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Senior Vice President, Advancement

Western Governors University

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2024

If you’re passionate about building a better future for individuals, communities, and our country—and you’re committed to working hard to play your part in building that future—consider WGU as the next step in your career.

Driven by a mission to expand access to higher education through online, competency-based degree programs, WGU is also committed to being a great place to work for a diverse workforce of student-focused professionals. The university has pioneered a new way to learn in the 21st century, one that has received praise from academic, industry, government, and media leaders. Whatever your role, working for WGU gives you a part to play in helping students graduate, creating a better tomorrow for themselves and their families.


WGU Advancement, the university’s fundraising arm, embodies WGU’s commitment to growth and impact. The Senior Vice President, Advancement (SVP) is responsible for designing and implementing a comprehensive and forward-thinking strategy that guides all fundraising at WGU. The Advancement strategy will be intricately aligned with WGU's mission, vision, and strategic priorities and will reflect the university’s innovative model and student-centric approach to higher education. Central to this role will be fostering a culture of philanthropy across the whole of WGU, ensuring that fundraising initiatives resonate deeply with every stakeholder.

Reporting directly to WGU’s President, the SVP serves as a key member of the President’s Executive Committee and Working Group, where they will actively contribute to shaping, forming, developing, and communicating the President’s vision, strategic direction, and operational decisions that affect both the university and its affiliated initiatives and organizations.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Develop and execute a bold and ambitious Advancement strategy that supports the growth and sustainability of WGU and its affiliates while expanding philanthropic support from a broad range of donors.

  • Attract, mentor, and retain an Advancement team founded on a culture of excellence, innovation, and collaboration.

  • This job description includes a general representation of job requirements rather than a comprehensive inventory of all required responsibilities or work activities. The contents of this document or related job requirements may change at any time with or without notice.

  • Collaborate and maintain strong relationships with WGU leaders, Trustees, and faculty, creating a culture of philanthropy with shared fundraising goals and responsibilities.

  • Cultivate and maintain strong relationships with key donors (individuals, foundations, and corporations) and other stakeholders to build a robust pipeline of philanthropic support.

  • Implement best practices in donor stewardship, recognition, and engagement.

  • Optimize the allocation of Advancement resources to ensure that the investment in specific fundraising efforts aligns proportionately with the funds generated by those efforts.

  • Oversee the development and maintenance of a top-tier donor management system that offers comprehensive insights and management capabilities, covering everything from prospect development to donor communications and gift processing.

  • Leverage technology and data analytics to guide fundraising strategies, evaluate the effectiveness of fundraising efforts, and adjust plans based on those insights.

  • Oversee the preparation and implementation of operating budgets to optimize resource allocation with anticipated impact.

  • Serve as a key member of the university's leadership team, contributing to overall institutional strategy and decision-making.

  • Performs other job-related duties as assigned.

Work Location

  • The Sr. VP, Advancement will live in, or relocate to the Salt Lake City Area. The work location is WGU's beautiful Salt Lake City headquarters offices.


  • Significant travel of 30%+ is required in the role.

This job description includes a general representation of job requirements rather than a comprehensive inventory of all required responsibilities or work activities. The contents of this document or related job requirements may change at any time with or without notice.




Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Exceptional leadership, management, and organizational skills.

  • Exceptional communication, interpersonal, and relationship-building skills.

  • Exceptional strategic planning, vision-setting, and change management skills.

  • Collaborative, entrepreneurial leadership style with the ability to inspire and empower teams.

  • A creative approach to problem-solving and the ability to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

  • Demonstrated ability to secure 7- and 8-figure gifts and meet ambitious fundraising goals.

  • Deep understanding of best practices in higher education fundraising, alumni engagement, and donor stewardship.

  • Familiarity with technology and other innovations that can streamline advancement processes.

  • Demonstrated understanding of the role and challenges of academic deans and other university leaders with fundraising responsibilities.

  • Results Oriented

  • Managerial Courage: Willing to tackle difficult topics and conventional thinking.

  • Strategic and Analytical Thinker: A data-driven thinker, who diagnoses root causes, and identifies primary drivers of performance outcomes.

  • Trust Builder: A personal style that favors inquiry over advocacy, listening over speaking.

  • Innovator: Formulates a bold vision, sees around corners, and inspires results. Fosters creative thinking and brings innovation successfully to market.

  • Connector: Enjoys building communities of practice and connecting people across teams, silos, and functional areas.

  • Great Judgment: Deals effectively with paradox, exhibits good instincts, and is willing to make tough calls, with some degree of adaptability.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field from an accredited institution.


  • 10 or more years in a progressive senior leadership role, including leading teams of Directors and or/multiple managers.

  • 5 or more years of progressive leadership experience in fundraising, with a track record of developing and implementing successful fundraising strategies and plans to include managing and growing a large portfolio and regularly soliciting 5-7 figure gifts from high-net-worth individual donors.

  • 5 or more years’ experience in an entrepreneurial business, political fundraising, or education.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in a related field from an accredited institution.

  • Existing contacts with high-net-worth individuals with giving capacity of $100,000+

Salary Range

$270,000 to $350,000

WGU will accept applications for this position until 12:00 AM ET, 07/10/2024

How to apply: apply online

Full-time Regular Positions (FT classification, standard working hours = 40)

This is a full-time, regular position that is eligible for bonuses; medical, dental, vision, telehealth and mental healthcare; health savings account and flexible spending account; basic and voluntary life insurance; disability coverage; accident, critical illness and hospital indemnity supplemental coverages; legal and identity theft coverage; retirement savings plan; wellbeing program; discounted WGU tuition; and flexible paid time off for rest and relaxation with no need for accrual, flexible paid sick time with no need for accrual, 11 paid holidays, and other paid leaves, including up to 12 weeks of parental leave.

The University is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.