Posted On: 2017-11-13
Closing On: 2017-12-08
Location: Calgary, AB
Employment Type: Full-Time
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Job Description

The Opportunity

When STARS took to the air for the first time over 30 years ago, our founder, Dr. Powell, checked the mail every morning to see if enough donations had been received to keep our doors open one more day. Motivated to dramatically change emergency care for communities across a vast landscape, he threw his passion into creating a helicopter air ambulance service – built and supported by the community.

Today, STARS provides world-class services across the prairie provinces and continues to be fueled by grassroots community support. For many, STARS is their lifeline.

We want you to be part of the crew that makes this all possible.

STARS Foundation is seeking an experienced fundraiser to be our new Vice President, Major Gifts and Campaign to provide oversight on all fundraising activities pertaining to an upcoming capital campaign and STARS’ ongoing annual major gift program.

As STARS looks to continue saving lives across the prairie provinces for the next 30 years, we are in the planning stages of a landmark, transformational capital campaign.

With a proposed target of $50+ million, it will be the largest campaign undertaken in our organization’s history. Its legacy will impact the lives of people in our communities for generations to come. The new Vice President will therefore lead the strategic and tactical implementation of this campaign to ensure its execution and success. The Vice President will also take the lead role in ensuring our ongoing major gifts program, currently raising about $14 million annually, is maintained to help fund ongoing operational needs.   

This new role will report to the Executive Vice President and be a key member of the STARS senior leadership team. Crucially, the Vice President will serve as the lead staff person supporting the annual major gifts and campaign fundraising efforts of the CEO, Campaign Cabinet, and Board of Directors.

The Vice President will lead  a growing team of 14 across three provinces in Western Canada, and additional staff resources will be added to this team as the portfolio grows and campaign needs are established. 

This position represents a tremendous opportunity to be part of the transformation of the STARS Foundation to support the lifesaving mission of STARS.

This role will be based in our Calgary base office, and will involve some travel across the prairie provinces to attend donor, volunteer and team meetings.



The sight of a red STARS helicopter is a beacon of hope for those in their moments of need. Since we embarked on our first mission in 1985, we have existed to provide a safe, rapid, highly specialized emergency transport system for the critically injured.

STARS is patient-centred, physician-driven and community supported — a vital link in the chain of survival in the prairie provinces and eastern BC. It is a lifeline equalizing access to high quality care that is not available in rural and smaller communities. At a time and in a place where emergency medical care may seem far away, STARS makes it available.

Every day, STARS takes care of some of the sickest and most critically-injured patients in Western Canada. This translates to thousands of people every year who rely on STARS to get them to hospitals safely where they can access the advanced care they need.

We have operated for the past 30 years in Alberta and for the past five years in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In Alberta, STARS flies from three bases in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie; from Regina and Saskatoon in Saskatchewan; and from Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

Our vision is: Saving lives through partnership, innovation and leadership.

Our mission is: STARS is dedicated to providing a safe, rapid, highly specialized emergency medical transport system for the critically ill and injured.

The three critical areas we are constantly innovating in are time, talent, and tools.

Time: The moment someone becomes critically sick or injured, their window for survival narrows with each passing second. Saving lives requires saving time. Flying helicopters bypasses obstacles like traffic and shortens long distances. But survival hinges on more than just flight time.

The moment we arrive on scene, patients begin receiving critical care from our team of paramedics, nurses and transport doctors until they are transferred into hospital care.

The STARS Emergency Link Centre coordinates hundreds of calls each week to help our crew locate and begin to care for patients faster. And to ensure each patient receives the care they need before we even receive the call, we provide hands-on training to rural medical providers.

Talent: Assembling a team of life-saving professionals requires each member to receive the training to build the skills that save lives. Every patient aboard a STARS helicopter is in the care of a crew who excel and innovate in their roles. Our crew of nurses, paramedics, and transport physicians receive cutting-edge training to deliver life-saving care to patients. Our pilots and engineers operate at the top of their field, ensuring each patient is transported to the hospital in the most efficient and safest way possible.

Tools: Our most visible tools are our fleet of red helicopters. They can cover remote distances much faster than ground transportation. But our less visible tools are equally as important in our fight for life. 

Every STARS helicopter, education unit and hangar is equipped with the most advanced medical, aviation and training equipment available. Each tool serves a unique function allowing us and our allies to deliver world-class care to every patient who comes under our care.

