Vice President for Advancement

FLSA EMPLOYMENT CATEGORY: Salaried; Exempt; Administrative; 12 months

DEPARTMENT: Advancement


Alma College, with a recognized tradition of academic excellence and a proud history of student success, seeks a Vice President for Advancement who has the leadership skills and strategic vision to build upon the transformation of the philanthropic culture achieved during the successful Our Time is Now comprehensive campaign. In addition to overseeing the Advancement team, the Vice President will serve as a member of the President’s senior leadership cabinet and be a supportive partner for the Board of Trustees.

June 30, 2021, marked the successful conclusion of the most significant philanthropic initiative in Alma’s history. Our Time is Now exceeded its $120 million goal with commitments reaching $125.2 million to fund a range of priorities that will have a lasting impact on future generations of students. Campaign momentum did not diminish amid the challenges of the pandemic: Alma’s donors have a shared commitment to its mission and to ensuring its future.

Our Time is Now had an emphasis on facilities with the $14.7 million Learning Commons project as the largest single priority. Despite the focus on facilities, gifts to the endowment increased as did the number of estate commitments. In the five years prior to the campaign Alma averaged $4.6 million in total annual philanthropic support. During the campaign that average was raised to $7.8 million led by over 240 donors with commitments of $50,000 or more. The campaign was managed effectively and efficiently by a staff of 12.

The momentum achieved by the campaign provides confidence that Alma’s alumni and friends are committed to a culture of philanthropy that can match their high expectations for Alma’s quality. The new Vice President will be expected to build on this tradition and develop strategies for the Advancement team that can engage alumni and friends in securing the resources needed to support the creative and transforming partnership of students and faculty.

Priorities for the Vice President will include increasing the importance of endowment as a philanthropic priority, planning and directing a new ambitious campaign that will seek support for the renovation of the Dow-Kapp Science Complex and other emerging priorities, increasing alumni engagement with the College through the Ambassador Program, strengthening the Annual Fund as a tool to engage the next generation of philanthropic leaders, and continuing to build the tradition of estate commitments for Alma.

The Vice President will be expected to shape the philanthropic culture, guide and motivate a dedicated Advancement team, partner productively with the President, cabinet, the Board, and donors in support of Alma.


The Vice President will report to President Abernathy, serve as a member of the President’s senior leadership cabinet, provide Advancement support for the Finance and Infrastructure committee of the Board of Trustees, and serve as the primary support for a campaign leadership committee. President Jeff Abernathy is in his 14th year leading Alma.


  • Develop and implement Advancement strategies to meet ambitious goals for philanthropy and constituent engagement. Target areas for potential growth, identify benchmarks, and engage staff and partners in creating paths to success. Work with the President and campus partners to develop a compelling philanthropic message. Plan and direct the next comprehensive campaign.
  • Lead an Advancement team that includes development, alumni and family engagement, annual and planned giving, and advancement services. Develop the strengths and skills of the Advancement team to ensure the effective and professional pursuit of individual and team goals. Manage available budget resources to provide the training, tools, and infrastructure they will need to succeed. Establish motivating accountability measures that help each team member understand the individual and collective impact they can have.
  • Identify effective ways to engage more volunteers in support of the college.
  • Guide the process to establish clear priorities for philanthropic support — especially for the comprehensive campaign.
  • Develop and maintain productive relationships with a portfolio of leadership donors.
  • Establish an effective partnership with the president to shape a strong philanthropic message, support his work with leadership volunteers and donors, and guide his engagement with constituents.
  • Engage trustees in the development of Advancement strategies and goals. Find appropriate ways for them to be visible models of stewardship. Ensure that they have a clear sense of ownership for the goals and success of the campaign. Provide support for the Finance and Infrastructure committee.
  • Develop a long-term strategy that can build in alumni a stronger sense of ownership for Alma’s future. Identify strategies to connect with young alumni. Seek to increase alumni donor participation. Clarify the strategic objectives for the Alma Ambassador volunteer program.
  • Serve as an advocate for Advancement within the community while recognizing the need to understand and support the highest needs of the college.
  • Collaborate with the Communication and Marketing Office to develop a communication plan to ensure that alumni and friends are adequately informed about the mission and direction of the college.
  • Serve as a visible advocate for the college in the city of Alma and the surrounding community.


