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McMaster University

Director, Advancement, Office of Vice-President Research and University Advancement

Posted On: November 21, 2023
Closing On: December 1, 2023

Location: Hamilton, ON
Employment Type: fulltime
Level: management
Salary Range: $107,073.00 - $160,611.00


McMaster University is seeking a highly strategic and diplomatic Director, Advancement supporting evolving advancement priorities. The new Director will intentionally build relationships, leverage innovative approaches and drive revenue development within the Vice-president Research portfolio.

Reporting to Vice-President, University Advancement within University Advancement and with an initial dotted line to the Vice-President, Research, the new Director will work collaboratively with leaders within the Vice-President, Research and University Advancement to formulate strategies, develop programs, and execute campaigns and initiatives to raise private revenue in support of the Department’s priorities. The Director is a key senior development leader within the broader, integrated University Advancement team, and our new Director will espouse our shared values that help us to achieve University Advancement’s vision and mission; Quality, Respect, Service, Strategy and Teamwork.

The Director, Advancement will be charged with leading, advancing and enhancing the relationships and resources of McMaster and Research priorities through relationship building and revenue generation. This includes leading and managing a wide-ranging Development portfolio. The new incumbent will proactively champion partnerships and opportunities for new revenue in support of McMaster’s research, entrepreneurship and educational goals. This includes attaining the ambitious private donor revenue goals on an annual basis, with a focus on gifts in the range of $250K+. Consistent with our team approach to development strategy, the Director will also work with University Advancement senior leadership on gifts of $1M+, which have a mid-to-high degree of complexity and involve several internal and external partners.

This is an exciting time to join McMaster as a key advancement leader as we move towards an ambitious campaign for the University’s highest priorities. Working collaboratively with advancement and research leadership, you will support development of multi-year campaign strategies that frame the University’s unique strengths and opportunities, align with University-wide campaign structures and practices, integrate alumni and development strategies, maximize support, and rally the community around a compelling vision for longer-term aspirations and goals.

The salary range for this position is $104,462 – $135,000 plus performance pay bonus eligibility of up to 10% of base salary, along with an excellent benefits package. McMaster offers a number of alternative workplace arrangements to adapt to the individual work-life needs of our employees. This role is hybrid in nature with 3 days in person per week, inclusive of donor activity.


Founded in 1887, McMaster University is a medical-doctoral, research-intensive public university. McMaster is dedicated to advancing human and societal health and well-being. McMaster is ranked in the world’s Top 80 by the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.

With a total student population of more than 33,000, McMaster welcomes students from 120 countries as well as Canada. Home to more than 70 research centres and institutes, McMaster University is comprised of the Arts & Science Program and six Faculties: Health Science, the DeGroote School of Business, and the Faculties of Engineering, Humanities, Science, and Social Science.

McMaster’s 30-acre main campus, located in the Westdale neighbourhood of Hamilton, Ontario, is comprised of 300 acres of scenic property at the western end of Lake Ontario, between Toronto and Niagara Falls. McMaster University also has four regional campuses: downtown Hamilton, Burlington, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Niagara.


Here at McMaster, you will find a community of talented individuals who are inspired by the University’s Mission and the sense of purpose this mission brings. It is through these talented individuals, their creativity and drive for results that McMaster University has earned its reputation as being Canada’s “most innovative” university.

Our leaders in The Management Group (TMG) are vital contributors to McMaster’s renowned culture of creativity, innovation and excellence. We demonstrate the value we place on our leaders with a highly competitive total rewards package featuring compensation, well-being, growth and inclusion provisions.

McMaster University strives to embody the values of integrity, quality, inclusiveness and teamwork, and has a strong commitment to employment equity. Building an inclusive community with a shared purpose is something that McMaster University prioritizes. We believe it is important for our workforce to reflect the diversity of our students and community. The diversity of our workforce is at the core of our innovation and creativity and is a key area that strengthens our research capabilities and teaching excellence.

To learn more about total rewards available to you as part of the The Management Group at McMaster, please access our interactive guide with a summary of the compensation, benefits, retirement income, work life, development and career opportunities, and performance and recognition provisions offered at McMaster.



McMaster’s vibrant student experience, world-class research, and community engagement are empowered by the support of thousands of alumni and donors who also believe strongly in McMaster. Together, our donors and alumni help make the university what it is today and help nurture the next generation of leaders in our world.

University Advancement at McMaster University is comprised of four teams: Development, Alumni Engagement, Stewardship, and Advancement Services & Operations.  The heads of each of these departments report to the Vice-President (University Advancement). Collectively, the Advancement leadership team provides overall strategic leadership and direction in the areas of fundraising; developing and building partnerships; and engaging with donors, alumni and stakeholders.

