Job Details

  • Reference number: E210299
  • Province: Western Cape
  • Type of engagement: Permanent appointment
  • Posted: August 17th

Background to Position

The University of Cape Town, one of Africa’s oldest universities and a leading university globally, is seeking an Executive Director (ED) to give strategic leadership to the Development and Alumni Department. The job offers an exciting opportunity to advance UCT’s goals of improving access to higher education, improving quality of teaching and success in learning, and expanding research and outreach. The ED will ensure that fundraising strategies yield adequate resources to achieve the University’s mission at a critical time as regards risks to universities’ funding streams.

Job Description

This is a permanent senior executive position within the University. Reporting directly to the Vice-Chancellor, the incumbent will assume full accountability for the formulation, implementation and monitoring of all strategic and operational activities in relation to the development and fundraising endeavours of the institution. These will include strengthening donor and alumni relations, developing fundraising and capital campaigns and bequest programmes, and tapping into philanthropic and CSI goals of foundations and corporates in South Africa, Africa and abroad. The ED also oversees UCT‘s offices and staff in London, New York, Toronto and Sydney. The ED will be expected to develop a deep knowledge of the many projects and programmes for which the university is seeking to raise funds, and must represent the University and the Vice-Chancellor in public fora, in private meetings with leaders of the corporate and philanthropic sectors, and with high net worth individuals. The incumbent will be expected to travel locally and internationally.

Inherent Criteria

The successful candidate will have experience and understanding of advancement, including fundraising; excellent oral and written communication skills; the ability to facilitate understanding and collaboration between academia, business, foundations and government in a complex transforming environment; and the experience and stature to serve as a high-level ambassador for the University. Knowledge of the higher education landscape and the academic environment, especially in South Africa, would be a strong advantage. A candidate coming with experience of corporate, development and individual networks in South Africa would be particularly attractive. In addition to the afore-mentioned the suitable candidate will be required fulfil most of the following requirements.

Requirements for the position:

A NQF9 qualification with 10 years’ relevant experience Or a NQF8 qualification with 12 years relevant experience.

• 5 years leadership experience at the middle management level. • A demonstrable track record of fundraising with solid networks within the philanthropic and business community.

• A demonstrable ability to work effectively with corporate and donor representatives at the highest level.

• High level strategic thinking and planning skills.

• Excellent communication, external relations, advocacy, motivational, co-ordination and leadership skills necessary to ensure the success of a results-orientated development programme.

• Knowledge of the fundraising sector and fundraising skills.

• A high level of personal motivation, initiative, energy, and creativity.

• A commitment to transformation.

• Excellent writing and reporting skills.

• The ability to motivate, mentor, inspire and lead dedicated staff.

• A record of experience of financial and HR management. • An understanding of donor dynamics and the donor environment.

• Skills to encourage and build collaborative relationships amongst the university community, the public, external stakeholders, donors and alumni. 

International fundraising experience will be advantageous.

The 2021 annual cost of employment, including benefits, is appropriate to the Senior Executive level. 

Application Requirement

To apply, please e-mail the below documents (ideally in a single pdf file) to Mr Craig Alexander at

A covering letter which addresses the above criteria, including a statement on your potential contribution as Executive Director;

Your full curriculum vitae with the names and contact details of three referees; 

The HR204 application form for Senior Executive Posts available at:

Please ensure the title and reference number are indicated in the subject line. An application which does not comply with the above requirements will be regarded as incomplete. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and will be required to undergo assessments.

An application which does not comply with the above requirements will be regarded as incomplete.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and will be required to undergo assessments. 

Telephone: 021 650 5429                    Website: 

UCT is a designated employer and is committed to the pursuit of excellence, diversity, and redress in achieving its equity targets in accordance with the Employment Equity Plan of the University and its Employment Equity goals and targets. Preference will be given to candidates from the under-represented designated groups. Our Employment Equity Policy is available at The University reserves the right to extend the closing date if deemed necessary and reserves the right to make no appointment.

About University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is South Africa's oldest university, and is one of Africa's leading teaching and research institutions. UCT was founded in 1829 as the South African College, a high school for boys. The College had a small tertiary-education facility that grew substantially after 1880, when the discovery of gold and diamonds in the north – and the resulting demand for skills in mining – gave it the financial boost it needed to grow. The College developed into a fully fledged university during the period 1880 to 1900, thanks to increased funding from private sources and the government.