Director of Development, Principal and Legacy Giving

Date: Jun 22, 2022

Location: Waterloo, CA

Company: Wilfrid Laurier University

Director, Principal & Legacy Giving


Reporting to the AVP Development, the Director, Principal & Legacy Giving oversees, develops and implements fundraising and donor relations strategies to secure principal and legacy gifts in support of the priorities and values established through consultation with university leadership.   The Director of Principal and Legacy Giving is responsible for the day-to-day operations of coordinating the relationship management strategies for all principal gifts donors and prospects capable of making the largest gifts. These gifts are typically in the $250K to $1M+.  The incumbent will lead and provide direct and functional management for the principal and legacy giving program, working with colleagues in the Development Team, direct reports, collaborative partners and leadership from across the university to grow philanthropic strategy, competency and principal giving capacity.


The Director will act as strategic support and lead partner in the management and advancement of all principal giving level donors for the university. The successful candidate will work with an individual list of approximately 15-20 assigned principal giving prospects to secure gifts and pledges of between $250,000 to more than $1M from individuals, corporations and foundations. The Director will provide strategic management and support for the Legacy Giving Program at Laurier.


The incumbent will provide leadership in a multi-campus environment, requiring regular interaction, communication and collaboration with external partners and internal stakeholders at the Waterloo and Brantford campuses. The Director will ensure that institution policies, programs and services are delivered equitably across all campuses and reflect the needs of local stakeholders. As a key member of the Development team at Laurier, the Director, Principal and Legacy Giving participates in university-wide strategy, planning and initiatives, which will enhance fundraising activities, specifically at the principal giving level and will play an advising and strategic thought partnership role, working with fundraisers as part of a team developing and advancing strategies. This position has a university-wide mandate.


The position is based at Laurier’s Waterloo Campus with the option for partial or fully remote work for those located in Ontario. Periodic visits to Laurier’s Campuses will be expected for those working remotely.




Principal Gift Fundraising and Prospect Management

  • Develops and grows the Principal Giving prospect pipeline as a sustainable source of philanthropic support.
  • Collaborates with colleagues within the Development Team to serve as a thought partner to curate strategies to engage high-net-worth philanthropists that will lead to the development of strong and lasting relationships.
  • Provides leadership, oversight, guidance and strategic counsel specific to the university-wide principal giving program that includes the top 100 prospects and donors for Laurier.
  • Acts as a central liaison for executive and volunteer leadership specific to an interface with principal gift donors and prospects. Prioritizes activity and relationships to align with University Strategic Priorities while ensuring a donor-centred approach that maximizes impact.
  • Develops and manages an assigned list of 15-20 principal giving prospects and donors that include individuals, foundations, corporations and associations, for the purpose of securing financial support.
  • Meets or exceeds annual personal revenue goals and staff activity metrics.
  • Prepares executive leadership for success by coordinating prospect/donor calls, executive briefings, and donor meetings and ensures all necessary follow-up including correspondence to donors, contact reports, updates to BANNER, and drafting of terms and conditions for gift agreements are complete.
  • Develops, submits, and follows up on funding proposals to prospective donors.
  • Develops and reports on strategic plans and other collateral materials to deepen the prospect engagement.
  • Develops and reports on key metrics, indicators, and predictive models to direct internal stakeholders on how to maximize ROI and make corrective in-progress recommendations on plans.
  • Develops and implements, in concert with the Manager – Stewardship & Donor Relations strategy for principal giving level donors, including gift announcements, donor cultivation/recognition events, and reports to donors on progress and outcomes of fundraising projects with a view to strengthening those relationships.


Legacy Gift Program Management

  • Provide leadership, oversight, guidance, and strategic counsel specific to the legacy giving program to develop a collective professional practice of strategic philanthropy that leverages the procurement of non-cash assets and documented gift intentions to elevate philanthropic investment at Laurier, while stewarding valuable long-term relationships.
  • Support the Development Officer-Individual and Legacy Giving to continue to develop a pipeline of legacy gifts and membership within the William Ross Macdonald Legacy Council including the tracking, monitoring, and reporting of metrics.
  • Champion and support the Development Officer-Individual and Legacy Giving in the collaborative development of a multi-year and multi-channel comprehensive program to support the marketing of legacy giving at Laurier that activates resources from both Development and Alumni Relations.
  • Works collaboratively with the Development Officer – Individual and Legacy Giving to develop and expand existing relationships with professional advisors and related associations to raise awareness of legacy giving at Laurier.
  • Ensures the team remains current on changes to income, estate, and gift tax-related rules, regulations, and trends. 


