University of Toronto

Executive Director, Principal Gifts
Posted Date: 
Friday, February 23, 2018
Closing Date: 
Friday, March 30, 2018

The Opportunity

The University of Toronto is seeking an Executive Director, Principal Gifts to strategically lead the University’s portfolio of prospective and current principal gift donors (individuals capable of making gifts of $5 million or more). The incumbent will oversee the strategy for the identification and expansion of this prospective donor base, as well as strategies for cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship, with the objective of maximizing this form of support and increasing donor interest and satisfaction over time.

The Executive Director will provide leadership to the University’s effort to secure and expand its base of principal gift supporters, and to the stewardship of such donors, so that they are inspired to form, maintain and strengthen their relationship with the University. In addition to providing strategy, advice, and support for principal gifts across the university, a significant portion of the Executive Director’s role is to be directly involved in soliciting such gifts.

The Executive Director will have overall responsibility for a team of five advancement professionals tasked with identifying, cultivating, and soliciting donors and, in collaboration with the Stewardship team, developing tailored stewardship programs to enhance the interest and engagement of individuals who directly, or through other sources, have made or are capable of making gifts at this level. As well, the Executive Director will work collaboratively with Divisional advancement colleagues and with academic and administrative leaders across the University.

Reporting to the Assistant Vice-President, Divisional Relations and Campaigns, the Executive Director will work closely with and have a dotted line to the Vice President, Advancement. The Executive Director will be a valued member of the senior management team within the Division of University Advancement (DUA).

This position will be based at DUA at 21 King’s College Circle on U of T’s St. George Campus.  The language of work is English.  This position is rated 2AP and has a salary range up to $108,202 to $216,604 (open), plus an annual incentive payment, based on successful completion of objectives. The University has a highly competitive health benefit plan and a defined pension plan provided to employees.

Key Results Areas

The Executive Director, Principal Gifts will focus on the following Key Results Areas:

o Lead the development and management of a systematic, comprehensive, best-practice principal gifts unit that contributes significantly to the growth of the University’s fundraising performance (newly committed pledges and gifts) to $300 million or more per year on a sustainable basis.
o Contribute to the University’s fundraising performance by devoting 50% of her or his time to the cultivation and solicitation of a portfolio of principal gift prospects.
o Build capacity and sophistication of principal gift efforts throughout the University, marshalling the systems, research, and other forms of support necessary to ensure the effective cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of principal gift donors and prospects.
o Work closely with academic, advancement and volunteer leadership throughout the University to identify and qualify new principal gift prospects and to formulate individualized strategies and proposal concept for their engagement.
o Provide support, research, briefing materials, and other support as needed for solicitations by the President, Vice President, Advancement, and Assistant Vice Presidents, and participate in those efforts as appropriate; develop effective working relationships with certain principal gift prospects and become personally responsible for their cultivation and solicitation.
o In close collaboration with the DUA stewardship unit, provide leadership and direction to the development of highly personalized donor relations and stewardship activities for principal gift donors, to stimulate life-long relationships and inspire donors to maintain and strengthen their relationship with the University.

