Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship

George Mason University   Fairfax, VA   Full-time     Education
Posted on August 25, 2023
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Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship


The George Mason University Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, invites qualified candidates to apply for the Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship position. The division is a comprehensive development and alumni relations enterprise with a staff complement of approximately 135 full-time employees. Functional units within Advancement and Alumni Relations include development/fundraising, alumni relations, donor relations and stewardship, advancement communications, special events, gift processing, research, prospect management, gift planning, corporate and foundation relations, information systems and management, and infrastructure services.


George Mason University has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encourages candidates to apply who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturally inclusive environment.


This position also offers:

  • Potential for flexible telework and hybrid telework scheduling
  • Competitive salary
  • Outstanding benefits including:
  • Health and life insurance, multiple industry-leading retirement plans available including state VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan, accrued paid days off per year, paid holidays, paid winter break, paid sick leave, professional development, tuition reimbursement at GMU, and employee assistance programs.


Position Summary:

The Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship is an important partner in the strategic management of the University’s relationship with its top donors. They will oversee all donor relations and stewardship priorities within the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, and work with all members of the Advancement team and various university offices to envision and execute comprehensive donor relations and stewardship activities and programs that foster longstanding and successful relationships between George Mason University and its donors.


The Director plays a leadership role within the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, working to maintain and enhance the University’s relationships with major donors through documentation, acknowledgement, recognition, and reporting. The Director oversees all donor relations and stewardship activities and operations, and supervises the Donor Relations and Stewardship Specialist, and the Advancement Programs Specialist.



  • Envision, execute, and lead a comprehensive donor relations and stewardship program;
  • Supervise staff;
  • Work collaboratively with schools/colleges, the George Mason University Foundation, Advancement Communications, and other University stakeholders to execute best practice reporting and recognition activities and communications for donors;
  • Create, implement, and maintain systems and tools to assist Directors of Development with donor relations and stewardship efforts;
  • Prepare, periodically review, and update departmental processes and procedures as related to donor relations and stewardship best practices;
  • Monitor and utilize the Association of Donor Relations Professionals listserv and other industry resources on a regular basis to inform new trends and opportunities to enhance donor relations and stewardship at Mason;
  • Collaborate with colleagues in schools/units to design individual stewardship plans for major donors as needed;
  • Design, implement, and evaluate metrics and data related to all donor relations and stewardship activities initiated by the central office of Donor Relations and Stewardship, in conjunction with the Associate Vice President, Advancement Relations and other senior staff; and
  • Foster lasting relationships between George Mason University and its donors and promote positive attitudes toward giving.


Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in related field or equivalent combination of education and experience (preferably in English, Communications or Journalism);
  • Ability to effectively manage situations involving numerous and sometimes competing constituencies;
  • Ability to establish measurable goals and objectives, motivate, manage performance, and develop and implement strategies for success;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Interpersonal and customer service skills, with the ability to maintain a high degree of confidentiality and responsibility on information related to donors and the University, as well as the ability to represent the institution well;
  • Editing and writing skills as demonstrated through writing samples;
  • Business and organizational acumen with the ability to work effectively in a metrics-driven environment and a commitment to building a culture of engagement and philanthropy;
  • Experience managing vendors and corresponding contracts;
  • Negotiation, instructional, supervision, and persuasion skills;
  • Demonstrated analytical skills with the ability to identify problems and propose and implement solutions;
  • Organizational skills, and the proven ability to work effectively and successfully autonomously, while managing complex priorities and projects concurrently;
  • Demonstrated problem-solving and strategic planning skills;
  • Considerable progressive experience in the field of donor relations (generally five or more years) and some supervisory experience (generally two or more years);
  • Experience working with data and spreadsheets for mass mailings, communications, reporting, and data review;
  • Leadership experience in a complex environment; and
  • Demonstrated understanding of the importance of donor relations to a successful fundraising program.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in related field or equivalent combination of education and experience (preferably in English, Communications or Journalism);
  • Personnel management experience to include hiring, onboarding, mentoring/developing;
  • Previous experience in higher education advancement, strategic communications, and event planning;
  • Familiarity with campus financial aid and college/school organizations and administration policies/procedures; and
  • Familiarity with Blackbaud Award Management, MicroStrategy, Anthology, and Salesforce Affinaquest or similar software.


Special Instructions to Applicants  

For full consideration, applicants must apply for position number FA707z at; complete and submit the online application; and upload a cover letter, resume, a list of three professional references with contact information, and three writing samples of relevant work (listed as other doc).


George Mason University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, committed to promoting inclusion and equity in its community. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability or veteran status, or any characteristic protected by law.