Development and Communications Manager

Candidate Profile & Core Values

Spark seeks a Development and Communications Manager for our National team.

Successful candidates will demonstrate exceptional relationship building, communication, and project management skills, fluency in innovative thinking, and a make-it-work mentality.  Candidates will also embody Spark’s Core Values: being a student and a mentor, working with passion and compassion, committing to collaboration and diversity, aiming high and true, and trusting/respecting each relationship.

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Development and Communications Manager (DCM) will support the CEO in developing and managing Spark’s comprehensive fundraising and donor management process for the national team. The DCM will lead the organization’s strategic pivot to a combined Development and Communications team. This team, under the guidance and direction of the CEO, will create branding and marketing initiatives to raise awareness about Spark and grow our revenue streams.


  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Minimum 3 years relevant fundraising, communications or marketing experience; for-profit and campaign experience welcomed
  • Experience managing communications outputs such as messaging, brand management, collateral materials, website development and social media
  • Exceptional writing skills, especially for grant proposals, reports and related fundraising materials
  • Results-focused, highly organized self-starter who works effectively in teams and independently
  • Ability to confidently manage a high-volume, deadline-driven workload with poise and optimism
  • Sound judgment to troubleshoot challenges independently while also demonstrating resourcefulness to source additional support when warranted
  • Exemplary time management and organization skills; analytical skills a plus
  • Proficiency in Google and Microsoft products (e.g. Drive, Docs, Sheets, Word, and Excel), and managing donor databases (specifically Salesforce experience a plus)
  • Hands-on experience with one or more donor software databases, in particular Salesforce
  • Ability to think creatively about how to effectively engage new donor audiences
  • Legally eligible to work in the United States; no sponsorship provided.
  • In addition, to be successful as a member of the Spark team in this role, you will:
    • Be an independent, results-focused, highly-organized self-starter;
    • Have a strong desire to impact an up-and-coming nonprofit organization;
    • Thrive in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment, operating with a results-orientation and exceptional attention to detail;
    • Have a proactive personality; no work is ‘beneath’ you and you are eager to serve others, rolling up your sleeves when necessary;
    • Demonstrate mature judgment, with a high level of personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness;
    • Have a sense of humor, even under stress;
    • Be comfortable giving and receiving honest, constructive feedback;
    • Value relationships and accountability, empowering others to achieve superior results.

Core Responsibilities

Foundation Relations & Grant Writing

  • Manage Foundation process, including prospecting, grant writing, and stewardship, leveraging Spark’s Salesforce database and guiding the efforts of the CEO.
  • Write all grant proposals, successfully positioning Spark for nuanced funding opportunities and driving increased growth year-over-year.
  • Directly manage relationships with portfolio of foundations.
  • Lead prospecting efforts to thoughtfully and strategically identify new funding opportunities.

Communications & Stewardship 

  • Create unique and customized collateral for presentations, stewardship, and other communications, including anticipating needs and creating new support materials.
  • Maintain external facing brand, including website, social media, and similar projects.
  • Lead brand building initiatives for Spark and ensure consistency and look-and-feel of content across all regions.
  • Develop tailored communications strategies for each of Spark’s targeted constituents.
  • Work with regional leaders to create and implement localized annual communications, marketing, and media plans.
  • Help drive messaging and positioning for Spark’s programmatic growth and strategic plan initiatives, including the organization’s growth story, successes and other key areas of focus.
  • Direct branding and collateral development for special events.
  • Support National Board by preparing meeting materials and assisting the CEO with additional stewardship and follow up as needed.

Development Operations

  • Manage development data in Salesforce, ensuring accurate records and leveraging the tool for stewardship, reporting, and data-driven decision making.
  • Assist with prospect research and analysis in support of Development efforts.
  • Salary: Commensurate with experience.
  • Health Benefits: Full health coverage is provided, including medical, dental and vision no more 30 days after an employee’s first day. Spark covers up to 100 percent of monthly premiums, and a portion of the monthly premiums for dependents. Employee-funded flexible spending accounts for health and dependent care are offered. A life insurance policy providing $50,000 of coverage is also included.
  • Learning Benefits: Spark highly values staff’s personal learning pursuits. Priority is placed on opportunities to pursue your choice of professional training opportunities, including workshops, conferences, and more.
  • Retirement Benefits: For all contributions through Spark’s 401K plan, Spark will match retirement contributions dollar-for-dollar up to 4 percent of total salary in 2017-2018.
  • Paid Time Off: Spark has a unique flexible time-off policy, which empowers staff to collaboratively determine and schedule time off as needed. Spark staff may take time off based on the status of their work- related goals and results within the organization. This policy is part of Spark’s focus on a balanced and healthy life for staff.
  • Non-Monetary Compensation: The opportunity to be an integral member of an energetic, innovative, hard-working and rapidly growing team, within an organization that has the potential to significantly change the trajectory of middle-school education nationwide.
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