Postings | Association of Fundraising Professionals - Greater Vancouver Chapter


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Vice-President, Philanthropy - MS Society of Canada

Vancouver, BC

Job Description

The Opportunity

The MS Society of Canada is seeking a strategic and engaging Vice-President, Philanthropy to lead our $35M and growing Philanthropy division. This portfolio contributes significantly to the overall annual revenue of $55M (pre-Covid). Responsible for guiding and motivating philanthropy team members to achieve revenue goals, the Vice-President will set fundraising strategies for principal and major gift portfolios, corporate sponsorship, and annual giving while also working with the CEO, Board, key leadership volunteers and our Mission and Community teams to help drive philanthropic success.

Reporting to the CEO and sitting on the Executive Team, the Vice-President, Philanthropy will work collaboratively with leadership volunteers, executive, and team members at all levels to achieve critical, shared outcomes.  Serving as our chief philanthropy officer, the Vice-President will strengthen the culture of philanthropy across the organization and build a program that delivers exceptional cultivation, solicitation and stewardship to donors. As an experienced and accomplished fundraiser, the Vice-President will leverage their skills and model best practices by actively leading a portfolio of major/principal gifts, by building long-lasting and productive relationships, and by ensuring superior donor experiences.

The Vice-President will enjoy a flexible work location anywhere in Canada.  Travel across Canada for meetings and donor engagement will be required in this role.

About the MS Society of Canada

This is an exciting time to join the MS Society as we move forward with our bold vision of a world free of MS.  With a mission to connect and empower the MS community and to create positive change, the MS Society provides essential services to people with MS and their families and funds research to find the cause and cure.

Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world, with an estimated 77,000 Canadians living with the disease. While it is most often diagnosed in young adults aged 20 to 49, younger children and older adults are also diagnosed with the disease. Health sector costs for MS are expected to reach $2 billion by 2031.

We are privileged to be a part of a determined group of change agents who are working tirelessly to create a world free of MS. An estimated 13,500 volunteers are engaged in our programs, fundraising events, public awareness campaigns and social action activities.

The MS Society is governed by a board of directors comprised of 14 volunteer members who are elected annually.  With the implementation of the Community Engagement Model in 2019, hundreds of leadership volunteers are serving on division and community councils across the country. Leading community-based initiatives in fundraising, advocacy, public awareness, research and programs, Councils act as important connections to our grassroots.

Our strategic vision not only builds upon the work of the entire MS community but also brings a new chapter to move forward our mission of connecting and empowering the MS community to create positive change that helps realize our vision of a world free of MS.

Through discoveries, innovation, and collective action, we will work together to alleviate the uncertainty that MS causes, help provide accessible options for disease management, and reach out to partners to eliminate physical and social barriers in our communities.

Our strategy not only lays out the roadmap in our journey to create a world free of MS, but we hope it also provides inspiration for all in the MS community to connect and collaborate in order to advance treatment and care, enhance well-being, understand and halt disease progression, and prevent MS from happening.  Discover. Innovate. Act.

What is MS

MS is currently classified as an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves). The disease attacks myelin, the protective covering of the nerves, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin. Myelin is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibres. If damage to myelin is slight, nerve impulses travel with minor interruptions; however, if damage is substantial and if scar tissue replaces the myelin, nerve impulses may be completely disrupted, and the nerve fibres themselves can be damaged.

MS is unpredictable and may cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes. Its effects can be physical, emotional and financial. Currently there is no cure, but each day researchers are learning more about what causes MS and are zeroing in on ways to prevent it.

We are here to help. No one needs to face MS alone. In communities across Canada, the MS Society provides information, support, educational events, and other resources for people living with MS and their families.

Researchers funded by the MS Society are working to find the cause of MS, develop better treatments with less side effects, and ultimately cure the disease for everyone who is affected by it.

Philanthropy at the MS Society

The core support of the MS Society has been from tens of thousands of dedicated individuals, companies and foundations in communities across Canada. Unlike many charitable organizations, the Society receives less than 8% of its revenues from government. In 2019, the MS Society raised nearly $54 million through a diverse fundraising portfolio of events, major gifts and other fundraising initiatives:

  • $17 million came from Community-based fundraising events
  • $11 million came from Individual Giving and Direct Marketing
  • $13 million came from Leadership Giving (major and planned giving)
  • $8 million came from dinners, tournaments and third-party events
  • $0.9 million came from United Way and Health Partners
  • $1.5 million came from gaming
  • $0.9 million came from public awareness activities
  • The remainder of revenue came from sale of goods, investment income, memberships, and other miscellaneous activities

In 2019, the MS Society reinvested funds in the following programs:

  • $10 million in Canadian MS research – research grants, scholarships, fellowships, and investments through the Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation
  • $8 million in programs and services – including education programs, self-help groups, recreational and social programs, information and referral services, financial support for daily living or equipment need
  • $5 million in public education and awareness – awareness campaigns, newsletters
  • $3.5 million in chapter and volunteer support and development – volunteer recruitment and training, chapter support from division and national offices
  • $1.5 million in government and community relations – educating all levels of government about needed changes to benefit Canadians living with MS and assistance to clients dealing with local transit and accessibility issues

Research at the MS Society

Canada remains at the forefront of MS research around the world. Through generous contributions from donors, corporate sponsors, and fervent fundraisers, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada has invested over $190 million dollars in research since its inception in 1948. This investment has led to significant results for people affected by MS. More specifically, MS Society funded studies have gone the distance in areas such as imaging, diagnosis, genetics, tissue repair, rehabilitation, and disease-modifying therapies. With each passing year research continues to reveal new knowledge around the cause of MS, as well as the mechanism by which MS impacts the central nervous system.

