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Boston University SENIOR ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT, PRINCIPAL GIFTS, Development & Alumni Relations in BOSTON, Massachusetts




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Job Description

Boston University (BU), an international, comprehensive, private research university, is seeking a dynamic and experienced senior associate vice president for principal gifts (SAVP) to provide strategic leadership for principal gift fundraising efforts around university initiatives. Reporting to the Senior Vice President (SVP) for Development & Alumni Relations (DAR), Karen Ann Engelbourg, and serving as a member of DAR’s Cabinet, the senior associate vice president will direct and advise in the development and execution of coordinated strategies aimed to maximize the lifetime engagement and philanthropic support for Boston University.

BU has had great success during the first-ever comprehensive campaign, Choose to Be Great, which culminated in September 2019, raising $1.85 billion, 85% above our initial campaign goal of $1 billion. The SAVP will work in close partnership with the SVP and President in advising staff and volunteers in uncovering and cultivating alumni and friends of the university that can give at the highest levels.

The university’s priorities are set in a comprehensive strategic planning process led by our university provost and chief academic officer, to whom all academic deans (except those on the Medical Campus) report directly. A new strategic plan, reflecting the university’s extraordinary progress during the past decade, is being developed and will articulate new priorities and inform the university’s development efforts in the next decade. This plan will be ready in early 2020. This leader will collaborate closely with the senior leadership team and the principal gifts officers to develop, articulate and outline fundraising plans for major initiatives that will lead BU to new levels of distinction. The SAVP will also support and manage an experienced team of international fundraisers, principal gifts officers and planned giving officers as well as build and carry a portfolio of principal gift prospects. Staffing the President on presidential prospect visits will be a key component of this role.

Required Skills

The SAVP will first and foremost possess the attributes of a seasoned fundraiser. They will be able to demonstrate a proven track record of building and developing a high level portfolio.

  • A minimum of 10 years of direct fundraising and engagement experience is required, with a strong preference for leadership experience at a higher education institution in a comprehensive campaign

  • A bachelor’s degree is required and an advanced degree is preferred

  • Personal success to discover, cultivate, solicit and steward individual donors at the major and principal gifts levels and the ability to inspire high net worth individuals to provide significant financial support to an institution are required

  • The ability to articulate aspirational goals and ideas, set priorities, present philanthropic opportunities and close gifts

  • A working knowledge of planned giving; financial and/or estate planning concepts

  • Proven ability to motivate staff to keep them engaged, energized and focused on results are critical

  • Flexibility to travel domestically and internationally, as well as work evenings and weekends


Inquiries, nominations and applications should be sent electronically via e-mail to Mercedes Chacón Vance and Sarah Miller at

Please apply via the email above.

You can download the full position description PDF at the link below:

Boston University is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.