Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations

Bennington, Vermont, United States | Full-time | Partially remote


Bennington College is an innovative and distinguished liberal arts college in Bennington, Vermont that has, since its founding in 1932, dedicated itself to cultivating change makers and culture shapers.  Bennington was the first to include the visual and performing arts in a liberal arts education, and it is the only college to require that its students spend six weeks - every year - at work in the world. The College invites applications to the Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations position during an opportune time to join this growing Advancement team as it goes through a reimagination and reorganization. 

Reporting to the Assistant Vice President for Operations, the Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations is a key position that works in close collaboration with Advancement leadership to recognize donor giving to the College. The Director is responsible for designing, implementing, managing, and evaluating a comprehensive donor relations and stewardship program that appropriately and consistently promotes interaction with and recognition of donors at all levels to maintain and deepen our philanthropic relationships. 

This position is responsible for creating, overseeing and managing all aspects of a fully integrated donor relations portfolio, including the following, among other key priorities:  

  • Stewardship - donor acknowledgments, impact reports, and leadership messaging to engage donors; 

  • Development Communications - focusing on composing cases for support, booklets, program overviews, web assets, and other materials to promote fundraising; and 

  • Donor Relations Programming - focusing on alumni, family and donor cultivation and engagement, campus project recognition, and other activities and touchpoints to connect with, thank, and inspire past, current, and future donors.

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 and community cohesiveness. 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.

Position Responsibilities
As the Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations, you will lead the efforts in delivering a comprehensive donor relations program with the Institutional Advancement team, recognizing Bennington College donors at all levels and encouraging their continued engagement with and support of the College through a multitude of platforms. You will work with the Advancement team on all levels of engagement, from cultivation opportunities to solicitation materials and stewardship activities to ensure donors stay engaged and involved in the school after their gift is made (including impact reports, keepsakes, etc).  You will also be in charge of all donor recognition activities, naming opportunities, gift policies and lead the scholarship program from an IA perspective.  

Key job responsibilities

Develop a Stewardship and Donor Relations Program and Strategy

  1. Using data to assess all aspects of the program, develops, executes and refines a comprehensive stewardship and recognition strategy that advances the philanthropic goals of Bennington College for both the long and the short term, strategically stewarding the College’s most generous prospects and donors across multiple designations.

  2. Works with the Assistant Vice President for Advancement Operations to determine the best channels institutionally to honor and recognize donor giving at all levels and to ensure that the messaging is consistent with the College's branding and goals.

  3. Incorporating information from the Business Office, Communications and advancement officers, develops strategies around and executes impact reporting, including editing/writing copy, and stays abreast of industry trends on reporting to a wide range of donor types. Conceptualizes and executes creative, original and impactful stewardship pieces, including digital reporting.

  4. Maintains accurate rosters and lists of donor recognition societies and loyalty programs. Assists Advancement Services in keeping Raiser’s Edge up-to-date with this information.

  5. Implements strategic stewardship and recognition events on and off campus.

  6. Participates in the execution of both periodic and customized events and programs for the College, often in collaboration with the Alumni Relations and Special Events teams.

  7. Facilitates donor profiles / stories in collaboration with campus partners.

  8. Collaborates with the IA team on print / digital fundraising materials for use by gift officers.

  9. Coordinates the involvement of additional constituencies in the stewardship process, such as the President, Provost, Deans, Faculty, Board of Trustees and other high-level volunteers.

  10. Partners with advancement leadership and major gift officers on stewardship strategies for key donors, including participating in strategy discussions regarding our highest-level donors/prospects in order to proactively think through required documentation, recognition and stewardship plans. The position also comes with the potential to manage a portfolio of donors, stewarding them for their support.

Philanthropic Naming

  1. Manages donor recognition related to philanthropic naming of physical spaces and non-physical spaces/programs in conjunction with the College's Naming Policy.

  2. Ensures philanthropic naming meets all required approvals, including approvals by College administrators of the terms set forth in gift agreements.

  3. Maintains up-to-date knowledge of available naming opportunities related to physical and non-physical spaces/programs.

Scholarship Awarding

  1. Oversee scholarship awarding / scholarship matching process.

  2. Use data to analyze the awarding process to ensure maximum efficiency and suggest improvements as necessary.

  3. Reviews and updates policies to ensure that they are consistent with college policies and strategies. Ensures that any changes in policy and strategy are communicated to gift officers.

  4. Oversee stewardship activities related to scholarship awarding and reporting.

Fund Management

  1. Oversee named funds and an additional subset of restricted funds in collaboration with the Director of Advancement Services, Business Office and Budget Administrators across campus to ensure income is spent according to gift agreements.

Pledge and Gift Agreement Creation and Management

  1. Collaborates with the IA team in the creation and management of gift agreements, pledge documents, statements of intent, and endowment agreements, etc.

  2. Maintains an advanced understanding of legal and budgetary impact of these agreements and keeps abreast of any changes in the law related to pledges, statements of intent and gift agreements.

  3. Participates in policy decisions as they relate to gift designations and agreements.


  1. Creates materials for cultivating and soliciting prospects including but not limited to customized proposals, cases for support, booklets and other materials as warranted or requested

  2. Creates materials for stewarding donors including but not limited to impact reports, foundation reporting, acknowledgement letters and materials

  3. Creates and oversees the donor acknowledgement process, as well as all donor recognition and naming materials

Minimum Qualifications

  • A Bachelor's degree is preferred with 8 to10 years of direct experience in fundraising, donor relations, stewardship, development, and communications, or equivalent combination of education and experience.

  • Demonstrated experience with strategic planning and understanding the role of advancement in a higher education environment.

  • Excellent project management skills, with an acute ability to manage multiple deadlines and track activities in a fast-paced, high-volume environment, prioritizing work to maximize department resources.

  • Strong interpersonal and collaborative skills, and an ability to communicate with an intricate network of colleagues across the College as well as donors, faculty, and administrators.

  • Outstanding detail orientation, and proven ability in writing, editing and proofreading, as well as verbal communication skills.

  • Comfort analyzing data and utilizing it to inform strategy and programs, including the ability to build reports, create and run queries and dashboards; strong knowledge of spreadsheets.

  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, as well as being an effective member of a team, showing eagerness and motivation to achieve goals and deadlines

  • Advanced skills with Google Suite applications. Comfort with both writing and designing content and operating in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and creative software platforms; Raiser’s Edge (or comparable) experience.

  • Experience with planning and executing events is a plus.

 This position requires successful completion and acceptable results of a background check.

The College

Bennington College offers a comprehensive benefits program that includes medical, dental, vision, life and long-term disability insurance, retirement, and tuition benefits including Tuition Exchange scholarships. The College also offers an on-site fitness center as well as generous time off benefits.

Bennington College is a laboratory for innovation in higher education. At Bennington, learning and making—on campus and in the field—are inseparable, and its graduates are noted for their outsized impact on the world’s stage. This campus celebrates the ongoing making of work—shared on walls, in shows and performances, in lectures and readings, and in conversations—and believes that equity, diversity, and inclusivity are vital to a collaborative community. This position captures, contributes to, and reflects the ethos of this creative community.

Nestled at the foot of the Green Mountains in Vermont, the campus consists of approximately 370 acres. The College was named one of ten with the best architecture by Architectural Digest.  From campus, it is a short drive to the 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.