Job Board
Simon Fraser University

Director, Donations Administration & Strategic Projects

Posted On: February 28, 2023
Closing On: April 14, 2023

Location: Burnaby BC
Employment Type: fulltime
Level: management
Salary Range: $94,369 – 112,691

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Simon Fraser University is Canada’s engaged university, defined by our dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research, and far-reaching community engagement.  We are unconventional, fearless, compassionate, approachable, and ready.  We celebrate the diversity of people, ideas, and cultures.

SFU’s Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement (AAE) works with community leaders and alumni to further the mission of the University and provide valuable services to Alumni.  The AAE team has been revitalized under a new Vice-President and has ambitious plans to build out both its infrastructure and community engagement activities to ensure the AAE team has the scope and abilities that match those of SFU’s.

A key player in the AAE’s foundational Advancement Services Unit is the Director of Donations Administration and Strategic Projects.  This crucial role ensures that donor gifts and records are treated with the best and most rigorous financial regulation and precision, that donor agreements are effective and accurate, and that other key financial processes are both strategically sound and held to the highest industry standards.

This is a unique and rare career opportunity for a dedicated operational executive to:

  • Bring a strategic and customer- and donor-service lens to crucial fundraising operations;
  • Ensure best practises for SFU‘s fundraising and donations processing teams;
  • Be a thoughtful cross-collaborative partner with leaders in fundraising, alumni relations, and advancement broadly;
  • Help lay the groundwork for the comprehensive fundraising and alumni engagement campaign;
  • Bring exceptional leadership and management to a diverse team of professional staff.


The Director’s duties can be grouped more specifically into the following areas:

Donations Administration: The Director provides financial, operational, and administrative leadership, and gift reporting compliance by:

    • Overseeing the development, and maintenance of all operating guidelines and procedures for gift acceptances per CRA rules and in line with the SFU policies and regulations.
    • Ensuring a robust and effective suite of processes and procedures, including but not limited to gift in kind acceptance, gift agreement template(s), pledge revision and write off policies, reporting processes, and receipting.
    • Providing guidance to the Donations Administration team in the application of institutional policies, CRA and IRS regulations.
    • Ensuring donor gifts are aligned with philanthropic objectives and ensuring compliance with SFU Finance, accounting for donor accounts expendable and endowments and donor reporting.
    • Leading processes and adherence to industry standard data for Education Advisory Board (EAB) and Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) surveys related to best practices in advancement operations.
    • Directing, validating, and producing the various financial and revenue reports for private donations, alumni giving and participation.
    • Directing, validating, and designing various extraction processes on donor annual endowment reports and student support disbursals, projects, and funds.
    • Providing recommendations on financial and accounting systems for donation processing and representing the department in the internal IT committee to support senior-level decision making.

Financial Projects and Initiatives: The Director leads financial projects and initiatives in support of the strategic objectives of AAE by:

      • Managing the planning, implementation and execution of strategic initiatives and projects; identifying resource requirements and setting timelines.
      • Monitoring timelines and providing regular updates to senior administrators on the achievement of project goals and objectives.
      • Supporting the development of business requirements and gap analyses; obtaining approvals for project plans to ensure the delivery of outcomes are consistent with project plans.
      • Conducting cost-benefit analysis and research to develop solutions and make recommendations in support of decision-making.
      • Conducting periodic quality assurance reviews throughout the project lifecycle; identifying issues and making recommendations to adhere to quality control standards.

 Other functions: The Director supports an additional broad range of functions, budget planning,   resource allocation, financial and personnel planning and procurement compliance, as required.

These include:

  • Compliance and governance related to areas such as data privacy, tax receipting, donation solicitations, gift acceptance.
  • Overseeing and signing off on official documents pertaining grant contracts/agreements, tax returns and major financial reports.
  • Acting as Treasurer, Secretary, and Board Director for the Friends of SFU – a US registered charity in Washington state. Activities include accepting gifts using wire transfers, US stocks, and cheques; looking ahead, there is a need to expand US giving options and opportunities.
  • Being the liaison for the SFU Foundation’s tax receipting.

Leadership and Collaboration: The Director leads a dedicated staff team and collaborates within AAE, and across the University by:

  • Supervising four direct reports, and a total staff team of 11. Provides guidance and mentorship; ensures the appropriateness and currency of job responsibilities; recruits, hires, and evaluates performance; approves leaves and training and development.
  • Working closely with senior administrators within the department, with particular engagement with leaders in annual giving and campaign planning.
  • Collaborating with AAE leadership and SFU legal on complex cases requiring the evaluation of gifts acceptance processes.
  • Partnering with a wide circle of contacts and involves them in generating mutually beneficial opportunities and achieving agreeable outcomes.
  • Shares ideas, issues, and opportunities with members of external networks.
  • Attending and maintains relationships with relevant formal and informal professional groups and organizations.
  • Serving on committees related to donor contributions as appropriate.
  • Liaising with members of Canada Revenue Agency, United States Internal Revenue Service, BMO Nesbit Burns Inc. related to financial transactions.


The ideal new Director will possess the following traits or will have:

  • A customer-service focus and donor-centric mindset; dedicated to understanding and serving AAE’s bottom-line goals of raising money and engaging alumni.
  • An understanding of the business of fundraising, ideally developed from working at a fundraising charity.
  • Both proactive and responsive to customer and leadership needs; organized and prioritizes well.
  • Cross-functional collaboration skills; ability to work with technical and subject-matter experts.
  • Exceptional leadership abilities: a mature, communicative and coach who empowers staff; recognizes and celebrates the contributions of others, and makes people feel valued.
  • The ability to thrive in a complex environment; excited by change; comfort managing projects through ambiguity with tact and diplomacy.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, particularly an adept and active listener who seeks feedback from their team and others.
  • Strong attention to detail, and adept at setting up efficient structures; effective deployment of technology to support the business.
  • An operations focus and driven to support systems and policies. Seeks improvement and open to ideas.
  • Calm, self-aware, emotional intelligence, and empathy.


The new Director’s skills and background would ideally include:

  • Proficiency in the use of spreadsheets, databases, and enterprise-level financial and record management information systems.
  • Excellent knowledge of CRA and IRS regulations related to donations and fundraising as well as industry standards such as CASE.
  • Knowledge of the design and development of financial models for projecting key revenues and expenses and conducting analyses.
  • Strategic planning and organizational development skills.
  • Financial analysis, budget planning, and financial management skills.
  • Interpersonal and communication (oral, written, and presentation) skills; ability to develop relationships and partnerships and to work collaboratively at all levels and areas within the organization.
  • Leadership, team management, mentorship, and motivational skills; experience leading in a unionized environment would be helpful.
  • Analytical reasoning, quantitative analysis, and organizational skills.
  • Ability to identify and understand the need for integration of multiple initiatives and to develop appropriate strategies to achieve results.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration or a related field, or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience


To apply or learn more, please contact the University’s search partner, Christoph Clodius at
The Discovery Group, at

Deadline: All submissions should be received by April 14, 2023


Compensation, Perquisites and Work Environment: As a member of the Administrative & Professional Staff Association, the Director will have a comprehensive benefit package that includes generous holidays, a University-paid pension plan, extended medical/dental coverage, tuition waiver/reimbursement, an annual pro-D budget, and other perquisites.  SFU also offers a hybrid work environment.

The Director’s compensation is classified as Grade 13, with a range between $94,369 – 112,691.

SFU is committed to the principle of equity in employment and offers equal employment opportunities to all qualified applicants.