Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation

Director of Philanthropy
Posted Date: 
Monday, September 28, 2020
Closing Date: 
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Location: Halifax, NS
Website: https://dmrf.ca/
Employment Type: Full-Time
Level: Senior
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Job Description

The Opportunity

Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) provides critical support to researchers at Dalhousie University’s Faculties of Medicine, Health, and Dentistry by fundraising to attract the best resources available to bolster their leading-edge work. Whether it’s talent, equipment, training, or space, DMRF exists to support health research excellence at Dalhousie University and its affiliated research and teaching institutions, so as to positively impact health and wellness regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Now, as the Foundation revitalizes under new leadership and establishes its strategies and priorities for the coming years, we are seeking a dynamic and collaborative Director of Philanthropy to be the catalyst for all future fundraising activities. Reporting to the CEO, the Director will lead a growing team of four dedicated staff in the continued strategic development and execution of a comprehensive program of revenue generation activities which include major gifts and campaigns, annual giving (monthly, direct mail, leadership giving, mid-level giving) and planned giving. In addition, the Director will manage their own portfolio of major gift prospects and donors at various stages of identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.

Joining us at an exciting time in our growth and evolution, the Director of Philanthropy will work in partnership with our CEO, our engaged and high-profile Board, and other volunteer groups to build and enhance fundraising efforts in order to meet the Foundation’s ambitious fundraising targets. The new incumbent will be a key member of our dynamic leadership team and play a crucial role in the business and strategic planning process of the Foundation overall. Additionally, the Director will have frequent interaction and close collaboration with leaders and colleagues at Dalhousie University Advancement and at the Faculties of Medicine, Health, and Dentistry.

This position is ideally based in Halifax but candidates who are available for regular weekly or bi-weekly travel to Halifax can also be based in other Nova Scotia localities.


About Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation

In 1979, a group of business and community leaders, along with members of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine, came together because they believed in the power of medical research to change and save lives - they also believed our region could and should be a leader in medical research excellence. As a result, Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) was formed.

Forty-one years later, DMRF has raised tens of millions of dollars, supported thousands of world-class researchers through endowed projects, trained globally acclaimed leaders in health research, built partnerships and capacity, funded new discoveries, and leveraged matching funds.

Over the 2019-2020 fiscal year DMRF paid out over $5.6 million in research award programs and grants to researchers at Dalhousie’s Faculties of Medicine, Health, and Dentistry. DMRF employs an integrated fundraising model, involving major gifts and campaigns, annual giving (monthly, direct mail, leadership giving and mid-level giving) and planned giving.

DMRF is supported by the generosity of individuals, foundations, and corporate donors from the Maritime Provinces, across Canada, and around the world who believe in the importance of health research, particularly the trailblazing research taking place at Dalhousie, and its potential to improve health outcomes of the people in this community and beyond. Our Board includes members from the Maritimes, Ontario and one member working at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

While preventing illness and improving healthcare is key, increasing economic development and bringing dollars and jobs to Atlantic Canada is a fundamental outcome of the research projects DMRF funds. Medical research generates a powerful economic footprint by creating jobs and promising business opportunities, while providing training and attracting the investment to build a thriving knowledge economy in the Maritimes.

DMRF Values

  • Integrity, transparency, accountability
  • Entrepreneurial culture
  • Inspiring excellence
  • Focused outcomes
  • Partnerships and a collaborative approach


DMRF Current Research Priorities

Dalhousie’s health researchers demonstrate an appetite for research initiatives that are ground-breaking and impactful at both national and international levels. Known for its collaborative and collegial ecosystem, Dalhousie health researchers work together both locally and across geographic borders to create a knowledge base with greater breadth and depth to accelerate the rate of progress. The end goal: prevention, faster diagnosis, better treatments and, ultimately, cures for the conditions and diseases that impact everyone.

To ensure the future of health care and to stimulate the economy, DMRF actively invests in research initiatives that have entrepreneurial underpinnings and involve collaboration across disciplines and geographic borders.

The Foundation currently focuses its support on six areas of research emphasis identified by Dalhousie’s Faculties of Medicine, Health and Dentistry.

I3V (Inflammation, Infectious Diseases, Immunology, and Vaccinology)

With a vision of harnessing the power of the human immune system to improve health, the infection, immunity, inflammation and vaccinology (I3V) team at Dalhousie and affiliated health centres bring together internationally recognized strengths in all these areas of research.

Genetics and Genomics

Dalhousie’s Genetics and Genomics research team of over 50 researchers and clinicians work together to improve the diagnosis and treatment of inherited genetic diseases.

Neuroscience and Mental Health

From internationally acclaimed research in preventing and treating severe mental illness to a nationally recognized Brain Repair Centre, Dalhousie’s neuroscience and mental health research is making progressive strides in matters related to brain health.

