About Menlo School: Established in 1915 and located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Menlo School is an independent, coed, college preparatory day school for 795 students in grades 6-12. The School offers rigorous academics, innovative creative arts and competitive athletics. Students matriculate at the nation’s top colleges. Menlo’s joyful environment is based on inspirational and respectful relationships among students, teachers, coaches and staff. The talented and dedicated adults at the School are both passionate about learning and dedicated to the success of every child. The School enjoys a sound operating budget of $30 million, an attractive 16-acre campus centered on historic Stent Hall and including a newly built athletic center and creative arts center, a supportive parent body, loyal and engaged alumni community, visionary Board of Trustees, and a highly respected Head of School. Menlo School is well positioned for continued success and ready to build upon its reputation as one of the premier independent schools on the West Coast.
About the Opportunity:
We are seeking a motivated, inspired, and seasoned Chief Development Officer (CDO) to lead our exceptional Development Department. The CDO will come aboard at a key inflection point for the School and help lead the largest capital campaign in Menlo School history. Moreover, this CDO will inherit an extremely talented team of seven deeply experienced development professionals. Surrounded by a wonderfully inclusive community, buttressed by a supportive and forward-thinking leadership climate, at a nationally recognized school renowned for its model student-faculty relationships, this is truly an enviable opportunity.
● Reports directly to the Head of School, is a member of the Senior Administrative Team, and sits on the Board of Trustees’ Development Committee
● Leads, motivates and coordinates the efforts of the development team and volunteers in the identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of donors
● Collaboratively plans, implements, and supervises a comprehensive fundraising program designed to secure significant financial resources from parents, alumni, foundations and others to support the Menlo School’s mission and strategic priorities
● Focuses on long-range strategic priorities, seeking to raise multi-year commitments when possible and communicates a broad vision to others
● Oversees all major gifts functions, including principal gifts, planned giving, donor prospecting and research, and special fundraising campaigns
● Guides and supports the Menlo Head of School in his fundraising activities
● Helps to structure and lead a significant capital campaign, currently in the quiet phase
Team Leadership, Management, and Problem Solving
● Extensive management experience, including the ability to motivate, lead, set objectives and manage the performance of a team. Ability to foster an environment of creativity, collaboration, and professional growth.
● Ability to cultivate the creative ideas of others, make connections between ideas and people, and project potential outcomes. Enjoys experimenting and the challenge of confronting unfamiliar opportunities.
● Ability to manage and lead administrative, professional and volunteer staff and department, including training and professional development. Establishes clear directions and sets “stretch” goals, objectives and benchmarks.
● Ability to design, implement and direct multiple projects, setting deadlines and ensuring program accountability
● Ability to think strategically, creating plans that reflect best practice but also competitive and breakthrough strategies and approaches. Comfortable making strategic decisions based on analysis, wisdom, experience and judgment.
● Ability to communicate a compelling and inspired vision and sense of core purpose
● Ability to inspire, motivate and marshal resources throughout the Menlo community
Fundraising & Campaign Experience
● Expert knowledge of current and evolving trends in major-gifts giving, solicitation and fundraising campaigns
● Proven success in asking for, closing, and coaching others on major gifts as well as building and maintaining long-term relationships with major individual donors, foundations and corporations
● Experience helping to plan, lead, and execute a successful large capital campaign
● Working and effective understanding of the basics of charitable gift planning. Knowledge of more advanced gift planning concepts a plus
● Broad financial responsibility includes setting fundraising objectives, evaluating results and developing corrective strategies as needed
● Knowledge of effective independent school fundraising practices and the unique nature of the Silicon Valley environment
Communications & Interpersonal Skills
● High emotional intelligence, with the ability to persuade others and rally them to Menlo School’s goals and objectives as well as leverage constructive and effective relationships
● Superb communications and presentation skills, ability to persuasively convey Menlo’s mission to diverse groups, including major donors, board members, and others critical to Menlo’s overall prosperity
● Ability to communicate effectively with influential people and set priorities
● Able to change tactics midstream to respond to the situation and opportunities at hand without deviating from Menlo’s programs and goals
● Ability to diffuse tense situations comfortably and maintain composure under pressure
● At least seven years’ fundraising experience, with impressive results
● Significant management and leadership experience, preferably in an independent educational institution
● Experience leading a major capital campaign
● A successful record of collaborating with, motivating, inspiring, and managing a team
● Experience in a variety of development roles
● Proven negotiation, analytical, and problem solving abilities
● Excellent oral and written communication skills
● Bachelor’s degree required (master’s degree preferred)
Please email the following materials to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and the title for this position (“Your name – Chief Development Officer”) in the subject line of your email.
1. Thoughtful cover letter explaining why you’re the right fit for this role and organization and your available start date
Schaffer&Combs is a dynamic management consulting firm that solves problems and provides growth solutions for mission-driven organizations. We have been retained by Menlo School to manage the Chief Development Officer search.