Vice President of Philanthropy Communications and Donor Experience

City of Hope
Irwindale, California
Closing date
May 29, 2022

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Life Sciences
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Job Details

About City of Hope

City of Hope is an independent biomedical research and treatment organization for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a leader in bone marrow transplantation and immunotherapy such as CAR T cell therapy. City of Hope's translational research and personalized treatment protocols advance care throughout the world. Human synthetic insulin, monoclonal antibodies and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs are based on technology developed at the institution. AccessHope™, a subsidiary launched in 2019 serves employers and their health care partners by providing access to City of Hope's specialized cancer expertise.

A National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope is ranked among the nation's "Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S. News & World Report and received Magnet Recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Its main campus is located near Los Angeles, with additional locations throughout Southern California and in Arizona.

City of Hope's commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We believe diversity, equity and inclusion is key in serving our mission to provide compassionate patient care, drive innovative discovery, and advance vital education focused on eliminating cancer and diabetes in all of our communities. Our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ensures we bring the full range of skills, perspectives, cultural backgrounds and experiences to our work -- and that our teams align with the people we serve in order to build trust and understanding. We are dedicated to fostering a community that embraces diversity - in ideas, backgrounds and perspectives; this is reflected in our work and represented in our people.

Office of Philanthropy Vision Statement

Philanthropy is at the heart of City of Hope's mission in turning "hope into reality." We offer an extraordinary donor and volunteer experience, one that invites, delights, and deepens relationships over time. City of Hope Philanthropy is one of a handful of premiere, exceptionally-regarded, and top-producing programs in the country.

Recruiting and developing exceptionally talented team members are hallmarks of the Office of Philanthropy. We demonstrate our commitment to our people through continuous learning and development opportunities and aim to foster an environment where each individual can thrive, personally and professionally. We increase the effectiveness of our team through transparency and accountability, building trust within teams; celebrating diversity and inclusion; enhancing team communications and removing roadblocks to maximize activation.

Position Summary

The Vice President for Donor Experience and Philanthropy Communications (VP) reports directly to the Chief Philanthropy Officer and manages three core functions: Donor Experience, Philanthropy Marketing and Communications, and Transformational Philanthropy and Campaign Communications. Approximately 12 staff report into this function, including three associate vice president roles. The continued growth of this team is anticipated as a core element of our strategic growth plan. The VP will be responsible for developing a comprehensive donor experience platform, using consumer-branding-marketing and journey mapping strategies, and coordinating these strategies within an integrated philanthropy communications platform. A key partner to this role is City of Hope's MarComm team.

Among the most important responsibilities of the VP-PCDE will be to work closely with the CPO, the Campaign Architect, and the CPO's senior leadership team in the planning and execution of a comprehensive multi-billion-dollar campaign. The position serves as a member of the Senior Steering Leadership Team (SSLT).

We are seeking a strategic, insightful and innovative marketing and communications leader who combines an expertise in institutional marketing and communications with a specialized expertise in enhancing the donor/customer experience, mapping donor/customer journeys, and creating profiles/personas for the purposes of highly tailored communications and engagement strategies. Ideally, the candidate also would bring to the role a sophisticated, experience-based understanding of philanthropy, including comprehensive campaigns, annual giving, stewardship and recognition, major giving, and principal and transformative giving. While a candidate's understanding of philanthropy is important, we are especially interested in those candidates with expertise in consumer-focused, exemplary service business models to help us cultivate generous, engaged lifelong supporters.

The Vice President will lead OOP's transition to strategic, behavior-based donor relations and donor engagement with the goal of maximizing fundraising success and donor loyalty. To support this goal, the Vice President will deploy best practices taken from a multi-industry consumer/value-based approach (ex: marketing, public relations, hospitality, retail customer service, member services, philanthropy, etc.) to develop and roll out a consumer/philanthropy-based donor persona strategy that takes into account donor loyalty, interests, cumulative giving, philosophy of giving and other behaviors.

The Vice President will use these donor personas to help guide donor outreach and experience planning and will oversee the development and implementation of an innovative, strategic, efficient, effective and engaging donor experience/outreach program that tracks and measures the impact of City of Hope's outreach efforts. The Vice President will also ensure the effective use of donor personas to shape and inform the overall OOP communications strategy.

