Director of Development

Dublin, Leinster
Very Competitive
21 May 2019
17 June 2019
Position / level
Director, Professional
Contract Type
Full Time

DCU Educational Trust was founded in 1988 to raise funds to support the mission and vision of DCU, and to steward those donations. The Trust is currently engaged in a €75m Campaign: Shaping the Future. 

Balmer Executive Search has been retained by Dublin City University’s Educational Trust to source a suitable Director of Development to join their dynamic team.

The Director of Development reports to the CEO, and works closely with members of the Trust’s Executive Management Team. The Trust is currently developing ambitious plans to substantially increase its supporter base and further grow sustainable sources of income to support the organisation’s Strategic Plan. The Director of Development will play an integral part in delivering on these plans, working to maximise fundraising income by achieving both individual and team targets in addition to leading the fundraising team and taking the senior leadership role in fundraising strategy for DCU Educational Trust. 

The role has three main elements:

  1. Contributing to the strategic and operational development of DCU Educational Trust
  2. Leading and managing the fundraising team
  3. Fundraising

Contributing to the strategic and operational development of DCU Educational Trust:

  • The Director develops a plan of advancement that incorporates fundraising targets, strategic priorities and oversees the deployment of that plan.
  • The Director of Development serves as counsel to the CEO regarding development related projects for the University under the Campaign for DCU.
  • The role holder plays a leadership role in developing the processes and practices required at each stage of the fundraising process:
    • Identification: The Director works closely with the Prospect Research Manager to ensure that an effective research service is in place.
    • Qualification: The Director works with the Prospect Research Manager to identify major gift prospects for projects under the Campaign for DCU.
    • Cultivation: works closely with the Head of Operations and Events to identify a range of activities each year that allow the Development Team to cultivate donors effectively.
    • Solicitation: Works with members of the Development Team to set ‘ask amounts’ and to build confidence and techniques for making ‘the ask’.
    • Stewardship: works closely with the Stewardship and Events Officer to develop ongoing and annual stewardship activities that support the needs of the development team
  • The role holder plays a key role in the ongoing implementation and development of the Prospect Management System, including:
    • Proactively using the system and leading by example.
    • Working with the Prospect Research Manager to develop and maintain effective formal processes for the recording and reporting of cultivation steps and gift pledges and for formal gift acknowledgment.
    • Working with the Prospect Research Manager to regularly review (3 x per annum) the overall prospect portfolio and recommend re-assignments in line with fundraiser capability, project focus and other priorities.
  • The Director serves as the Educational Trust’s project manager for a number of the priority projects within the Campaign for DCU and develops a strategy to match donors to projects. This involves working with DCU colleagues, Trustees and other volunteers.

Leading and managing the development team

DCU Educational Trust works with individuals, corporate donors, trusts and foundations, sponsorship based donors and international donors, as well as regular giving through two annual telethons. The role holder will be expected to provide support for team members working across all of these areas.

The role holder is responsible for:

  • Supporting the Development Team in order to ensure they are able to perform their roles effectively.
  • Providing guidance to the Development Team to ensure they operate to the highest standards of professionals.
  • Setting the KPIs in conjunction with the CEO and the Development Team.
  • Managing and monitoring performance against the KPIs.
  • Ensuring that all areas of fundraising are supported and developed.
  • Performance reviews, annual reviews, identifying training and development needs.
  • Training and inducting new colleagues, both as fundraisers in the broadest sense, but also as members of the DCU Educational Trust team.
  • Undertaking regular prospect reviews and ensuring fundraisers are moving their donors through the pipeline.


  • Depending on the skills and experience of the Development Director, an appropriate prospect pool and targets will be assigned (recognising the significant management responsibility of this role).
  • The role holder will make individual asks and work with other members of the Development Team as part of team projects. They will also be expected to support new and inexperienced fundraisers in their own fundraising journey.
  • The Director of Development develops and maintains high-level relationships with prospective and existing donors and solicits major gifts from a portfolio of corporate, trust, foundation and individual donors in support of the Campaign for DCU.
  • The Director of Development devises major and lead donor cultivation strategies.

General duties

  • Participates in the implementation of special events pertaining to development activities of the Campaign for DCU.
  • The Director oversees that the Trust’s Development Team works with the DCU Alumni Relations team to ensure that alumni engagement activities are fully aligned with the advancement goals of the Trust.
  • The Director works closely with all staff within the Educational Trust to develop and maintain quality relationships with key individuals within the University to help create a more aligned culture of advancement within DCU.
  • Records all contacts, actions and donations into the central fundraising database - Raiser’s Edge.

Education and Experience

  • Third level qualification
  • Minimum 5 years’ experience working within a third-level, fundraising or not for profit environment, ideally in face-to-face fundraising or minimum 5 years’ experience working in business development, sales or account management
  • Minimum 3 years’ management experience, ideally within a third-level, fundraising or not for profit environment
  • Experience of relationship building and management with senior level executives
  • Experience of project and programme management
  • Experience of working with Raiser’s Edge, or other CRM
  •  MBA desirable

Key Competencies

  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Demonstrable ability to work with a diverse array of personalities under pressure and to challenging deadlines
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to analyse and interpret data
  • Interest, enthusiasm, and affinity for fundraising and working with people
  • High level of productivity and self-direction
  • Conscientious, discreet and trustworthy
  • High degree of computer literacy
  • Able to work well with ambiguity; planning, organising and decision making capabilities
  • Negotiation skills
  • Ability to work as part of, as well as to lead, a team


  • Salary: Very Competitive
  • Annual Leave: 26 days
  • After the completion of one year continuous service, employees of the Trust are entitled to join the DCU Educational Trust Pension and avail of the gratis Annual Employee Health Screening Check-Up

The DCU Educational Trust is an equal opportunities employer.

This position offers the successful candidate a fixed term contract of three years with longer-term/ permanent opportunities within the Trust beyond this point.

Application Process

How to apply:

  1. A comprehensive Curriculum Vitae giving details of relevant achievements in recent posts as well as your education and professional qualifications.
  2. A covering letter that summarises your interest in this post, providing evidence in your ability to match the criteria outlined in the Person Specification.

Selection Process

The applicants with the most relevant experience will be invited to have initial exploratory discussions with Gilly Balmer at Balmer Executive Search for first round interviews. 

Second and final round interviews are scheduled to take place during the last 2-3 weeks of July

Closing date for applications is Monday 17th June at 5pm

Please send your application to Gilly Balmer by email to


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