About the Organization
Let's Get Ready is an innovative, growing nonprofit that provides high school students from low-income circumstances with free SAT preparation, admissions counseling and other support services needed to gain admission to and graduate from college. In collaboration with colleges, high schools and community organizations, Let's Get Ready (LGR) has grown to serve roughly 9,000 high school students annually through more than 80 programs from Philadelphia to Maine. With a $3.5 million budget and a staff of 28, Let's Get Ready operates out of its headquarters in NYC and a regional office in Boston. LGR plans to double the number of students served over the next three years, and is focused on significantly increasing revenues and awareness necessary to support this future growth.
LGR uses a unique near-peer model that is proven to connect with students from low-income and first-generation college-going backgrounds. LGR engages and trains college student volunteers Coaches to deliver services. Some Coaches come from similar circumstances to those of the high school students; all have recently gone through the college admission, financial aid and matriculation process. From this vantage point, they can connect with high school students and impact them deeply, offering encouragement, inspiration, confidence and guidance that deliver tremendous results.
LGR high school students are extraordinarily successful; in fact, 92% of them gain admission to college. LGR then supports their transition and ultimate success, leveraging the near-peer model throughout the college experience by pairing students with more senior college peers who can help them adjust, adapt and succeed through to graduation. LGR college students graduate at 5 times the national average for students from low-income circumstances.
About the Position
The Chief Development & External Affairs Officer (CDO) will lead the organization's fundraising and communications programs from the New York office. As a senior member of the leadership team, the CDO will report to the CEO and will serve as a key thought partner to a range of internal and external stakeholders, including the Board of Directors, senior leadership staff, and the national team. The CDO will manage a small team of direct and dotted-line reports, with plans to expand the team over the next three years.
The CDO will provide strategic and operational direction for Let's Get Ready's national fundraising strategy, build capacity and support for development at the regional/local level, and lead funding efforts for expansion to new regions and for new programmatic initiatives. The CDO will also focus on the creation and execution of integrated communications and public relations efforts that support program and revenue goals of LGR.
Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Collaborate with the CEO, leadership team, and Board to create and build a comprehensive multi-year fundraising plan that delivers $4m+ in year one through foundations, corporations, events and other sources, and grows in the coming years to $10m.
- Focus on multi-year commitments from institutional supporters, and build a broader base of corporate and foundation support.
- Manage a portfolio of major donors capable of donating more than $10,000 annually, and cultivate increased contributions from this group.
- Build an annual plan for major gift solicitation that secures funding for LGR priorities, and prepare high-quality grant proposals that deliver against revenue targets.
- Develop and execute campaigns that fund expansion into new regions and services that help LGR deliver on its mission.
Special Events and Donor Cultivation
- Responsible for special events consultant, play a leading role in planning/fundraising for annual Gala events in NY and Boston, raising $1.5m+ annually.
- Support the production of donor cultivation and recognition events that deepen relationships with donors.
- Conduct 12-15 high-impact personal donor visits per month to cultivate positive and purposeful relationships.
- Build a comprehensive marketing and media strategy with particular emphasis on online communications (web, e-newsletters, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
- Develop donor cultivation and fundraising pieces, such as direct mail, an annual report, newsletters and brochures.
- Build the organization's relationships with press and media outlets, always seeking to raise the organization's profile and public presence both in key markets and nationally.
- Represent Let's Get Ready at public events, gatherings and forums and with partnerships to raise public profile, represent LGR's position on issues of importance to the mission, and to support programmatic goals.
- Leverage systems (e.g., Salesforce) and design processes that ensure accurate and timely reporting to donors on the impact of their giving through acknowledgment letters, regular communications, and programmatic updates.
Organizational Leadership and Management
- Manage the development team to execute operational plans and ensure achievement of goals, while providing leadership, mentoring and training.
- Foster collaboration between development and program staff to build and sustain a successful philanthropic culture.
- Contribute to the strategic thinking and development of LGR through involvement in the Leadership Team, and at the Board level.
- Play a key role in coordinating, supporting, encouraging and leveraging the fundraising efforts of LGR associates, particularly senior staff.
- Help steer the Development Committee of the Board of Directors to support the efforts of Board members raise money on behalf of the organization and to steward relationships.
- Collaborate with other LGR staff to share best practices and leverage opportunities to support growth and improved operational efficiency.
- Build and deepen relationships with internal and external stakeholders including senior staff, Board members, students and Coaches, serving as a thought partner and subject matter expert.
The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:
- A genuine passion for and commitment to LGR's mission.
- Belief that a diverse and inclusive environment will produce the most impact for LGR's students; an ability to build respectful, productive relationships with team members and communities of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.
- A minimum of 7-10 years of nonprofit development experience with a record of increasing revenue from foundations, corporations and individual donors.
- Demonstrated success with major gift fundraising ($50,000 and over) and familiarity with all aspects of development including capital campaigns, event management, annual giving, online giving, planned giving and institutional giving (particularly, corporate and foundation grants)
- Strong knowledge of how marketing, communications and public relations can further fundraising efforts, and a track record of using these tools to improve and optimize fundraising efforts.
- Ability to leverage technology and social media to engage internal and external stakeholders (e.g., Board members, donors, students and Coaches).
- A proven track record of working closely with executive leadership, Board members and key stakeholders. Experience building diverse teams, and the ability to work independently or collaboratively to maximize output and camaraderie.
- A track record of strategic innovation with an ability to generate new ideas and implement solutions to complex problems, while simultaneously assessing and optimizing existing programs.
- Authentic presence, exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, and a customer service orientation.
- Ability to balance strategy and execution with a ‛do what it takes' attitude.
- Excellent organization skills, with experience working in a data and process-driven organization.
- Bachelor's degree required
Compensation and benefits:
Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.
Let's Get Ready is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds.