in a team-based, goal-oriented environment.
  9. Technical knowledge and use of donor database management systems.  Experience with Raiser's Edge database is a plus.
  10. Thorough knowledge of English grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

 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.

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 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: Search Committee
Contact Address: Carlow University 3333 Fifth Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Contact Email Address: