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Holderness School

Director of Institutional Advancement

Deerfield Associates Executive Search, Inc. has been retained by Holderness School, located in Plymouth, New Hampshire, to conduct a national search for a Director of Institutional Advancement.

Holderness School seeks an accomplished Director of Institutional Advancement who embraces the School’s values of fairness, dependability, initiative and empathy and who will be responsible for leading the School’s efforts in the areas of development, parent relations, alumni affairs, and special events. The Director of Institutional Advancement reports directly to the Head of School, and serves as the School’s chief external strategist in the formulation and execution of an orchestrated effort to project and engage Holderness School to its loyal alumni and dedicated parent constituencies. The Director of Institutional Advancement has oversight for the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations. The School’s current endowment is $51 million and there are approximately 4,000 alumni. For more background on Holderness School, please visit

Holderness School

Holderness School is an independent boarding and day school for grades 9–12/PG offering a rigorous college preparatory education and curriculum in a vibrant and engaging community.

Holderness School’s academic program is intentionally challenging, geared to providing a solid preparation for all colleges and universities, as well as laying the foundation for a lifetime of curiosity, inquiry, and learning. Enrollment: 280 students; Grades: 9–12/PG; Boarding/Day Distribution: 85% boarding, 15% day; Gender Distribution: 45% girls, 55% boys; Geographic Distribution: 15% are international and include students from Canada, China, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico, Nigeria, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Thailand, and Vietnam. There are 53 teaching faculty who average 17 years of experience with a third having tenure at Holderness of ten years or more. Sixty percent of the faculty hold at least one advanced degree.

Our Mission & Vision

As an Episcopal school, Holderness fosters equally in each student the resources of the mind, body, and spirit in the creation of a caring community, inspiring all to work for the betterment of humankind and God’s creation. Holderness School will redefine leadership and intellectual development, preparing all for their journeys in a changing world.

Strategic plan 2015:


  • Participates in the overall leadership and management of the School as a member of the senior administrative staff.
  • In collaboration with the Head of School and the Board of Trustee’s Advancement and Major Gifts Committee(s), the Director of Institutional Advancement will develop and implement strategic goals and fundraising priorities.
  • Participates in School’s annual budgeting process; develops and monitors the Advancement Office budget.
  • Serves as the School’s chief development officer. As the number one fundraiser of the School, the Director of Institutional Advancement will develop and cultivate relationships with the School’s most loyal and generous supporters, as well as the School’s top prospects.
  • Works closely with the Head of School and key trustees to develop, monitor and assess annual program objectives specifically in the areas of advancement, alumni relations, and parent relations.
  • Directs all fundraising activities including the annual fund appeals, capital projects, major and planned giving, corporate and foundation giving, volunteer committees and special events for all Holderness School’s constituents cultivating and monitoring philanthropic support.
  • Manages and continuously improves daily operations of the advancement function including managing professional staff, gift and data entry, and reconciliation of revenues with the Business Office.
  • Works closely with the Advancement Committee and will build the Board’s Major Gifts Committee; serves as staff liaison to committee members keeping them apprised of fundraising progress.
  • Works with Advancement Committee chair regarding Board giving expectations and guidelines.
  • Trains Board Members and other volunteers to fundraise for the organization. Provides administrative support for their outreach.
  • Works closely with the Board, current donors and traditional research to identify prospective individual and institutional donors.
  • Ensures attainment of the School’s advancement endeavors through the selection, development and oversight of professional and volunteer advancement staff members.
  • Collaborates on marketing and promotion strategies in partnership with the Communications and Marketing staff.
  • Provides regular, detailed reports and information to the Head of School and Board of Trustees to support decision making and program evaluation.
  • Mentors, gives feedback, works to set individual and department goals, and promotes the professional growth of those who work in the Advancement Office through an evaluation system that syncs with the related evaluation systems across the school.
  • In conjunction with the Head of School, and the Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications, frames, manages, and projects the institution’s public image and relationship with key constituencies.
  • Responsible for oversight of the strategic plan as it pertains to areas of external relations in conjunction with the Director of Admission and the Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications.
  • Provides leadership and mentorship for the major gift program of the school.
  • Establishes advancement policies, systems, and procedures.
  • Serves as an active and visible member of the school community through participation in school-wide events such as parent association meetings, faculty meetings, student performances, awards ceremonies, etc.
  • Performs other duties at the discretion of the Head of School.

