Director of Development, Major Gifts – UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO

Accountable to the AVP Development Programs, the Director is responsible for leading and providing oversight to the major giving unit, driving major gift fundraising and sponsorship activities through the Office of Advancement. The Director works within the framework of Waterloo’s Office of Advancement, and the office of the Vice-President Advancement, to ensure that Waterloo has a coordinated overall strategic advancement plan. The Director is also responsible for overseeing academic support unit (ASU) Advancement contributions to and compliance with Waterloo initiatives.

The Director’s overall objective is to enhance the fundraising capability and success at the major giving level.  through the strategic planning, development and implementation of development programs in support of priority areas. To this end, the Director is accountable for strategic planning of the ASUs Development Activities, including annual fundraising plans, providing team leadership, overseeing major gifts fundraising activity, managing a personal portfolio of major and principal gift prospects and donors, and overseeing the overall Donor strategy development for the portfolio.  Salary Range: $108,021 – $135,026

Posted On:  February 15, 2024

Closing On: March 30, 2024

Location: Waterloo, Ontario

Employment Type:  Full Time

Level:  Senior

Salary Range:  $108,021 – $135,026


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The Office of Advancement builds bridges between the University and partners across the globe to support Waterloo researchers, alumni and students. Guided by the University’s strategic plan and Waterloo at 100 vision, we work together to create bold new futures in which humanity and the planet will thrive. Your career is more than a job. It’s part of your identity and the impact you have on the world.  Find your impact- join our dynamic team!  There’s a place for you at Waterloo.

The Director, Development provides leadership in developing and evaluating strategic, donor centric fundraising approaches that complement and enhance programs within Advancement and across the university (for example, leadership giving, planned giving, principal gifts, Faculty fundraising campaigns, non-academic support units) as well as advancement service areas (including systems, gift processing, records, donor relations & stewardship, advancement communications and research).


Strategic Direction, Planning and Priority Setting for Major Giving Activity:

  • Provides oversight to the development and execution of annual strategic plans across the major giving unit, including projections regarding dollars raised, visits, stewardship activities, and other performance metrics
  • Establishes and implements coordinated short and long range goals and objectives for Development activities
  • Establishes internal policies and operating procedures necessary to achieve objectives
  • Monitors and evaluates the development program effectiveness against priorities and performance targets; effects changes required for improvement
  • Provides input to capital and other university-wide fundraising campaigns and project themes
  • Ensures ASU/university-wide development programs are in-line with overall university goals and objectives
  • Develops and implements fundraising strategies for ASU/university-wide funding priorities in consultation with team members and counsel, for example for increasing the average gift, for renewing and upgrading donors and for building the major gifts pipeline
  • Initiates and directs research on individuals identified as having significant donor potential
  • Accountable for the assigned operating budget

Team Leadership & Management

  • Provides direct management, supervisory responsibilities, and establishes priorities for major giving team members as the team grows to meet the needs of the university
  • Directs management activities and special projects; Directs recruiting, onboarding, training, and evaluation of program staff and ensures resources are in place for ongoing mentorship and professional development of major giving team members
  • Cultivates a ‘One Advancement’ team model, encourages collaboration within the team and across Advancement
  • Supervises development officers deployed university-wide to support evolving priorities, working collaboratively with leaders in various Faculties or ASUs to support unit fundraising efforts
  • Leads the development and implementation of a multi-year plan to build the university’s donor pipeline, with particular attention to capacity within the major giving unit, to include goal setting, budgeting, and resource plans in support of overall objectives
  • Assists in the development, implementation and evaluation of operating procedures and policies related to the efficient and effective operation of the major giving team with a goal to maximize fundraiser productivity
  • Assesses and develops staff potential through assignment of responsibilities and formal training opportunities

Fundraising and Donor Relations

  • Works collaboratively within Advancement to move prospects through the pipeline
  • Initiates relationships with potentially generous donors, develops and cultivates commitment and works towards its translation into financial and volunteer support
  • Promotes the needs of the unit at fundraising and other special events through public speaking engagements and personal contact
  • Plans and hosts campus visits for major donors and potential major donors
  • Establishes and monitors donor recognition and acknowledgement programs
  • Develops Terms of Reference for endowment and trust donations
  • Assumes primary responsibility for a significant portfolio of major gift prospects and donors
  • Develops and implements tailored action plans, solicitation strategies and proposals for each prospect
  • Makes face-to-face calls both with and without key volunteers and University leadership
  • Prepare notes for prospect tracking and clearance system
  • Works with AVP EDI, AVP Indigenous Initiatives, Vice Provost, Students, Vice Provost CEE, Director, Athletics & Recreation, Director, Velocity, and others across the university to clarify fundraising priorities and develop strategies to cultivate, solicit, support and manage volunteer and donor involvement with Advancement activities
  • Builds/reinforces base & pipeline for major and principal gifts prospects and donors – collaboratively with colleagues across the University in multi-track & PG prospects (clearance, strategy, stewardship)

Alumni Relations

  • Coordinates with Alumni Relations as needed to leverage engagement activity for Development purposes
  • Participates in strategy development and promotion of campus-wide alumni outreach, as required/appropriate

University Relations

  • Develops the infrastructure and linkage to ASUs for fundraising strategies in all priority units
  • Works with Directors, AVPs, and others in advancing individual, corporate and foundation donors in support of their funding priorities
  • Advises Directors, AVPs of established Advancement plans and policies with an aim toward providing consultation for developing appropriate effective programs at the departmental level
  • Plans and develops strategies and advises on pilot projects for Directors, AVPs to test the effectiveness of new strategies and techniques, recommends new programs


  • Undergraduate University degree required, Master’s degree an asset, preferably from the University of Waterloo
  • Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification
  • 8+ years of progressively responsible fundraising experience with a proven track record of success, including volunteer management, demonstrated major gift solicitations and campaign experience with a proven track record of achievement and success with raising funds at a level in the top 5% for their sector, with a minimum of $1M annually for the team they have led, or $250K individually
  • Experience producing strategic plans which consist of measurable objectives and the associated costs
  • Experience monitoring and revising strategic plans
  • Management experience demonstrating the ability to deal with a diversity of Human Resources related issues
  • Experience with complex giving vehicles and planned giving
  • Demonstrated experience using planning/project management tools to manage projects, timelines, and communications
  • Experience dealing with budget-setting
  • Previous experience managing high performing fundraising teams
  • Experience in a university environment is an asset

Equity Statement

The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is co-ordinated within the Office of Indigenous Relations.

The University values the diverse and intersectional identities of its students, faculty, and staff. The University regards equity and diversity as an integral part of academic excellence and is committed to accessibility for all employees. The University of Waterloo seeks applicants who embrace our values of equity, anti-racism and inclusion.  As such, we encourage applications from candidates who have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, including applicants who identify as First Nations, Métis and/or Inuk (Inuit), Black, racialized, a person with a disability, women and/or 2SLGBTQ+.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

The University of Waterloo is committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities. If you have any application, interview, or workplace accommodation requests, please contact Human Resources at  or 519-888-4567, ext. 45935.