Senior Executive Director, Donor Experience - City of Hope

Sterling Search Inc. - Duarte, CA

Sterling Search Inc.has been exclusively retained to recruit for the new Senior Executive Director, Donor Experience for City of Hope.

The Rich History of City of Hope

began in 1913, when a group of volunteers spurred by compassion to help those afflicted with tuberculosis, raised money to start a free, nonsectarian sanatorium. Today, City of Hope is still powered by philanthropy and is recognized worldwide for compassionate patient care, innovative science, and translational research. City of Hope has been ranked as one of the nation’s best Cancer Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for over 10 years. With particular excellence in bone marrow and stem cell transplants, its program is one of the largest and most successful in the world with unrivaled survival rates.

Changing the World Through Science

At City of Hope, we advance science to make lives whole again. As a world leader in the research and treatment of cancer, diabetes, and other serious diseases, our scientists partner with doctors to transform laboratory breakthroughs into treatments that save lives. We call it “bench to bedside science;”our patients call it miraculous.

In the global pursuit of scientific breakthroughs in the fight against deadly diseases, City of Hope is among those leading the charge. As an independent research facility, our world-renowned scientists have made advances that have fundamentally expanded the world’s understanding of how biology influences diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes.

And we live our commitment to scientific innovation. We are the only non-academic medical and research center in the nation with three FDA-approved manufacturing facilities for small scale therapeutics production for use in clinical trials. Made possible by philanthropy, the goal is singular: to speed treatments to patients so they receive healing now, not years from now.

One of only 47 medical centers designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute -- the highest level of recognition the agency bestows -- in any given year, City of Hope conducts more than 400 clinical trials enrolling over 6,000 patients. Our discoveries impact 100 million people a year.

Upholding the mantra “there is no profit in curing the body if, in the process, we destroy the soul,” patients and loved ones benefit from a City of Hope clinical tradition that treats and heals through integrated physical, emotional, and spiritual approaches. By offering exquisite care, conducting innovative research, and championing vital education, our experts draw practical benefits from the mysteries of science and work to save and change lives. In short, we turn hope into reality -- and change medicine for people around the world.

The Office of Philanthropy is led by its Chief Philanthropy Officer Kristin Bertell, MA, CFRE

Office of philanthropy vision statement:

We will be known institutionally and nationally as a model of excellence among elite fundraising programs. Success will be achieved by building exceptional, long-term donor partnerships and demonstrating that all levels of philanthropic support are leveraged to realize the maximum impact for City of Hope’s mission, holding to the highest standards of professional performance and conduct.

Our committed staff will function as a highly collaborative, efficient and creative team.

The Office of Philanthropy is building a premier fundraising team with highly creative, committed, and talented innovators. Our goal is to set the pace for excellence in the field of advancement and inspire philanthropists to champion our lifesaving mission.

Bertell and her team of expert, seasoned fundraising leaders are committed to growing revenue to $225M annually in four to five years, making it one of only six cancer centers in the country that raise more than $100 million annually. The senior team has implemented an innovative new organizational structure that features a new layer of leadership that will bring the team size to 175 staff and partners in anticipation of a historic comprehensive campaign of $1.5B.

To this end, the Office of Philanthropy invests in their staff through the Team Activation Program (TAP) initiative.This initiative increases the effectiveness of their team through focused transparency and accountability, building trust within teams; training and development; celebrating innovation and risk taking; enhancing team communications and removing roadblocks to maximize activation. The TAP initiative ensures that the Office of Philanthropy is poised to move quickly, effectively and efficiently to maximize opportunities on behalf of City of Hope.

A Mission you can be Passionate About. a Vision to get Your Heart Pumping


Founded in 1913 to provide free care to tuberculosis patients, our mission has remained steadfast. We have spent over a century bringing compassion, healing and hope to people facing difficult diseases.


Philanthropy is in our DNA. Since our founding, donors from across the country have supported and influenced our vision to give people dignity and help them live longer,better lives.


City of Hope has a flexibility that larger institutions typically lack. Innovative concepts move quickly from the laboratory to patient trials – and then to market, where they benefit people around the world.