The Advancement, Alumni and Parent Relations Team Function

  • Manage all donor interactions including foundation, corporate, individual, and prospect relationships and oversees all aspects of alumni and parent relations in coordination with the Alumni and Parent Associations
  • Maps out solicitation strategies for all constituencies including parents, grandparents, alumni, parents of alumni and friends.
  • Engages and solicits existing and prospective donors by mail, by phone, through events and in face-to-face meetings.
  • Recommends and implements initiatives to increase donor retention and acquisition.
  • Prepares all fundraising materials, including solicitation and acknowledgment letters, and funding proposals for the campaign.
  • Implements electronic information management and reporting systems for advancement efforts.
  • Manages and directs an effective stewardship program.
  • Collaborates with the CFO and members of the Business Office to oversee the appropriate record management of all gifts working to ensure that all advancement practices comply with the school’s Gift Acceptance Policy, Financial and Operational Policies and Practices, and the recommended best practices of national associations related to institutional advancement.


  • An ability and genuine interest to work closely with the Head of School to reinforce the strong commitment of the School to its many constituencies.
  • 10+ plus years of development/advancement experience required, preferably at an independent school or in higher education.
  • Knowledge and experience in alumni and development work preferably in education including successful major gift, annual giving and planned giving solicitation for alumni, parents and friends.
  • Ability to interact effectively and earn the respect of all the constituencies of the School community; the Head of School, the administration, staff, faculty, the Board of Trustees, alumni, parents, and friends of the School.
  • Knowledge of how to effectively market and communicate the values and mission of the School both internally and externally.
  • A vision and interest in being involved in the School’s strategic planning process.
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Demonstrated superior managerial and leadership experience and skills; an energetic, outgoing and dynamic personality.
  • Ability to oversee the identification, cultivation and securing of major gift and annual fund leadership prospects.
  • Knowledgeable and experienced in prospect tracking, Raiser’s Edge, stewardship and reporting procedures and all aspects of annual giving programs.
  • Experience in organizing and conducting a successful Capital Campaign is essential.
  • A high level of integrity, honesty, and a strong work ethic along with a commitment to the School’s core leadership values of dependability, fairness, initiative and empathy.
  • Interest in and willingness to travel.
  • A strong commitment to a co-educational boarding and day school education.
  • Experience in managing volunteers, including members of governing boards.
  • Ability and interest in hiring, managing, developing and mentoring staff.
  • Bachelor’s degree required. A Master’s degree in a related field preferred.

Dear Friends and Visitors,

What do I love about Holderness? What has kept me coming back for three decades as a teacher and coach and dorm parent, and now as the head of school? I think it comes down to the fact that Holderness is not simply a school, it’s a lifestyle—a lifestyle that celebrates a number of different things, and holds them all in a balance you’ll find nowhere else.

To live at Holderness is to be intellectually passionate and always curious; to be public–spirited and always attentive to the needs of others; to be physically active and always in touch with the outdoors; to be artistically creative and always conscious of the power of intuition and imagination; and to be aware, finally, of the spiritual dimensions of human experience.

Don Henderson, now retired, often quoted Robert Frost when he was teaching here. Don said that his object in living was to unite his avocation and his vocation “as my two eyes make one in sight.” As a legendary Holderness history teacher and a former coach of the US National Ski Team, Don knew how to achieve that sort of vision. His work was full of playfulness, and he and other great teachers here have helped the whole community to live and work that way.

This is what makes life at Holderness rich and full. It’s a recipe not only for success, but for the joy a person finds in exercising all of his or her gifts.


Phil Peck
Head of School

Images of Holderness School

The School’s Benefits

Holderness School offers an exciting and supportive work environment, a competitive salary and benefit package which includes medical plans, a defined contribution plan, tuition remission, basic life insurance and long-term care, and vacation. Holderness School is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Contact Information

To explore this superb career opportunity on a highly confidential basis please send a letter of interest and a resume (both as Microsoft Word documents) to:

Doug Cooney, Executive Search Consultant, Deerfield Associates Executive Search, Inc.
572 Washington Street, Suite 15, Wellesley, MA 02482
Telephone: 781.237.2800

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