External Relations Director

30 Jun, 2020


External Relations Director

Reading Partners DC
Washington, DC

Reading Partners is changing the education landscape. We are a leader in working to solve the literacy crisis in our country by leveraging community volunteers in under-resourced schools. Our diverse and expansive volunteer base provides one-on-one tutoring to students twice weekly, and our program is proven to help children master the reading fundamentals they need to unlock their potential as successful, happy, and confident readers in school and in life. Our people are our heartbeat and our greatest resource; we are all passionately rallied around our mission to help children become lifelong learners by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction that works. Join our stellar team leading the charge to deepen our impact and expand our service. Watch this video to learn more about Reading Partners.


The high level:

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 next  5 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


Other duties as needed. 


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


What we offer:

Reading Partners offers the full package – great benefits, a great place to work and the opportunity to have a glowing and growing career. 

  • We offer a competitive salary commensurate with experience. This is a full-time, exempt, salaried position.
  • We offer a comprehensive benefits package, including medical, dental, vision, disability, life insurance, flex spending accounts, generous paid time off, commuter benefits, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and currently a 403(b) match option.
  • We offer an exciting and dynamic culture, and we commit to investing in and supporting our amazing people to grow their careers with us.

The other things you need to know:

  • Travel: This position travels regularly throughout DC. This position may also involve occasional travel to Reading Partners’ National Headquarters in Oakland, CA.
  • Typical Physical & Mental Demands: Requires prolonged sitting with some bending, stooping and stretching, and eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity sufficient to operate a keyboard, telephone, photocopier, calculator and other office equipment.  Requires normal range of hearing and eyesight to communicate with volunteers and staff. It also requires flexibility to readily adapt to a changing environment.


What’s Next?

If you’re interested in joining our Reading Partners team, please submit the following application materials to our online job posting:

  • A cover letter describing your interest in Reading Partners and how your past experience has prepared you for this role. Please include your salary needs.
  • Resume


At Reading Partners we respect and honor the diversity in our workforce, and we are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Job posted: 2020-06-30