Vice President of Philanthropy

Job title: Vice President of Philanthropy
Organization: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Job Description

Position Overview:
The Vice President of Philanthropy reports directly to the President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and is responsible for achieving highly successful programs in all areas of philanthropy on a local, regional, and national level. Responsibilities include the management of departmental, budget, and planning oversight and management; organizational leadership liaison; and high-level donor relationships. Must have extensive knowledge of advancement programs; the ability to devise an effective and measurable action plan for a variety of fundraising activities including endowment, operations, special projects and capital, membership, and events; outstanding communication skills (with all levels of investors, volunteers, community leaders, and organizational staff); the ability to mentor, lead, evaluate, and engage staff; and the ability to develop, manage, and steward major investments and relationships.

The Vice President of Philanthropy is ultimately responsible for the administration and coordination of all fundraising, including but not limited to the following:

  • Individual relations; annual fund
  • Staff and volunteer giving campaign
  • Board of Trustees; annual fund campaign management
  • Special events; internal and external
  • Corporate relations; annual fund, grants and sponsorships
  • Foundation relations
  • Government relations; grants and appropriations
  • Major gifts, endowment and capital campaigns
  • Prospect research, gift processing and stewardship
  • Membership marketing and sales in conjunction with marketing and visitor services departments
  • Direct mail, online and telefunding campaigns
  • The Vice President of Philanthropy oversees the philanthropy staff. The Vice President plays a special role in strategic planning at Freedom Center as the principle source for capital expansion and budget subsidy.


  • Oversee the planning, organization, direction and evaluation of all fundraising activities in order to meet short- and long-term goals and objectives.
  • Direct and conduct cultivation, solicitation and stewardship activities for select top level prospects.
  • Act as primary architect for all Freedom Center fundraising activity.
  • Develop and execute a plan to move donors to become more institutionally based patrons vs. solicitor oriented patrons.
  • Close major gifts without the participation and support of others. (As appropriate.)
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the database of members, friends, and prospect records including gift records, revenue records, and expense budget records.


  • Develop strategies with marketing and communications to communicate Freedom Center’s mission among both internal and external constituencies to increase its visibility and philanthropic initiatives.
  • Provide the staff with support and guidance to cultivate membership relationships with supporters and consumers, and to integrate membership programs into Freedom Center’s philanthropic initiatives.
  • Build the national fundraising with an increased national presence, capacity, and investments
  • Speak to a full range of both internal and external constituencies to promote the philanthropic, exhibition, marketing, and public relations agendas that promote the Freedom Center on local, regional, and national stages.

President’s Staff

  • Advise and assist the President in planning and executing Freedom Center policies and programs, especially those relating to philanthropic initiatives.
  • Conceive and organize outreach activities for the President. Accompany the President on key external visits, addresses, and events and generally manage the President’s involvement in fundraising.
  • Assist the President as an administrative liaison to the Board of Trustees and lend specific direction and support to individual initiatives or committee work tied to philanthropy objectives.
  • Provide key management, leadership and support as needed to the Development and Philanthropy Committees of the Board of Trustees.
  • Participate in the institutions annual planning and budgeting process.
  • Participate in regular meetings and activities with the President’s advisory staff.
  • Monitor trends and statutes affecting philanthropy and legislative and regulatory development at the federal, state and local levels affecting cultural and nonprofit institutions. Assist the President in representing Freedom Center in such matters.
  • Take on other responsibilities as appropriate or as assigned by the President.

Departmental Management

  • Supervise and empower all Freedom Center philanthropy staff to set goals, monitor progress and assist with the ongoing improvement of professional performance.
  • Disseminate accurate and useful management reports on Freedom Center’s efforts for internal tracking and analysis and for external communications. Complete an annual comprehensive report on philanthropy and membership sales activities.
  • Serve as the liaison among administrative and program areas as philanthropy initiatives are created and executed.
  • Oversee and coordinate the annual programming budgets for Philanthropy. Provide direct support to the President, Trustees and other key volunteers in their respective philanthropy charges.

Prospect & Donor Management

  • Management of a formalized prospect (or “moves”) management system. Prospect management consists of the structure, systems, and practices whereby potential investors are identified and successfully moved through multiple steps (relationship-building stages)-identification, qualification, cultivation and management, solicitation, investment, and stewardship-in a strategic fashion to eventually promote major and planned gift investments.
  • Assure the prospect management systems establish and document good stewardship of philanthropic relationships; the systems create strategic philanthropy by linking fundraising to mission; and establish accountability to supporters for organizational mission, programs, and outcomes.
  • Raiser’s Edge must document the history of relationships with donors and prospective donors; devise key strategies and steps to move those relationships forward; build the infrastructure to sustain ongoing philanthropic activity; effectively utilize data and information management systems; and follow prescribed and appropriate policies and procedures.

Data and Information Management

Effectively manage Raisers Edge (RE) by Blackbaud, Inc., the donor management software to process all related donor, member, and prospect information in conjunction with the information technology department and in accordance with the overall organization policies. Leverage the system to provide quality data on individual and organizational gifting and participation; using the reports to assess progress on goals and strategies; and to identify new prospects and manage relationships with prospective supporters.

Qualifications, Experience, and Knowledge:

  • Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s degree desirable.
  • At least five years of experience in Philanthropy, as a proven fundraiser with demonstrated success with closing major gifts. (Major gifts of preferably $100,000 or more depending on the size of the organization. Additional experience in fundraising or related work highly preferred.)
  • Extensive knowledge of advancement programs.
  • The demonstrated ability to devise an effective and measurable action plan for a variety of fundraising activities including endowment, operations, special projects and capital, membership, and events.
  • Outstanding communication skills (with all levels of investors, volunteers, community leaders, and organizational staff).
  • The ability to mentor, lead, evaluate, and engage staff.
  • The ability to develop, manage, and steward major investments and relationships
  • Demonstrated skill at working as a member of a senior institutional management team, with strong capabilities in planning, organizing and managing is required.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues and peers within institutional leadership and with external partners at the individual and organizational level is required.
  • Solid track record in closing major gifts is highly desired. A track record in fundraising is required.
  • Familiarity with computer-based donor management systems, preferably Raisers Edge (RE) by Blackbaud, Inc. is an advantage.
  • Personal characteristics associated with successful philanthropy officers, including professional integrity, outstanding writing skills, strong verbal communication skills, sound judgment, demonstrated initiative, and appropriate professional attitude are required.
  • Demonstrated understanding of and appreciation for the distinctive value of museums and cultural institutions is necessary.
  • Ability and willingness to travel to support national philanthropic initiatives.

We are an equal opportunity employer

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