The Advancement team also plays a critically important role in advancing the university’s strategy, in support of McMaster’s ambitious vision, in partnership with the academic and administrative leaders across the University. The Advancement team has a centralized/decentralized structure, with strategies established and coordinated centrally, along with some programs and services (e.g. Annual Giving, Estate Giving & Legacy Planning, Stewardship, overarching Alumni programs, Research & Prospect Analytics, and Gift Processing services), whereas other programs and services are delivered ‘locally’ through decentralized, dedicated Development and Alumni staff embedded in Faculties and units.

McMaster University has ambitious goals related to private donor revenue, with $97.8 million raised in 2020, growing to $117.4 million in 2021. This is achieved by many people across the institution working together, including academic and administrative leaders, department and staff, and volunteers. University Advancement plays the role of coordinating and supporting these collective efforts. As well, the University Advancement team supports the engagement of over nearly 230,000 alumni from across the university, in collaboration with our Department and unit-based partners.

We also coordinate with colleagues to manage and steward the University’s endowment fund comprised of philanthropic gifts given to support McMaster in perpetuity. The capital of the endowment remains untouched and the income from the endowment is used to support a variety of activities and programs. McMaster has approximately 1,830 individually named trust funds restricted for certain purposes such as scholarships, bursaries and department chairs or professorships. In addition, McMaster has a general endowment to which undesignated bequests are directed. McMaster’s endowment is currently valued at over $850 million, one of the largest in Canada.


At McMaster, research is a living, breathing entity. It elevates the student experience, energizes our faculty, and stimulates the kind of original thinking that has made McMaster a national leader in research excellence and earned us a place as one of the top 100 universities in the world. From becoming the first university in the Commonwealth to house a nuclear reactor to our radical notion of problem-based learning and evidence-based medicine that revolutionized the way health professionals learn and practice, McMaster’s outstanding researchers have had extraordinary success in achieving outcomes that have deep- and far-reaching impact on health, prosperity, and the future of our planet.

McMaster is recognized globally for its vibrant enterprise — an enterprise that extends far beyond on-campus boundaries and includes our partner hospitals throughout our region. This is a testament to the quality of our researchers and their unrelenting commitment to excellence.

To ensure we remain competitive, continue to innovate and positively impact the broader community of which we are a part, we need to make strategic investments in support of research and our researchers.


  • Model a culture of collaboration, integration and service to support the University’s core research and academic missions.
  • Employ a leadership approach that demonstrates a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and indigeneity, and encourages inclusive behaviour and practice.
  • Provide leadership and direction within the Office of Vice-President Research and University Advancement to support the implementation of fundraising plans, pipeline development, campaigns, strategies and practices to foster growth in revenue generation across the department.
  • Accountable for the development, monitoring, evaluation and measurement of the Office of Vice-President Research and University Advancement strategic plans to ensure clear priorities and adequate resources to achieve goals that are aligned with University Advancement’s goals.
  • Work with senior leadership of the Department to develop advancement plans aligned with academic priorities, fostering a compelling vision and case for support that enables the pursuit of significant major gifts.
  • Build a high-performance team that is committed to fulfilling the vision, goals and priorities necessary to achieve the short and long-term goals of the department.
  • Work in conjunction with University Advancement’s senior leaders to establish goals and objectives including annual professional development plans for team members to support a culture of continuous improvement and readiness for change.
  • Engage with, and support volunteer leadership for the Office of Vice-President Research and University Advancement.
  • This role will also work closely with advancement staff in the faculties and units on interdisciplinary approaches and priorities across the University