Biomaterial Innovation

Biomaterials have revolutionized areas like bioengineering, diagnostics, and tissue engineering for the development of novel strategies to combat life threatening diseases.

Cardiovascular Research in Vulnerable Populations

The Cardiovascular Diseases in Vulnerable Populations group focuses on novel research solutions to improve outcomes for vulnerable heart patients including pregnant women, babies, elderly people and those with obesity and diabetes; prevention and treatment is key.

Collaborative Health Solutions

Dalhousie’s Health Priorities Cluster is made up of researchers and clinicians working together to address key problem areas within our health care system, and society at large. Some of the projects included within Collaborative Health Solutions include: Frailty and Healthy Aging; Youth Mental Health & Addictions; Health Homes: Rapid Learning Primary Care Clinic Network; Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP); UPLIFT: For Healthier Generations; Indigenous Health Research Network; and Emergency Health Research.


Additional Information


The Ideal Candidate

The Director of Philanthropy will be an experienced fundraising leader and credible expert, with a strong capacity in building effective programs. The ideal candidate will have experience leading broad-based, integrated fundraising programs, with particular expertise in major and principal gift fundraising and campaigns. An accomplished strategist with impressive management skills, the Director of Philanthropy will have previous success working within a multi-stakeholder environment, ideally in a healthcare, academic or research context.

The new incumbent will be mission-driven with a passionate interest in health research. Demonstrating an entrepreneurial drive and strong desire to innovate and take calculated risks, the successful candidate will be an ambitious and focused builder who is ready to embrace our new strategic plan and to help chart an aspirational and achievable course of revenue generation for our evolving and growing reputable Foundation.

A communicative and highly collaborative colleague, the new incumbent will partner with the DMRF leadership team, Board, volunteer committees, staff, members of the Dalhousie University Advancement team, Faculty leaders, researchers and other stakeholders to marshal resources in the proactive development and implementation of our fundraising strategy. With the perseverance, dynamism, and integrity needed to grow a successful fundraising program, the new Director of Philanthropy will also possess the flexibility, adaptability and sound judgement to thrive in evolving circumstances.

An outstanding and authentic relationship-builder, the ideal candidate will successfully lead donor engagement activities, ensuring that relationships with donors, prospective donors, volunteers and key partners are deepened. The new incumbent will be able to think creatively and strategically to successfully mediate and negotiate with a variety of individuals and groups. With a high degree of professionalism and tact, as well as strong presence and charisma, the ideal candidate will demonstrate the ability to build trust and foster harmonious relationships both internally and externally, as well as the needed capacity to listen, engage and network effectively in our community and beyond.

An energetic leader with passion and drive to succeed, the Director of Philanthropy will be a skilled inspirer of high-profile volunteers and staff. The new incumbent will be a confident and motivating manager who will guide, coach and support staff and volunteers alike. The successful candidate will be a hard working team player and will have the proven ability to grow and encourage a team of professionals by leading by example and demonstrating compassion, emotional intelligence, cooperation, understanding, openness to learning, as well as to sharing knowledge and expertise.

As a convincing speaker and articulate communicator, the Director of Philanthropy will work collaboratively to develop appropriate messaging for donors and prospects with the goal of engaging them in a shared vision and generating confidence, excitement and support for the Foundation’s funding priorities.


Key Duties & Responsibilities

Specific accountabilities for the Director of Philanthropy include but are not limited to the following:

Strategic Leadership

  • Advance the mission, vision, and values of the DMRF in partnership with the Foundation CEO and senior leadership team colleagues by participating in strategic and annual planning, and overseeing the execution of all philanthropic revenue generation plans.
  • Informed by and aligned with the Foundation’s strategic framework, develop and ensure the successful execution of the fundraising strategy for major gifts, planned giving, annual giving (including mid-level giving and leadership giving), and, in due course, the strategy and plans for an upcoming major campaign.
  • Champion an integrated approach across the Foundation teams and among staff members responsible for various revenue streams and components of the donor experience, strategically building a seamless flow of prospects to grow results over the short, medium and long-term.
  • Build relationships and actively partner with researchers, academic leaders, University Advancement leaders, Board members, and other key stakeholders and volunteers to strategically expand and deepen our base of philanthropic support through disciplined prospect identification and cultivation.
  • Contribute to the creation and use of strategic brand messages to reinforce the Foundation’s case for support with key audiences.
  • As a member of the Foundation leadership team, support and contribute to the ongoing positive and engaging organizational culture.


