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Chief Operating Officer, Advancement Services - University of Toronto

Date Posted: 03/31/2021
Req ID:3582
Faculty/Division: VP - Division of University Advancement
Department: Advancement Services
Campus: St. George (Downtown Toronto)





Consideration of candidates will begin in April 2021, with the intention of seeing the successful candidate take up the position by early June 2021. Further information, including details of how to apply, can be downloaded at, quoting reference 4651. For informal inquiries, please contact Ben Crase at




The Division of University Advancement (DUA) aims to sustain and enhance the University’s academic mission, leadership, and worldwide impact, by engaging alumni and private sector constituents meaningfully in the mission of the University, building mutually beneficial relationships of increasing value and satisfaction over time. 

DUA at the University of Toronto is engaged in a transformative agenda deeply rooted in the University’s vision for growth and innovation. We are focused on growing fundraising efforts; enhancing the effectiveness and satisfaction of alumni engagement and programs; building advancement talent capacity within and across divisions and creating an organization and culture that fosters diversity and inclusiveness.


The Chief Operating Officer, Advancement Services provides leadership, strategic direction, and sound management to advancement operations and business administration, enhancing their impact on advancement strategy, fundraising performance and relationship management, improving business practices across the board, instilling best practices and processes that support the strategic objectives of the Division of University Advancement, and helping achieve its objectives for transformational growth.


Reporting to the Vice-President, Advancement, the Chief Operating Officer, Advancement Services is a member of University Advancement’s executive team. The Chief Operating Officer will oversee the efficient and effective management of the division’s resources in the areas of administration, budget and finance, information management, data and reporting services, business intelligence and analytics, constituent (alumni and donors) and contribution records management, facilities management, and human resources including recruitment, retention, and professional development. The Chief Operating Officer will develop short and long-term strategic plans for the Division, in consultation with the Vice-President, Advancement, that support the division’s highest priorities for growth and relationship management.  The incumbent will also develop administrative policies and procedures and manage staff.


As with other members of the executive team, the Chief Operating Officer, Advancement Services must possess a strong desire to define the leading edge of advancement practice in Canada, to attract and develop outstanding future advancement leaders, and to enhance the University’s reputation for advancement excellence.


Key Results Area:


  1. Provide exemplary leadership, direction, management, and mentorship to a high-performance team of professionals, in order to increase the impact and effectiveness of advancement services staff in achieving University goals. By example and direction, the incumbent will help create an organization and culture that values excellence, initiative, effectiveness, and community, and offers opportunities for professional development and growth. 
  2. Align and enhance the impact and effectiveness of advancement operations on achieving the division’s overall goal to lift fundraising performance (newly committed gifts and pledges) to $300-400+ million per year on a sustainable basis. 
  3. Develop and implement sophisticated plans, practices and processes, with appropriate measures and performance benchmarks, for business administration, human resources, information systems, data and reporting, business intelligence and analytics, and constituent and contribution records management, to support strategic objectives, align operations and administration with best practice, and improve information-based decision-making for advancement executives. 
  4. Instill a customer service culture across all seven (7) functional areas of advancement services to help foster supportive relationships among external constituents of increasing value and satisfaction over time.


Job Duties and Responsibilities


Strategic Planning


Develop short and long-term strategic plans and related operational measures and benchmarks for Advancement Services, in collaboration with the Vice-President, Advancement and in accordance with University goals and objectives.


Provide strategic guidance to the executive management team to ensure effective administration and delivery of services and consistent application of policies and procedures across the Division.


Financial Management


Oversee the development of short and long-term financial plans, priorities and objectives for the Division, in collaboration with the Vice-President, Advancement.


Oversee financial administration and management of the Division including financial planning and forecasting, budget analysis, purchasing, accounting, reporting and internal audit implementation to ensure that financial integrity is maintained.


Oversee the preparation of annual operating budget for the Division and the establishment of internal controls and procedures.


Oversee the management of Division budgets to ensure the financial integrity of the Division.


Review financial reports to identify variances and to keep current of the Division’s financial position.


Resolve complex budget issues based on knowledge of budget status and Divisional goals, objectives and priorities.


Ensure that the IT systems support the University’s commitment to donors ensuring that all processing, receipting, reconciliation and transfers are complete, accurate and timely.


Approve the design of systems to meet reporting bodies’ expectations (e.g., Canada Revenue Agency) and to track, analyze and produce relevant and usable reports.


Oversee the establishment and documentation of departmental policies and procedures and the updating of University manuals describing donation policies, procedures and systems, as well as taxation guidelines.


In cooperation with the AVP, University Development, assists in the development of the Campaign budget and helps identify Campaign funding models for dollars and staff.


