Director of Philanthropy & Engagement

  • Charleston Day School
  • Charleston, SC, USA
  • May 06, 2024
Full time Advancement

Job Description

Charleston Day School (CDS) is seeking a highly motivated, proven advancement leader to serve as the Director of Philanthropy and Engagement. This leadership role is responsible for overseeing and executing the school's development initiatives, fostering mutually beneficial relationships with donors, alumni, parents, and community partners, and advancing the institution's culture of philanthropy, stewardship, and engagement.

The School | Charleston Day School (CDS)

Charleston Day School was founded in 1937 and located in the heart of historic Charleston, SC. The mission of Charleston Day School is to foster scholarship, integrity, respect and responsibility in our students. The school currently serves 250 students from kindergarten through 8th grade.

We foster a vibrant learning community. Our faculty is known for its commitment to academic rigor and student success and the curriculum is rooted in more than 85 years of tradition yet committed to remaining at the forefront of education.

We make time at Charleston Day. Time to be curious, to discover and build friendships. In a world that moves at lightning speed, Charleston Day is a school where children can love learning and grow into the best versions of themselves.

The Community | Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina is a port city founded in 1670, characterized by its cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages, and pastel antebellum houses. It is world renowned for its history, architecture, cultural offerings, coastal environment, and outstanding restaurants. Charleston is part of a vibrant tricounty area with a population of over 700,000, yet it remains the charm of a small college town. Charlestonians enjoy mild winters and long summers, allowing plenty of time for golfing on the city's world-class courses and exploring miles of beaches.

Considered one of the best places to live in the U.S., this Southern city has plentiful career opportunities in fields like life sciences, defense, and logistics. In recent years, Charleston has earned the nickname "Silicon Harbor" due to the influx of tech companies. Among the region's largest employers, Charleston is also home to The Citadel and the College of Charleston.

The Opportunity | Director of Philanthropy & Engagement

Charleston Day School is seeking a Director of Philanthropy and Engagement to play a critical role in the school's success and advancing CDS's culture of philanthropy. Reporting to the Head of School, the Director will provide visionary leadership, day-to-day administration, and active execution for Charleston Day School's comprehensive advancement program, including annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, constituent relations, stewardship, and database management. The Director is responsible for integrating the school's mission -- to foster scholarship, integrity, respect and responsibility -- into all parts of the advancement program. The ideal candidate will demonstrate maturity in the industry through proven experience, strong leadership and management skills, and high-level volunteer engagement. Additionally, with the recent purchase of a key piece of property adjacent to the downtown campus, Charleston Day School anticipates an exciting and transformative campaign and chapter in the school's 86-year history. The Director will play a central leader in planning, organizing and executing this campaign effort.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

Visionary Leadership and Strategy:
• Collaborate with the Head of School and Director of Finance to establish, pursue, and monitor annual and multi-year fundraising goals that are both ambitious and achievable.
• Incorporate industry best practices to develop a comprehensive fundraising plan encompassing annual, major, and planned giving programs, as well as strategies for securing support from foundations, corporations, and the community.
• Engage with the school’s Leadership Team, Board of Trustees, and Development Committee, and volunteers to foster their involvement in philanthropy and stakeholder engagement, leveraging their roles as ambassadors, fundraisers, and stewards. This includes leading, coordinating, staffing, and empowering volunteers.
• Serve as a prominent figure in the Charleston Day community, representing philanthropy in ways that appropriately inform and advance the school’s priorities, mission, and vision.
• Collaborate with the Director of Communications, Director of Admissions, and Leadership Team to develop cohesive advancement-related messaging and marketing that inspire and encourage giving and involvement through various print and digital materials.
• Define and execute events that support the strategic direction of the advancement program, achieve established metrics, and further the short and long-term goals of the school.
• Foster integration of all Charleston Day School programs and initiatives to leverage the entire organization in achieving philanthropic and engagement objectives.

Fundraising and Engagement Programs:
• Design, develop, and implement a major giving and legacy giving program, managing relationships with existing donors and prospects, as well as identifying new potential contributors.
• Maintain a portfolio of major gift donors and prospects, utilizing moves management to secure one-time and multi-year commitments in support of organizational fundraising priorities.
• Leverage leaders within the Charleston Day School community to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward donors and prospects, including foundations and corporations, and provide clear and consistent direction, support, and mentorship.
• Implement best practices to establish and maintain structures, processes, and metrics that collectively propel major, annual, and legacy philanthropy.
• Integrate thoughtful, tiered stewardship strategies into the overall fundraising plan to renew and increase philanthropic support from both individuals and identified groups, such as loyal donors, for example.

Operational Oversight and Execution:
• Lead, manage and mentor the Assistant/Associate Director of Annual Philanthropy and Manager of Data Operations and Gift Services by encouraging independence and ingenuity while ultimately maintaining responsibility for all aspects of the advancement program.
• Oversee all department operations, including managing the donor database and related technologies, developing and maintaining sound systems and processes, evaluating progress and performance, identifying opportunities for growth, and providing data-driven reports and metrics.
• Collaborate with the Head of School and Director of Finance to ensure alignment of the fiscal needs and fundraising practices of the organization, including adherence to donor intent in the accurate, appropriate, and timely processing and recognition of gifts.
• Create, review, and analyze departmental budgets to align resources with goals and strategies.

Experience, Skills, and Expectations:
• Bachelor’s degree required, with a minimum of 7- years of professional advancement experience and having held a senior level position, preferably experience in the education sector.
• Strategic thinker with demonstrated ability to be both visionary and tactical in the development, implementation, and execution of plans.
• Proven track record of successful major gift fundraising, closing gifts at the six-figure level and above.
• Strong skills and experience capturing, analyzing, and leveraging data to inform philanthropic strategy and increase revenue, participation, and engagement.
• Demonstrated experience supporting and guiding Board members and lead volunteers in advancement work.
• Passion for Charleston Day School’s mission and vision.
• Self-starter with a growth mindset.
• Strong interpersonal skills and the capacity to develop rapport and cultivate meaningful connections with a variety of constituents, instilling trust and positively representing Charleston Day School.
• Demonstrated leadership and management experience, galvanizing individuals to reach common goals.
• Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to create clear, persuasive, and professional messaging across a variety of platforms and constituents.
• Demonstrated track record balancing a collaborative work style with the ability to be independent, decisive, self-motivated, and action-oriented.
• Outstanding organizational skills and the capacity to initiate and complete multiple tasks amidst competing priorities and deadlines.
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, and experience with Raiser’s Edge NXT or similar CRM software a plus.
• Ability to maintain confidentiality and display sound judgment in handling sensitive donor information.
• Be flexible and available to work occasional evenings and weekends as required based on events,
meetings, and other deadlines.


Charleston Day School has retained Capital Development Services (CapDev) to conduct a search for this position. Candidates should include a cover letter and a resume. All material will be kept confidential.

Application materials will be reviewed as received; screening of applicants will begin June 1st.
Additional inquiries may be directed to [email protected].