Advancement Associate

Southern Methodist University
January 5, 2022
Dallas, TX
Job Type


Hourly Rate Range:

$19.00 an hour

About SMU

SMU’s more than 12,000 diverse, high-achieving students come from all 50 states and 90 countries to take advantage of the University’s small classes, hands-on research opportunities, leadership development, community service, international study and innovative programs. The University offers a strong foundation in the humanities and sciences and undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs through eight schools.

Now in its second century of achievement, SMU is increasingly recognized for the ways it supports students, faculty and alumni as they become ethical leaders in their professions and communities. On the most beautiful college campus in the country, SMU Mustangs are energized by unbridled opportunities – from teaching, learning and research to creativity, performance and athletic endeavor.

About the Department:

Development and External Affairs (DEA) supports SMU by securing funding for University priorities; by promoting meaningful involvement in the life and work of the University; by heightening international, national, state and local awareness of SMU; and by supporting the enrollment of a diverse and able student body.

DEA comprises the offices of Office of the Vice President, Annual Giving and Alumni Relations, Development Services, Program Services and Donor Relations, Marketing and Communications, Principal and Major Gifts, and School and Project Development.

SMU continues to leverage the benefits from the largest fund-raising campaign in its history to achieve dramatic increases in academic quality and impact.

About the Position:

The Advancement Associate position provides donor communication, stewardship, financial, administrative and research support for fundraising priorities of SMU.

Essential Functions:

  • Prospect management and stewardship - Working closely with other teams in Development and External Affairs, assist with entering donor prospect plans into the development prospect management system, assist with prospect research, and compile recipient information for annual endowment reports to donors. Also responsible for drafting donor correspondence, gift acknowledgment letters, and assist with proposals to major prospects/donors on behalf of the Fundraisers.

  • General Administrative Support - Submit travel expense reports, reconcile budget monthly, process all expenditures and reimbursements, and track and process procurement card charges.  Schedule appointments with major prospects/donors and manage travel arrangements for each Fundraiser. Track donor gifts at all levels and review donor records to confirm accurate posting of donor gifts sent to Gift Administration. Follow through with daily tasks from the Fundraisers as required and assist with special events as needed.

  • Handle general office duties and administrative tasks independently, including various ongoing and assigned development-related projects.  Examples include managing and updating calendars, scheduling and preparation for meetings, working closely with Constituent Records to manage constituent updates, handling large scale mailings, draft correspondence, complete gift transmittals, and communicate with Gift Administration to ensure proper handling of gifts and pledges.

  • Report Management - Produce weekly gift and donor reports, including acknowledgment and interaction summaries.  Regularly report on the budget and provide general office updates.  Submit data requests regularly, with attention to detail on preparing the data for mailing lists, prospecting and funding opportunities.



 Education and Experience:

A high school diploma or equivalent is required. Bachelor's degree preferred.

A minimum of two years of work experience providing administrative support in an office environment is required.

Work or volunteer experience in higher education, or a non-profit organization is preferred. Experience in development is desirable.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Candidate must demonstrate strong verbal and interpersonal communications skills to effectively build and maintain strong internal working relationships that promote open and honest communication. Must also demonstrate a strong customer service orientation. Strong listening skills are essential.

Candidate must demonstrate strong written communication skills with ability to disseminate information into precise and effective written communications. A strong focus on attention to detail is essential.

Candidate must possess strong time management, organizational and planning skills with the ability to multi-task in a fast-paced team environment. Must also possess strong problem solving skills with the ability to be resourceful, proactive, and seek assistance as needed. Strong project management skills are essential.

The position also requires strong analytical ability in order to gather and summarize data for reports, as well as perform data analysis. Demonstrated commitment to continuous improvement and the ability to adapt to change are required.

Candidate must demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft Word, MS Excel at an intermediate level, and spelling & grammar. Database experience with Blackbaud and/or FileMaker Pro preferred. A working knowledge of and/or experience with PowerPoint or other graphic software is desirable.

Candidate must have the ability to learn new applications quickly. The ability to utilize computer programs/software effectively in order to complete daily tasks such as transaction reconciliation, detailed spreadsheets, mail merges and donor reports, as well as the ability to work with complex databases is essential.

Physical/Environmental Demands:

  • Bend, squat, stand

  • Walk for long distances, reach above shoulders

  • Handle objects (dexterity)

  • Push/pull

  • Carry/lift 25 lbs.

  • Sit for long periods of time

Deadline to Apply:

December 17, 2021.  The deadline to apply has been extended to February 18, 2022.

Priority consideration may be given to submissions received by December 8, 2021.


EEO Statement:

SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,


SMU offers staff a broad, competitive array of health and related benefits. In addition to traditional benefits such as health, dental, and vision plans, SMU offers a wide range of wellness programs to help attract, support, and retain our employees whose work continues to make SMU an outstanding education and research institution.

SMU is committed to providing an array of retirement programs that benefit and protect you and your family throughout your working years at SMU and, if you meet SMU's retirement eligibility criteria, during your retirement years after you leave SMU.

The value of learning at SMU isn't just about preparing our students for the future. Employees have access to a wide variety of professional and personal development opportunities, including tuition benefits.

Application Instructions

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