Not satisfied with the typical lengthy process involved in manufacturing drugs for testing, we built our own facilities. This demonstrates our entrepreneurial and agile spirit, which permeates our entire enterprise, including our approach to philanthropy.


The power and promise of medical science drives our work and provides a tremendous sense of purpose. Discoveries made in our labs kicked off the biotech industry, which we continue to lead with seminal discoveries and developments saving the lives of millions around the world. We hold over 300 patents and have almost 30 drugs in the pipeline at any given time.


A pioneer in cell transplantation, our program has been recognized for its excellence and innovation and boasts more than 13,000 lifesaving transplants over the past four decades. Raising support for this kind of work provides the opportunity to have a demonstrable impact on the lives of so many people facing cancer and other difficult illnesses.


Situated in one of the nation’s most diverse and influential regions, City of Hope’s work inspires prominent individuals and families, as well as key foundations and corporations to be involved with our mission.


Our fundraising program is diverse and evolving, with a unique national support network of corporate partners and business leaders, as well as deep relationships with individuals in communities both locally and across the country.


With a unique focus on engagement and innovation, leaders in our office of philanthropy and throughout City of Hope put an emphasis on career advancement and skill growth. We are aggressively recruiting dynamic and committed people to join our team and help lead our efforts to build a program that is a national model of excellence.

The Position

The department of Donor Experience & Philanthropy Communications designs, guides and executes on the strategies essential for transforming City of Hope into a “destination for philanthropy” through exceptional donor engagement, experiences, and communications. The Senior Executive Director, Donor Experience (SED) will add to this vision by participating in key processes and programs that sustain an office-wide focus on collaboration, efficiencies, and metrics-based outcomes. Through individual contribution, the SED will be a part of City of Hope’s evolution into a perpetually campaign-ready, donor-centered, leading industry program to support City of Hope’s mission. In pursuit of this outcome, we are committed to growing careers within the Office of Philanthropy to attract and retain the most talented professionals in the country, and excel as a highly collaborative, efficient and creative team.

Reporting to the Vice President of Donor Experience & Philanthropy Communications, the SED serves as a key leader of the Donor Experience & Philanthropy Communications team and contributes to reaching its goal of meaningfully engaging a wide variety of donors, volunteers, faculty, and administrators who are committed to ensuring the long-term success of City of Hope’s mission through philanthropic support and advocacy. This includes:

  • Lead high-level Donor Experience & Philanthropy Communications activities to ensure donor retention, increased giving and support long-term relationships with City of Hope (COH). Manage the comprehensive and long-term strategy for donor engagement for COH; including, but not limited to individualized stewardship plans for high-level prospects and donors, recognition activities, stewardship reporting, chapter and industry stewardship, and donor engagement materials that reflect the unique needs of COH’s various donor constituencies. Activities should acknowledge and thank donors for their gifts, reflect their unique relationship with COH, and lay the groundwork for future giving.
  • Lead the development of highly-personalized engagement plans for COH’s most generous donors, donors within the Chief Philanthropy Officer’s portfolio and COH’s Board of Directors in partnership with the Transformative Giving, Principal & Clinical Major Gifts and Corporate Philanthropy programs. Seek opportunities to team up with frontline fundraising staff on the development of customized stewardship touches to advance cultivation, solicitation and relationship-building strategies. Ensure supporters are recognized for their giving and provided with impactful reporting and storytelling, conveyed in a way that is understandable and exciting to donors, identifying what is important to donors and addressing the underlying motivations that fuel giving and inspires long-term support. Lead coordination with the Philanthropy Communications team to track messaging and timing of scheduled communications, including acknowledgments, reports and personalized correspondence from enterprise leadership.
  • Lead City of Hope’s donor recognition program. Develop strategies for new recognition opportunities, architectural as well as programmatic. Seek opportunities to team up with frontline fundraising staff on the development of customized recognition activities to advance cultivation, solicitation and relationship-building strategies. Assess through quantitative and qualitative analysis the metrics associated with donor experience to enhance and revise programs and activities related to strategic initiatives. Develop stewardship and recognition metrics within team KPI program. Evaluate opportunities to capture donor self-identified interests and other data from Constituent Relationship Management system to enhance donor engagement activities. Lead list segmentation, reporting and tracking mechanisms to assist with recognition, engagement and stewardship projects as well as special fundraising initiatives. Oversee implementation of stewardship plans in CRM.
  • Oversee a team of stewardship and recognition development staff. Provide leadership and demonstrate innovation in identifying opportunities for evolving the stewardship and recognition programs, deepening and refining partnerships across Office of Philanthropy and implementing high-level touch-points and setting best-in-class standards in the industry. Develop and implement new digital and video production strategies to enhance stewardship, recognition and philanthropy communications. Work closely with colleagues to integrate programs and identify emerging technology for use in creating a leading Donor Experience & Philanthropy Communications program.
  • Lead execution of the strategic vision and plan for donor experience activities and communications to recognize and steward City of Hope donors, volunteers, chapters and industry partners. Collaborate with relevant Office of Philanthropy partners to support donor-centric, accurate and efficient data practices surrounding the program, ensuring compliance with policies and procedures governing the use of patient data and maximizing program potential.
  • Provide guidance as appropriate to the Coordinator supporting the Donor Experience & Philanthropy Communications team.

