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Job Summary

The Senior Development Officer is responsible for planning and implementing short, medium and long-range fundraising goals to meet the current and future needs of Wallace House at the University of Michigan. The position reports to the Director of Wallace House and has a dotted line reporting relationship to the Office of University Development to allow for deeply integrated and collaborative work. The Senior Development Officer is responsible for personal solicitation of major and planned gifts for Wallace House, as well as for planning and directing the cultivation and solicitation of prospects by the Director. The primary focus will be on identifying and building the base of major gift prospects, with emphasis on growing the endowment. This position also has oversight for annual giving, donor-related cultivation events, stewardship, and creating and staffing volunteer experiences for prospects and donors. This position will draw on the resources of the Office of University Development, including national major gifts, planned giving, corporate and foundation relations, prospect research, annual giving, development events, and others. This is a three-year term position with the possibility for additional opportunities.

Who We Are

Wallace House at the University of Michigan is committed to fostering excellence in journalism and has a strong organizational commitment to encouraging diversity in both journalism and philanthropy. With a high-profile global network of journalists, innovators and news industry leaders, Wallace House is home to prestigious programs that recognize, sustain and elevate the careers of journalists. Throughout our programs we work to address the challenges of a changing journalism and information ecosystem, foster civic engagement, and uphold the role of a free press in a democratic society. We believe in the fundamental mission of journalism to document, interpret, analyze and investigate the forces shaping society. Our signature programs:

  • Knight-Wallace Fellowships offer a broad range of accomplished journalists an academic year of study and collaborative learning at the University of Michigan. Through this fellowship, journalists who are eager for growth and deeply committed to the future of their profession, have the opportunity to deepen knowledge, develop new ideas and address challenges facing the journalism industry.
  • Livingston Awards honor journalists under the age of 35 for outstanding achievement in local, national and international reporting across all forms of journalism. The awards bolster the work of young reporters, create the next generation of journalism leaders and mentors, and advance civic engagement around powerful storytelling.
  • Wallace House Presents brings journalists whose work is at the forefront of national conversations to our University community and the broader public. By moving news consumption and discussion away from devices and distractions and into public spaces, both virtual and in-person, Wallace House aims to foster civic engagement, conversation, and informed, civil debate.

To learn more please explore: Knight-Wallace Fellowships; Livingston Awards video; Judges video.


  • Manage a portfolio of major gift prospects and donors. Identify, assess, conceive, and implement appropriate strategies for approaching prospects. Specifically, this includes short- and long-term planning of solicitations and the analysis of prospects with respect to size of ask, areas of interest, timing of solicitations and identification of compelling needs.
  • Plan and direct the solicitation of prospects by the Director and other university and development leadership as appropriate. Plan and direct Wallace House donor and cultivation events.
  • Work closely with other members of the Wallace House team to create cohesive development and creation of Wallace House materials, donor engagement and public-facing events. 
  • Work in close alignment with the Office of University Development. Meet regularly with Wallace House’s Office of University Development Leadership liaison to work on prospect strategy and discuss progress against objectives. Be a full participant in the University development community, attending monthly Development Council meetings and Chief Development Officer meetings, and take advantage of professional development workshops, training and professional gatherings.
  • Assist the Director in staffing and directing the activities of the Wallace House Board, and develop other donor engagement opportunities as appropriate. This includes volunteer identification, recruitment, and training.
  • Provide executive staff support to the Director as related to fundraising activities including: strategic planning for Director’s fundraising travel, providing briefing materials for meetings and visits, and drafting correspondence.
  • Oversee the annual giving appeals and stewardship program for Wallace House. Lead all efforts to coordinate with the Office of University Development major gifts, planned gifts, annual giving, and foundation relations teams, as well as the University Business Engagement Center.
  • Maintain DART and central electronic files for all prospects, generate thank-you letters, initiate and maintain communication (written and verbal) with prospects and donors.
  • Provide regular data analyses and written reports on development progress and activities. Initiate reports, conduct studies, and perform other tasks related to development at the direction of the Director.
  • Lead and manage University campaign activities at Wallace House, including committee and volunteer management, preparation of development materials, prospect management and major gift solicitation, including supporting the Director in major gift solicitation.
  • Represent Wallace House and the University at designated functions as required.

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s degree required, advanced training in fund development preferred.
  • At least five years of progressively responsible fundraising experience in an academic fundraising setting or for a journalism organization with a comprehensive development program. Experience in fundraising for significant projects and experience in a comprehensive campaign at a multi-faceted institution is preferred. Must possess a track record of successful fundraising activities.
  •  Proven success in gift closure at the five-and six-figure level is expected.
  • Excellent collaboration skills and proven ability to communicate and work effectively in complex organizations with a wide range of constituents, both internal and external.
  • Experience with or passion for journalism, issues of democracy and civic engagement, and higher education.
  • Demonstrated skill in developing and sustaining collaborative and culturally inclusive relationships.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, high level creative, flexible, organized, self-motivated, with excellent planning and follow-through.
  • Demonstrated leadership ability to develop strategic plans, implement programs, organize, initiate, and motivate is required.
  • Experience in volunteer recruitment and management.
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills, both written and oral.
  • Knowledge of University policies, procedures, and cultures is desired.
  • Ability and willingness to travel, as well as to work outside the normal workday.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

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


U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

COVID-19 vaccinations are now required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all three campuses, including Michigan Medicine.  This includes those working or learning remotely.  More information on this policy is available on the Campus Blueprint website or the U-M Dearborn and U-M Flint websites.