Head of Individual and Corporate Philanthropy

Head of Individual and Corporate Philanthropy

Balmer Dawson Executive Search is proud to partner with Queens University Belfast in the search for a suitably qualified Head of Individual and Corporate Philanthropy to join their expanding team.

This is an exciting time to join Queen’s as they embark on the next phase of their development as a university. Their ten-year plan, Strategy 2030, sets out their roadmap to shape a better world through their education and research and reflects their aim to maintain close connections with their highly valued community of alumni around the world, ensuring they are ambassadors for Queen’s. As part of the delivery of Strategy 2030, a new Executive Leadership team structure has been created which brings together Development and Alumni Relations, Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility and Strategic Communications under the leadership of the Vice-President Strategic Engagement and External Affairs, supporting the growth and enhancing the reach of the Development and Alumni Relations Office.

Since 1845, Queen’s University staff, students and alumni have made a difference to societies, locally, nationally, and internationally. Today, they are one of the UK and Ireland’s leading universities and continue to shape and serve the world around them through their research and teaching. Over 99% of Queen’s research environment was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent., with Queen’s ranked 198 in the 2023 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Working with the Queen’s University of Belfast Foundation, the Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO), works to develop new and innovative opportunities to engage with their community of alumni and supporters and to foster sustained philanthropic relationships and support for Queen’s, helping to shape a world-class campus, inspire great minds to tackle pressing global challenges and ensure that students, regardless of their background, are given every opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Philanthropy is hugely important at Queen’s and an area with significant potential.  As part of an ambitious plan to harness this potential, DARO is undergoing an exciting period of transformation which has included investment in new roles to underpin fundraising and drive forward the strategy.

As part of these exciting plans for expansion, Queen’s wishes to appoint a Head of Individual and Corporate Philanthropy, reporting to the Assistant Director, Philanthropy.


As a key member of the University’s fundraising leadership team, the Head of Individual and Corporate Philanthropy will lead, manage and develop a high performing team and ensure the smooth integration of individual, corporate and legacy giving across the Philanthropy Team to deliver growing, sustainable philanthropic income to support the mission and successful delivery of the University’s strategic priorities.

Alongside the Director of Development and Alumni Relations, the Assistant Director (Philanthropy) and fundraising team, the successful candidate will play a key role in growing the philanthropic performance of DARO from £4million new funds secured per annum to at least £10million new funds secured per annum over the next five years. Leading by example, you will personally manage a select portfolio of major and principal gift prospective donors and secure transformational support from them.


  • Develop and deliver strategies for individual, corporate and legacy fundraising to support the delivery of an overall annual target by DARO of £10m New Funds Committed (NFC) by 2028.
  • Deliver exceptional leadership and management of the individual and corporate philanthropy team in DARO through establishing, monitoring and managing clear collective and individual objectives.
  • Create and implement appropriate cultivation strategies for a select portfolio of high-value individual and corporate prospects to personally generate gifts at the major (£50k+) and principal (£500k+) gift levels, working to a financial target for solicitations of £1m+ per annum.
  • Utilise management information and lead, direct and manage to elevate the skills, abilities and performance of the individual and corporate philanthropy team to achieve increasing annual goals.
  • Work with senior colleagues in DARO, and across the University, members of the Queen’s Foundation Board, University Executive and US Friends Board (501c3) to cultivate, solicit and steward prospects and donors and strengthen relationships between prominent donors and influencers and Queen’s.
  • Work with colleagues responsible for health fundraising to develop and implement an appropriate philanthropy strategy for the Faculty of Medicine Health and Life Sciences including students, research, community, legacy and grateful patient fundraising.
  • Work with colleagues in the DARO Engagement team to ensure a strategic and joined up approach to fundraising from individuals and corporates.
  • Maintain an entrepreneurial approach to relationship management of high value prospects and supporters, ensuring that wider benefits to the university (employability, corporate relations, reputation-building, non-executive opportunities) are realised through the correct channels where appropriate.
  • Through close collaboration with colleagues in DARO’s Development Operations team, ensure that all data relevant to individual and corporate philanthropy and legacies is well maintained to produce accurate Management Information reports for the DARO Leadership team and University Senior Leadership.
  • Responsible for ensuring the highest quality of fundraising output from DARO in the forms of proposals, presentations, gift agreements, events and stewardship strategies.
  • Keep up to date with developments and opportunities both in the University and within the sector so that DARO can respond to new opportunities for philanthropy to have an impact at Queen’s and fundraisers have access to the latest training and trends.
  • To provide support for the Assistant Director (Philanthropy) as required.


