Director of External Affairs

17 Mar, 2021


Director of External Affairs

Open Arms of MN
Minneapolis, MN

Organizational Summary:

Open Arms of Minnesota (OAM) is a nonprofit that prepares and delivers healthy, nutritious food to people living with life-threatening illnesses. Our mission is to nourish body, mind, and soul. In our state-of-the-art kitchen, OAM staff members and more than 7,600 volunteers create meals specifically designed for our clients’ nutritional needs. We use fresh and, whenever possible, organic ingredients, including produce from our own Open Farms gardens. Volunteers deliver the meals throughout the Twin Cities metro area to approximately 2,400 clients, caregivers, and dependents annually, providing nourishment and hope for families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. There are no fees for any of Open Arms’ services. Open Arms is a volunteer-driven organization and is culturally unique in our high commitment to an excellent volunteer experience.

To learn more, visit

Position Overview: This full-time, salaried position contributes to the fulfillment of Open Arms’ mission by overseeing and directing all the external affairs of the organization including all aspects of philanthropy, communication, and public policy. The Sr. Director of External Affairs is a member of the senior leadership team, driving organizational strategy, and supervising the communications department, the development department, and the external lobbyists. As with all OAM staff positions, this position is responsible for helping ensure volunteers and all stakeholders have an exemplary experience during all interactions with Open Arms and is expected to maintain the highest level of customer service to all guests, donors, clients, and fellow team members.

Primary Job Responsibilities:

  • Oversee – plan, create, manage, and evaluate – all fundraising strategies and functions of the agency including individual and major donor gifts, foundation and corporate grants, strategic partnerships, internal and external events.
  • Oversee all agency communications, marketing, media and public relations strategy and execution, ensuring consistency and familiarity with agency brand and voice.
  • Develop and oversee burgeoning public policy program, acting as liaison with paid lobbyist, and setting and implementing advocacy goals.
  • Serve as the primary external and internal face of all organizational fundraising activities, and guide team to increase bottom line operating revenue (both individuals and institutions).
  • Establish relationships with organizational top donors, manage relationships with major donors and funders.
  • Maximize utilization of resources, meet budget expectations (revenue and expenses), and work across the organization to create a culture of philanthropy with volunteers, employees, and the organization’s leadership.
  • Lead external affairs and development team to cultivate and sustain positive, collaborative relationships with Board members, volunteers, community leaders, donors, stakeholders, partner agencies, foundations and corporations, and community-based organizations to advance fundraising outcomes.
  • Work with Communications Manager to develop and execute an annual organizational communication plan that involves marketing, fundraising, events, social media, online, in-building communications, program materials, media relations, pro-active and reactive public relations, etc.
  • With the CEO, work with the Board of Directors to develop and deepen fundraising relationships.
  • Work with capital Campaign Director to collaborate and strategically pivot off successful campaign.
  • Serve as member of the Senior Leadership Team, participating in organizational and operational planning.
  • Analyze and report on outcomes of development efforts for effectiveness and planning purposes.
  • Manage all external relations activities as assigned by the CEO.
  • Greet, tour and orient visitors to the building when needed.
  • Collaborate with other departments on projects, events, and activities.


Expectations for all Managers/Supervisors: Managers and Supervisors are role models for all staff and volunteers and are responsible for conforming to a high standard for work performance, ethics, integrity, collaboration, positive respective communication and problem-solving. Open Arms is a dynamic, high change environment which demands that Managers and Supervisors not only effectively manage their own department, but also work collaboratively with other departments and employees to constantly improve systems and operations.

  • Manage, mentor, and provide leadership to a professional staff of 7 and several consultants.
  • Directly supervise 2 staff who report to this position: Communications Manager and Director of Development.
  • Oversee and manage goals and expectations for direct report(s), assist direct reports in setting goals and expectations for entire departments.
  • With HR Department as a resource, lead the functions of staff management including recruiting, training, and coaching for improved performance.
  • Foster a team-centered work environment.
  • Provide effective training and ongoing performance coaching to ensure staff is meeting the expectation of their position and are recognized for their achievements.
  • With the support of HR, provide disciplinary action when necessary and work within OAM guidelines on when to seek assistance of HR or senior management on employee or volunteer relations issues.


  • Help ensure Open Arms provides an outstanding experience for all volunteers by regularly seeking out meaningful and positive interactions with them and maintaining a positive, friendly, helpful attitude at all times.
  • Assist other department staff members with special events, speaking opportunities and community activities when requested to do so.
  • Support the mission, values, and brand of Open Arms of Minnesota.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • 10+ years of demonstrated fundraising success with increasing responsibility in a nonprofit development function.
  • 5 years of leadership within the development department of a nonprofit.
  • 5 + years of proven experience working with individual donors as well as institutional donors of all sizes.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience.
  • Demonstrated experience in cultivating financial partnerships.
  • Strong leadership skills, with experience overseeing staff.
  • Demonstrated experience working with volunteers and institutional partnerships.
  • Extremely detail-oriented, well-developed organizational skills and ability to handle multiple projects at the same time.
  • Strong organizational and project management skills and ability to manage up.
  • Ability to work successfully both independently and collaboratively as part of a team.
  • Confident communication, writing, public speaking and human relation skills and a personal presence that garners respect from donors, volunteers, and the public at large.
  • Excellent presentation skills, with demonstrated success at external and internal presentations.
  • Strong ability to multi-task and work in high pressure setting.
  • Experience in planning and working within budgets.
  • Ability to think strategically, creatively, and proactively.
  • Ability to create and contribute to a positive team environment.
  • Ability to work under pressure and deal and maintain a positive attitude in stressful situations and during busy periods.
  • Ability to work occasional evenings and weekends.
  • Sensitivity and commitment to diversity and able to work respectfully with wide array of co-workers and members of the community.
  • Valid drivers’ license and reliable transportation.
  • A passion for the mission and values of Open Arms.

Physical Requirements:

  • Able to operate standard office equipment (such as telephone, computer, printer, and copy machine).
  • Able to set up tabletop displays and speak at events.
  • Able to sit for long periods of time and/or work on feet for long periods of time.
  • Able to lift up to 50 pounds.
  • Able to stand, sit, walk, bend, stoop, and twist. Requires full range of motion, manual dexterity, and eye-hand coordination.
  • Able to operate computers, databases, and other software programs.

Reports To: CEO

Compensation: Starting at $100,000 per year

Location: Minneapolis, MN 55404

Hours: 40 hours per week

To Apply: Please submit resume and cover letter by visiting:



This position is eligible for an excellent comprehensive benefits package that includes medical/life/ STD/LTD insurance, personal time off (PTO), paid Holidays and an employer match program for the retirement plan. We also offer and employee-paid dental plan.

Open Arms of Minnesota is committed to hiring and fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce that leverages the skills and talents of all employees in our organization, regardless of race, gender, national origin, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, disability or socioeconomic status. We encourage diverse candidates to apply for this position.

Job posted: 2021-03-17