The University of Guelph is seeking an innovative senior fundraising leader to be our new Associate Vice-President, Advancement (AVP) to lead the Department of Alumni Affairs & Development. The AVP will have a proven track record of success in major and principal gift fundraising and alumni development along with extensive experience leading large diverse teams and building relationships within complex and dynamic organizations.

Reporting to the Vice-President, External and a member of the University’s Leadership Team, the AVP will be the lead fundraiser for the University and an advisor to the Vice-President, External, President, Executives, Board of Governors, academic colleagues and senior volunteers for advancement-related activities. An articulate and compelling storyteller, who is also an excellent strategist and relationship builder, the AVP will build engagement and unity across the University and externally to ensure commitment to Advancement goals and attract funding and increase champions for the University.

An innovator and experienced change leader, the AVP is a big-picture thinker who will lead a culture shift which will take Advancement to its next stage of development and growth by redirecting and refocusing efforts to achieve greater results. Overseeing a division with a staff team of 75+, an operating budget of $13M and a revenue goal of $40M+, the AVP will be focused on meeting the University’s priorities by partnering with existing and new donors to increase revenue and engagement. This role leads the department to achieve its current strategic plan – Vision 2025 – which provides a roadmap for achieving new department milestones focused on purpose, vision, values, critical success factors and key performance indicators. The AVP will be the principal architect for the subsequent advancement of strategic plans.

Modelling a commitment to Indigenization, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (IEDI), the new AVP will provide effective ongoing communications with both internal and external constituents and promote department and University values, IEDI strategies and a positive departmental culture.

The AVP will primarily work on campus at least 3 days per week. The base target salary range for this position is $190K to $205K plus a performance-based bonus and an excellent benefits program.


Who We Are

At the University of Guelph, our mission is to Improve Life. These two simple words are the cornerstone of an institution committed to building a better future.

Students, faculty and staff choose the University of Guelph for our reputation as one of the best comprehensive and research-intensive universities in Canada. We are known as leaders in the agri-food sector through the Ontario Agricultural College. Our Ontario Veterinary College is one of the top-ranked veterinary schools in Canada. Beyond those key pillars, we are recognized for excellence in physical and life sciences, arts and humanities, social sciences and business. Our innovative approach to cross-disciplinary research has created specific institutes focused on food, One Health, community practice, the environment and creative practice.

In Toronto, the University of Guelph-Humber offers a unique blend of theoretical and applied learning. U of GH students earn both a university degree and a college diploma through four years of study. The University’s Ridgetown Campus in southwestern Ontario focuses on applied agriculture, animal sciences and environmental sciences.

Our reputation for academic excellence is matched by our dedication to student success. We consistently place at the top of student satisfaction rankings year-over-year. University of Guelph graduates and researchers change the world for the better every day in big ways and small.

Our institution’s culture is what draws the best and the brightest to the University of Guelph. Programs like our Indigenous Initiatives Strategy, our Black and Indigenous Hiring Initiative and our President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism ensure the University makes good on its commitment to Indigenization, equity, diversity and inclusion.

When you visit a University of Guelph campus, you know you have found something special. From immaculate gardens and welcoming green spaces to historical architecture and cutting-edge teaching spaces, our campuses set us apart. Those who work here recharge in the University Arboretum and stay active in our premier athletic facilities. Our Wellness@Work initiative puts employees first with a commitment to their mental and physical wellbeing.

Our strength is in our people. If you are looking for a place to make a difference and improve life, you’ve found it at the University of Guelph.

About University of Guelph

The University of Guelph is one of Canada’s top comprehensive and research-intensive universities. We are known as Canada’s Food University. Established in 1964, the University enjoys a reputation for innovation and excellence dating back more than 150 years to its founding colleges: Ontario Veterinary College, Ontario Agricultural College and Macdonald Institute.

Seven Colleges

Today’s seven colleges conduct leading-edge teaching and research in the physical and life sciences, business, arts, social sciences, and agricultural and veterinary sciences.

Three Campuses

Through a collaboration with the Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto, the University of Guelph-Humber offers a unique blend of theoretical and applied learning that allows students to earn both a university degree and a college diploma.

The University’s Ridgetown Campus in southwestern Ontario is a leader in applied agriculture, animal sciences and environmental sciences.

Our students, faculty and staff pursue active inquiry and exercise creativity across a range of disciplines — physical and life sciences, arts and humanities, social sciences, business, agricultural and veterinary sciences.

Known for its beautiful, safe campuses and welcoming, supportive culture, U of G blends historical and modern architecture with cutting-edge technology.

Our living and learning environments encourage exploration and the interdisciplinary sharing of new ideas, critical for meeting challenges posed by our more complex and interconnected world.

Our faculty scholars and researchers provide students with groundbreaking research opportunities in laboratories, art studios and libraries and in the field.

Student engagement is fundamental to learning and research at U of G. By focusing on the “whole student,” we give University of Guelph graduates the tools and skills to make a difference in our ever-changing world.

At U of G, we turn knowledge into action.


Alumni Affairs and Development builds lifelong relationships with alumni, parents, staff, faculty and friends of the University of Guelph. We raise funds to support the University and advance its mission to improve life.

Purpose: Our purpose is to support the University’s mission to Improve Life by building lifelong relationships with our community: alumni, donors and friends.

We focus on:

  • Connecting donors with essential funding opportunities
  • Creating meaningful engagement
  • Leading best practices in Advancement
  • Driving the University’s standard of excellence

Vision: Our vision is for the University of Guelph to be personally relevant in the lives of our community members. Through these relationships, we will amplify the impact of philanthropy to create unique solutions for the challenges facing our world.


