Senior Development Writer
The University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Posted in Education and Training

Job Info


ARD Leadership Engagement 1

About the Department

Alumni Relations & Development (ARD) engages alumni (~190k), current students, parents and friends of the University through intellectual, professional and social activities on campus, around the world and online. ARD raises $550 Million annually to support faculty and researchers, practitioners and patients, and students and programs across the University. Our work supports priorities in every division, school, department, and institute. The Leadership Engagement team supports the alumni relations and development work of senior University leadership, including the President, Vice President for ARD, and Chair of the Board of Trustees. This position has a hybrid work schedule which includes weekly in office presence located in Hyde Park at 5235 South Harper Court.

Job Summary

The job writes a variety of communications for the University. Works with moderate guidance to research, compose, and edit high-level communications, publications and/or reports with complex and specialized subject matter.


  • Writes customized acknowledgment and stewardship correspondence signed by chair of the Board of Trustees, President of the University, and Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development, as well for other senior leadership as assigned.
  • Collaborates with team, University relationship managers, ARD Communications' senior editor, and other staff to draft individualized thank-you letters to donors.
  • Drafts congratulatory greetings, condolence letters, and other special fundraising communications, including donor-focused high-level gift and administrative announcements, from the President and Vice President of Alumni Relations and Development.
  • Works with appropriate offices to track the drafting, approval, and mailing of approximately 1,300 letters annually (25 per week on average).
  • Develops and maintains cordial relationships with University leadership and colleagues.
  • Maintains and updates the presidential style manual and advises on presidential style to others wishing to draft letters for the president's signature.
  • Partners in the preparation and mailing of specialized reports related to trustee giving.
  • Collaborates in editing or writing proposals, presidential briefings, and other fundraising communications for prospective donors of principal gifts ($5 million and up). Fulfills other writing, copy-editing, proofreading and editorial duties as needed.
  • Attend quarterly ARD staff meetings, and, time permitting, other internal ARD enrichment offerings.
  • Uses all available tools, including internet resources and the University's Donor Relationship Management System (Griffin), to research programs, faculty, and students who benefit from specific gifts.
  • Produces and distributes weekly Griffin-generated reports of gifts requiring acknowledgment by University leadership.Keeps organized files on acknowledgments and other writing projects, including weekly tracking reports. Uploads completed special correspondence and proposals to Griffin.
  • Oversees the work of staff or temps charged with formatting, tracking, mailing, or filing correspondence.Manages multiple projects simultaneously and keeps a comprehensive plan of all work in progress.
  • Seek opportunities for professional development that will enhance job performance including attending webinars, seminars, building networks within the University and with colleagues at peer institutions.
  • Uses knowledge of writing with moderate levels of guidance to write in-depth pieces relating to specialized field (e.g. scientific writing).
  • Participates in the design and planning of communications strategies.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications

Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.
Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 2-5 years of work experience in a related job discipline.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree.
  • Advanced degree.

  • Minimum two years nonprofit management, development, alumni relations, marketing, research, communications, public relations or similar work experience.
  • Minimum two years of relevant professional work experience in writing and editing.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:
  • Demonstrated skill and knowledge of, or ability to learn quickly, the internal workings of the University as well as the technology tools available to the Office of Alumni Relations and Development, including the University's donor relationship management system and the Microsoft Office Suite.

Preferred Competencies
  • Outstanding interpersonal and communications skills characterized by the ability to listen, speak, and write effectively.
  • Manage confidential information with discretion and tact.
  • Act with integrity, professionalism, and confidentiality.
  • Work collegially and collaboratively in a team setting.
  • Self-motivation and the ability to take initiative.
  • Prioritize multiple projects and independently follow through with detail.

Working Conditions
  • This position has a hybrid work schedule which includes weekly in office presence.
  • Standard office environment.
  • Travel to campus and/or non-campus locations for University business.
  • Work evenings and weekends as needed.
  • This position is located in Hyde Park at 5235 South Harper Court.

Application Documents
  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter, addressed to Hiring Committee (preferred)

When applying, the document(s) MUSTbe uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family


Role Impact

Individual Contributor

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Requires Compliance with University Covid-19 Vaccination Requirement


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

Employees must comply with the University's COVID-19 vaccination requirements. More information about the requirements can be found on the University of Chicago Vaccination GoForward.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

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