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Job Posting #900705: WKAR Director of Major Gifts


WKAR Director of Major Gifts
WKAR Public Media - Michigan State University

WKAR enriches people's lives through programs and services that educate, inspire, and entertain, fostering citizenship and culture, the joy of learning, and the power of diverse perspectives.

Position Summary

Reporting to WKAR’s Senior Director of Development & Communication, this position will assist with planning and implementing a comprehensive fundraising program for WKAR Public Media. The Director of Major Gifts will manage a portfolio of individual major gift prospects to fully develop potential gift (cash and deferred) income to support campus, Mid-Michigan, and state audiences.

The Director of Major Gifts will manage a portfolio of 100-120 major donor prospects, focusing efforts on prospects whose philanthropic capacity is $100,000 or more to maximize the fundraising potential within the unit and on behalf of Michigan State University. The Director will average 12-15 strategic visits per month, which will result in greater engagement and movement toward a major gift solicitation at a rate of 2 to 4 solicitations per month, with all solicitation efforts cleared and coordinated with the WKAR and University Advancement at Michigan State University. The Director will dedicate a significant amount of time managing prospect activity predominantly in the state of Michigan.

This is primarily an in-person position. Limited hybrid work arrangements are considered in consultation with its direct supervisor and station general manager.

The duties of the Director of Major Gifts are as follows but are not limited to:


  • Identify and maintain an active pool of 100 - 120 prospects under strategic management. Specifically, identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit, and steward a portfolio of major donor prospects. 
  • Develop and manage a portfolio of approximately 120 discoveries, major and planned gift prospects, and donors. 
  • Identify and develop donor base within the state of Michigan with special focus on WKAR audience within a 60-mile radius of East Lansing.  
  • Collaborate on donor/prospect activity with fundraising colleagues across campus including regional gift officers. 
  • Create innovative solicitation strategies for face-to-face donor meetings, volunteer-driven peer-to-peer solicitations. 
  • Present to corporations, foundations and community groups about the fundraising needs and goals of WKAR Public Media. 
  • Work to build strong, engaged relationships with major gift prospects to determine and merge prospect passions/interests/needs with WKAR Public Media funding priorities. 
  • Achieve WKAR Public Media fundraising goals through an active and consistent prospect/donor outreach that includes 120 significant contacts annually. Utilize phone calls, email, mail, social media, and other strategies to identify, connect with and engage donors to solicit financial support for the Organization. Attends WKAR Public Media evening and weekend community events to engage prospects and remain current on content and community engagement.
  • Engage 12-15 major prospects per month through personal visits, which result in strategic “moves’ toward closure of major gifts.  
  • Work collaboratively with and support volunteers, other development staff, and WKAR Public Media colleagues to cultivate and solicit donors for funding priorities.  


  • Prepare annual personal fundraising goals and analyze/report goal accomplishment. Assist in planning and implementing special-purpose campaigns, as necessary.
  • Assist with coordinating and participating in donor engagement, prospecting, recognition, and stewardship events, as appropriate.
  • Utilize donor database to coordinate with other development colleagues, record contact activities, update donor information, record strategic moves management steps, and gift documentation as appropriate. 
  • Assist in planning and hosting donor related events including in house donor events, small donor dinners, engagement activities in collaboration with WKAR events team, and other donor cultivation events. 
  • Willing to work evenings and weekends as WKAR Public Media’s engagement events schedule and donor events calendar dictate. (Approximately 5-10 night/weekend commitments per quarter). 
  • Assist with developing and proofreading promotional and other support materials for all facets of solicitations. 
  • Create presentations and present to university leadership and public organizations to provide information on WKAR Public Media and/or University.
  • Foster and maintain healthy, professional, and vibrant working relationships within the office, across the institution, and with donors/members/sustainers. 
  • Participate with Senior Director of Development & Communication to strategically link to community and outreach activities of WKAR Public Media that have the potential to align and synergize with the philanthropic community. 
  • Support the development of briefings, proposals, and talking points for fundraising priorities for WKAR Public Media.
  • Works with the WKAR Development/Communication Team to maintain current giving information on the website.  

Unit Specific Education/Experience/Skills

Knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in Communications, Public Relations, Marketing and/or Business; three to five years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in public relations, volunteer administration, professional and higher education fund raising, marketing or related field; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

  • At least three years of experience in major gift fundraising, including proven record of securing corporate, foundation, and major gift support from individual's of $50,000 or more. 
  • Knowledge of fundraising and tax law affecting charitable giving is necessary.   
  • Must have a valid driver’s license. 
  • Ability to travel within the state of Michigan.

Desired Qualifications

  • An advanced degree in liberal arts, business, communications, public relations, marketing, or some other related field is desirable. 
  • Five years of experience in major gift fundraising, including a proven track record of securing corporate, foundation, and major gift support from individuals of $50,000 or more 
  • Strong verbal and written communications and interpersonal skills  
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a complex higher education institution, and understanding and experience in development are highly desirable, as is a collaborative team-oriented style. 
  • Understanding of and appreciation for public media is necessary.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Application Materials

  • Resume
  • Cover letter addressing why you feel this position would be a positive career move for you.
  • Names and email addresses of three professional references.
  • A writing sample is requested, see further instructions below.

Special Instructions

  • In less than 500 words, provide a writing sample telling us what you enjoy about working in fundraising.
  • If you have any questions regarding this position, please contact Jen Spitzley, ComArtSci/WKAR Public Media Human Resources, at spitzl39@msu.edu.
  • All candidates must submit application materials through the Michigan State University Human Resources web-based system the URL for that website is careers.msu.edu.  Please indicate the position number 900705 when submitting your application.

To apply, please refer to Posting #900705 and complete an electronic submission at the Michigan State University Employment Opportunities website https://careers.msu.edu. Applications close at 11:55 pm on October 3, 2023.