Senior / Director of Development – UW Extension

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA)*, the private fundraising and alumni relations organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison is seeking a development professional to support UW-Extension. In this role you will work to develop a comprehensive advancement plan for University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Division of Extension, with a primary focus on prospect qualification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship in pursuit of major gifts.  


Division of Extension: UW–Madison Extension connects communities with the University of Wisconsin and responds to emerging and longstanding hurdles residents are overcoming to compete and prosper. As a statewide engagement arm of UW–Madison, the Division of Extension embodies the Wisconsin Idea to extend University knowledge to every corner of the state. Our statewide network includes educators and faculty in all 72 counties and within five tribal nations along with specialists with the UW–Madison College of Agricultural & Life Sciences, School of Human Ecology, and on UW campuses across Wisconsin. Every year, 12,000 volunteers, 2,800 partnering organizations, and more than 350,000 workshop participants benefit from the University research and best practices taught through Extension’s outreach and programming. Extension improves leadership skills, organizational and business capacity, and family, community, and social relationships. Our strategic connections with local governments, employers, non-profits, and industries ensure the latest research is informing decisions that affect everyone. We’re helping community leaders, business owners, and our neighbors put their own great ideas into practice. Working alongside Dean Karl Martin, this new position will help develop a comprehensive advancement program and align existing efforts, with an emphasis on major gift development. More information at

Who is WFAA?
The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association is a private, nonprofit corporation that encourages individuals and organizations to make gifts to the university and to connect with the UW. In 2014, the UW Foundation merged with the Wisconsin Alumni Association® to better serve a growing population of UW alumni and donors. We believe that private support grows out of good relationships between campus leaders, faculty and program staff who need support, and the alumni and friends who want to invest in UW–Madison. We provide important engagement opportunities to link UW–Madison alumni to each other and to their alma mater, building a strong community of Badgers.


Diversity and Inclusion:

Just as the university community benefits from differing viewpoints, perspectives, and experiences, inclusion and diversity are imperative for the success of our mission. WFAA values people and the differences that they bring to the organization, and creates an environment in which all staff members and constituents feel respected and have opportunities to thrive.  


Candidate can reside in the Madison, WI or Northern WI areas.  Please note this position can be filled at the Senior Director of Development or Director of Development level, depending on skills/experience of selected candidate.

Primary Responsibilities

Major Gift Development

  • Develop objectives, priorities and strategies for major gift development related to capital campaigns, special programs, and ongoing fund raising in collaboration with dean/faculty/staff, WFAA vice president and colleagues.
  • Implement development strategies with assigned constituencies, managing a portfolio of prospects and donors in varying stages of involvement to advance them strategically through the development process.
  • Work with prospect management, WFAA research and development colleagues to identify and qualify a portfolio of major gift prospects from existing and potential donors.
  • Schedule and conduct initial assessment/exploratory meetings with prospects, following up with correspondence, phone calls and additional visits as appropriate to qualify prospect.
  • Plan and conduct visits/trips, events and other ongoing contact to build relationships with donors, effectively presenting the case for philanthropic support and explaining gift opportunities.
  • Develop and write major gift proposals, utilizing both current and planned gift opportunities to best meet donors’ needs, interests, and financial capabilities, including structuring complex or special gifts as appropriate.
  • Artfully ask for the right gift, at the right time, in the right way.
  • Collaborate with colleagues, discussing major donor prospects, sharing advice/information, and coordinating activity on shared prospects.
  • Coordinate development efforts with the Division, working closely with deans and faculty to develop and implement strategies related to gift opportunities and optimizing campus involvement in the development process.

Donor Relations/Stewardship/ Recognition

  • Plan and implement recognition for donors, including writing thank you letters, making personal calls, arranging meetings, hosting events, etc.
  • Plan and implement ongoing communication and stewardship with donors.
  • Develop and maintain volunteer involvement, recruiting, organizing, staffing and training volunteers as needed to support fund raising activities and coordinating the involvement of deans, faculty and staff in organizing volunteers for unit activities.
  • Work in collaboration with affiliated organizations and boards.
  • Participate in the external relations activities of the Division, attend sponsored events, etc., to solicit, encourage, increase the involvement of alumni/donors in UW activities.

 Campus Relations

  • Work with dean/faculty/staff to develop plans for a comprehensive advancement structure and operations.
  • Communicate, problem solve, and anticipate needs of campus staff regarding accounting for donor created funds and serve as liaison between WFAA accounting department and campus staff.
  • Request data/reports from WFAA staff to meet needs of donors and campus staff.
  • Serve as WFAA liaison with the Division and other UW entities and friends/booster groups.


  • Make travel arrangements for self.
  • Write regular progress reports on prospect cultivation and solicitation, completing and filing thorough reports of all contacts in a timely manner.
  • Report/record/document development activity and results.
  • Write Memoranda of Agreement. (MOA’s)
  • Monitor giving patterns and results for prospects/donors in portfolio and provide regular written or oral reports on progress and results of work with these prospects.

Requirements and Qualifications

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional work experience.
  • Experience and demonstrated success in fundraising or related activities.
  • Excellent oral, written, interpersonal, analytical and organizational skills required.
  • Self-directed, team player who has a strong, results-oriented, work ethic.
  • Ability to meet travel requirements (@25%).

Other Qualifications:

  • Post-baccalaureate training or advanced college degree.
  • Familiarity with and a passion for issues related to the work of the Division of Extension; including Agriculture, Community Development, Natural Resources, and Youth and Human Development; and/or experience working with organizations in these areas is highly desired.
  • 3 +years of fund development experience, with focus on major gifts.


WFAA is committed to provide our employees with an environment that is inspiring, creative and respectful. We offer competitive pay and an excellent benefits program, which includes a 10% 401k contribution after 1 year of service!


The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association is an Equal Opportunity Employer *The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association ( is the “doing business as” name of the merged organization comprising the University of Wisconsin Foundation ( and the Wisconsin Alumni Association ( Its legal corporate name is registered as the University of Wisconsin Foundation. 


  • Keep in touch

    Sign up to receive updates on career opportunities at WFAA.