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Senior Director, External Relations

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Apr 18, 2022

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College Possible is one of the largest and most successful nonprofit college access and success organizations in the United States. Its proven near-peer coaching model, delivered by recent college graduates serving as AmeriCorps members, provides high-touch interventions that help students from low-income backgrounds navigate and overcome the most common barriers to college access, retention and degree completion.

The College Possible model has earned national recognition: the inaugural Evergreen National Education Award recognized the organization’s leadership in increasing access to and success in college for students from low-income backgrounds. Its model also earns top-of-field results: a Harvard study found that the program more than doubles a student's chance of enrolling in a four-year college, and College Possible students are four times more likely to become college graduates than their low-income peers.

Since opening its doors in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2000, College Possible has helped over 59,000 students become college graduates. The organization has grown consistently and now has a budget of $33 million, more than 140 full-time employees and more than 270 AmeriCorps members nationwide. Our Minnesota site has an operating budget of around $4 million, a team of 10 full-time staff, and over 60 AmeriCorps members.

College Possible has sites serving students in Saint Paul, Minnesota, College Possible also operates in Philadelphia, PA; Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; Omaha, NE; Portland, OR; and has Catalyze partnerships in Minnesota, Iowa, and Ohio.

College Possible-Minnesota seeks an experienced professional to lead external relations for the organization. Reporting directly to the Executive Director (ED), the Senior Director, External Relations (Senior Director) role is an exceptional role for an experienced fundraising professional who can develop fundraising strategies and teams leveraging an existing high profile donor base. The Senior Director will have the unique opportunity to design and hire their own communications and fundraising team along with being supported in their efforts by an experienced National Marketing and Communications Team.

Strategy and Visioning
In close partnership with the ED, translate the Saint Paul site strategies into actionable fundraising and communication plans to ensure the site has the resources it needs to fulfill our mission.

· As part of the overall fundraising plan, partner with the ED and Advisory Board to create a multiyear plan for special events designed to raise awareness; acquire, retain, and upgrade donors; and build a sense of community around the organization

· Implement best-in-class operations and systems to ensure year-over-year success

· Continually refine the fundraising plan in response to evolving economic and philanthropic dynamics

· Conduct network mapping and leads generation with ED and Advisory Board members; guide the fundraising team’s donor research

· Define and socialize fundraising workplans with measurable metrics to ensure clarity around individual and group goals that can be shared with the ED, Advisory Board, and broader team members

· Oversee prospect research, leads list, and current donor portfolio. Identify new individual, foundation, and corporate donors, as well as further develop existing donors capable of increasing investments

Fundraising and Relationship Management
Lead the fundraising team in stewarding our current donors while growing and diversifying our donor base.

· Manage a portfolio of major donors and, with input from the ED, assign existing and prospective donors to team members, the ED, and Advisory Board members

· Actively manage the Advisory Board and ED’s donor interactions and engagements

· Seek new opportunities to raise the visibility and impact of College Possible’s work, mission, and values with new audiences and potential donors

· Supported by an internal Grant Writer, oversee the identification, preparation, and submission of grant applications

Marketing and Communications
Oversee the Communications, Marketing and Public Relations efforts for College Possible Minnesota provided by the National Communications Team

· Guide the National Communications Team in their efforts to produce, distribute print and electronic communications, secure media exposure, and raise College Possible’s profile

· Ensure that our CRM is optimized to foster efficient and effective donor communications

· Build upon existing impact reporting to better engage donors

· Oversee the external relations team in the planning, execution and follow-up of the special events as identified in the multi-year plan

Senior Director candidates will bring passion about College Possible’s mission and excitement about closing the college degree divide by empowering low-income students to access higher education. They will be innovative entrepreneurs with a track record of leading diverse groups with differing levels of expertise through successful plan execution with measurable results. The selected candidate will be an excellent storyteller who understands how to engage and inspire donors. They will also be a fearless fundraiser who has built and maintained long-standing relationships with donors and closing major gifts to generate consistent, sustainable revenue.

They will also bring the following skills and experiences:

· A Bachelor’s degree is required, a Master’s degree and/or CFRE are helpful

· 3+ years leading development and communications teams

· A demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

· Experience hiring, training, and developing staff

· A knowledge of all aspects of fundraising and experience with individual donors, corporations, foundations, and high net worth individuals

· A record of building trust and nurturing collaborative relationships with community members and partners

· Strong organization skills and attention to detail with the ability to prioritize multiple projects and deadlines

· Strong written and verbal communication skills and comfort as the spokesperson of an organization across a diverse audience

· Experience setting up processes systems and using Raiser’s Edge, Salesforce, or a similar CRM

· Demonstrated ability to collect, analyze data and use it to tell a story

The Senior Director, External Relations will work in College Possible’s Minnesota office.

This is a full-time exempt position with a salary range of $95,000-105,000, DOE plus a generous benefits package that includes:

· Health, dental, life, short-term and long-term insurance

· 401 K retirement plan

· Generous paid time off to encourage sustainability

· Personalized professional development and growth opportunities

Relocation assistance is available for out-of-town candidates.
To Be Considered
We welcome a diverse pool of qualified applicants. For each of its positions, College Possible is mindful about what best serves our students, and seeks to hire staff with relevant experience, skills and aptitude, and a commitment to the power of education. To learn more read our Diversity Plan.

To be considered, please visit (insert link) to submit your resume and cover letter expressing your passion for the mission and fit for the role. The role will remain open until filled and candidates are encouraged to submit materials before April 29, 2022.

The search for the Senior Director, External Relations is being supported by a team at NextDeavor. Questions and nominations of potential candidates may be directed to:

Chris Nguyen
Managing Partner

Mikkell Jackson Roeland
Managing Director

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