The VP will be charged with aligning Office of Philanthropy messaging to assure consistency, cohesion and strategic delivery to all key stakeholders, leading the dissemination of campaign messages, stories and priorities through all philanthropy communications channels and ensuring alignment and integration with enterprise marketing/communications branding and platforms as well. By focusing messaging and storytelling on enterprise priorities, the VP-PCDE will support OOP's efforts to shift the culture of giving to one that deepens philanthropic investment in programs, projects and initiatives that align with City of Hope's strategic priorities. At the same time, the VP-PCDE can help OOP strengthen donor engagement by effectively messaging about the transformative impact of private support, the value of volunteerism and the importance of philanthropy at all levels.

The VP also will oversee, in close partnership with the Campaign Architect, a growing team specializing in proposal writing, campaign communications, case development, digital communications, stewardship and impact reports, and donor acknowledgements. Through a cohesive array of compelling communications, this team will have responsibility for showcasing City of Hope's differentiating strengths, articulating enterprise priorities, communicating about campaign pillars, demonstrating the importance and impact of giving, recognizing and celebrating the generosity of donors, cultivating and stewarding supporters, and helping persuade prospective donors to make significant investments in City of Hope's healing mission.

The Vice President will work closely with the Campaign Architect to ensure alignment on all aspects of campaign communications and experience planning, partnering on the engagement and oversight of external agencies and outside consultants in support of the campaign communications, branding, and event strategies, the development and dissemination of campaign messaging and publications, the development of a campaign microsite, gift announcements, and key donor experience elements including the campaign launch and signature campaign events.

The successful candidate will bring to the process a strong personal ability to influence and implement plans in a dynamic and collaborative environment that involves multiple departments, stakeholders and cross-functional teams. The Vice President will be a natural relationship builder with the gravitas, skill and confidence to network and negotiate effectively at senior levels within and outside the Office of Philanthropy. The successful candidate will also have working knowledge of the integral relationship between enterprise strategic vision, the philanthropic growth plan, campaign design and strategy, constituent engagement, communications, donor experience, fundraising and philanthropy operations.

Key Responsibilities include:

Vision and Strategic Direction of a Comprehensive Donor Experience Program and Donor Persona Program
  • Leverage industry knowledge and influencing skills to oversee the design and implementation of a comprehensive and sophisticated donor experience program, including inspirational and loyalty-based communications strategies, reporting, recognition and events.
  • In collaboration with the AVP-DE, oversee the design and execution of strategies essential for:

o fostering donor loyalty and connection,

o cultivating and retaining top prospects,

o demonstrating the importance and impact of giving to enterprise priorities,

o building an "experience culture," and

o helping shift City of Hope's philanthropic culture to one focused on giving to enterprise priorities.

Donor Persona Program - Vision and Leadership

The VP-PCDE will oversee the development and rollout of a donor personas framework that will help the OOP engage supporters more effectively, with more sophisticated segmentation strategies and more targeted engagement.

1) In conjunction with a consulting partner (if needed), define and deliver a set of donor personas that represents the City of Hope donor pool.

a) Determine the values, behaviors, characteristics and indicators that should go into a donor persona definition.

b) Define a set of donor personas that represent the values, behaviors, motivators, interests, preferences and characteristics of different segments of our donor pool.

c) Identify the specific criteria for assigning donor personas to the individuals in our donor database.

d) Provide direction and criteria for the ongoing evaluation and assignment of primary and secondary personas as well as a process/plan for evaluating and adjusting persona assignments as needed over time.

2) Provide actionable, strategic guidance on the use of donor personas.

a) Provide a comprehensive set of strategic recommendations for how the personas - and the values, motivators, interests, behaviors, needs and preferences that underlie them - might inform our engagement and communications strategies, helping us create a lifelong pathway for engagement and giving for donors at all levels.

b) Provide guidance for how to capture, track and measure the impact of using donor personas to support fundraising, reshape the donor experience and refine communications.

Donor Experience and Recognition
  • Oversee the design and execution of a comprehensive donor recognition strategy, innovating the recognition model to inspire giving to critical Enterprise priorities and deepen engagement and investment across all levels of giving.
  • Ensure that donor experiences are tied to the campaign framework and help bring enterprise strategic priorities to life.

