NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) is a nonprofit global wilderness school that supports thousands of students each year all over the world. Our school began in a small cabin in Sinks Canyon, Wyoming in 1965 as the National Outdoor Leadership School. At that time, we were primarily an outdoors skills school, doing our work in local mountain ranges and exploring what it meant to teach leadership in the backcountry. Today, we are NOLS, a multifaceted wilderness school located in Lander, Wyoming, that supports thousands of students each year all over the world in both field & classroom courses.
Reporting to the Chief Advancement Officer (CAO), the Alumni & Donor Relations Director (ADRD) is a full-time leadership position responsible for shaping innovative and robust alumni and donor relations programs. This position is responsible for the short- and long-term planning and implementation of programs and projects that strategically engage alumni while strengthening the cultivation, identification, and stewardship of NOLS donors and prospects. This person must recognize the value of developing and fostering long-term relationships and championing the NOLS mission to grow alumni engagement and giving.
At its core, this position makes connections— between NOLS and our grads and with each other. Recognizing touchstones that resonate with our alumni, enrolled students and families is an important element of building relationships over the long term. Understanding the challenges, shared experience, uncertainties and successes our constituents share and then communicating those commonalities is a key requirement for this position.
The ADRD is also responsible for creation and facilitating the alumni relations and communications program, including the supervision and promotion of comprehensive alumni and donor activities including events, reunions, public relations, and departmental publications.
This position requires a very high degree of judgment, balanced assertiveness and graciousness, responsibility, organization, collaboration, and management. Implementing effective written and oral communication skills is essential. The ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, work across multiple departments and meet continuous deadlines is a must.
The ADRD should effectively represent NOLS’ mission and philosophy, and embrace diversity as a strategic advantage.
The qualifications listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.
- Five to seven years of experience in constituent engagement, best-in-class advancement processes and procedures, and alumni and volunteer management, preferably in a nonprofit or higher education setting.
- Outstanding communicator with proven experience building and developing relationships through compelling communications, exceptional events, and other engagement opportunities.
- Commitment to teamwork and eagerness to effectively supervise and work collaboratively with colleagues from across the organization in a hybrid office environment.
- Supervisory experience that includes interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning and directing workload; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; and addressing complaints and resolving problems.
- Passionate and disciplined commitment to developing and executing broader organizational strategies to advance the goals of NOLS while using a proactive, innovative, and entrepreneurial approach to alumni and donor relations.
- Demonstrated ability to think flexibly and creatively and thrive in a complex environment, juggling numerous and varied projects simultaneously.
- Skills to manage and implement change, as well as motivate and mentor staff while increasing performance.
- Affinity with NOLS mission; NOLS graduate and/or familiarity with NOLS programming is valued.
- Ability to passionately and accurately represent NOLS to a variety of constituents including board, staff, alumni, donors, parents, and other friends of the school.
- Experience in planning and executing successful events and communications within defined budgetary and timeline parameters.
- Working knowledge of web-based marketing and alumni or community engagement platforms.
- Proficiency with computer office software and database usage.
- Proficiency in writing, reviewing and editing.
- Budget management included planning, proposals, reporting, analysis, and compliance.
- Ability to work with limited supervision, reflecting initiative and flexibility in starting and completing projects in a timely manner.
- The ability to maintain confidentiality of sensitive data.
- Strong work ethic and integrity.
Key Responsibilities and Priorities
- Develop and implement an annual operating plan and calendar, in conjunction with alumni staff and gift officers, that advances goals for alumni engagement and donor relations. Track monthly progress toward goal achievement and distribute informative reports on progress.
- Oversee the strategic design and implementation of innovative programs and communications for the alumni and donor relations program that will foster lifelong mutually beneficial relationships, delivering outstanding donor and alumni experiences through tailored stewardship, communications, and events, ensuring donors and alumni feel valued, therefore increasing volunteer engagement, goodwill, and philanthropic support.
- Coordinate and provide strategic direction for printed and online publications and communications, overseeing the content, budget, timeline, and design, ensuring cohesion with the NOLS brand and mission.
- Manage communications staff tasked with production of content for publications including alumni programming, State of the School, The Leader (twice-annual alumni magazine) grant and scholarship stewardship reports, grant applications, planned giving publications, and other Advancement program written documents.
- Oversee and participate in preparing compelling annual fund solicitations, case statements, donor proposals, and program materials for use in cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship while also articulating the priorities, goals, and mission of the school.
- Oversee the school’s alumni-related social media platforms and engagement strategies. Serve as the interface between the school and external constituencies.
- Manage the planning and execution of a variety of events designed to raise the NOLS profile for prospects and/or donors, overseeing contract negotiation, vendor selection, and budgeting.
- Recognize the importance of alumni engagement and donor relations in the building of a robust pipeline and fundraising program at NOLS and participate in all activities designed to build and support this pipeline.
- Work closely with the scholarship team to ensure proper allocation of scholarship funds, engagement of scholarship recipients in stewardship activities, and excellent stewardship of scholarship donors. Serve on the NOLS scholarship committee.
- Lead and manage the activities and engagement of the NOLS Advisory Council to include the identification of worthwhile and productive projects and endeavors and the preparation of all materials for meetings and events.
- Provide administrative guidance and support to alumni board members and visiting committee members.
- Travel and attendance for evening and/or weekend activities will be regularly required.
- Weekend and evening work will be necessary.
Leadership or Supervisory Duties
Lead the communications, stewardship, and alumni relations team. In partnership with the CAO, play a key role in building out annual advancement alumni and donor relation plans to support the school’s overall strategic vision. Work directly with the Board of Trustees, manage volunteers, and understand school wide issues. Oversee and manage the budget allocated to Alumni and Donor Relations activities. This person will supervise a team and will carry out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with NOLS policies and applicable laws.
Work Location and Compensation
Preference for this position would be to be based in Lander, Wyoming. Second preference would be to be based near a NOLS Campus (Tucson, AZ, Seattle, WA, etc.) We will also consider applicants in the Rocky Mountain west who are legal residents of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Utah. Current employees and residents in the state of Colorado please contact HR for salary information.
NOLS can currently employ remote employees who are legal residents of: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming.
COVID-19 Vaccine Policy
All employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by their first day of work, unless they meet a medical, disability or religious exemption and a reasonable accommodation is approved. Any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) is an acceptable vaccine for the purpose of this policy. Full vaccination or an approved exemption is a condition of employment for all new employees.
Equal Employment Opportunity
NOLS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, genetics information, disability unrelated to job or admission requirements, or status as a protected veteran. The school’s nondiscrimination policy applies to all phases of its employment process, its admission and financial aid programs, and to all other aspects of its educational programs and activities. Retaliation directed to any person who pursues a discrimination complaint or grievance, participates in a discrimination investigation, or otherwise opposes unlawful discrimination is prohibited.
NOLS values community and fosters a sense of belonging for our employees and applicants. We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations in the workplace because they embody these values, as well as our operating principle of promoting a positive, safe, and learning environment. Reasonable accommodations may be requested for disability; limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition; religion; and domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or harassment. Reasonable accommodations may be requested at any point of the employment process, including during recruitment. Please email [email protected] with your request.
- A criminal background check is required from all NOLS employees.
- NOLS participates in E-verify.
- Current NOLS employees please note it is NOLS policy to conduct an internal reference check with human resources and/or your current supervisor as part of the reference check process. If you have any questions or concerns about this process please contact human resources.
How to Apply
Click here to apply.
Closing Date for Applications
Open Until Filled
The target start date for this role is two weeks from the time of offer.
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