Assistant Director of Stewardship

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is currently seeking an Assistant Director of Stewardship to join the Development Department. This is a regular full-time exempt position and is eligible for benefits.


Reporting to the Director of Advancement Services, the Assistant Director of Stewardship will serve as a key partner on the Development team and will partner with the current Assistant Director to oversee the strategy for and development of cultivation and stewardship materials and activities for donors and prospects at WHOI, with an emphasis on those making philanthropic contributions at higher levels. The Assistant Director will lead the development of high-quality communications that demonstrate the need for and impact of donor support, translating scientific complexity into compelling cases and narratives. This position is part of an expanding, entrepreneurial team at an exciting period of growth for WHOI, and will partner broadly across the department and institution to deepen the relationship between supporters and scientists.  This is a regular, full-time, exempt position and is eligible for benefits. 

Essential Functions

  • Develop and drive the strategic plan for the stewardship program at WHOI, responsive to a period of rapid growth in donor count and annual giving at all levels, including principal gifts, major gifts, annual fund, and planned giving.
  • Ensure the successful execution of assigned stewardship tactics designed to enhance the donor’s philanthropic experience, including: impact and financial reports; donor recognition; experiential stewardship and exposure to mission; and other donor-centric communications and engagements.
  • Partner with senior leadership and frontline fundraisers to design and execute major donor engagement and stewardship strategies. Manage the development of gift proposals and other tools developed to engage major and principal gift donors and prospects in philanthropic opportunities.
  • Establish and maintain strong working relationships with scientific and technical staff pursuing leading research and innovation in order to translate their objectives and work into engaging content for both solicitations and stewardship of the WHOI donor community.
  • Oversee a master stewardship calendar and manage information tracking process to ensure that all gifts requiring personalized acknowledgement and stewardship receive it in a timely manner.
  • Develop a deep understanding of the pipeline of solicitations and multi-year commitments and corresponding need for proposals, reporting, or other content, helping develop targeted messaging for individuals and populations.
  • Write personalized thank you letters for donors of certain levels and collaborate on template development for various giving circles.
  • Maintain and update content on the development website with a focus on donor impact.

Education & Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • 3 years of experience in stewardship/donor relations, development communications, fundraising, or related field required. 5 or more years of experience preferred. 
  • Excellent communication skills, including writing and proofreading; ability to translate technical and scientific information into lay language.
  • Project management skills and attention to detail; ability to prioritize and manage multiple projects.
  • Ability to form and sustain strong working relationships with a wide range of stakeholders in a complex environment.
  • Strong work ethic, highly responsive and dedicated to results; ability to work independently and take ownership of special projects.
  • Excellent research skills and a resourceful approach.
  • Interest in emerging trends in nonprofit and philanthropic communications.
  • Previous experience in a scientific or research-driven environment a plus.

Non-Essential Functions:

  • Performs other duties as deemed necessary to serve the Development Office and/or the Institution's needs.

Special Requirements

WHOI has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy in effect, where you must register your full vaccination status [vaccination plus booster] in order to begin your employment. The registration process is confidential and entails submitting your official vaccination records, or requesting to engage in the interactive exemption process for either a medical or religious reason. 

Physical Requirements

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to: occasional standing and/or walking along with being mostly and continuously sedentary.  Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Physical duties are subject to change.


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