Associate Vice President for Development

Bennington, Vermont, United States | Full-time

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Bennington College invites applications and nominations for the position of Associate Vice President for Development. Working in partnership with senior leadership, the Associate Vice President will lead a high caliber and developing advancement program that reflects Bennington’s culture, mission, and evolving strategic plan. 

The College

Bennington College is a distinguished residential liberal arts college that has, since its founding in 1932, been a laboratory for new ideas and an intellectual home to countless artists, activists, and thinkers who have shaped contemporary culture. Bennington is in the midst of an immensely exciting and transformative period in its history and experiencing extraordinary growth. In 2020, Laura R. Walker took office as the 11th President of Bennington College, previously serving as a pioneering media executive as former President & CEO of New York Public Radio for 23 years. Under President Laura Walker’s leadership, the college has launched a community-driven strategic planning process to articulate a unified and shared vision of Bennington’s future. Simultaneously, college-bound students are choosing Bennington at record rates. This past year alone, the college enrolled the largest class ever with a 23% increase in applications, and has received even more applicants this year, this time by 64%, effectively doubling its pool in just two admissions cycles. The community now approaches nearly 800 students—undergraduate and 102 graduate. 

Bennington is currently developing a strategic plan which will define an exciting, radical vision for the future, including creating  innovative partnerships for social impact, on campus and in the larger community and beyond. Funders have embraced this vision: the college has recently received generous support from alumni, including one of the largest donations in its history, as well as support from The Ford Foundation, Endeavor Foundation, and several others to support programs in sustainability, mental health, social justice, and storytelling, and is also poised to double its endowment in the next five years.

Situated on 440 breathtaking acres in Bennington, Vermont, the campus is a convergence of creative minds, distinctive buildings, and expansive spaces. Bennington has been named one of ten college campuses with the best architecture by Architectural Digest. From campus, it is a short drive to MASS MoCA, Clark Art Institute, and other cultural offerings of the northern Berkshires in Massachusetts; Albany, New York; and many of Vermont’s top recreational centers. New York City, Boston, and Burlington, Vermont are all within three and a half hours by car.

The Position

Reporting to the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, the Associate Vice President for Development serves as a senior development leader in Institutional Advancement and is responsible for the development of fundraising goals, strategy, and the execution of those goals to meet the College’s institutional advancement priorities. The Associate Vice President carries a portfolio of high-priority leadership gifts prospects and is responsible for cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding these prospects. As part of this work, the Associate Vice President will:

  • Work closely with the Vice President for Institutional Advancement to support the President of the College and trustees to cultivate, solicit, and steward major gifts prospects, as needed.
  • Lead, mentor and develop a team of 7 direct reports including: Associate Director of Annual Giving; Major Gift Officers; Director of Major and Planned Giving; Director of Foundation and Government Relations; Associate Director of Alumni Relations; and Giving Associate. Support the highly engaged internal staff and lead the effort to recruit additional talent to build out the team. 
  • Mentor the front-line fundraising team and oversee a robust program to build a pipeline of prospects and donors through integration of the Annual Giving, Major Giving, Planned Giving and Alumni Programs.
  • Supervise the Foundation and Government Relations team. Work collaboratively with the Associate Vice President for Advancement Operations to develop successful strategies for coordinating all timelines, events and stewardship functions.  
  • Work closely with the Vice President of Institutional Advancement to establish division-wide fundraising goals and performance metrics for development officers. 
  • Track and measure progress of the College’s development goals.

Qualifications

The successful candidate must be a strategic and highly engaged leader who has a passion for liberal arts education and demonstrated success with major gift fundraising. Candidates must have a proven track record in managing, and motivating/mentoring a highly effective, diverse team. Candidates must possess outstanding communication skills, the ability to effectively engage volunteer leadership, and a deep commitment to instilling practices and a culture within advancement that reflects Bennington. 

Bennington serves a diverse student population inclusive of members of ethnically/racially minoritized, international, LGBTQIA+, and disability communities as well as diverse gender identities, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, and political beliefs. Our staff and faculty also reflect diverse and intersecting backgrounds and identities. All employees are expected to be respectful and responsive to these differences in the service of building community that promotes student and employee success. Each individual (faculty, staff and students) will be accountable for upholding these values.  The College’s approach to pluralism and inclusivity—both as fields of inquiry and practice—is to prioritize flexible thought, and to invite the examination of access, value, power, and privilege through its institutional policies and areas of study. We encourage applicants from diverse realms of interest, backgrounds, experience, and accomplishment to apply. 

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Demonstrated success in 10 years of increasingly responsible fundraising experience in a non-profit organization, preferably in an education setting, required.  
  • Demonstrated success in the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of leadership gifts prospects is required.  
  • Ability to work independently as well as within a team environment to achieve institutional goals.
  • Strong analytical and independent decision-making capability required.
  • Demonstrated and highly successful/engaged supervisory experience; ability to mentor, coach and develop internal talent in a way that positively respects and embraces staff and motivates them to do their best work; ability to recruit/retain a diverse and highly qualified team.
  • Budgetary experience.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills required.
  • Strong project management, leadership, organizational planning skills with the ability to set priorities and balance concurrent tasks.
  • The ability to recruit, motivate, and direct alumni volunteers.
  • Proven team player.
  • Proficiency in data-based systems and business software is essential; preferably Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge/NXT. 
  • Flexible and available for evening, weekend, or early morning events and meetings.
  • Ability to travel as needed to manage a prospect portfolio.
  • Requires the successful completion and acceptable results of a background check and compliance with College COVID policies.