University-Wide Fundraising, Planning, Strategy Development & Reporting

  • Participates in revenue projections and forecasting through fundraising activity to satisfy KPI’s in the Development Plan.
  • Engages in Case Design process to ensure alignment with donor interest and scope.
  • Provides practical advice on fundraising success probabilities for projects and appeals to external funders.
  • Develop briefing materials and conduct briefings for Senior Leadership, Volunteers and other key stakeholders in principal gift solicitations and legacy commitments and/or current gifts of complex assets.
  • Maintains a good working knowledge of the activities, priorities and needs in teaching, research, programs, capital, and other areas of Laurier.
  • Reports bi-weekly to the AVP, Development on all principal giving and legacy giving and donor relations initiatives.
  • Recommends specific actions to increase the effectiveness of development activities including own performance.
  • Engages and assists Senior Leadership and Volunteers in fundraising and donor relations activities on behalf of the University.
  • Develops and implements plans for fundraising activities which support the priorities of the University, including specific measurable goals for visits and solicitations.
  • Develops reports on fundraising progress.
  • Meets regularly with the Development team to review principal gift progress and plans, develop strategy and ensure goals are achieved.
  • Participates in DAC meetings as needed and other relevant bodies by reporting regularly on development activities.
  • Works collaboratively within the Development team to ensure prospect identification and relationship building occurs specific to principal and legacy giving.
  • Maintains collaborative and productive working relationships with peers within the External Relations team including Alumni Relations, Advancement Services, Government Relations, Communications and Marketing, etc.
  • Maintains a high degree of sensitivity to the specific needs, values and culture of the University and engages faculty members as appropriate.


External Communications

  • Collaborates with other External Relations and Advancement staff to prepare and coordinate all communications pertaining to fundraising and donor relations.
  • Prepares and edits relevant communication materials, such as project descriptions, case statements, funding proposals, and gift agreements.
  • Assists and advises the AVP of Development on specific fundraising initiatives and strategies.


Volunteer Management, Faculty Liaison and Administration

  • Identifies, recruits, orientates and manages volunteers to assist in fundraising activities as appropriate.
  • In consultation with other colleagues, ensures the effective and efficient use of centralized resources and information.
  • Contributes to the preparation and management of the annual budget for Development and Alumni Relations.
  • Assists in the management of the daily activities of the Development Coordinator.



  • Works closely with AVP of Development, VP of Advancement & External Relations, and Executive Leadership to establish annual and multi-year fundraising priorities and goals for Development.
  • Leads the principal and legacy giving programs and oversees direct reports in executing specific fundraising activities to meet fundraising goals.
  • Oversees the development and implementation of customized strategies and individualized strategic approaches to engage the interest and philanthropic investment (principal gifts $1M+ and legacy gifts) of individuals, corporations, and foundations in support of strategic priorities across the University.
  • Develops and manages timelines for various fundraising activities to ensure strategic plans and critical fundraising processes are carried out in a timely manner.
  • Manages the Development team's work with Executive and Academic Leadership.
  • Monitors and evaluates principal and legacy giving fundraising activities to ensure that fundraising goals are being achieved.
  • Coaches Development team and collaborative partners as needed to strengthen strategies to ensure success.
  • Influence and motivate others by building relationships and directing work as a liaison between groups with a focus on solving unstructured problems.



  • University degree; CFRE preferred; MFA-P preferred.
  • A strong interest and recognition in the value of post-secondary education and continuous learning.
  • Established leader who has had progressively senior roles, with 7-10 years of higher education experience providing leadership in development and fundraising.
  • Proven experience in prospect development, management, solicitation and stewardship of principal gifts at the $1M+ level. Capital Campaign experience preferred.
  • Experience and demonstrated success in prospect identification, relationship building, strategizing and solicitation of legacy gifts, with particular emphasis on gift planning.
  • Experience in working with high-net-worth individuals in private banking, financial services, financial planning or philanthropy.
  • Knowledge of Canadian fundraising, gift vehicles, best practices, legislation, tax implications and restrictions.
  • Demonstrated understanding of how major and legacy giving activities relate and connect to other areas within development such as events, stewardship, research, annual giving, direct marketing, government and community relations with the demonstrated ability to move easily between principal, major and legacy giving.
  • Strategic thinker and established fundraiser who likes a challenge identifies prospects and looks for opportunities to work with others and build relationships that achieve measurable results.
  • Demonstrated experience and political acumen to navigate multi-stakeholder relationships and complex systems. A sophisticated understanding of university culture and the various regulations pertaining to fundraising.
  • Evidenced ability to problem solve imaginatively and creatively. Demonstrated leadership and team-building skills including experience in goal setting, motivating, leading, supervising, evaluating, and developing a capable team of professionals.
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills, especially with senior officials.
  • Appreciation of diverse perspectives and ability to work with diverse groups including members of the media, senior administration, faculty, members of student government, staff and students.




KCI Search + Talent has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of Wilfrid Laurier University. For more information about this opportunity, please contact Tara George, Partner / Lead, KCI Search + Talent or Sylvie Battisti, Vice President Search + Talent, by email at


All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence. Interested candidates should send their resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above by July 11, 2022.


Please note that the salary range for this position is $96,688 – $151,043, based on experience. A full suite of employee benefits and perks are also provided.




*Wilfrid Laurier University is also seeking an Associate Director, Development and an Associate Director, Development Milton.  For more information, please contact Tara George, Partner at KCI by email at:

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