Skip to content

Associate Director/Director of Advancement – Research Institutes at Illinois

  • Full Time
  • Illinois
  • $75,000 USD / Year
  • Salary: $75,000

Website University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Associate Director/Director of Advancement
Research Initiatives at Illinois
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Based in Central Illinois with hybrid opportunities

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (OVCRI) at Illinois and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement (OVCIA) invite applications and nominations for a full-time major gift officer in support of advancement for the Research Institutes. The Associate Director/Director of Advancement will play a critical role in supporting the Research Institutes to maximize overall support and opportunities for collaborative giving.

The campus-wide interdisciplinary research institutes, administrative and compliance units, and other units that report to the OVCRI have their own unique, but complementary, missions. The research units in the OVCRI portfolio are among those with the highest profile on campus, and the 1,000+ people in all OVCRI units both conduct ground-breaking research and provide critical support and resources.  Research at Illinois is complex and requires continuous innovation and business development, driven by the same spirit of innovation and excellence that makes Illinois a pre-eminent public research university with a land-grant mission and global impact.

Organizational Relationship
This position will report to the Senior Director of Advancement, who is part of the Health Sciences and Research Initiatives team. In addition to the Senior Director of Advancement, the Associate Director/Director of Advancement will work closely with advancement colleagues to maximize identification, cultivation and solicitation strategies for major gift prospects.

Job Summary
The Associate Director/Director of Advancement will assist the Research Institutes in designing strategies to broaden and strengthen development activities across the United States and will require travel of varying durations, up to 30-50%, including some evenings and weekends. The successful candidate will develop a robust pipeline of major gift donor prospects that will lead to and result in the successful philanthropic support of the academic priorities of the University and the philanthropic interest of donors.

Duties and Responsibilities


  • Identify, assess, analyze, and design appropriate strategies for approaching prospects and donors and making the vitally important match between donors’ philanthropic interests and the Research Institutes’ programmatic needs that span the humanities, arts, social sciences, sciences, and engineering.
  • Proactively manage a portfolio of 100 or more individual major gift prospects and donors (with an emphasis on gifts of $25,000 and more), determining frequency of contact needed.
  • Formulate idiosyncratic strategies for leveraging the uniqueness of each interdisciplinary institute in engaging major gift donors, in collaboration with OVCIA and designated college/unit officials.
  • Determine and prioritize lists of donor prospects, alumni, and other stakeholders to be contacted for personal visits.
  • Work closely with institute directors, faculty, and staff to gain a strong knowledge of the academic and research programs in order to identify and define priorities to be funded through private support.
  • Partner with the Senior Director of Advancement to determine appropriate use of resources for travel to priority destinations nationally to meet with alumni, friends, corporations and foundations for the purpose of building relationships leading to financial support of the University.

Constituent Engagement

  • Plan and implement effective outreach and cultivation activities to enhance prospect identification and move solicitation and stewardship processes forward.
  • Prepare institute directors, faculty, and other stakeholders to participate in cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of major gifts as needed.
  • Provide coordination between the campus research institutes, OVCRI, OVCIA, and key partners in colleges and units on all matters related to advancement including events, interactions with potential donors, and fundraising.
  • Represent the interests, strengths, and goals of the institutes to the larger campus advancement community so that the institutes as organizations can more fully participate in developing campus advancement priorities.
  • Find linkages between existing unit priorities and research institute initiatives to facilitate storytelling across disciplines and areas.
  • Advise institute directors and other leaders within the institutes in the establishment and execution of a stewardship program for current and past institute donors.

Impact in Your First Year

At Advancement at Illinois, we value our employees and provide resources to help you continually learn and grow. We foster a strong, collaborative community of people who are driven by their ability to make a difference.

Within 3 months, you will:

  • Become familiar with the strategic vision and priorities of the Research Institutes
  • Meet your assigned Prospect Development Analyst and begin to dig into your portfolio
  • Attend professional development and networking activities for newcomers within Advancement
  • Be introduced to fundraising fundamentals terminology adopted from Plus Delta Partners

Within 6 months, you will:

  • Begin cultivating relationships with key prospects/donors in an effort to create and implement solicitation strategies
  • Partner with stewardship and donor relations, events, alumni relations, and communications colleagues on Research Institutes’ initiatives
  • Be able to share multiple meaningful impact stories of transformative gifts

By the end of the first year, you will:

  • Cooperatively set annual goals with your supervisor and portfolio management team
  • Continue portfolio growth of qualified prospects and successful solicitation strategies
  • Receive one-on-one coaching from Talent Management and Performance Management to help your transition to your new role
  • Build a robust network of colleagues across campus

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • For the title of Associate Director, a minimum of three years of successful advancement experience or more than six years of experience in a closely related field which requires strong relationship-building and outcome driven components. For the title of Director, a minimum of five years of successful advancement experience or ten years of experience in a closely related field which requires strong relationship-building and outcome driven components.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience and documented success as a major gift fundraiser in higher education
  • Advancement experience in an academic unit that produces degrees and conducts rigorous academic research
  • Experience working with faculty leaders
  • Experience managing alumni and/or student programs and devising innovative programs to engage alumni and/or donors to support academic priorities

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Understanding of major donor prospect qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship
  • Demonstrated excellent oral and written communication skills and experience working in a collaborative, team-oriented environment
  • Demonstrated ability to represent an organization in visits with key constituents
  • Strong relationship management skills
  • Knowledge of advancement strategies including best practices related to development at institutions of higher education

Appointment Information
This is a 100% full-time Academic Professional position, appointed on a 12-month basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible after close date.

Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience, while also considering internal equity Salary range for this position starts at $75,000 for the title of Associate Director, and $85,000 for the title of Director.

Please note: immigration sponsorship is not available for this position.

Application Procedures & Deadline Information
Applications must be received by 7:00 pm (CDT) on May 22, 2023. Apply for this position using the Apply Now button at the top or bottom of this posting. Applications not submitted through will not be considered. For further information about this specific position, please contact Katie Walker at For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.

To apply for this job please visit