Information Management 


Provide leadership to the delivery of support and maintenance of DUA information systems and networks, working closely with related departments at the University (CIO portfolio) and ensuring that DUA information systems are appropriately integrated and aligned with University systems and protocols.   


Oversee the continued growth and development of data analytics, reports and support for divisional advancement programs, ensuring that divisions have sufficient management data to understand the performance of their advancement programs and to achieve and enhance revenue generating capacity.


Oversee the ongoing fulfillment and management of the integrity of Advancement Services’ ability to produce timely and accurate advancement performance measurements for both internal and external stakeholders (e.g. KPI’s for Business Board, ALF, U of T Performance Indicators, etc.).   



Identify technology requirements (e.g., hardware, software, etc.), in collaboration with IM staff that may enhance or replace current technology.


Approve major purchases (e.g., software, hardware) based on knowledge of department needs and budget status, and ensure purchases are undertaken and installed on a timely basis.  


Ensure that all systems are maintained and functional for the Division.


Negotiate complex agreements and manage work of outside consultants and contractors.


Contributions and Constituent Records Management


Oversee the management and maintenance of alumni and donor records for the Division, faculties, colleges, and other relevant divisions ensuring that best practices are employed for records updating and information acquisition including all Contactability enhancement initiatives.


Maintain high awareness of measures important to alumni, donors and potential students to support the development of annual reports and ad hoc reports produced by internal and external bodies (e.g., reports to Governing Council, annual donor financial reports and annual dollar performance measures).


Represent the Division (or assign designate) on various committees to ensure the integration of decentralized systems.


Ensure that donations are processed and managed promptly in adherence with regulatory standards and that the management of these transactions meets the highest standards in customer service. 


Human Resources and Staff Relations


In collaboration with the executive team of DUA, oversee the development and implementation of a human resources plan for the Division that addresses organizational structure, succession planning, job description/reclassification planning, professional development, performance management, employee onboarding and offboarding , recruitment/selection, and retention.  


In consultation with the AVP, Divisional Relations, oversee the tendering of external recruitment agencies for University-wide Advancement recruitments. 


Administrative Operations


Oversee operations in Advancement Services, to ensure that appropriate resources and service levels are optimally functioning according to Division and University requirements.


Provide input and expertise to the Vice-President, Advancement on issues relating to the administrative operation of the Division based on knowledge of the Division’s operations and University goals, practices and procedures.


Provide guidance and leadership to executive team and senior management and staff on issues relating to administration based on knowledge of Divisional requirements and priorities, and University policies and procedures.


Resolve issues relating to the operation of the Division based on review of implications and impact on the Division.


Oversee the development of business processes and systems to increase efficiency and to ensure that consistent practices are followed.


Review proposed new and revised administrative processes to ensure processes are cost effective and maximize available resources.


Interpret non-routine University policies and procedures, collective agreements, legislation and external guidelines, for the Vice-President, Advancement as well as for other staff, on issues relating to the administrative operation of the Division.


Develop policies and procedures relating to administration of the Division, based on knowledge of Division practices and University policies and procedures.


Communicate information (e.g., policy and procedure changes) to Advancement Services and Divisional staff to ensure understanding of goals and objectives of department.


Develop relationships with internal parties (e.g., senior university administration and union officials) and external parties (e.g., donors, volunteers) that facilitate the achievement of departmental and DUA goals.


Review non-routine contracts and agreements (e.g., space licenses, collaborative initiatives with other units) to ensure that the terms and conditions are appropriate and according to University policies and procedures.


Represent the Division on committees (e.g., steering committees, search committees) to provide input and expertise.


Facilities and Space Management


Approve allocation and use of office and other space, based on Divisional requirements.


Explain advanced space renovation requirements to Facilities & Services based on knowledge of budget and office requirements.


Approve final project/renovation plans based on knowledge of project/renovation requirements and budget.


Explain advanced facility issues and repair requirements to building management and Facilities & Services, ensuring understanding of issue and desired outcome.


Develop security measures for implementation during strikes and protests.


Monitor all safety and security activities to ensure that policies and procedures are being adhered to.


Represent the Division on campus space planning and capital construction committees (e.g., Fitzgerald Building advisory committee) to provide input and expertise.


Human Resource Management


Full managerial authority over the staff in the work unit/department. 


Plan strategically for and define the organizational structure for the Division including the kinds of equipment used, the methods and techniques of work, the work assignments, duties and responsibilities of positions and the classifications and qualifications of positions as well as other management rights contained in appropriate collective agreements.  


Implement changes to the organizational structure, including organizational change, hiring, layoff, demotions, creating and eliminating positions.  


