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External Relations Director

Washington, DC, USA | Non Profit Organization

  • Industry:
    Non-Profit / Social Enterprise
  • Position Type:
    Full-Time
  • Functions:
    General Management
    PR & Communications
  • Experience:
    5-7 years
Job Description:
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The External Relations Director (ERD) is an exciting role that seeks to leverage our broad base of stakeholders and partners to support the region’s strategic growth plan as we move into our next phase of impact. The ERD oversees two key functions that contribute to the overall success of our engagement and mobilization efforts. First, the ERD is a trusted thought partner to the Executive Director (ED) and is responsible for leading a strategic and deliberate regional fundraising strategy, cultivation and stewardship of many high-level external relationships, and lead, develop, and mobilize a local development team to achieve ambitious fundraising goals.The region has been successful with fundraising and already has raised 40% of its FY21 fundraising goal.


Second, the ERD is the leader of the regional community engagement team, including a Community Engagement Manager and two Community Engagement Associates. The ERD is charged with building transformational and innovative community engagement solutions in the face of competition for resources, time, and opportunity with a high degree of adaptability and flexibility. They are tasked with the recruitment, onboarding, training, and support of more than 900 volunteer tutors. In addition, to support both workstreams, the ERD leads the development and execution of a diverse and robust communication strategy to maintain consistent and engaging messaging for all members of the Reading Partners community in Washington, DC. Finally, the ERD serves as a member of the regional leadership team with the Program Director (PD), tasked with the progress monitoring and execution of the regional strategy.


What you’ll do:


Goal # 1 - Development


Create, lead, and drive overarching fundraising strategy and executions to meet or exceed fundraising goals for the region.


In partnership with the Development Manager, serve as the lead strategist for a portfolio of foundation, corporate, individual, and local government funders

Increase revenue for the region through a variety of fundraising strategies, including grants, corporate sponsorships, engagement of tutors, in-kind donations and contributions, and board member engagement

Lead the execution of our annual Read to Succeed fundraising event, and develop a three-year plan to grow the event with the goal of raising $100K within the next three years. Activities would include increased and tiered corporate and individual sponsorship, longer runway/more comprehensive campaign, etc.

Serve as an ambassador of Reading Partners. Quickly establish credibility when promoting Reading Partners to external audiences. Demonstrate a high degree of comfort and poise with donors, corporations, and prospects


Goals #2 – Community Engagement


Create and drive an innovative and sustainable community engagement strategy in the region to meet and exceed volunteer recruitment targets. 


In collaboration with the Community Engagement Manager, build a comprehensive strategy to recruit, onboard, and support a robust pipeline of volunteer tutors to meet student enrollment goals

Develop strategies to achieve 100% student enrollment earlier in the academic year, with the goal of full enrollment by the end of December within the next5 years

Increase volunteer retention by 2 – 4% annually; with a goal of reaching 41% in less than 5 years

Maintain high volunteer satisfaction levels as determined by mid-year and end of year volunteer surveys


Goal #3 – Communications & Events


Oversee and lead a comprehensive strategy to engage and mobilize the Reading Partners DC community through regular communications, events, friend-raisers, boards, and other activities 

Liaise and balance national and regional narratives to maximize opportunities

Approve all communications and newsletters in collaboration with the Development & Communications Manager.


Goal #4 – Senior Leadership


Manage three staff members and provide strategic and operational guidance to ensure effective performance and success.

In partnership with the ED and PD, provide thought partnership on strategy development and execution

Provide support to the ED in all activities related to fundraising, especially corporate and major donor strategy and execution

When necessary, serve as the regional leader to external audiences in the absence of the ED

Lead a highly engaged and supported community engagement team of staff and AmeriCorps members as demonstrated by engagement surveys, 360 feedback cycles, and skip-level check-ins


How you’ll do it:


Strategic Planning


Demonstrate an ability to devise innovative regional strategic fundraising plans, create action steps, and mobilize many stakeholders to achieve fundraising goals. Build sustainable plans to maximize market opportunities, meet goals and significantly grow funding. In addition, leverage systems, people, and resources to drive processes and track progress against goals to report on progress to senior leadership and board. Execute work in a highly organized, analytical, and data-informed manner.



External Relations & Communication 


Demonstrate advanced experience in external relations, board management and communication, and strategic stewardship and cultivation of donors.Deliver convincing messaging and demonstrate a genuine joy in connecting with donors and all external stakeholders that reflect Reading Partners’ culture and values.

Serve as an ambassador of Reading Partners. Quickly establish credibility when promoting Reading Partners to external audiences. Demonstrate a high degree of comfort and poise with donors, corporations, and prospects. 



New Revenue Generation


Demonstrate a strong track record in driving development efforts in rapidly growing organizations, particularly in DC. Demonstrate the ability to hit fundraising goals, generate new funding sources, and run sophisticated corporate and individual giving campaigns.Demonstrate success in cultivation. 



People Leadership


Positively collaborate with, and lead an internal team to meet and exceed aggressive fundraising goals. Consistently coach, grow, and create stretch assignments to grow future fundraising leaders from within. 


About you!


You’ll be successful in this role if you:


 Have 5+ years of increasing responsibility in development or related role 

Have robust experience working with external stakeholders in DC

Have direct management experience of volunteers, interns and/or emerging professionals

 Are an exceptional and persuasive communicator in writing and verbally

 Are achievement-oriented and have a demonstrated track record of achieving aggressive fundraising goals

Flexibility in your work schedule

Possess excellent computer skills, specifically in Microsoft Office, Google Suite, and database management 

Hold a Bachelor’s degree and/or equivalent experience 

Can prove eligibility to work in the U.S. legally

Boast a deep belief in our mission

Root your work in our core values


Bonus points if you:


Are an AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, or other national service alum/alumna

Have experience working in the launch or growth phases of organizations

Have a high degree of comfort with Salesforce or other fundraising databases

Have experience working in education or literacy


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