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Job Summary



The Institute for Social Research (ISR) is the world’s largest academically based social science and survey organization and is dedicated to social science in the public interest. ISR’s scientific mission is threefold:

  • to plan and conduct rigorous social science research
  • to disseminate the findings of this research, and
  • to train future generations of social scientists

Comprised of five substantive centers and one administrative center, approximately 320 faculty from over 20 disciplines across the University are affiliated with ISR. It employs over 1700 people in Ann Arbor and around the country. Its structure is highly decentralized. The budget for 2017, was over $110,000,000, with over $95,000,000 coming from federal sources. Private sources, especially foundations, accounted for approximately $15,000,000.

For more information about ISR and its Centers, Projects and history, click here:

Position summary

Reporting to the director of the Institute, you will be an essential member of the director’s team, setting the strategic direction for all fundraising and donor engagement. This position will enable ISR to expand private support essential to fulfill its mission.

The director will be responsible for designing and implementing strategies to expand ISR’s prospect pool, identify and pursue prospects for ISR’s campaign priorities, solicit major gifts, steward major gift benefactors and senior ISR faculty retirees, and plan the solicitation of prospects by the director. In addition, this position will be responsible for assisting faculty in developing funding from foundations and corporations.

The primary focus will be on identifying and building the base of major gift prospects capable of gifts of $100,000 or more. This position also is responsible for annual giving, donor-related cultivation events, stewardship and creating and staffing focused volunteer experiences for prospects and donors to increase the donor pipeline.



Fundraising (40%)

  • Collaborate with the ISR director and the Institute’s senior leadership to define and implement an overarching advancement strategy
  • Lead a comprehensive development program with all levels of giving with solicitation of qualified prospective donors ranging from oversight (or management) of the annual campaign to more directed asks at the highest levels, with a focus on gifts of $100,000 and more
  • Expand program of outreach to ensure appropriate and individualized level of visits and stewardship plans (in-person, mail, electronic, phone call)
  • Design and direct legacy campaigns to honor the leaders who built ISR
  • Develop, plan, and direct the solicitation of Institute’s prospects by the director, center directors, and vice president for development. Related activities would include strategically and proactively planning for the director’s fundraising travel; providing briefing materials for meetings and visits; and drafting correspondence

Stewardship (20%)

  • Manage and implement the stewardship program, including the Next Generation awards process for many ISR student awards, introducing donors to their students, the annual Donors and Scholars Dinner and Joint Faculty Staff Retirees Dinner as well as memorials
  • Oversee all activities designed to increase the size the donor pipeline, including the annual fund, Giving Blue Day, events and other activities.
  • Maintain relationships with ISR Founders and other retired faculty

Collaboration: (15%)

  • Demonstrate collaboration with University units from Office of University Development, Foundation Relations, Business Engagement Center, Annual Giving, etc.
  • Collaborate and provide expertise with partnering units on significant principal and major gifts
  • Develop positive relationships with faculty across ISR
  • Enhance relationships with University schools colleges and units, including LSA, Public Health, Medical School and others as needed
  • Learn the science in order to present appropriately to interested donors, the Office of University Development regional gift officers, and to educate partner units about ISR and its research
  • Work with the ISR director, center directors, faculty, and director of communications to articulate funding priorities and communicate the Institute’s funding objectives to internal and external constituencies
  • Collaborate with ISR leadership and staff to create regional events with the goals of creating a platform to encourage alumni networking and giving

Program Management (15%)

  • Provide leadership and management for the development team with all ISR centers
  • Lead programmatic fundraising, including legacy campaigns and center based initiatives, and the Program in Survey Methodology
  • Collaborate with Institute leadership, faculty, and alumni to create a well-rounded understanding of ISR’s programs and resources that can be leveraged for donor development, donor engagement and major giving
  • Coordinate with ISR director of communications, director of event planning and business office in special programs
  • Represent ISR and the University at designated functions, as required

Management: (10%)

  • Report on program, outreach and donor cultivation metrics regularly to the ISR director and ISR Institute Advisory Committee
  • Create and manage an annual development budget in consultation with the ISR director
  • Lead the development administrative assistant intermediate, providing leadership, setting and evaluating individual goals, developing and sustaining appropriate training and assigning and monitoring assignments, workload and coordinate with the director of communication in priority setting
  • Participate actively in Center for Institute Services management team
  • Attend regular Office of University Development meetings, including Chief Development Officer and Development Council meetings and report key information to ISR director
  • Perform other duties as assigned


Required Qualifications*

  • Five to eight years of progressively responsible fundraising or equivalent experience in a related field; the ideal candidate would possess a track record of successful major gift fundraising at 6 figure level
  • Demonstrated leadership ability to develop strategic plans, implement programs, organize, initiate, and motivate
  • Understanding and passion about the mission and research of the Institute
  • Ability/credibility to represent and communicate about the Institute with donors
  • Project management: organized, result driven and multi-tasking
  • Ability to collaborate across unit boundaries and build consensus.
  • Able to travel and attend meetings outside normal business hours
  • Competency in effective organizational navigation of highly decentralized organization
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Proven success in building productive, long-term relationships with senior university administrators, faculty, staff, volunteers, and donors.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Knowledge of university policies, procedures, and culture
  • Scientific background in social science through study or experience (or both)
  • Experience working with faculty in raising money from foundations and corporations

Additional Information

Although the Posting End Date may indicate otherwise, this job may be filled and closed anytime after a posting duration of seven calendar days.

The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to maintain the excellence of the university, and to ground our research in varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.