Major Activities

Fundraising and Development

o Direct the development and execution of customized cultivation and solicitation strategies for the University’s principal gift prospects (defined as prospects that are capable of making a gift of $5 million or more).
o Devote significant amounts of time to the process of personally soliciting principal gifts from a defined portfolio of principal gift prospects.
o Assist the President, Vice-Presidents, Assistant Vice Presidents, and Advancement Counsel, who may be responsible for or involved in principal gift prospects of their own, in achieving their solicitation goals.
o Oversee the continued development of the Principal Gifts team, ensuring that the team keeps abreast of new techniques and strategies and is clearly established as a best practice, best-in class Principal Gift team in North America.
o Collaborate with the Advancement Research team and Divisional Advancement teams on the identification of new prospects. Lead the preparation of initial strategies to qualify and engage these prospects.
o Oversee the engagement of the President and the Vice President, Advancement, the Assistant Vice-President, Divisional Relations, and Advancement Counsel, in the cultivation and solicitation of principal gift prospects, including ensuring that they are appropriately briefed and that the results of their interactions are properly followed up.
o Oversee the establishment and continuous monitoring of systems for tracking the progress of principal gift prospects in active cultivation and solicitation.
o Contributing to and supporting the crafting and implementation of principal gift announcements and post-gift stewardship in collaboration with the Stewardship team and the relevant Division(s).
o Manage and assume responsibility for cultivating and soliciting support from a portfolio of principal gift prospects, in collaboration with the President of the University, the Vice President, Advancement, campaign volunteer leadership, senior academic administrators and faculty, and divisional advancement leaders, leading to increasing levels of involvement, satisfaction and financial support among portfolio donors.
o Project management and development liaise with Deans, Principal and other senior leaders of the University to develop principal giving opportunities (from among approved funding priorities). Coordinate planning sessions with those colleagues and institutional leaders who have established relationships with existing principal gift prospects, to develop giving opportunities and formulate an individualized strategy for each donor.
o Create ad hoc teams to support the execution of principal gift solicitations. Such teams might include staff members from Advancement Research, Advancement Communications and Marketing, a respective Division’s Advancement team, Donor Relations and Stewardship.
o In collaboration with the Provost, the Vice-Presidents of Advancement, Research, or International, and Principals and Deans, along with lead advancement staff in divisions, help lead the development of proposal concepts for complex collaborative initiatives and the institution’s most ambitious and transformative ideas, such as the Rogers Centre for Heart Research or the MPA, capable of inspiring support at the highest levels of philanthropy in this country.

Human Resource Management

o Plan strategically for and define the organizational structure for the Unit/Department including the kinds of equipment used, the methods and techniques of work, the work assignments, duties and responsibilities of positions and the classifications and qualifications of positions as well as other management rights contained in appropriate collective agreements.
o Budget responsibilities related to the human resources management. For example, this position would decide on the implementation of a budget cut to the Unit/Team/Department.
o Strategically manage labour relations implications of business disruptions; participate as representative of department in broader strategic management initiatives related to planning for business disruptions in the University.
o Develop plans and work processes for department projects based on understanding of project requirements and timelines.

Experience & Competencies

Required Experience & Education

o A successful track record in a senior-level major gifts or principal gifts position in a comprehensive development office in a research-intensive environment.
o At least seven years of successful experience securing substantial individual gifts.
o Experience within the context of a multi-year, comprehensive campaign.
o A deep understanding of and sympathy for the mission of a research-intensive university
o Demonstrated experience and success managing, motivating, and mentoring volunteers and advancement professionals, bringing out the best in teams and individuals.
o A university degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Abilities, Qualities, and Attributes:

o Vision, the ability to think and plan strategically, and a creative, entrepreneurial spirit.
o The ability to mentor, coach, motivate and inspire colleagues and volunteers.
o High level of initiative, maturity, tact and diplomacy; excellent judgement and discretion.
o The ability to serve as an articulate, credible representative of the University with diverse constituencies and particularly with the sophisticated individuals who support the institution at the principal gift level.
o The ability to understand the research and teaching dimensions of a proposed project, to conceptualize them in an integrated proposal, and to make a compelling case to a donor for philanthropic support.
o An engaging personal style, a sincere interest in people, patience, a willingness to listen, and the capacity to engender trust and to establish lasting relationships.
o Reputation for integrity, openness, decisiveness and sound judgement.
o A high level of comfort interacting with academic leaders as well as donors and volunteers.
o The ability to navigate and be effective within a complex matrix organization that values collaboration and teamwork as well as individual initiative and creativity.
o Excellent attention to detail and superb organizational skills, including the ability to set principal gift fundraising goals and to establish an internal system for meeting deadlines, tracking, follow-up, monitoring, and reporting of progress.
o Ability to work in a hectic and results-oriented environment with a strong focus on results.
o Ability to meet deadlines and budgets.
o A high energy level, an appropriate degree of sophistication and self-confidence, optimism (and the ability to engender optimism in others) and a sense of humour.
o Exceptional oral and written communication, presentation and interpersonal skills.
o Strong research, analytical and problem-solving skills.

About The University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is widely recognized as a global leader in research and education, consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the world and the top university in Canada, placing 22nd in the most recent annual Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings, and 32nd in the QS World University Rankings. The University of Toronto is also 1st in Canada in the research-focused Academic Ranking of World Universities.