When our first helicopter took flight in 1985, we radically changed the way critical care was delivered. We built a community of allies in our fight to better deliver the care people really needed. Today we continue that fight for life. We fight as innovators. As boundary-pushers. We fight as world leaders in emergency medical care. We fight because every life is worth it.

For more information about STARS, visit


Fundraising at STARS

STARS’ high level of service is possible because individuals, organizations, volunteers and business communities in western Canada believe everyone, regardless of location, deserves the best life-saving care.

A unique funding partnership brings private and public support together. Government dollars account for some of the operational funding, varying in amount across the three provinces — and community support brings STARS to life and keeps it at the forefront of leading practice.

In the last fiscal year, fundraising activities generated over $23 million and included donations from individuals, corporations and foundations, galas, and legacy gifts. The STARS Lottery and merchandise sales raised an additional $16 million. STARS is grateful for the more than 45,000 donors across Western Canada who supported us last year.


Campaign Planning

We are in the planning stages of a landmark, transformational proposed $50+ million campaign to help renew our helicopter fleet and plot the future innovations for saving lives across western Canada. 

Annual fundraising activities are key to sustaining our day-to-day operations and ensuring our life-saving care is available to patients in desperate need today and tomorrow. The significant size of investment required in the capital campaign means we must make a compelling appeal to our community partners to bring it to reality while ensuring our ongoing 24/7 operations are protected.


Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020: Excerpts

Though our organization has grown and evolved since inception, STARS has never wavered from our mission and stands at the ready for the next patient who needs us. Fundamentally we all believe that where you live – or work, play and travel – shouldn’t impact your chance of survival.

For simplicity, we have aligned our strategic plan around the three primary constituents of STARS:

1. Our Patients: the solution of choice for critical care transport and bridging gaps for under-served patient poulations.

From improving our reach in rural areas to leveraging technology, we’re finding ways to get to the people who need us, no matter where they are. Going forward we will expand our boundaries: both in terms of our current geographic service area and going beyond our traditional  focus of critical care. We will continue to find innovative ways to get to patients, even if we can’t be in the same room as them.

2. Our Crew: an engaged team inspired to do our best everyday.  

On the frontlines or back at the base, we are an all-star team united by a single purpose. Not everyone treats patients or flies the helicopter, but together we save lives. As a united team, we strive to create a culture where all of us have the chance to save lives while shaping our own. We want a culture which allows our ‘stars’ to flourish. We are diverse so this will look different for different people, but the end result is the same: a high performance culture and an awesome work experience.

3. Our Partners and Allies: Deeper and more meanginful connections.

Beyond the patients and STARS team is a community of supporters who play a vital role in our efforts to save lives: donors, volunteers, past patients (STARS VIPs, our ‘alumni’, if you will), chain of survival partners, customers, governments and community members. As committed partners, their contributions strengthen us and help us improve our reach. To succeed in the future, we must nurture our partnerships and continue to be an integrated and indispensable part of the health care system. We must also explore new ways to raise money and generate revenue. 


The Ideal Candidate

The new Vice President, Major Gifts and Campaign will be an accomplished major gifts strategist and fundraiser, adept at leading a team to success in an evolving organization. The new incumbent will have significant and proven major gift fundraising experience, including successfully managing a personal pipeline of large and diverse donor accounts. The successful candidate will also possess campaign experience, ideally in an early-stage capital campaign setting.  

The new Vice President, Major Gifts and Campaign will lead by example and inspire others to successfully manage and secure significant support. With unquestioned credibility, the successful candidate will be equally comfortable in planning strategy as in its execution. 

As a critical thinker and thought partner to the EVP and CEO, the new Vice President will engage in open dialogue and debate, using tact and diplomacy to challenge orthodoxy and tradition. As an innovator and agent of positive change, the new Vice President will thrive in an organization undergoing change. Pragmatic and adaptable, the successful candidate will be persistent and results-oriented.

A committed champion of fundraising best practices, the new Vice President will work to promote them within the Foundation to enable major gifts and campaign success. The successful candidate will possess the background and knowledge to enable rigorous and data-driven processes for identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of campaign and major gift donors.  

