Harvard Business School

Managing Director of Major Giving

Boston, MA

Position Description

Executive Summary

Harvard Business School seeks a highly accomplished, collaborative Managing Director of Major Giving to bring dynamic leadership, strategic focus, keen management and motivational guidance to the School’s major gifts fundraising and donor engagement efforts. This is the opportune moment for a seasoned, astute fundraising executive to tap into the full potential of HBS’ fundraising, marketing and engagement assets – helping to create and promote opportunities to increase donor support, deepen alumni engagement and advance internal performance for one of the world’s consistently top-rated business schools.

Completing a five-year, $1.4B campaign in June of 2018, HBS has tremendous fundraising momentum, and an increase in Major Giving - approximately doubling of the pace of campaign activity - will be critical to maintaining this trajectory. There is ample opportunity for success: more than 5,000 alumni are believed to have the capacity to make a multi-year commitment of between $1M and $24.9M and Dean Nitin Nohria is widely acknowledged for his vision and leadership, amplifying the case in support of Harvard Business School.

The Managing Director of Major Giving is charged with maximizing philanthropic support of Harvard Business School (HBS) with a specific focus on individuals believed to have philanthropic capacity between $1M and $24.9M. Reporting to the Managing Director of Development and managing a team of ten or more frontline fundraisers, the Managing Director is a senior leader within Development and the broader External Relations organization.

A sophisticated strategist who brings fresh perspective to the work of the major giving team, the Managing Director will streamline prospect prioritization and management, develop strategies and open new pathways to broaden and deepen donor cultivation and stewardship, and identify opportunities for collaboration with other Development and External Relations teams. A critical part of this work for the Managing Director will be recognizing that success will not be achieved in a vacuum and will require thinking about how work is shared, supported from different units, and, importantly, how success is defined and celebrated.

Harnessing this energy and leveraging HBS’ impressive donor and alumni bases will require bold leadership, teamwork, and citizenship. In the spirit of Harvard Business School, the External Relations team has recently engaged in a self-assessment, respecting their past success while acknowledging areas for investment and improvement. Notably, HBS has a strong tradition of reunion fundraising, regularly raising milestone-driven, transactional gifts at the six and seven-figure levels. A charge for the new Managing Director will be to capitalize on this strong tradition while also transitioning the culture to one where thoughtful qualification and cultivation of prospective donors, based on their timeline and articulated philanthropic goals, will become the norm. Equally important in moving HBS’ culture forward, the Managing Director will promote collaboration and the co-creation of donor strategies across Major Giving, Annual Giving, Principal Giving, and International Giving.

The ideal candidate is expected to have at least 12 years of experience with a proven record of cultivating, stewarding, and soliciting seven- and eight-figure gifts and developing successful major gift operations. Previous experience working in a complex organization, preferably higher education, is highly desired, as is the maturity and acumen to successfully navigate and collaborate within organizations with ambitious goals. The successful candidate will have elevated the performance of a frontline team, with a particular eye toward professional development and coaching. Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills are necessary, including the curiosity and emotional intelligence to bring new ideas that contribute to the broader HBS mission while maintaining focus on moving plans forward. Stellar verbal and written communication skills are required and the ability to interact with all types of people, especially high net-worth individuals, is essential. The Managing Director must have a balanced approach to their work, recognizing the need to work independently and set targets and goals for the Major Giving team based on School priorities while respecting the incalculable “art” of fundraising. They should also have the presence, cultural sensitivity, and communication skills necessary to be an effective representative of HBS and the broader Harvard community.
A bachelor’s degree and demonstrated success in complex, dynamic organizations is required. An advanced degree is preferred.
Position Description

Application Form

Search Team

Tracy Welsh  

Eva Kotilinek  

Connor Daley