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Become An University Relations Director

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Working As An University Relations Director

  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $117,808

    Average Salary

What Does An University Relations Director Do

Public relations managers plan and direct the creation of material that will maintain or enhance the public image of their employer or client. Fundraising managers coordinate campaigns that bring in donations for their organization.

Duties

Public relations managers typically do the following:

  • Write press releases and prepare information for the media
  • Identify main client groups and audiences and determine the best way to reach them
  • Designate an appropriate spokesperson or information source for media inquiries
  • Help clients communicate effectively with the public
  • Develop their organization's or client’s corporate image and identity
  • Assist and inform an organization’s executives and spokespeople
  • Devise advertising and promotion programs
  • Assign, supervise, and review the activities of staff

Fundraising managers typically do the following:

  • Manage progress towards achieving an organization’s fundraising goals
  • Develop and carry out fundraising strategies
  • Identify and contact potential donors
  • Create and plan different events that can generate donations
  • Meet face-to-face with highly important donors
  • Apply for grants
  • Assign, supervise, and review the activities of staff

Public relations managers review press releases and sponsor corporate events to help maintain and improve the image of their organization or client.

Public relations managers help to clarify their organization’s point of view to its main audience through media releases and interviews. They observe social, economic, and political trends that might ultimately affect their organization, and they recommend ways to enhance the firm's image based on those trends. For example, in response to a growing concern about the environment, the public relations manager for an oil company may create a campaign to publicize its efforts to develop cleaner fuels.

In large organizations, public relations managers often supervise a staff of public relations specialists. They also work with advertising, promotions, and marketing managers to ensure that advertising campaigns are compatible with the image the company or client is trying to portray. For example, if a firm decides to emphasize its appeal to a certain group, such as young people, the public relations manager needs to make sure that current advertisements are well received by that group.

In addition, public relations managers may handle internal communications, such as company newsletters, and may help financial managers produce an organization’s reports. They may also draft speeches, arrange interviews, and maintain other forms of public contact to help the organization’s top executives.

Public relations managers must be able to work well with many types of specialists to report the facts accurately. In some cases, the information they write has legal consequences. As a result, they must work with the company's or client's lawyers to be sure that the information they release is both legally accurate and clear to the public.

Fundraising managers oversee campaigns and events intended to bring in donations for their organization. Many organizations that employ fundraisers rely heavily on the donations they gather in order to run their operations.

Fundraising managers usually decide which fundraising techniques are necessary in a certain situation. Common techniques may include annual campaigns, capital campaigns, planned giving, or major gifts. In addition, social media has created a new avenue for fundraising managers to connect with more potential donors and to spread their organization’s message.

Those who work on annual campaigns focus heavily on contacting donors who have given in the past, and request that they give again. Finding new contacts for future donations is also a component of a successful annual campaign.

Capital campaigns are different; they are generally used to raise money over a shorter time period and for a specific project, such as the construction of a new building at a university.

Fundraisers who spend most of their time on planned giving must have specialized training in taxes regarding gifts of stocks, bonds, charitable annuities, and real estate bequests in a will. Major gifts are a feature of many different campaigns and are generally requested in person given the large value of the potential donation.

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How To Become An University Relations Director

Public relations and fundraising managers need at least a bachelor’s degree, and some positions may require a master’s degree. Many years of related work experience are also necessary.

Education

For public relations and fundraising management positions, a bachelor's degree in public relations, communications, English, fundraising, or journalism is generally required. However, some employers prefer a master’s degree, particularly in public relations, journalism, fundraising, or nonprofit management.

Courses in advertising, business administration, public affairs, public speaking, and creative and technical writing can be helpful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not mandatory, public relations managers can get certified through the Public Relations Society of America. Candidates qualify based on years of experience and must pass an exam to become certified.

The International Association of Business Communicators offers a credential to demonstrate a level of knowledge and expertise.

The Certified Fund Raising Executive program, offered by CFRE International, is voluntary, but fundraisers who pursue certification demonstrate a level of professional competency to prospective employers. Candidates are required to have 5 years of work experience in fundraising and have 80 hours of continuing education through conference attendance and classroom instruction to qualify. Fundraisers must apply for renewal every 3 years to keep their certification valid.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Public relations and fundraising managers must have several years of experience in a related or entry-level position, such as a public relations specialist or fundraiser.

Lower level management positions may require only a few years of experience, whereas directors are more likely to need 5 to 10 years of related work experience.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Managers deal with the public regularly; therefore, they must be friendly enough to build rapport and receive cooperation from their media contacts and donors.

Leadership skills. Public relations and fundraising managers often lead large teams of specialists or fundraisers and must be able to guide their activities.

Organizational skills. Public relations and fundraising managers are often in charge of running several events at the same time, requiring superior organizational skills.

Problem-solving skills. Managers sometimes must explain how the company or client is handling sensitive issues. They must use good judgment in what they report and how they report it.

Speaking skills. Public relations and fundraising managers regularly speak on behalf of their organization. When doing so, they must be able to explain the organization’s position clearly.

Writing skills. Managers must be able to write well-organized and clear press releases and speeches. They must be able to grasp the key messages they want to get across and write them succinctly in order to keep the attention of busy readers or listeners.