Although much progress has been made, many questions regarding MS remain unanswered. As a result, Canadian researchers with diverse scientific backgrounds and expertise are turning their attention to MS and working together to uncover important knowledge and develop treatments that will effectively manage symptoms and slow progression.

To ensure that momentum in MS research continues, the MS Society administers an annual research competition that provides support for researchers whether they are in the early stages of graduate school or conducting research as independent investigator. Funding researchers across the academic and clinical spectrum enables education and training for the next generation of MS leaders, while reinforcing their passion for the field.

In addition to supporting research, the MS Society engages young researchers in education and training programs, mentorship initiatives, and networking opportunities which aim to stimulate interest in MS research and encourage collaboration amongst the future generation of MS experts.

The overarching goal of the MS Society is to invest in research that will provide the greatest benefit to individuals who are deeply affected by MS. Each year the organization is hopeful that its commitment to research will bring the MS community one step closer to finding a cure for this complex and often unpredictable disease.

Additional Information & Resources

For more information, please visit

Salary Range:
$ - $

Job Requirements

Key Responsibilities


  • Develop and implement a diversified and integrated fundraising strategy, aligned with the strategic plan, with clearly defined goals and outcomes.
  • Provide leadership to mobilize staff to create a cohesive and integrated approach to fundraising across the country in the areas of principal gifts, major gifts, annual giving, planned giving, foundations, and corporate sponsorship and engagement.
  • Drive increased focus and capacity of principal and major gifts across the country.
  • Play a central role in the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of major donors for both capital and annual gifts, involving leadership volunteers and the CEO as needed, and actively manage a portfolio of top prospects and donors.
  • Provide direct support to team prospecting and solicitation activities to expand portfolios and advance outcomes.
  • Oversee strategies that effectively steward donors at all levels of giving to optimize the donor experience.
  • Work with the Marketing & Communications team to chart the strategic direction for fundraising and donor stewardship in digital channels, ensuring the implementation of current best practices in all areas including social, mobile, web, direct mail etc.
  • Lead the strategic execution of the annual giving program, which includes the direct response campaign.
  • Increase sponsorship, cause marketing partnerships, corporate donations, and oversee corporate and cultivation events in partnership with the Marketing & Communications team.
  • Ensure consistent and effective use of donor software (Salesforce) to inform decision-making and maximize fundraising opportunities.
  • Establish performance measures, evaluate, and monitor the success of fundraising strategies.
  • Develop and maintain productive relationships with board and leadership volunteers, providing assistance as required to support fundraising activities.

Senior Executive & Team Leadership

  • Work in partnership with the CEO to lead foundation board activities and reporting.
  • Function as an integral part of a high performing executive team, focused on collaboration, working successfully across units and achieving impact.
  • Work effectively with the Community, Mission and Marketing & Communications teams to drive fundraising activities, develop strong pipelines, build compelling proposals/cases for support, and deliver on sponsorship activation in markets.
  • Manage, coach and track results of the Philanthropy team, including management of multiple direct reports.

Qualifications & Competencies

  • Progressively senior fundraising experience preferably in the non-profit sector.
  • Ability to model a highly collaborative approach, with the ability to work effectively across teams at all levels of the organization and across functional units to achieve impact.
  • Demonstrated experience building, managing and retaining successful fundraising teams.
  • Comfort and capacity working with high-net worth individuals and families, foundations and community leaders.
  • Highly developed strategic and annual program planning and operations skills.
  • Experience managing diverse revenue streams including principal gifts, major gifts, annual giving, planned giving, foundations, events, corporate sponsorship, direct mail, telemarketing and internet-based fundraising.
  • Strong skills in volunteer management including coaching and supporting Board and other senior fundraising volunteers and leveraging volunteer engagement into revenue generating opportunities.
  • Superior verbal, written and presentation skills.
  • In-depth knowledge of fundraising and other information systems, data management and procedures with experience using data to inform decision-making and maximize fundraising opportunities.
  • Demonstrated commitment to measuring outcomes and thrives within a results-oriented culture.
  • Entrepreneurial and creative flare to develop and test innovative approaches to revenue generation.
  • Up to date on market trends and where the future of fundraising is headed.
  • Bilingualism (English/French) would be an asset but is not mandatory for this role.
  • Candidates should possess or be qualified and willing to work towards a CFRE designation.
  • A University degree or the equivalent combination of education and experience is required for this position.

How To Apply

Application Process

KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of the MS Society of Canada. For more information about this exciting leadership opportunity, please contact Tara George, Partner / Lead, Search + Talent by email at

Interested candidates should submit their resume and a cover letter of interest no later than November 2, 2020.  All enquiries and nominations will be kept in strict confidence.

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:

The MS Society has a bold vision for the future. We have a team of dedicated professionals who share a common goal to end MS and to improve the lives of those affected by MS. We strive to be an employer of choice and provide a working environment that values diversity, team work, and professional development. The MS Society of Canada embraces diversity and encourages all qualified applicants to apply.

We are committed to accessibility for all candidates and will accommodate applicants’ in need of assistance. Please contact us should you need accommodation.

This position is a position of trust. The incumbent will be required to complete the screening process including completion of a criminal and credit background check in compliance with the National Screening Measures Policy.