Position Summary

Reporting to the Director of Development, the Associate Director of Development Communications and Events for the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) is an integral member of the School’s Development and Alumni Relations team. The Associate Director will strategically engage SIPA’s most generous donors, board leadership, and alumni through narrative reporting, targeted communications, and special programs and events.

The primary responsibility of this individual is to help encourage and convey the impact of philanthropic support through the execution of a comprehensive development communications and events program. The successful candidate will project manage, write, edit, and produce a range of strategic communications designed to engage SIPA’s donors and alumni. This position will also help plan, manage, and implement a robust calendar of strategic events to cultivate and steward SIPA’s growing ranks of current and prospective major donors. They will work collaboratively with the University’s Office of Alumni and Development, the SIPA Development and Alumni Relations team, and other SIPA colleagues, faculty, University colleagues and consultants.


Development Communications:

  • Work with colleagues across academic and administrative departments to understand School programs and funding priorities to convey the impact of philanthropy and create distinct and cohesive communications.
  • Leverage all communication mediums to engage the School’s donors and to share SIPA’s mission. Partner with fundraising colleagues to build personalized communications and activities to engage donors and prospects.
  • As directed by the Associate Dean of Development and Alumni Relations, research, write, and produce proposals and narrative impact reports for principal/major-gift donors, foundations, and corporate supporters.
  • Engage alumni and donors through frequent communication on SIPA news, updates from the Dean, personalized invitations and follow-up meetings.
  • As assigned, write annual fund solicitations and proactive marketing materials for the annual fund as well as the emerging priorities of SIPA.
  • Liaise with SIPA’s Office of Communications and External Relations to ensure that development communications are presented meaningfully to inspire continued philanthropic support. Contribute to formulating the overall SIPA development communications strategy.
  • Maintain the Development pages on the SIPA website and post written content to other digital platforms as requested.
  • Create case statements, website/email/social media copy, video scripts, appeal letters, magazine and newsletter articles, brochure text, speeches, and advertisements.
  • Liaise with the University’s Annual Fund Programs team and the SIPA Development team to plan and implement the communications strategy for SIPA’s participation in Columbia Giving Day.
  • Undertake special projects as assigned by the Associate Dean of Development and Alumni Relations and the Director of Development.

Development Event Management:

  • Plan, implement and manage high-level cultivation, stewardship, and fundraising events (in-person, virtual, and hybrid), including signature large-scale events such as the annual donor appreciation luncheon and global leadership awards gala.
  • Manage event logistics for targeted programs, initiatives, and development-related events.
  • Lead annual events planning and calendaring efforts to support the annual planning process.
  • Conduct internet and database research to identify potential new SIPA supporters for inclusion in cultivation events.
  • Support initiatives established as part of SIPA’s comprehensive event and alumni outreach.
  • Undertake special projects as assigned by the Associate Dean of Development and Alumni Relations and the Director of Development.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required and/or its equivalent required.
  • Minimum 3-5 years related experience.
  • Occasional travel and evening or weekend work required.
  • Superlative communication, writing, and project management skills, as well as a strong understanding of the development process, particularly in the areas of donor cultivation and stewardship.
  • Demonstrated record of superior performance. Familiarity with higher education and development practices. Aptitude to handle a multitude of tasks under the pressure of deadlines.
  • Personal strengths should include outstanding interpersonal communication skills, professional demeanor, creativity, strategic thinking, excellent organizational and project management skills, detail orientation and the ability to prioritize. 
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team. 
  • Adept at problem solving and using judgment in situations requiring initiative and tact.
  • Highly ethical and able to maintain confidential information.
  • Strong computer software skills, database experience and technical aptitude required. 
  • Microsoft Office expertise is essential.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Post-graduate degree preferred.
  • Experience working in higher education.  

Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.