Philanthropy Marketing and Communications/Transformative Philanthropy and Campaign Communications Leadership
  • Supervise the Associate Vice President, Transformative Philanthropy and Campaign Communications (AVP-TPCC) and the Associate Vice President, Philanthropy and Marketing Communications (AVP-PMC).
  • Oversee development of an integrated and comprehensive philanthropy and campaign communications plan that brings all Office of Philanthropy messaging together for stronger integration, strategic delivery and cascading of messaging. The plan should recognize and support the unique qualities of each philanthropy program and audience, while ensuring coordinated messaging across platforms and philanthropy programs/departments. This includes:

o Annual and Leadership Annual Giving

o Planned Giving

o Major, Principal and Transformative Giving

o Foundation Giving

o Corporate Philanthropy / Industry Events

o Donor Relations / Donor Experience

o Announcements

o Strategic Fundraising Initiatives / Comprehensive Campaign

o Digital Communications (websites, microsites, e-blasts, videos, etc.)

o Internal (Philanthropy) Communications

o References to philanthropy in enterprise-wide platforms (City of Hope publications, news, websites, etc.)
  • Lead the development of engaging, compelling communications that showcase City of Hope's differentiating qualities, communicate strategic fundraising priorities, demonstrate the importance and impact of giving, inspire deepened investment, recognize donor loyalty, and foster donor connection and interest
  • Serve as a key partner to the Campaign Architect on campaign conceptualization and architecture, the development of campaign initiatives or "big ideas," and the campaign messaging, case development, branding and communications strategy.
  • Partner with the Campaign Architect, SVP-Individual Giving and AVP-TPCC to ensure the development of compelling communications for major gift, principal gift and transformative gift prospects and donors, including proposals, concept papers, cases for support, gift opportunities, presentation materials, impact reports and other collateral.
  • Oversee OOP's digital communications strategy, providing strategic leadership and creative input on the development of videos, a new Office of Philanthropy campaign microsite, e-communications, social media placement and other digital communications.
  • Oversee the team's partnership with the enterprise marketing and communications department to ensure optimal synergies, partnerships, adherence and alignment of strategies and tactical execution in coordination with City of Hope branding.

Donor Stewardship Reporting and Gift Acknowledgements
  • Provide management oversight of the ongoing collaboration and partnership between the Communications and Donor Experience teams to develop and deliver tailored donor engagement communications of all types and formats, for key prospects, donors and volunteers.
  • Partner with the AVP-Transformative Philanthropy and Campaign Communications to oversee the development of scheduled stewardship communications and impact reports, including those designed for individual donors as well as donor and prospect cohorts. Ensure that reporting practices are strategic, meaningful and appropriate.
  • In partnership with the AVP-DE and AVP-TPCC, drive a highly personalized donor acknowledgement process.

Basic education, experience and skills required for consideration:
  • Bachelor's degree required; appropriate advanced degree preferred.
  • Minimum of fifteen years of experience in one or more of the following fields: Advancement/Philanthropy, Marketing and Communications, Customer Relations, or Public Relations in a complex organization.
  • Ideal minimum of 7-10 years of experience managing staff
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience managing customer experience, donor experience, and communications functions with an emphasis on one or more of the following - consumer-driven marketing programs, philanthropy programs, and comprehensive philanthropy campaigns.
  • Philanthropy experience desired, along with broad exposure to all elements of a comprehensive philanthropy program - including annual giving, major giving, principal and transformative giving, corporate giving, foundation giving, planned giving, philanthropy and campaign communications, donor relations and event planning.

Preferred education experience and skills:
  • Scientific background, healthcare background or experience preferred.
  • Experience in a biomedical research, health or medical environment preferred.
  • Proven ability to work with institutional leadership, boards of directors, nationally renowned scientists, business and policy leaders.
  • Proven ability to work with investigators and physicians, and other healthcare leaders.
  • Experience in designing and executing customer relationship/acquisition strategies and programs

Additional Information:
  • As a condition of employment, City of Hope requires staff to comply with all state and federal vaccination mandates.

City of Hope is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, or status as a qualified individual with disability.


City of Hope, an innovative biomedical research, treatment and educational institution with over 5,000 employees, is dedicated to the prevention and cure of cancer and other life-threatening diseases and guided by a compassionate, patient-centered philosophy.

Founded in 1913 and headquartered in Duarte, California, City of Hope is a remarkable non-profit institution, where compassion and advanced care go hand-in-hand with excellence in clinical and scientific research.  City of Hope is a National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s 20 leading cancer centers that develops and institutes standards of care for cancer treatment.

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