As Canada’s largest university, the University of Toronto has more than 88,000 total enrollment of national and international students in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs on three separate campuses.  Recognized as a global leader in research and teaching, U of T has an operating budget of $2.3 billion and research grants and contract support of $1.2 billion. The University of Toronto has 44 libraries with more than 19.4 million physical holdings and more than 6 million electronic holdings.

Established in 1827, the University of Toronto has over 562,000 graduates spread across 165 countries. U of T’s globally-recognized network of faculty members, alumni, and partners creates a unique educational experience for undergraduate and graduate students. With one of the strongest teaching faculties across all disciplines, the University has over 14,000 faculty and librarian members – spanning medicine to business, urban studies to engineering, humanities to education, and more – our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with professors who are some of today’s thought leaders.

The University has an estimated economic impact on the GTA economy of $6.58 billion and on the Canadian economy the impact is $15.7 billion. More than 150 research-based start-ups have launched in the last five years at U of T.   U of T has also been listed as one of Canada’s top 100 employers for 2017, a distinction held for the past ten years. The ideas and inventions that are created here make their way into the global economy in many ways, through start-ups, small businesses, commercialization, and partnerships.

Advancement at the University of Toronto

The Division of University Advancement (DUA) promotes and supports the University of Toronto by engaging a worldwide community of more than 550,000 alumni, plus many donors and friends.  DUA encompasses a highly skilled team of staff focused in the areas of development, alumni and volunteer engagement, advancement services, and advancement marketing and communications.  The uniquely integrated structure of University Advancement encourages each division to bring its particular strengths and expertise to the common cause of advancing U of T’s relations with alumni, donors, and friends.

The Division of University Advancement at the University of Toronto is engaged in a transformative agenda deeply rooted in the University’s vision for growth and innovation.  We are focused on doubling fundraising performance on a sustainable basis; enhancing the effectiveness and satisfaction of alumni participation and programs; building advancement capacity within and across divisions; creating an organization and culture that fosters leadership, initiative, effectiveness, and community; and contributing to the creation of an external relations strategy for a transforming image, reputation and standing of U of T along an axis of differentiation and excellence.

Boundless – The Campaign for the University of Toronto

The Boundless campaign for the University of Toronto is a transformational fundraising effort that embodies the University of Toronto’s bold vision for the future. Thanks to more than 94,000 alumni and friends, the Boundless campaign has raised a remarkable $2,058,559,590 to date, exceeding its orginal $2 billion goal in June 2016, six months ahead of schedule.  Building on this generous support and momentum, the University announced an expanded goal of $2.4 billion for initiatives inspired by the University’s Three Priorities and emerging ideas from across our three campuses.

Building on our success to date, we will seize on new opportunities to strengthen our role in civic and global society, provide a transformational undergraduate learning experience, pave the way for game-changing start-ups and new industries, drive breakthroughs in health care, and create the knowledge that illuminates humanity. Together, we can reimagine the world.

Additional Information About U of T

o President’s Biography:
o University of Toronto’s Three Priorities:
o U of T Global:
o U of T News:
o Research & Innovation:
o UofT Magazine:
o Division of University Advancement:
o Boundless campaign: 
o Campaign Initiatives:
o Campaign news:
o Impact Stories:
o What makes us Boundless?:
o Donor Stories:
o Boundless donor list:

Application Process

For more information, interested individuals are invited to contact Tara George, Senior Vice President at KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) via email at

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:

Candidates who are interested in applying for this position should please send resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above. Please note that we will be reviewing resumes on a bi-weekly basis beginning March 12th.

All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence. If you require accommodation during the recruitment and selection process, please let us know. We will work with you to provide as seamless a recruitment experience as possible.

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, aboriginal persons, and persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

Canada’s leading teaching and research University, the University of Toronto is ranked one of the Greater Toronto’s Top 100 Employers 2017, and one of Canada’s Top Family-Friendly Employers for 2017. Committed to enhancing the diversity and experience of both staff and students, U of T offers employees challenging work, flexible family-friendly programs and opportunities for professional and personal development.