  • Respect – We are professional, kind and inclusive
  • Integrity – We are honest, open and accountable
  • Forward Focus – We push boundaries and plan for the future
  • Empowerment – We are all leaders
  • Appreciation – We thank and recognize all of our stakeholders, including each other



Leadership, Planning & Administration

  • Provide exceptional team leadership for Alumni Affairs & Development (AA&D) to establish and implement strategic and annual Advancement plans that align with the overall University’s mission and goals.
  • Collaborate with the President, Vice Presidents, Deans, as well as other senior leaders to plan, design, implement, assess, and administer the University’s fundraising and alumni relations activities.
  • Build department infrastructure that increases collaboration and connection between Advancement teams and implement systems, processes, and behaviours to support this goal and ensure overall growth.
  • Champion and lead by example, a practice of inclusion, equity, diversity and indigeneity in advancement work and decision-making.
  • Create a robust and sustainable culture of philanthropy throughout the University by building relationships with diverse groups, including University leadership, Deans, faculty members, colleagues, alumni, donors, and prospects.
  • Partner with the Vice-President, External to provide guidance, training, and support to academic, and administrative colleagues and volunteers who serve as partners in our fundraising activities.
  • Integrate the University’s fundraising objectives into its communications and external positioning strategy to ensure a consistent and coordinated message.
  • Model the values of U of G and AA&D and contribute to the enhancement of the positive reputation of the department and the University.
  • Ensure compliance with all regulations, policies and ethical standards related to Advancement and the University.
  • Develop and oversee annual department budgets.


  • Oversee pipeline development, donor and alumni relations, stewardship, communications and marketing activities in collaboration with the Directors and their teams to create unprecedented levels of fundraising success.
  • Create collaborative partnerships with central Communications and Marketing and International Strategy and Partnerships teams within the VP External portfolio to create innovative opportunities, including leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support the global engagement of stakeholders.
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with a personal portfolio of existing and prospective donors, with accountability for personal revenue and activity goals.
  • Establish a systemic, strategic approach to prospect identification and donor pipeline development and management by expanding and diversifying a network of prospective donors and partners.
  • Develop and implement appropriate accountability measurements for major and legacy giving activities and staff, putting in place rigorous systems, routines, procedures and behaviours to ensure success and growth in these areas.
  • Working closely with the Director, Alumni and Annual Giving, create and implement strategies to cultivate lifelong relationships with our 185,000 active alumni.
  • Work closely with academic leaders to ensure alignment between alumni and fundraising efforts with academic priorities.
  • Use data and analytics to inform alumni and fundraising strategies, track progress, and identify areas for improvement.
  • Implement best practices, including the adoption of AI in data management and donor relationship systems.
  • Establish and build relationships and regular communications with a wide range of alumni, donors and prospective donors both locally and globally.

People Leadership

  • Provide leadership, direction, coaching, and encouragement to a staff of 75+ including seven direct reports, to enable the team to provide exceptional service to donors and prospects and meet revenue targets.
  • Establish and monitor team and individual goals and report results to a variety of internal and external members of the University community on a regular basis.
  • Lead a value-based, inclusive work culture that attracts and develops values-based team members​ and builds an optimal organizational structure.
  • Actively partner with the Board of Governors and other senior-level volunteers to create strategies to maximize their positive influence on prospect cultivation and solicitation activity.


  • Extensive and progressive experience in leadership and management, with revenue generation responsibilities in a large and multi-layered complex organization.
  • Exceptional strategic, business, change management and fundraising skills, including a track record of strong operations experience, including budgeting and forecasting.
  • Highly experienced with a proven track record of success in all areas of revenue development including pipeline development, diversification of revenue, and stewardship.
  • Proven history of securing principal, major gifts and legacy gifts and building successful relationships with major donors.
  • Knowledge and success with major fundraising campaigns.
  • Experience working with university leadership, or equivalent, to identify and manage donor pipelines.
  • Demonstrated strategic and analytical thinking, with the ability to understand the context in which a university functions and navigate its complexity to achieve its vision and goals.
  • Demonstrated practices and commitment that recognize and promote equity, diversity, inclusion and indigeneity.
  • Extensive experience leading large, diverse, high-performing teams within complex and dynamic organizations.
  • Ability to lead by example, mentoring, building the skills and competencies of others, and gaining respect and credibility at all levels.
  • Experience supporting and motivating senior volunteers and board members to contribute to fundraising success.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead as a role model to staff and others, employing the highest standards of professionalism, confidentiality and sensitivity.
  • Demonstrated ability to use data to drive strategy and decision-making.
  • Knowledge of and experience with the nature and dimensions of philanthropy, ethics, motivations for giving and volunteering along with best practices through all aspects of the donor engagement cycle.
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication, presentation, and public speaking skills with a proven ability to communicate effectively with diverse groups in a variety of settings.
  • Strong analytical, organizational and creative problem-solving skills.
  • A post-secondary degree is preferred or a combination of relevant education and experience.


KCI Search + Talent has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of University of Guelph. For more information about this opportunity, please contact Tara George or Samantha David at KCI Search+ Talent by email at All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence.

Please send a resume and letter of interest to the email address above and note that the deadline for submission is January 4, 2024.

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:

At the University of Guelph, fostering a culture of inclusion is an institutional imperative. The University invites and encourages applications from all qualified individuals, including from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in employment, who may contribute to further diversification of our Institution.

Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. If you require any accommodations, please notify the Search Consultant.

The University of Guelph’s campuses reside within the lands of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum. We recognize that the Anishinaabeg, Hodinohso:ni, Lūnaapéewak and Huron-Wendat peoples have inhabited these lands for centuries and that today these lands are home to a rich diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. We uphold our commitments to seeking truth and advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and affirm our responsibility to realize these commitments through our ongoing actions.  

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Associate Vice-President, Advancement – University of Guelph

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