A true hands-on working leader and coach, the Vice President will possess strong leadership abilities, encouraging and empowering others while providing clear expectations and guidance. The successful candidate will bring out the best in their staff by recognizing their strengths and supporting their strategic focus. The new incumbent will be principled and tough when needed, while always being a team player.

Smart, professional, and inspiring, the successful candidate will work in partnership with STARS’ entire fundraising team to drive continued growth. The Vice President, Major Gifts and Campaign will support and enable a full team effort toward attaining organizational goals. 

Passionate and mission-driven, the new Vice President will take STARS’ life-saving work to heart, and share this passion with our constituents in an authentic and engaging way. With excellent relationship-building skills, the ideal candidate will combine sincerity, focus, and perseverance to maintain long-term donor connections and achieve our ambitious goals. 


Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities

Working with our Campaign volunteers, Board members, and the STARS team, the Vice President, Major Gifts and Campaign will be responsible for development and execution of a comprehensive capital campaign, as well as annual major gift fundraising efforts across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Specifically, the Vice President’s duties will include:

Campaign Management

  • Lead the strategic and tactical implementation of the campaign plan to ensure that the campaign is well planned, well executed, and on target.
  • Working with our Campaign Cabinet, volunteer Board members and the STARS team, lead the identification, research, cultivation, solicitation, recognition and stewardship of campaign prospects and donors.
  • Support all Campaign volunteers in their activities, including identification, cultivation; recruit and train volunteers as needed.
  • Maintain a personal portfolio of key donor accounts.
  • Oversee campaign management including budget and maintenance of timeline.
  • Ensure that appropriate campaign reports are designed, prepared, and provided as needed.
  • Report on campaign progress to the EVP, CEO and Board on a regular basis.
  • Ensure all activity goals are established; monitor and review on an ongoing basis.
  • Manage activities around significant campaign milestones and special events, including campaign launch and milestone celebrations.

Major Gifts Fundraising

  • Deliver our ongoing major gift program; develop overall strategies and tactics for a diverse, donor-driven program meeting STARS’ ongoing operational needs.
  • Establish ongoing stewardship and donor communications materials that demonstrate impact and accountability.
  • Collaborate with the EVP and CEO, and key volunteers as needed to advance their key accounts.
  • Develop and manage ongoing activity and budget measurements. 
  • As an organizational leader and topic expert, act as a collaborative resource, advisor and mentor to build fundraising capacity and to help instill best fundraising practices across STARS.
  • Maintain a personal portfolio of corporate and individual major gift donors and personally conduct cultivation visits, solicitation calls and stewardship activities.

Staff Leadership

  • Lead a large major gifts fundraising team (14+ staff) across three provinces.
  • Identify skill gaps in STARS’ fundraising team and provide professional development plans to be campaign ready.
  • Supervise, support and evaluate the major gifts and campaign teams including all related duties such as performance reviews, hiring, supervision and discipline.
  • Facilitate and enhance team efforts on a professional level, and share specialized knowledge, resources, experience, concepts and skills.



  • Substantial fund development experience, including demonstrated success in major gifts revenue attainment, ideally including gifts of $1 million and up.
  • Specific experience in capital campaigns is a key requirement for this role; previous successful campaign planning and management experience and demonstrated ability to set and exceed ambitious fundraising goals.
  • Experience in inspiring, developing and working with senior volunteers.
  • Significant experience and success in training, coaching and mentoring fund development staff for capital campaigns; success managing other major gift fundraisers in attaining their goals.
  • Strong communication and presentation skills.
  • Ability to excel in a  complex, evolving organization.
  • Outstanding relationship building skills; experience working with a wide array of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Innovation and critical thinking skills.
  • A sense of purpose and passion for the lifesaving work at STARS.
  • Knowledge of the western Canadian philanthropic landscape is ideal.
  • Comprehension of donor management systems (eg: Raiser’s Edge).
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of related education and business experiences.
  • Ability to travel across Western Canada; willingness to work flexible hours.
  • Valid driver’s license and assess to a vehicle is required.
  • CFRE considered an asset.


For More Information

KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this important leadership search on behalf of STARS.  For more information about this unique and exciting opportunity, please contact Christoph Clodius, Vice President, Search Practice, at or via telephone at 778-331-8865.

Candidates are asked to submit a resume and covering letter to the above email address.  All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence.

Please note that expressions of interest are requested no later than December 8, 2017.


Additional Resources and Information