Development Manager

Candidate Profile & Core Values

Spark seeks a Development Manager for our Chicago Region.

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 Executive Director (ED), the Development Manager (DM) serves on the Chicago leadership team and co-leads Chicago external relations, building sustainable funding relationships through corporate partnerships, board members and individual donors, foundations, and public/government sources. As a member of the organization’s development team, the DM also helps to guide and contribute to Spark’s national development strategy and growth.


  • Bachelor’s degree required; relevant graduate degree preferred;

  • Demonstrated superior writing and presentation skills with a strong
    attention to detail

  • At least 5 years of experience and demonstrated success with corporate
    fundraising, grant writing, and board and relationship management;
    o Willingness to ask for and close gifts of $10,000+ and proven
    ability to cultivate, solicit, and steward donors and prospects;
    o Demonstrated experience crafting effective pitch decks and other
    marketing materials;
    o Experience fundraising across multiple channels (cause related
    marketing, workplace giving/ employee engagement, grants,
    sponsorships, in-kind donations)

  • Professional experience in development, marketing, corporate sales,
    corporate social responsibility experience preferred; for-profit experience
    is welcomed;

  • Familiarity with Salesforce a plus;

  • 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

    • 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

    • 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

    • Value relationships and accountability, empowering others to
      achieve superior results.

Core Responsibilities

Under the direction of ED, Co-Lead Chicago Fundraising and Financial

  • Enhance and co-lead Spark’s local fundraising strategy for the Chicago region, in collaboration with Spark’s National Development team and the local development team, ensuring that Spark Chicago exceeds fundraising goals in each fiscal year, with a plan to grow funding in future years. 
  • Ensure a diverse mix of revenue, including corporate partnerships, foundation support, and individual contributions – including local board giving and special events.
  • Serve as principal relationship manager for corporations and foundations supporting the Chicago region.
  • Manage the local advisory board, including execution of quarterly meetings, to ensure 100% of board members meet their annual give/get contribution.
  • Provide strategic oversight for regional fundraising events.


Develop and Execute Strategy to Secure and Build Partnerships

  • Develop effective strategies to position Spark for short and long-term revenue growth including the diversification of the partner industry portfolio and comprehensive solicitations across multiple funding channels (i.e., gift in kind, cause related marketing, workplace giving/employee engagement, sponsorship, grants, etc). 
  • Manage a comprehensive corporate fundraising program to engage local corporations/organizations in supporting Spark Chicago with 1) volunteer mentors 2) sponsorships, grants, in-kind gifts, and partnership dollars.
  • Effectively lead the identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of corporate, foundation, and individual prospects and donors.
  • Provide strategic direction and day-to-day support to the local Chicago team to ensure renewed and increased commitments from existing corporate partners, while broadening the base of support through the acquisition of new partnerships to support apprenticeships.
  • Lead local communication and social media efforts, including quarterly newsletter, social media strategy, and annual campaigns with support from Corporate Partnerships Manager and Development Associate.

Partner on Spark Chicago’s Event Strategy

  • Oversee strategy and execution of signature fundraising and programmatic events, working to achieve established revenue goals and budget targets.
  • Build relationships to create new event opportunities, and manage all aspects of event production including volunteer engagement, logistics, securing in-kind support, managing costs, event promotion, etc.
  • Work with Spark’s national Development and Communications Manager to develop digital and print materials including letters, brochures, appeals and communications associated with all events.
  • Liaise with event committee chairs to coordinate logistics, training, communication and fundraising events for committee volunteers. 
  • Track revenue goals and progress on all events.

Manage Chicago’s Development Pipeline

  • Manage a Development and Communications Associate (DCA) to ensure that Salesforce data projecting revenue is accurate and timely.

Compensation and Benefits

  • 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 medical 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 provides a discretionary employer match. 
  • 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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