  • A degree or equivalent OR extensive strategic management and leadership experience working in Higher Education fundraising or Charity fundraising.
  • Significant recent relevant experience of successfully leading and managing a high performing fundraising team (of at least 5 people) in a Higher Education Institution or large Charity.
  • Significant recent relevant experience of major gift individual and/or corporate fundraising in an organisation raising philanthropic income of c£2m+ pa and a proven track record of achieving fundraising targets.
  • Minimum of 3 years’ relevant experience and highly developed working knowledge of managing a portfolio of major gifts prospects, personally making asks at the 6-figure level or more and supporting others to do so.
  • Demonstrable relevant experience of working in a large, complex and diverse organisation.
  • Experience of developing innovative solutions, contributing to strategic planning, managing and controlling budgets, financially literate with a sound understanding of financial management procedures.
  • Proven IT skills.
  • Proven ability to think strategically and to successfully manage multiple and sometimes conflicting demands in a high-pressure environment; comfort in dealing with ambiguity and applying lateral thinking to challenges and opportunities to support prioritisation and decision making.
  • Proven people management skills including skills to support, develop, motivate and direct staff.
  • Excellent oral and written communication and presentation skills.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills with the necessary listening, facilitation, negotiation and the gravitas and diplomatic skills to represent the University at the highest level to influence and build relationships on its behalf.
  • Honesty, integrity, and an ability to exercise a high level of tact and discretion in internal and external environments.
  • Confident and intuitive, commercially aware.
  • Demonstration of a personal commitment to, and belief in, the value of higher education and the role philanthropy plays in advancing its mission.
  • Ability to travel and to work irregular hours in accordance with the needs of the post.


  • Experience of working in a Development and Alumni Relations Team.
  • Experience of working with Raisers Edge NXT, or equivalent CRM system.
  • Experience of fundraising in North America and/or internationally.
  • Experience of legacy fundraising
  • Well-developed understanding of fundraising regulations and legislation, and the implications of non-compliance.


  • Attractive salary – £56,048 to £64,946 per annum
  • Pension Scheme
  • Generous leave 42 days – (23 days annual leave plus 19 University Closure days and Bank Holidays)
  • Training – Range of staff development programmes, free courses and wider educational opportunities
  • Salary sacrifice schemes including childcare and cycle to work
  • Support for health and mental wellbeing
  • 1,500 staff discounts including at Queen’s Film Theatre, Queen’s Sport and Language courses
  • Free membership to McClay Library
  • Family-friendly initiatives
  • Flexible working by enabling you to design your working week in collaboration with your manager through a blend of remote and office working
  • Staff Wellbeing societies and activities including choir, yoga and running.
  • Career Development Hub – Bespoke careers coaching and advice
  • Dedicated support for International Staff (relocation)

Full information on this attractive package can be found at: www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/HumanResources/pay-reward-and-benefits/


Queens University Belfast, University Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT7 1NN.


To apply, please email your CV and accompanying cover letter outlining how your skills, motivation and experience are a fit for this role (maximum one page) for the attention of Gilly Balmer and Zena Dawson to info@balmerdawson.ie


The closing date for applications is Thursday 20th April at 5pm (GMT))

Queen’s University is committed to promoting equality of opportunity to all. They have created an inclusive culture by establishing staff networks such as iRise (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and International Staff Network) and PRISM (LGBTQ+) which help us progress equality.

They also subscribe to Equality Charter Marks such as the Diversity Charter Mark NI in addition to Athena Swan. For further information on our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, please visit:  www.qub.ac.uk/diversity; www.qub.ac.uk/qgi and www.qub.ac.uk/sites/StaffGateway/StaffNetworks/