Operational Leadership

  • A commitment to meeting University Advancement’s and the Development team’s overall annual fundraising goals as well as the revenue goal for the Office of Vice-President Research and University Advancement fundraising program.
  • Support the development of plans with clear short- and longer-term priorities and implement all aspects of university revenue-generating campaigns and initiatives within the Office of Vice-President Research and University Advancement.
  • Support University Advancement’s senior leaders with the engagement of the President, Vice Presidents and senior university leadership, as well as volunteers as required, in the cultivation and solicitation of principal gift supporters, including ensuring they are appropriately briefed, and relevant follow-up action is taken.
  • May be involved as part of the Office of Vice-President Research and University Advancement senior administration/operational leaders group as required, and provide expertise and guidance on achieving their goals and objectives.
  • Responsible for the allocation of budget within the Department and accountable to ensure resources are allocated and prioritized to meet university objectives and short and long-term outcomes.
  • Work in partnership with the Executive Advisor to develop and implement plans and strategies to enhance the University’s major giving program and to generate consistent and significant increases in new revenue to the University and lead the development and implementation of those strategies specific to their Department.
  • Play the lead role in executing campaign strategies for the Department by designing, implementing, and managing development activities related to the campaign.
  • Further the culture of philanthropy at the University within the Office of Vice-President Research and University Advancement.
  • Provide leadership by monitoring campaign and initiative progress for the Department recommending changes to plans as appropriate, reviewing solicitation strategies and regularly reviewing the progress of strategies.
  • Develop and maintain a significant depth of knowledge of the department’s activities, needs and priorities in both research and teaching and apply this knowledge in matching the interests and needs of potential supporters.
  • Assume responsibility for identifying, cultivating and soliciting support from a portfolio of supporters, both individually and in collaboration with senior academic leaders to the Department, senior development leadership and key volunteers for the Department, resulting in increased engagement and financial investment in the University.
  • Work in collaboration with stewardship to support the creation and delivery of major gift announcements and events and accompanying stewardship in collaboration with the appropriate advancement staff.
  • Represent the Office of Vice-President Research and University Advancement, with the team, at all relevant community and University events, nationally and internationally.
  • Work closely with other areas of University Advancement to support the success of the operation’s annual financial goals as well as Advancement’s mission and strategic goals.

Team Leadership

  • Oversee human resources activity for direct reports including recruiting and onboarding, goal setting, performance management, development, and engagement initiatives.
  • Manage, provide clear direction, motivate and mentor a team of development professionals; and offer support across-the-board to development colleagues.
  • Attend University Advancement meetings to provide an update on individual and team activities and results, and to keep informed of all development activities.
  • Participate in strategic planning meetings for Development initiatives.

Relationship Development

  • Work closely with McMaster’s Vice-Presidents, and advancement and volunteer leadership across the Office of Vice-President Research and University Advancement to identify and qualify new major gift supporters and develop custom strategies to engage these individuals.
  • Liaise with Vice-President, University Advancement, leadership and other front-line development leaders for opportunities for development initiatives including joint solicitation strategies or shared gifts.
  • Engage strategically with McMaster’s top donors, supporters, alumni and volunteers of the Office of Vice-President Research and University Advancement to support goals.
  • Collaborate with volunteers and competing organizations on joint solicitation strategies or shared gifts.
  • Liaise with legal and financial institutions on complex gift agreements and/or future gifts to resolve complex donor issues by acting as lead and intermediary for all concerned parties.


  • Ensure compliance with relevant policies and procedures for fundraising and revenue generation.
    • Management of budget ($400K-600K annual operating budget).
    • Timely updating and reporting of activity on relational donor database (currently Ellucian Advance Web).
    • Development of donor documents (proposals, gift agreements, financial models).
    • Participate on advancement boards and/or committees.
    • Financial reporting and attestations on trust and endowment statements, etc.


  • Proven track record of success in securing and contributing to the closing of $1M+ and other complex donations and partnerships.
  • Demonstrated experience and success in major giving fundraising, preferably within the post-secondary system or other complex organizational environments.
  • A proven commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and indigeneity, with the ability to apply this lens to fundraising leadership, strategy and tactics.
  • Experience leading and managing high-performing, donor-centred development professionals.
  • Superior skills and knowledge in attracting and maintaining relationships with donors and supporters.
  • Donor-centred and goal-oriented with a reputation for integrity and transparency.
  • High level of comfort and credibility working with senior academic leaders, as well as donors and volunteers.
  • Competencies to understanding Canadian tax legislation and philanthropic landscape.
  • Ability to work at the highest strategic levels of the Office of Vice-President Research and University Advancement, to gain and maintain the trust of senior leadership and supporters and also take strategy and move it through to tactics and action.
  • Experience staffing, supporting, and partnering with senior leaders on fundraising visits.
  • Superior skills in critical analysis, judgement, decision-making and building effective relationships.
  • Vision and the ability to think strategically and use a creative and entrepreneurial mindset to meet goals.
  • High level of initiative, tact and diplomacy.
  • Ability to navigate and be effective within a complex organization that values collaboration in addition to individuality and creativity.
  • The ability to quickly develop a deep understanding of the mission of a research-intensive university.
  • Superior communication and interpersonal skills; writing winning proposals and associated development materials and correspondence.
  • Superior administrative skills in human resources, volunteer and budget management, with strong financial acumen and comfort with data analytics.
  • Strong skills with computers and relational donor databases (Advance).
How To Apply
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