Director of Advancement

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OrganizationVirginia Institute of Autism (VIA)
TypeFull Time
Application DeadlineApril 30, 2020
College Degree Required?Yes
Salary RangeCompetitive
Phone(434) 923-8252


The Director of Advancement serves as the primary strategic architect of a comprehensive development program that will advance the Virginia Institute of Autism’s mission and goals. Reporting to the President and working closely with the Board of Directors, the Director of Advancement leads the advancement team to design and implement a comprehensive, results-oriented development plan that includes annual fundraising, major and planned giving, campaigns, and special events. The Director will take a lead role in establishing a vision for fundraising at VIA—including goals, strategies, benchmarks, and timetables—in order to identify new donors and deepen relationships with families and individual, corporate, and foundation leaders.

Job Duties

Fundraising Strategy

  • Take responsibility for the integrated functioning of a comprehensive advancement program, with goals of assessing VIA’s fundraising potential and of creating short- and long-term development plans
  • Promote and guide the adoption of best practices and innovative approaches to individual major giving, corporate and foundation grants, planned giving initiatives, annual appeals and events
  • Establish and monitor key metrics to make forecasts and evaluate ongoing performance, ensuring the department will meet and exceed annual fundraising goals
  • Work with VIA’s Capital Campaign Director to identify, cultivate and solicit principal gift donors to the Phase I Capital Campaign, while developing long-term donor relationships for Phase II of the campaign
  • Clearly articulate and promote a strong case for support that grows the donor base and giving levels
  • Write and manage department budgets, ensuring fiscal responsibility and return on investment


Department Leadership

  • Build, motivate, lead, and retain an advancement staff that currently includes four members; aligning structure with fundraising and organizational strategy
  • Establish annual goals, provide regular performance reviews and recognition, and support ongoing professional development opportunities
  • Ensure the adoption of a thorough and wide-ranging prospect research program that maximizes opportunities to engage new donor communities
  • Steer the development of a best-in-class moves management and donor stewardship program designed to strengthen relationships with high-value and high-net-worth donors
  • Oversee the development and implementation of policies and procedures for gift processing and donor acknowledgement, database management, and financial reporting
  • Attend VIA events and activities and foster pride and excitement in fundraising efforts

Board and Staff Engagement

  • Create and sustain a culture of philanthropy that ensures an optimal fit between the advancement program and VIA’s services and anticipates opportunities to expand program services
  • Work collaboratively with the Communications & Foundations Director to position advancement opportunities and integrate messages in news articles, publications, grant submissions, reports, and collateral materials
  • Serve as the Advancement department’s primary liaison to VIA’s Board of Directors; engaging members in the fundraising process, overseeing ongoing training, and supporting and managing philanthropic activities
  • Develop a plan to leverage the President, senior leaders, and staff in the identification, qualification, and cultivation of strategic, high-value prospects, ensuring that all participants understand their roles and are fully briefed for meetings with prospects and donors

Skills Required


  • Minimum of 7-10 years of progressively responsible experience in a comprehensive non-profit fundraising program, including at least 2 years in a position with staff management responsibilities
  • Prior experience with educational institutions is a plus

Skills and Experience

  • Demonstrated ability to set and monitor the strategic direction of a complex advancement program and to ensure its alignment with organizational goals
  • Experience establishing strong relationships with executive leaders and volunteer Boards/committees and of leveraging them effectively in the fundraising process
  • Track record of personally securing 5- and 6-figure gifts from all constituencies, including individuals, corporations, and foundations
  • Experience in at least one successful capital campaign
  • Working knowledge of advancement best practices, emerging trends, and tools and technologies to support a variety of initiatives, including prospect research and digital campaigns
  • Ability to effectively utilize database systems within a data-driven and evidence-based organization; experience with Raiser’s Edge software is preferred
  • Evidence of excellent leadership skills and knowledge of how to motivate and mentor a fundraising team to increase performance levels
  • Some experience engaging researchers and/or educators in the fundraising process is useful
  • Familiarity with the philanthropic community of Charlottesville, Virginia and the University of Virginia is useful.
  • Bachelor’s degree is required; advanced degree is preferred
  • CFRE Certification is preferred

Personal Characteristics and Work Style

  • Commitment to excellence consistent with VIA’s best-in-class approach to program development and implementation
  • Sincere passion for and understanding of VIA’s mission and commitment to those living with autism spectrum disorder; ability to be a compelling ambassador for the organization’s values
  • Collaborative and engaging communication style in working with people of many backgrounds, including students, families, teachers, researchers, leaders, staff, volunteers, and donors
  • Ability to multitask and balance multiple priorities in a complex and multi-faceted development program
  • Unfailing discretion in dealing with sensitive material about both families and donors

Additional Info

For over 20 years, the Virginia Institute of Autism has been one of the premier institutions in the country dedicated to providing effective, evidence-based services to people living with autism. Bridging cutting-edge science with pioneering, best-in-class services, VIA can effectively and efficiently help people with autism and their families overcome many challenges, and build a better, brighter world. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) calls VIA’s staff training and service programs “a gold standard for the field.”


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Director of Advancement