We seek candidates who have a combination of the following qualities, experience and character:

  • The wisdom to understand the challenges and opportunities for Alma’s mission in the competitive world of higher education; the strategic thinking necessary to develop philanthropic initiatives to respond to those challenges and opportunities; the professional experience needed to manage those initiatives; and the relationship skills to engage staff, volunteers and donors in response to those challenges and opportunities.
  • An understanding of and appreciation for a liberal arts college and knowledge of the unique challenges and opportunities they face.
  • The experience and confidence to be an effective, collaborative partner with the President, trustees, cabinet, faculty, and staff on institutional issues beyond those of the Advancement team.
  • The experience of leading a development team in the creative development of strategic initiatives, managing them effectively, and successfully achieving ambitious goals with them.
  • The experience needed to plan, direct and complete a successful comprehensive campaign.
  • A record of engaging, soliciting and successfully securing significant philanthropic commitments for a range of institutional priorities from a broad range of donors.
  • A record of productive work with corporate and foundation funders.
  • The vision to see a lifetime continuum of engagement for alumni.
  • The experience of leading or being part of a team that encourages creativity, seeks diverse perspectives, and welcomes diversity in staff and alumni.
  • A record of demonstrating qualities of leadership including inspiration, honesty, respect, tenacity, and perseverance.
  • The experience of managing available resources efficiently and effectively.
  • A record demonstrating excellent communication skills, both written and oral.
  • A record of comfort working with a broad range of social media tools and IT systems in support of Advancement initiatives.
  • A comprehension of and an appreciation for Alma’s important place in the mid-Michigan community.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred.

Alma College
Alma College’s mission is to prepare graduates who think critically, serve generously, lead purposely and live responsibly as stewards of the world they bequeath to future generations. An Alma College education seeks to instill a love of learning and celebrate the joy of discovery. Each Alma student will receive a deeply interdisciplinary education that provides opportunity to self-reflection, hands-on learning, and personal and professional development. It will embrace the principle of local, national, and global learning communities, build upon strong mentoring relationships, and integrate rapidly changing technology essential for current and future career paths.

Alma College enrolls approximately 1,300 students and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The College confers bachelor’s degrees in five areas: arts, fine arts, science, music and nursing; and master’s degrees in creative writing, communication and information technology, and special education. Students are encouraged to participate in service learning and study abroad opportunities designed to enhance classroom learning. Alma has developed the Evergreen Strategic Plan that serves as a dynamic tool to guide planning, decisions, and initiatives. In recent years, the college has enjoyed financial and enrollment stability, as well as increased presence in underserved communities and new markets, and significant development in the city of Alma’s downtown area. Additional information about Alma College can be found at

The Middle of Everywhere — Alma, Michigan

Alma, a community of about 9,000 non-students, is located one hour north of the state capital of Lansing, in Gratiot County. The city dubs itself “Scotland, USA,” and holds an annual Highland Festival and Games that draws participants from all over the world. A nearby casino and resort brings in big-name entertainers, and local symphonies, theatre troupes and artist guilds provide cultural offerings reminiscent of larger cities. Alma is located near the geographic center of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Notably, the city is roughly two hours from Lakes Michigan and Huron, as well as the city of Detroit, Mackinac Island, and the states of Indiana and Ohio. For more information on the surrounding area, visit:


Qualified candidates must submit a letter of application that addresses the skills required for the position, a curriculum vitae or resume, an Alma College Employment Application and the names, addresses, phone numbers, and nature of relationship of three professional references via email to the Human Resources Office at

Alma College is classified as a selective Baccalaureate College: Diverse Fields by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Committed to academic excellence and development of responsible leaders, Alma’s students thrive on challenging academic programs in a supportive, small-college environment emphasizing active, collaborative learning and close student-faculty interaction. Alma is a private Phi Beta Kappa institution located in the center of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

Alma College is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty, staff and student body.

Alma College recognizes that we are all transformed when we celebrate and value the varied identities backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives in our campus community. We are committed to recognizing and removing barriers to success and providing equitable access to opportunities through education and advocacy. In our increasingly diverse campus and world, we pledge to create a climate where everyone is safe and free to grow intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. For more information about the College, visit

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