1797 Executive Director of Prospect Development


TITLE Executive Director of Prospect Development




IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR Assistant Vice President of Development and Strategy – University Advancement


The Executive Director of Prospect Development establishes the priorities and vision for the prospect development area of the MSU Foundation, ensuring that the prospect pipeline sustains the university’s philanthropic goals. This position helps to guide the fundraising efforts of the University by conducting research, categorizing prospects and donors in terms of interest and capacity, and determining when they should be moved to active prospect lists for cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship; leverages key relationships to explore, develop, and implement prospect strategies that maximize philanthropic engagement. The prospect development program uses proactive analytical and informatics tools to identify and move prospects into relationship management strategies, as well as evaluate the progress of fundraising strategies as well as assigns prospects by interest and affinity, manages movement through the pipeline, and provides guidance to development officers in planning strategies and priorities.  The incumbent guides the progress of development officers with their prospect portfolio and tracks the contact history; additionally provides supervision and direction to the Director of Foundation Relations and helps develop priorities for that area of development.  In addition, the incumbent works in collaboration with the Assistant Vice President Development and Strategy – University Advancement and the Vice President for University Advancement to meet the division’s research and data analysis needs.


Education: A Bachelor’s degree is required.  A Master’s degree is preferred. Training through Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) seminars and workshops and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for prospect research and management is also preferred. An equivalent combination of years of experience and education may be considered for substitution of educational requirements.

Experience: At least five years of professional experience, preferably in higher education development or a related field, is required. Experience in prospect research and management experience in higher education development is preferred.

Skills: Knowledge and understanding of fundraising prospect management principles and methods is required.  Knowledge of data mining methodology and predictive modeling is required.  The ability to develop knowledge of, respect for, and skills to engage with those of other cultures or backgrounds is required. The ability to solve problems while effectively collaborating with stakeholders throughout an organization is required. Ability to provide strategic guidance to leadership and campus partners on all aspects of prospect and donor management and pipeline development is required. Familiarity with fundraising databases and research tools is required; experience with Ellucian CRM and iWave are preferred.

Other: Occasional participation in evening and/or weekend activities is required.


1. Develop, implement, monitor and communicate the prospect management strategies, policies and guidelines based on best practices to support the prospect development goals of achieving the greatest impact for the institution and create a culture of collaboration between gift officers. Work with gift officers to ensure prospect management guidelines are understood and support all gift officers. Review and recommend prospect management improvements as needed.

2. Provide relationship management analytics, robust portfolio/proposal reviews, and focused insights on prospects. Collaborates with leadership team in understanding, evaluating, and reporting on development achievements, and opportunities to optimize the university’s fundraising capacity.  Executes special projects and assist with strategic planning for development initiatives. 

3. Provides leadership, supervises and motivates foundation relations and prospect research staff.

4. Ensures leadership and gift officers are updated with accurate, timely, and relevant information to support major gift solicitation efforts through all areas of prospect development.

5. Provide data, reports, and strategic guidance to fundraisers to assist with the successful execution of prospect development activity including prospect visits, solicitations, gift closures, stewardship, prospect data services, and other activities critical to their success.

6.  Plans and organizes regular prospect development meetings to discuss development strategies and solicitation progress.

7. Commitment to research guidelines, methodologies and code of ethics statements as defined by APRA and Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and other related associations.

8. Works in conjunction with Advancement Services to maintain database records, ensure accuracy of reports, and develop data integrity standards and guidelines.

9. Contributes to the overall success of the University by assuming primary responsibility for special projects as assigned and performing all other duties and responsibilities as assigned in a timely, thorough, and professional manner.

10. Manages a budget for research tools and training of staff.

11. Manages the wealth screening process; interprets and synthesizing the data into meaningful reports.

12. Contributes to a work environment that encourages knowledge of, respect for, and development of skills to engage with those of other cultures or backgrounds.

13. Remains competent and current through self-directed professional reading, developing professional contacts with colleagues, attending training and/or courses as required or requested by the Assistant Vice President of Development and Strategy – University Advancement.

14. Contributes to the overall success of University Advancement by performing all other duties and responsibilities as assigned by supervision.


The Executive Director of Prospect Development is supervised by the Assistant Vice President of Development and Strategy – University Advancement and supervises the Director of Foundation Relations, the Assistant Director of Prospect Development, and co-supervises two Graduate Assistants.