Philanthropy Officer – Development and Alumni Relations Office

Full-time Permanent University of Birmingham in Specialist/Professional Email Job
  • Share:

Job Description


Position Details

Development and Alumni Relations Office

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £31,396 to £33,966 with potential progression once in post to £38,205

Grade: 6

Full Time, Permanent

Closing date: 25 February 2024

UK travel will be required for this role

Our offer to you

People are at the heart of what we are and do.

The University of Birmingham is proud to have been a part of the City of Birmingham and the wider region for over 100 years, and we are equally proud to be recognised as a leading global university. We want to attract talented people from across the city and beyond, support them to succeed, and celebrate their success.

We are committed to helping the people who work here to develop through our sector-leading Birmingham Professional programme which provides all professional services staff with development opportunities and the encouragement to reach their full potential. With almost 5,000 professional services jobs in a wide-range of functions in Edgbaston and in our campus in Dubai, there are plenty of opportunities for you to be able to develop your career at the University.

We believe there is no such thing as a typical member of staff and that diversity is a source of strength that underpins the exchange of ideas, innovation, and debate. We warmly welcome people from all backgrounds and are committed to fostering an inclusive environment where diversity is at the heart of who and what we are, and how we work.

Supporting our people to achieve a healthy work/life balance is important both to our employees and to the success of the University and, depending on the role, we offer a variety of flexible working arrangements. We therefore welcome discussions on all forms of flexible working. In addition, you will receive a generous package of benefits including 40 days paid holiday a year, one paid day a year for volunteering, occupational sick pay, and a pension scheme. We also have three high quality subsidised day nurseries.

The University is situated in leafy Edgbaston and there are excellent transport links to our beautiful campus, including main bus routes and a train station on site. On campus we have a state-of-the-art sports centre with pool, shops, places to eat and drink, our own art gallery, museum and botanical gardens.

Find out more about the benefits of working for the University of Birmingham


Our University has a proud history of philanthropy stretching back to its foundation in 1900. With a clear vision to change the lives of the people of Birmingham, Joseph Chamberlain raised the funds required to build the University from citizens and corporations based locally and around the globe. Since then philanthropy has continued to play an important role in shaping the University. There have been a number of fundraising campaigns, including a £1m urgent capital appeal after the Second World War and a £1.4m campaign to fund the Vale ‘student village’ in the 1960s. In 2015 we closed the Circles of Influence Campaign, raising £193 million, making it the largest HE fundraising campaign outside Oxbridge and London.

The University has global reach, including several partnerships with other leading universities around the world, and is grounded in its local community, having opened the first fully comprehensive University secondary school in the country in 2015. We are an ambitious and successful research-intensive University (one of the top 100 research-led universities globally) and have produced 10 Nobel Prize winners, including three who received their awards in 2016. Academics here are exploring the impact of climate change, helping to address global health epidemics, and changing our understanding of Shakespeare. Our students come from nearly 150 countries and our flagship outreach programmes mean that almost 25% of our student population come from underrepresented backgrounds: one of the highest proportions in the UK.

DARO exists to support this academic and student community by engaging, inspiring, and celebrating alumni, individuals, and charitable funders who give their money, time, and networks to support the University’s strategic priorities. The Office, which is comprised of five teams, is focused on fundraising and volunteering from alumni, organisations and individuals who are passionate about changing lives, through funding various research projects, supporting student bursaries, mentoring students, and providing internships.

Role Summary

Do you want to be part of a dynamic and innovative fundraising team? Do you want to raise money for some of society’s most pressing challenges and play a key role in an ambitious fundraising and volunteering campaign?

We are now looking to recruit a Philanthropy Officer to join us at this very exciting time. The Philanthropy Officer will be responsible for the relationship management of a portfolio of around 100 prospective donors in order to raise funds for a range of key projects. They will be responsible for the entire prospect relationship management process including researching, cultivating, asking and stewarding.

This role will play an integral part in supporting donations to improve student experience and across key areas of research.

As part of an award-winning team and led by some of the most respected names in higher education fundraising, you’ll get the chance to work across the team and wider university to encourage new donors to make long-term, sustainable and significant £5k plus gifts. You will also have the opportunity to work with our senior team on proposals to top donors enabling you to get experience of working with some of the most successful and experienced major gift fundraisers in the UK Higher Education sector.

You will be provided with a robust induction and an ongoing training program that will include support from the University as well as expert external providers.

Main Duties

As a Philanthropy Officer you will have responsibility for managing a portfolio of current and prospective donors. You will have the confidence to ask for donations, be a strong communicator, and be passionate about making a difference to some of the biggest challenges the world faces.

The Philanthropy Officer will take ownership of the end-to-end relationship management process of a prospect, from initial research to stewardship activity:

