Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Office of Institutional Advancement

Blackburn College, a private liberal arts college with a student-managed work program located in Carlinville, Illinois, is seeking applications for its next Vice President for Institutional Advancement. The new VPIA will be an experienced advancement professional with a compelling combination of fundraising, alumni relations and program/personnel leadership experience and achievement. The ideal applicant will demonstrate a personal track record of considerable success as a major and principal gift fundraiser, including as the primary strategist and solicitor of gifts at a high level. The vice president will manage a talented and motivated philanthropy staff of 5-10.

Blackburn College is one of nine federally-recognized work programs in the country. The ideal candidate will have an understanding and appreciation of the unique aspects the work program brings to the campus and the student experience. Being the only student-managed work program in the country, Blackburn is a unique institution where shared governance is adhered to and promoted by faculty, staff, and students equally.

Blackburn’s mission to make a first-class liberal arts education affordable and accessible to all students, regardless of need, is the core of what will motivate our donors and should be, along with a loyal adoption of our work program guidelines, compelling to the Vice President of Institutional Advancement. The successful candidate will demonstrate a sincere passion for, and understanding of, higher education.  

The ideal candidate will have demonstrated success in the strategic planning, design, implementation, and management of the following areas: annual giving, stewardship, alumni relations, major gifts, and planned giving; the solicitations of individuals, foundations, and corporations; capital and special campaigns; and advancement special events in support of established academic and campus priorities.

At least 5 years of fundraising experience is required, with additional leadership and management experience preferred. The VPIA will be a champion of the liberal arts and understand and embody institutional values of diversity and inclusion. A bachelor’s degree is required, and an advanced degree is preferred. Travel is required.


  • Understand and advocate for the tools and personnel necessary to lead a successful Institutional Advancement team
  • Establish and effectively communicate prioritization for ongoing Institutional Advancement tasks and project work.
  • Set meaningful and assessable goals for yourself and your team; establish a measurable strategic plan for the Institutional Advancement team.
  • Review, assess, and build an effective and efficient process for gifts and records; establish best practices for coding, tracking, and reporting protocols.
  • Effectively manage the Institutional Advancement operating budget
  • Participate in relevant professional development opportunities and support the same for your team.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience; advanced degree or certifications a plus
  • At least five (5) years of experience in the advancement/fundraising area
  • Strong management and team leadership experience in an academic environment, including the ability to recruit, empower, and sustain talented staff and to lead by example with internal and external constituencies.
  • Demonstrated experience in personnel management of local and remote staff.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the best practices of the various components within areas under Institutional Advancement, including annual giving, stewardship, planned giving, major gifts, alumni relations, and campaign management.
  • Demonstrated ability to conceptualize and implement a comprehensive strategy for the Institutional Advancement team.
  • Demonstrated experience working effectively with a President, Vice Presidents, and board leadership to develop and implement an effective, realistic strategic plan for raising funds and advancing the institution.
  • Demonstrated experience and success in leading a comprehensive fundraising campaign.
  • Demonstrated personal success with major gifts. This includes the ability to plan, organize, and implement fundraising activities effectively, as well as participate in high-level individual and corporate solicitations.
  • Excellent writing, organizational, presentation, interpersonal, and managerial skills.
  • A commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Experience with gift and prospect management CRM products
  • The ability to travel locally and nationally for the College and represent the College at all fundraising and stewardship events.

Blackburn is a small, residential liberal arts college noted for its high academic standards. The college has a long-standing commitment to access and affordability. The stimulating teaching and learning environment, coupled with the experience and leadership gained through the Work Program, results in an average of 98% of graduates in full-time employment or graduate school within six months of graduation, based on an average 96% survey response rate. The new VPIA will facilitate Blackburn’s dynamic growth by capitalizing upon its compelling mission, which links a rigorous and affordable liberal arts education with its unique student-managed Work Program to prepare graduates for careers, community engagement, and lifelong learning.

Blackburn College is an Equal Opportunity Employer and seeks to build an inclusive community that can engage the interests of a diverse population. We are committed to fostering, cultivating, and sustaining a culture that reflects the diversity of our country, and as such we particularly encourage applications from members of underrepresented groups such as women, people of color, LGBTQ+, veterans, and those with disabilities.

Interested applicant should send a resume, cover letter, an explanation of the importance of diversity and how it informs your work with students, and the names/addresses/phone numbers of three current professional references to or Human Resources, Blackburn College, 700 College Ave., Ludlum 215, Carlinville, IL 62626. No phone calls or walk-ins. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.