Define duties and responsibilities of staff including defining hours of work, the schedules of work, and the methods and techniques of work.  


Define classifications and the qualifications for positions. 


Determine work assignments for staff based on understanding of needs, individual skill, project requirements and availability of resources.


Ensure work tasks are completed on schedule and standards and policies are followed by staff.


Approve work of staff to ensure quality of work.


Budget responsibilities related to the human resources management.  For example, this position would decide on the implementation of a budget cut to the Unit/Team/Department. 


Hire staff based on assessment of candidates and understanding of departments needs.


Discuss performance with employees to provide feedback and address performance related issues as part of the employee development process.


Discipline employees where necessary and appropriate.


Evaluate employee performance based on assessment of individual’s work and achievement of performance goals.


Determine appropriate salary adjustments for employees based on performance and organization salary structure.


Terminate employment (e.g., for cause or as a result of organizational restructuring).


Consult with HR when dealing with serious issues that effect employment relationships.


Strategically manage labour relations implications of business disruptions; participate as representative of department in broader strategic management initiatives related to planning for business disruptions in the University.


Develop plans and work processes for department projects based on understanding of project requirements and timelines.


Guide department staff by providing the necessary direction and training to complete department/project work, based on knowledge of department procedures and specialized expertise.


Recommend training courses, seminars and conferences for staff to update and enhance their skills and knowledge.


Resolve technical problems and staff-related issues that arise during department/project work on a timely basis, to ensure work can be completed with minimal delay.


Manage conflict between staff members.


Discuss informal complaints and step 1 grievances from unionized staff with employees, Human Resources and Labour Relations.


Resolve informal complaints from unionized staff, in consultation with Human Resources and Labour Relations.


Determine appropriate disposition of the grievance, in consultation with Human Resources and Labour Relations, based on knowledge of collective agreements and labour relations procedures.


Provide documentation and information to legal counsel in preparation for grievance arbitration hearings.


Present evidence at arbitration hearings on behalf of management where unionized staff is involved.


Recommend exceptional pay adjustments for unionized staff based on evaluation of performance.


Maintain positive relations with union representatives.


Hours of Work:


Standard Office Hours: 8:45 am to 5:00 pm.  Some overtime required in peak periods.  Occasional travel to conferences, etc., will be required.






CPA (CMA preferred) designation and/or MBA with a specialty in accounting.  




Minimum ten to fifteen 10-15) years related multi-discipline/broad-based experience in a senior administrative or operations role in a University or not-for-profit fundraising environment or equivalent role within the private sector. Demonstrated experience overseeing significant operating portfolio, including financial and budget, information systems, facilities management, and human resource management.  Experience managing systems operations in a complex, decentralized, large scale institutional or corporate environment are both assets.  Demonstrated experience and success motivating and mentoring staff and bringing out the best in teams and individuals.  




Outstanding interpersonal and oral and written communication skills, analytical and presentation skills.  

Strong financial management and accounting skills. Sophisticated understanding of information systems management. Computer experience required.




The incumbent will possess:


  • High level of initiative, tact and diplomacy, intelligence, and be articulate, politically astute and capable.  
  • Ability to work at the highest strategic levels, to gain and maintain the respect of senior administration, donors and volunteers and also to take strategy and move it through to tactics and action.  
  • Ability to work in a collaborative and collegial manner, with an appreciation for the challenges and opportunities of working within a large, decentralized institution.  
  • Reputation for integrity, openness, decisiveness, calm demeanor, discretion, insight and sound judgment.  
  • Motivation, self-reliance, outcomes-oriented, and entrepreneurial spirit.  
  • Ability to balance multiple priorities and work in a fast-paced environment driven by competing tasks and deadlines.  
  • Reputation as a successful team developer with an ability to be productive working both independently and as a part of a team.
  • Reputation as an adept and diplomatic relationship builder who partners with a broad array of stakeholders to meet organizational objectives.
  • A strong commitment to mentoring, empowerment and professional development of others.
  • An innovative and creative problem-solver with the ability to challenge the status quo.
  • A deep understanding of, and sympathy for, the mission of a research-intensive university.
  • The ability to serve as an articulate, credible representative of the University with diverse constituencies and particularly with the sophisticated individuals who support the institution at the principal gift level.



Closing Date: 04/23/2021,11:59PM ET
Employee Group: Salaried 
Appointment Type: Budget - Continuing 
Schedule: Full-Time
Pay Scale Group & Hiring Zone: PM 9 -- Hiring Zone: $162,317 - $189,370 -- Broadband Salary Range: $162,317 - $270,530 (Open)
Job Category: Administrative / Managerial

Apply on our website:

Application Deadline : 2021-04-23
Institution : University of Toronto