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45143 55132

Director of External Affairs

Debate it Forward

Feb 17, 2019 - City Of Chicago

Debate it Forward: Director of External Affairs


Organization Background


Debate it Forward (DIF) is a rapidly growing 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Founded in 2016, DIF specializes in communication and debate programs for young students, students of low income, and students with diagnosed learning or developmental differences. Two years ago, DIF was working with 20 students a week. Today, DIF is working with 400 students a week.


Organization Values


Debate it Forward is guided by six core values:

  • Accountability
  • Ownership
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • “Students First” Mentality
  • Empathy
  • Adaptability

The Role


The Director of External Affairs (DoEA) is a key hire for this exciting growth phase of a young start-up non-profit.DIF is seeking an entrepreneurial, mission-oriented team member who embodies the organization’s core values and supports its mission.

The DoEA will serve as a frontline officer, managing all individual, corporate, and foundation relationships and working with the CEO, COO, and the Board of Directors to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward donors. The DoEA has responsibility for the organization’s marketing and communications, including its social media presence.  


The successful applicant will have relationship development and marketing skillsets. S/he will possess the vision and creativity to increase DIF’s visibility through communications, events, and sponsorship opportunities and to maximize charitable giving from individuals and institutions. 


Key responsibilities include:


  • Create and deliver regular fundraising reports to the CEO and COO and prepare fundraising reports for the Board of Trustees meetings.
  • Maintain accuracy of entire donor database. Perform periodic review and update of database and reconcile periodically with accounting .
  • Process all donations through the database and prepare gift receipts and acknowledgments in a timely manner.
  • Identify new potential partners, including foundations, individuals, private, corporate, school and other organizations to drive expansion, visibility, and fundraising. Organize meetings, events, and seek out opportunities to increase organizational awareness.
  • Meet prospective donors, supporters and partners regularly to develop and maintain relationships; solicit grants, gifts and sponsorships from new and continuing partners. Develop and implement personalized stewardship plans as appropriate.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive communication and marketing plan to promote the organization to its donors and maximize public awareness of its mission, impact, and activities (including managing social media, newsletter, and other publications).
  • Run and manage other reports and appeals as needed – event invitations, newsletter lists, etc.
  • Oversee grant seeking including research, proposal writing, and reporting requirements 
  • Develop and implement a growth strategy focused both on financial gain and customer satisfaction; identify potential clients in the target market and complete appropriate research into the target demographics. 
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive and innovative community outreach plan targeting individual, private, corporate, school and other organizations.

Role Location


The Director of External Affairswill be based in Debate it Forward’s Chicago Streeterville office (541 N Fairbanks Ct) and will report directly to the CEO and COO.


Candidate Profile


A successful candidate will have an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness and interest in working in a dynamic, fast-paced and growth-oriented organization.The Director of External Affairs will have experience within development, having led outreach, fundraising and business development efforts in a complex business environment. To be successful in the role, the Director of External Affairs should have the following professional experiences and competencies:


  • The successful candidate will have 1-3 years of relevant experience in non-profit fundraising and/or marketing.
  • Self-starter who is motivated to develop new and improved processes and work in a dynamic and fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrated success in campaign and/or event management a plus. Exceptional organizational and problem-solving skills with excellent attention to detail.
  • Personable and able to build relationships with stakeholders, including staff, board members, external partners and donors.
  • Able to handle confidential information with discretion, be adaptable to various competing demands, and demonstrate the highest level of customer service and response.
  • A college degree is required.
  • Advanced skills in Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and social media web platforms required.
  • Prior knowledge of donor databases is required.
  • Excellent writing and communication skills required.





Salary is commensurate to experience in the range of $45,000-$50,000. Other benefits include healthcare, dental, and 401(k) and paid vacation and sick leave.

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