  • Personally manage a portfolio of circa 100 of the University’s mid-level (4- and 5-figure) donors and prospective donors, maintaining close relationships with each prospect and integrating them with the University whenever possible to bring the prospective donors to the point where you can ask for philanthropic support.
  • Secure over £100,000 of donation pledges in the first year and develop a sustainable pipeline of prospects and philanthropic income.
  • Demonstrate an understanding that successful fundraising is based on building effective relationships, which match a prospective donor’s philanthropic interest with an area of strength and/or opportunity at the University. Be responsible for the end-to-end relationship management process of your contacts including:
    • Identifying new prospective donors from your networks.
    • Making the approach and managing a cultivation process, tailored to your prospect.
    • Understanding the University’s campaign priorities and bringing them to life for individual supporters through various communication channels.
    • Asking confidently, passionately and effectively for key priorities.
    • Building long-term relationships that are centred on the donor, including maximising volunteering opportunities where appropriate.
    • Stewarding the donor once a gift is made, ensuring the individual remains connected to the University, the project, and the impact which they have made.
  • Responsible for adhering to relevant fundraising regulation and GDPR whilst ensuring fundraising processes are ethical and that due diligence is undertaken as necessary.
  • Deliver against set targets including money raised, asks made, meetings secured and gift close rate.
  • Communicate effectively with prospects, donors, volunteers, alumni, academics, researchers and businesses using a wide range of communication skills.
  • Communicate effectively with prospects and donors by phone, email, LinkedIn, letter and face-to-face.
  • Work internally with academics to showcase projects to potential donors, and work with colleagues across the university to bring gifts to fruition.
  • Work closely with the Volunteering, Events, Regular Giving and Legacy Teams to maximise opportunities for collaboration with prospective donors.
  • Working in partnership with other fundraisers and members of DARO including sharing best practice and ensuring prospect development by playing in senior stakeholders at the right time.
  • Promoting equality and valuing diversity, acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture.
  • Use Blackbaud CRM to record meetings and proposals effectively to allow accurate performance monitoring and reporting.
  • Take ownership of all processes and communications in relation to your prospects to include writing proposals, first approach communication, thank you letters and gift paperwork as appropriate.
  • Work with the Philanthropic Finance Team to ensure pledges are fulfilled and donations are correctly managed.
  • Being familiar with methods of tax efficient giving in the UK.
  • Seeking out opportunities for professional development.

Required Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications, Experience 

  • Evidence of performance gained within a results-orientated environment such as fundraising, sales, marketing, recruitment or account management.
  • Enthusiastic, target-driven and motivated to raise money.
  • Strong communication skills including the ability to establish relationships quickly and prepare information and reports for potential donors.
  • Ability to construct a range of solicitation strategies.
  • The post holder is expected to manage their own prospect pool with support from the Prospect Research Team where necessary.
  • The post holder is expected to manage their own pipeline with support from their line manager to maximise the success of future performance.
  • Responsible for cultivation, solicitation and stewardship plans for mid-level donors in consultation with their line manager.


  • Educated to Degree level (or equivalent qualifications). Where no equivalent qualification is held, significant practical relevant experience and expertise in a similar role will be required.
  • The ability to work independently with initiative, to take decisions and think creatively and laterally.
  • Strong negotiation skills and the ability to persuade and influence with diplomacy and sensitivity.
  • The ability to work calmly and effectively in a fast-paced environment.
  • The ability to represent the University with confidence, diplomacy, and authority.
  • The desire to support colleagues in the achievement of their individual and collective goals, and to celebrate others’ success as positively as your own.
  • Highly proficient IT skills, including the wider MS Office suite of programmes including Excel and PowerPoint.
  • The flexibility to work unsociable hours (evenings and weekends) when required.
  • The flexibility for weekly travel within the UK.
  • Ability to work effectively in a large, complex organisation, and to develop a good understanding of how the University and higher education institutions work.
  • Knowledge of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, and how to actively ensure in day-to-day activity in own area that those with protected characteristics are treated equally and fairly.

Role context

Roles at this level will require expertise and a detailed understanding of methods, systems and procedures in an administrative or professional area. You will either use specialist knowledge or have more of a planning/co-ordination/project role or a role which is supervisory in nature where you may manage a range of activity. You will have the opportunity to exercise a high degree of personal responsibility and initiative which you will use to resolve queries; you will use your judgement to deal with unforeseen problems and circumstances, all with limited guidance/supervision.

Core competencies/transferable skills

Working at this level you will be able to develop and successfully use the core competencies/transferable skills outlined in each of the areas shown below. As appropriate for the level, our Birmingham Professionals will take ownership for getting things done. You will be expected to be flexible as required in supporting your department and wider University.

Planning and organising 

  • prioritise and schedule work and resources to ensure on time and (where applicable) on budget delivery;
  • set priorities and quality standards for a wide range of tasks and duties;
  • contribute to written documents, for example proposals and reports, taking account of audience;
  • operate with limited supervision as they will have considerable scope for initiative, within established work procedures.

Problem solving and decision making 

  • anticipate and identify issues in own area based on experience;
  • make appropriate suggestions for improvements and implement these when agreed in own area;
  • facilitate change, and articulate the implications and benefits of change to others;
  • focus on determining short-term priorities of work area, and how to maximise quality, efficiency and continuity.

Organisational understanding 

  • quickly develop an understanding of their working area and how it contributes to the success of the University;
  • display an interest in how the University operates beyond own working area; develop and share this knowledge with others.

Relationships and communication

  • develop and maintain excellent working relationships in own area, and more widely as required for collaborative working opportunities;
  • communicate clearly and openly with others both within and external to the University, and use a range of communication skills and strategies to gain commitment to a course of action;
  • demonstrate collaborative working at all times, including with others outside the immediate work area.


Informal enquiries to Rebecca Le Brocq, email:

View our staff values and behaviours here


We believe there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ member of University of Birmingham staff and that diversity in its many forms is a strength that underpins the exchange of ideas, innovation and debate at the heart of University life. We are committed to proactively addressing the barriers experienced by some groups in our community and are proud to hold Athena SWAN, Race Equality Charter and Disability Confident accreditations. We have an Equality Diversity and Inclusion Centre that focuses on continuously improving the University as a fair and inclusive place to work where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. You can find out more about our work to create a fairer university for everyone on our website.

Other jobs you may like