Director / Senior Director of Development, Gift Planning

Job Locations US-WI-Madison
Regular Full-Time


WFAA encourages individuals working out of WFAA offices or conducting in-person business to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. WFAA does not at this time require vaccination for in-person work or other business activity, but reserves the right to put in place such a requirement in the future. Should it do so WFAA will consider requests for accommodations only as required under applicable law.


The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA)*, the private fundraising and alumni relations organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison is seeking a development professional to support Gift Planning. As an integral member of the Gift Planning team, performs extensive prospect identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship functions focusing on planned gifts. Also serves as an important gift planning resource for Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) staff and University partners.


Please note:  This position can be hired at a Director of Development or Senior Director of Development level, depending on the skills/experience of the selected candidate.



Who is WFAA?
The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association is a private, nonprofit corporation that encourages individuals and organizations to make gifts to the university and to connect with the UW. In 2014, the UW Foundation merged with the Wisconsin Alumni Association® to better serve a growing population of UW alumni and donors. We believe that private support grows out of good relationships between campus leaders, faculty and program staff who need support, and the alumni and friends who want to invest in UW–Madison. We provide important engagement opportunities to link UW–Madison alumni to each other and to their alma mater, building a strong community of Badgers.


Diversity and Inclusion:

Just as the university community benefits from differing viewpoints, perspectives, and experiences, inclusion and diversity are imperative for the success of our mission. WFAA values people and the differences that they bring to the organization, and creates an environment in which all staff members and constituents feel respected and have opportunities to thrive. 


Essential Functions

Major / Planned Gift Development

  • Develop objectives, priorities and strategies for major and/or planned gift development related to capital campaigns, special programs, and ongoing fund raising in collaboration with University and WFAA personnel.
  • Implement development strategies, develop and manage a portfolio of prospects and donors in varying stages of involvement to advance them strategically through the development process.
  • Work with prospect management, including ABE, WFAA research and development colleagues to identify and qualify a portfolio of planned and major gift prospects from existing and potential donors.
  • Schedule and conduct initial assessment/exploratory meetings with prospects, following up with correspondence, phone calls and additional visits as appropriate to qualify prospect.
  • Plan and conduct visits/trips, events and other ongoing contact to build relationships with donors, effectively presenting the case for philanthropic support and explaining gift opportunities.
  • Develop and write gift proposals in conjunction with WFAA constituency staff, WFAA specialized staff and University personnel, utilizing both current and planned gift opportunities to best meet donors’ needs, interests, and financial capabilities, including structuring complex or special gifts as appropriate.
  • Artfully ask for the right gift, at the right time, in the right way.
  • Collaborate with colleagues, discussing donor prospects, sharing advice/information, and coordinating activity on shared prospects.
  • Coordinate development efforts with the colleges/schools/programs, working closely with WFAA constituency staff, deans and faculty to develop and implement strategies related to gift opportunities and optimizing campus involvement in the development process.
  • Serve as a Gift Planning liaison to one or more development groups within WFAA.

 Donor Relations/Stewardship/Recognition

  • Plan and implement recognition for donors, including writing thank you letters, making personal calls, arranging meetings, hosting events, etc.
  • Plan and implement ongoing communication and stewardship with donors.
  • Develop and maintain volunteer involvement, recruiting, organizing, staffing and training volunteers as needed to support fund raising activities and coordinating the involvement of deans, faculty and staff in organizing volunteers for unit activities.
  • Participate in the external relations’ activities of various University units, attend WFAA events when appropriate, etc., to solicit, encourage, and increase the involvement of alumni/donors in UW activities.

 Campus Relations

  • Communicate, problem solve, and anticipate needs of campus staff regarding the use and accounting of donor created funds.
  • Request data/reports from WFAA staff to meet needs of donors and campus staff.
  • Serve as WFAA liaison (as needed) with various college and school programs, UW Alumni Association, other UW entities and friends/booster groups.



Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional work experience.
  • 3 + years of professional fundraising/ development experience
  • Ability to meet travel requirements (@25%).

Other Qualifications:

  • 5 + years experience in a fundraising capacity.
  • Prior Gift Planning experience, background in trust operations, law or other related fields preferred
  • Excellent oral, written, interpersonal, analytical and organizational skills.
  • Self-directed, team player who has a strong, results-oriented, work ethic.
  • Experience working in higher education preferred
  • Ability to work independently, in addition to as a member of an effective development team;


WFAA is committed to provide our employees with an environment that is inspiring, creative and respectful. We offer competitive pay and an excellent benefits program, which includes a 10% 401k contribution after 1 year of service!


The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association is an Equal Opportunity Employer *The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association ( is the “doing business as” name of the merged organization comprising the University of Wisconsin Foundation ( and the Wisconsin Alumni Association ( Its legal corporate name is registered as the University of Wisconsin Foundation. 


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