Revenue Generation & Stakeholder Relations

  • Lead the philanthropic revenue generation strategy, plans and team efforts to achieve annual and multi-year revenue targets and key performance indicators for major gifts, planned giving and annual giving (including leadership-level and mid-level giving) by providing strategic support, problem-solving, and rigour in activity review, and ensuring staff have the resources needed to succeed.
  • Serve as the Foundation’s chief philanthropy officer and support the CEO in all aspects of their fundraising activities.
  • Maintain close working relationships with members of the DMRF Board of Directors and Dalhousie University research, academic and administrative leaders, ensuring they are strategically engaged and well-supported to further the philanthropic goals of the Foundation.
  • Work closely with the Dalhousie University Advancement leadership to ensure coordination of programs and activities as needed to leverage donor engagement and fundraising results.
  • In collaboration with the Foundation leadership team and philanthropy team, Board members, and other key stakeholders including University academic leaders and University Advancement team members, lead the on-going growth and management of a robust pipeline of prospects and active donors at a scale commensurate with current and future revenue targets.
  • Manage a portfolio of prospects and donors in order to achieve personal revenue targets; this will include engagement with lead donors of the Foundation.
  • Oversee the strategy for donor recognition and stewardship to ensure effective donor relations are implemented across all donor levels.
  • Implement all fund development plans in accordance with ethical fundraising principles.
  • Participate in DMRF and Dalhousie University meetings, including but not limited to the DMRF Board meetings. Provide regular reporting and analysis of revenue results, both internally and to the Board of Directors.
  • Assist the CEO and Board in identifying and cultivating prospective volunteer candidates for Board and Board committee roles.
  • Develop strategy and plans for the establishment of additional volunteer committees to further support and increase major gift development and campaign efforts. Lead the identification, recruitment and implementation of appropriate strategy for such campaign cabinets or committees and provide lead staff support.
  • As a member of the Foundation leadership team, ensure high visibility for the Foundation and demonstrate leadership in educating the community about philanthropy and health research funding.


Team Leadership & Operational Management

  • In collaboration with the Foundation leadership team, oversee the recruitment and retention of staff; including hiring, performance management, accountability, annual reviews, and professional development, to ensure that the potential and success of each Foundation employee is maximized.
  • Oversee annual goal setting and performance management for direct reports.
  • Provide inspirational leadership, mentorship, guidance, encouragement, and clarity to enable the personal growth potential and impact of staff team members.
  • Foster a shared sense of purpose, respect, collaboration, and loyalty across the Foundation.
  • Work closely with Foundation and University leaders to identify opportunities to improve integration and optimize processes and procedures to ensure effective and efficient operations.
  • Collaborate with the CEO in developing the Foundation budget and managing all costs associated with the annual budget for all revenue generation programs, campaigns and activities.
  • Keep informed of developments in philanthropy and fund development; informing the CEO and leadership team on current trends and issues in order to facilitate policy making.


Qualifications & Competencies

  • Passionate for the mission, vision, and strategic direction of Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation.
  • Experience leading, planning and implementing a multi-faceted fund development program, with a fulsome understanding of various revenue streams (annual/mid-level giving, planned giving, major giving, campaigns and events), and how best to foster integration and collaboration relative to these revenue programs.
  • Progressive experience managing fundraising programs and teams and engaging with major donors, ideally in a health foundation or post-secondary academic institution.
  • A track record of success identifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding donors at the six figure level and above.
  • Experience engaging, supporting and working with senior level volunteers.
  • Demonstrated success in effectively building and managing high functioning and high performing teams of fundraising professionals.
  • Superior interpersonal skills to develop and maintain a broad range of relationships as well as engage stakeholders both internally and externally.
  • A strong understanding of donor stewardship and its importance in strengthening and deepening donor relationships.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication and presentation skills, with the ability to inspire and influence at all levels with confidence.
  • Demonstrated creativity and strong business acumen with knowledge of regulatory requirements for a fundraising organization.
  • Understanding of the systems, data and software for the support of fundraising programs and donor management.
  • Intellectual depth and curiosity, supported by a minimum of post-secondary education or equivalent combination of education and experience, as well as a demonstrated commitment to ongoing professional learning and development.


For More Information

KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this leadership search on behalf of Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation. For more information about this opportunity, please contact Sylvie Battisti, Vice President, KCI Search + Talent by email at DMRF@kcitalent.com.

Interested candidates are invited to send a resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above. Candidate submissions will be accepted until the position is filled. Candidates will be evaluated on an ongoing basis so early submissions and inquiries are greatly encouraged.


To view the full Position Profile please visit www.kcitalent.com

All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence.

Accommodation will be provided in all parts of the recruitment and assessment process. If you are applying for a position, please let us know of any needs you may have in advance.

DMRF is an equal opportunity employer committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive, and accessible work environment.