Serve as a role model for the Office of Philanthropy. This includes:

  • Participate and model vision, culture and change implementation throughout the Office of Philanthropy and City of Hope.
  • Participate in search committees, task forces and other special projects.
  • Follow established City of Hope and department policies, procedures, objectives, performance improvement, attendance,safety,environmental,and infection control guidelines,including adherence to the workplace Code of Conduct and Compliance Plan. Practice a high level of integrity and honesty in maintaining confidentiality.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned or requested.

The following shared, organization-wide competencies describe the desired behaviors that will facilitate success at City of Hope:

  • Communication- Expresses ideas clearly and constructively (written and spoken, upward and downward, one-on-one and with groups).
  • Customer Service- Seeks to understand customer needs and works to exceed customer expectations (internal and external).
  • Initiative- Looks for opportunities to improve performance; manages time, work, and relationships effectively and efficiently.
  • Professionalism- Treats others with respect; abides by the institutional values; displays a positive and cooperative attitude; adheres to the workplace Code of Conduct and compliance policies.
  • Stewardship- Identifies efficiencies to reduce redundancy and/or elimination of tasks resulting in savings of cost, resources, and or/time.
  • Teamwork - Works proactively and collaboratively with others to streamline work and achieve mutual goals.


Minimum Education: Bachelor’s Degree in business, philanthropy or related field.

Preferred Education: Advanced Degree.Experience may substitute for minimum education requirements.

Minimum Experience: 7+ years in donor relations experience, with strong preference for experience in development, philanthropy, stewardship role within a fundraising, development, or related field in non-profit environment. Excellent written, oral and presentation skills required. Demonstrated experience in leading development communications planning and implementation. Knowledgeable in leading and interpreting market research. Effective and efficient project management skills gained through project/process management, account management, or related capabilities. Exceptional attention to detail and able to manage and lead multiple initiatives simultaneously. Strong customer service orientation and ability to work with clients across all levels of the organization. Demonstrated personal initiative, strong attention to detail, ability to work independently, ability to simultaneously handle multiple projects and work within strict deadlines. Experience in a complex medical or academic development setting encouraged. Demonstrated understanding of social media outlets such as Linked In, Twitter and Facebook required.

Minimum Experience: 3-5 years supervisory experience required.

Preferred Experience: Design skills preferred but not required. Candidate must easily be able to navigate a wide variety of business and social settings and enjoy taking the message of City of Hope to individuals and organizations that are not yet familiar with its work.


  • Excellent computer and software skills (Word, Excel)
  • Ability to work well in team-oriented atmosphere; and to lead/motivate high level donors and volunteers
  • Highly developed political acumen and demonstrated ability to act with tact and diplomacy
  • Excellent written and verbal skills
  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to effectively multi-task
  • Exhibit leadership qualities
  • Effective facilitator in complex settings as well as having sound judgment and decision making

Highly competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.

Sterling Search, Inc.

To confidentially learn more contact
Sarah Agee Office: 714 433 7040 Cell: 949 903 2891





Posted On: Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Position Contact
Sarah Agee
(714) 433-7040
Costa Mesa, CA
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