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Fundraising Fundamentals, Section 3.1


Reporting Lines and Organisational Structure

The director of development and the vice-chancellor or principal must work closely together in partnership, and the organisational structure must make this possible.

Whilst it is not necessarily essential for the development director to report to the leader on operational matters, discussions around development strategy and implementation must be held directly with the institution’s leader.

On operational matters, a director of development might report to another principal officer, such as the director of administration or the registrar, or to a director of a related discipline, such as finance, operations or marketing.

The director of development will need strong working relationships with all members of the senior team – finance, operations, academic leaders, estates development, student representatives and marketing. Therefore, to establish credibility and forge these relationships, the director of development should be included in the highest-level senior management team. This will also enable him or her to become conversant with the institution’s overall strategy and advise how it might successfully relate to fundraising and other advancement activities.

Working with the leader of the institution, the director of development should maintain regular contact with the institution’s advisory board or governors in order to secure their support.

Most important, the institution must incorporate development activities into its strategic planning and ensure that these activities are featured in the operational plans of each department across the institution.

Action Items
  • Determine who the director of development will report to and how he or she will regularly engage with the senior management team and the advisory board or governors.
  • Ensure development activities are incorporated in the strategic and operational plans of the institution.

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Key working relationships and links with other offices/departments
Building a cadre of support


CASE maintains a collection of organisational charts, as well as broader information about advancement organisation structures.

Shirley Pearce recalls the first steps she took to create her development team, beginning with training at CASE.
Shirley Pearce discusses development department organizational structure.
Rowley talks about the organizational structure of his department.
Doyle talks about staffing structure.
Samir Savant, director of development at the Royal College of Music, discusses the challenges of being a specialist institution and on building relationships internally.
Dugga talks about what people should be on a new development team.
Eric Thomas describes the relationship between the vice-chancellor and the director of development at his institution.