Position Description: Chief Advancement Officer

About This Position

Pacific School of Religion is seeking an experienced and effective fundraiser and leader who cares deeply about how spiritually-rooted and values-based leaders can shape and transform our world. The candidate will be a strong leader, comfortable in a small shop environment, who wants to guide the School to realizing its potential in philanthropy and financial sustainability.

Reporting directly to the President of Pacific School of Religion, the Chief Advancement Officer is a member of the management team for the School, working closely with a dedicated group of educational, religious, and business professionals to guide the School under its strategic plan and vision for the future. The Chief Advancement Officer will oversee all aspects of the School’s philanthropic programs, as well as marketing and communications, with its many and varied constituencies.

The new Chief Advancement Officer will oversee major and legacy giving, the annual fund, foundation support, stewardship, events,  marketing, communications through online and print channels, and community and public relations.  He or she will work closely with the President, the Board of Trustees, the Advancement Committee and the Alumni Council to create and execute fund development programs that will support the School’s growth and sustainability. The new Chief Advancement Officer will manage two full-time professional staff (Associate Advancement Director, and the Marketing and Communications Manager), a half-time Development Associate, as well as a variety of contractors and vendors. Executive Directors of the Centers who have responsibilities in fund development will also collaborate with the Chief Advancement Officer as part of their overall activities.

About Pacific School of Religion: A Tradition of Boldness

Pacific School of Religion is a multi-denominational seminary and center for social justice in Berkeley, California, preparing theologically and spiritually rooted leaders for social transformation in a rapidly-changing world. For more than 150 years, the School has led the way in progressive spiritual education. Through its innovative stackable curriculum, the School offers a variety of leadership certificates and graduate programs including masters and doctoral programs.  PSR’s education and programs prepare Fusion Leaders—spiritually rooted, cross-sector changemakers with the vision, resilience, and skill to bring about a world where all can thrive.  A member of the Graduate Theological Union, the School offers its students access to special courses at the largest consortium of theological schools in the world—which includes seven seminaries representing the diversity of the Christian tradition and 11 centers that represent the major world religions. The School includes Ignite Institute (a leadership innovation lab), the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (shaping a new public discourse on religion, gender, and sexuality), and the Badé Museum of Biblical Archaeology.

Pacific School of Religion provides an education that is intellectually challenging, culturally pluralistic, and morally and spiritually enriching. The School has an academically talented and diverse student body and seeks the same in its faculty and staff.

PSR is a distinctive community, marked by the diversity of its students, faculty, staff, administration, and partners.  Close to 150 students are active in the School’s graduate programs, representing a broad range of cultural and ethnic heritages, spiritual backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations, and hailing from all over the US and overseas. In addition to accredited degree programs, the School offers students, community members, and organizations leadership programs and flexible learning opportunities. More than 2,800 alumni are leaders in religious communities and in social change agencies in the US and around the world.

Essential Leadership Roles and Responsibilities

  • Fund Development planning and execution: develop and execute successful multi-year Fund Development and Marketing plans, including major and legacy giving, annual giving at all levels, foundation and corporate giving, events, marketing and communications, and donor stewardship and systems.
  • Donor and constituency relationships: identify, cultivate, solicit and steward donors, including conducting personal solicitations of major and legacy donors, locally and outside the Bay Area; oversee programs to develop and engage alumni and alumni families, as well as the cultivation of “high networked” congregations.
  • Staff and volunteer management: manage day-to-day operations of Fund Development and Marketing Communications; manage staff, contractors, and leadership volunteers, and build their capacity to strengthen philanthropic relationships.
  • Systems management: oversee use of Raiser’s Edge ReNXT donor database and gift processing by staff, ensure smooth functioning of donor recognition systems, reporting, and stewardship.
  • Volunteer engagement: effectively partner with the President to build Trustee and other leadership volunteers’ abilities in major donor and institutional funder engagement.
  • Organization: set priorities and strategies, and collaborate with other staff and volunteers to implement the plan.
  • Financial management: manage the Fund Development and Marketing budgets and forecasts, as well as metrics and evaluation.
  • Marketing and Communications: oversee the development and implementation of a Marketing and Communications plan that focuses on core messages, through a variety of face-to-face, online and social networking channels; connect with multiple constituencies, including donors, prospective donors, students, alumni, faculty, staff, and prospective students.
  • Branding and external relations within the greater community: identify and execute strategies for building and enhancing the School’s reputation in the community, including with external partners and organizations.


  • Fund Development Experience
    • 6 plus years overall of Fund Development experience.
    • 3 plus years of experience working with major donors, including conducting personal solicitations, working with and coaching Trustees and leadership volunteers to conduct personal solicitations of major donors.
    • 2 plus years managing or working with Marketing staff, Marketing functions and Communications channels, and able to partner with the Vice President of Enrollment regarding Marketing and Communications needs.
    • Track record in developing and executing successful multi-year Fund Development plans, including individual giving, major gifts, foundations and corporate giving, events, planned gifts, as well as marketing and communications strategies.
    • Experience with building alumni relations programs.
    • Experience in resource management, budget development, and reforecasting.
    • Experience with capital and endowment campaigns is very desirable.
    • Able to serve as counsel to and partner with the President of the School on philanthropic and marketing and communications topics.
  • Skills
    • Comfortable managing multiple projects simultaneously and meeting deadlines.
    • Entrepreneurial, creative approach to finding new funding opportunities and partnerships.
    • Comfortable identifying and executing strategies for building and enhancing the School’s reputation in the community, including with external partners and organizations.
    • Strong skills in managing staff and leadership volunteers, from Trustees to alumni volunteers.
    • Proficient with donor databases (Raiser’s Edge and ReNXT are currently used) and related technology, prospect research and donor metrics to further program effectiveness.
    • Skilled communicator and thoughtful negotiator with good listening skills and sensitivity to diverse perspectives.
    • Comfortable with the collaborative decision-making approach of the School, and in partnering as a member of the Administrative Team.
    • Collegial, approachable, and invested in the success of the School.
  • Requirements
    • Willing to undertake travel for donor visits.
    • Strong interest in theological education focused on leadership and action in social transformation
    • Bachelor’s degree required.
    • Additional studies or certification in philanthropy or nonprofit management are very desirable.

To Apply:

Please send your resume and letter electronically, in PDF format, with the subject line “Chief Advancement Officer” to: advancementsearch@psr.edu, or mail to: CAO Search, Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Avenue, Berkeley, CA, 94709. Applicants should also include three references (none will be contacted without permission from the candidate).

This is a full-time position with competitive salary and benefits. The requirements listed above are representative of the knowledge, skills, and/or abilities required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

PSR is one of the most diverse educational institutions in the country.  We fully and actively support equal opportunity for all people, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. We seek candidates with a demonstrated commitment to diversity, academic excellence, community building, and meaningful connection with historically-underrepresented groups of people and institutions.