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University Relations Director Demographics

Gender

Male

49.8%

Female

48.1%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

62.2%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

8.4%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.6%

Mandarin

11.1%

Chinese

9.7%

French

5.6%

Japanese

4.2%

Carrier

2.8%

Russian

2.8%

Korean

2.8%

Swedish

1.4%

Greek

1.4%

Catalan

1.4%

Italian

1.4%

Cantonese

1.4%

Amharic

1.4%

Hindi

1.4%

Navajo

1.4%

Mongolian

1.4%
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University Relations Director Education

Schools

Michigan State University

14.6%

George Washington University

11.4%

Northwestern University

7.0%

Columbia University

5.7%

University of Florida

5.1%

University of Phoenix

5.1%

Georgetown University

4.4%

University of Missouri - Columbia

4.4%

Johns Hopkins University

4.4%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.8%

Temple University

3.8%

University of Texas at Austin

3.8%

American University

3.8%

Northeastern University

3.8%

University of Alabama

3.2%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

3.2%

University of North Texas

3.2%

Auburn University

3.2%

Arizona State University

3.2%

University of Pennsylvania

3.2%
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Majors

Business

20.4%

Political Science

11.4%

Communication

7.1%

Marketing

6.9%

Law

6.0%

Public Administration

5.5%

Psychology

4.6%

Journalism

4.3%

Education

4.1%

English

3.9%

Finance

3.9%

Management

3.7%

Human Resources Management

3.0%

Sociology

2.7%

Public Relations

2.7%

History

2.1%

Health Care Administration

2.0%

International Relations

2.0%

Accounting

2.0%

Theology

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.7%

Masters

32.6%

Other

10.5%

Doctorate

6.9%

Certificate

3.5%

Associate

2.5%

License

0.3%
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Real University Relations Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Director Investor Relations Ti Group Automotive Systems L.L.C. Auburn Hills, MI Aug 27, 2016 $195,000 -
$225,000
Director, Investor Relations EJF Capital LLC Arlington, VA Apr 02, 2016 $184,912
Director of Broker Relations Madisonpark Financial LLC Franklin, TN May 05, 2010 $180,000
Director of Broker Relations Suttonpark Capital LLC Franklin, TN May 05, 2011 $180,000
Director of Broker Relations Madisonpark Financial LLC Franklin, TN Apr 20, 2010 $180,000
Director of Investor Relations Ngmoco, LLC San Francisco, CA Dec 10, 2015 $175,308
Director of Supplier Relations Brenntag Latin America Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2013 $175,100
Director of Investor Relations Ngmoco, LLC San Francisco, CA Jun 09, 2014 $175,000
Investor Relations Director Pepsico, Inc. White Plains, NY Oct 10, 2015 $173,400
Investor Relations Director Celanese Corporation Irving, TX Apr 26, 2016 $150,000 -
$190,000
Director of Publisher Relations Startapp Inc. New York, NY Sep 16, 2014 $150,000
Director Investor Relations American Water Works Service Co., Inc. Voorhees, NJ Oct 31, 2014 $137,571
Director, Investor Relations Paramount Group, Inc. New York, NY Feb 03, 2011 $130,000
Director of Supplier Relations Brenntag Latin America, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2010 $130,000 -
$160,000
Director of Investor Relations NCH Tax & Wealth Advisors, Inc. Fullerton, CA Jan 16, 2014 $120,000
Director of Investor Relations Suntech America, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2010 $115,000
Director of Acquisitions and Studio Relations Laptv, LLC Atlanta, GA Mar 30, 2011 $105,206 -
$125,000
Director of Investor Relations Imbera USA, L.L.C. Kennesaw, GA Oct 01, 2014 $104,350
Investor Relations Director D.F. King & Co., Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2011 $102,000
Director of University Relations and Recruiting Greylock Management Corporation Menlo Park, CA Mar 30, 2012 $100,589 -
$111,000
Director of Investor Relations Joule Assets Inc. Bedford Hills, NY Sep 15, 2016 $100,000
Director Investor Relations American Water Works Service Company, Inc. Voorhees, NJ Dec 17, 2013 $86,362 -
$118,474
Director Investor Relations American Water Works Service Company, Inc. Voorhees, NJ Jan 06, 2014 $86,362 -
$118,474
Director of Investor Relations NCH Wealth Advisors, Inc. Fullerton, CA Jan 31, 2011 $84,711
Director of Investor Relations NCH Wealth Advisors, Inc. Fullerton, CA Jan 16, 2011 $84,711
Director of Investor Relations Newschools Capital LLC Palo Alto, CA Oct 13, 2015 $80,000
Director, Supplier Relations Travelong, Inc. New York, NY Aug 23, 2011 $72,600
Director, Supplier Relations Jen Ny Inc. New York, NY May 20, 2013 $72,600
Director University Relationships Visa Services International LLC PA Sep 20, 2014 $58,728

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Top Skills for An University Relations Director

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  1. Public Policy Issues
  2. Advocacy
  3. Donor Database
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Tasked as the main media contact for all public policy issues and have appeared on television and in newspaper articles.
  • Coordinated and facilitated grass roots advocacy and leadership involvement in public policy programs and activities.
  • Execute cultivation/recognition events for all major donors and prospects as well as manage an entire donor database.
  • Counseled executive management on methods aimed at positively influencing external stakeholders including the significance of marrying earned media with government relations.
  • Designed and implemented plan to increase strategic partnerships with membership organizations and corporate partners.

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Top 10 Best States for University Relations Directors

  1. District of Columbia
  2. New York
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Virginia
  5. Colorado
  6. New Jersey
  7. California
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Texas
  10. Washington
  • (115 jobs)
  • (394 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (227 jobs)
  • (124 jobs)
  • (139 jobs)
  • (853 jobs)
  • (247 jobs)
  • (408 jobs)
  • (117 jobs)

Top University Relations Director Employers

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