National Team

Head of Development and Communications

Candidate Profile & Core Values

Spark seeks a Head of Development and Communications 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 Head of Development and Communications (HDC) will be ultimately responsible for developing and leading Spark’s comprehensive fundraising and donor management process for the national team. The HDC will lead the organization’s strategic pivot to a combined Development and Communications team. This team, under the guidance and direction of the HDC, will create branding and marketing initiatives to raise awareness about Spark and grow our revenue streams


  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s preferred;
  • At least 7 years of senior level experience and demonstrated success in business development and fundraising;
  • Demonstrated success in identifying and securing new corporate sponsors and partnerships, and foundation grants of five figures and up;
  • Demonstrated success with generating increased funds from individual donors (both major donors and annual appeals) through a coordinated, strategic approach. Knowledge of planned giving and experience with online fundraising preferred;
  • Demonstrated success in conducting initial outreach to prospective corporate sponsors/partners, foundations/donors, arranging for organizational leadership to meet with prospects and successfully preparing them for those meetings;
  • Hands-on experience with one or more donor software databases, in particular Salesforce;
  • Experience creating and managing communications functions such as messaging, brand management, collateral materials, website development and social media;
  • Exceptional writing skills, especially for grant proposals, reports and related fundraising materials;
  • Ability to think creatively about how to effectively engage new donor audiences;
  • Strong oral communication, relationship building and people skills;
  • Direct experience working with nonprofit boards preferred;
  • 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

Development Strategy and Implementation

  • Develop annual revenue goals and plans to diversify and increase organizational budget through a comprehensive development strategy to include foundation and individual donors (major donor, smaller-level donors, online, etc.), as well as other appropriate sources.
  • Develop effective messages for new and broader donor audiences.
  • Serve as a member of the Spark Leadership team.


Foundations, Individuals, Major Donors and Corporate Partnerships

  • Lead efforts in identifying and securing new donors at all levels.
  • Maintain and strengthen relationships with current donors to increase gift size, frequency and retention through donor events, social media, online and direct mail streams and informal communication.
  • Oversee the organization’s national grant and report writing, and coordinate the process with relevant staff.


Board Relations

  • Prepare development reports including plans, accomplishments and challenges for CEO in advance of board meetings.
  • Coach, support and encourage the Board’s development efforts.


Management and Administration

  • Coordinate all development activities with staff and track progress against annual development work plan and calendar.
  • Supervise and mentor development and communications staff.
  • Manage and strengthen development processes and systems, including recordkeeping, gift acknowledgments, renewals, mailings and calendar.


Development and Communications

  • Lead an organization-wide development and communications strategy including web, print, and social media.
  • 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.

Compensation & Benefits

  • Salary: Range of $100,000-$120,000, 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 2018-9.
  • 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.


Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with a targeted start date of August 6, 2018. To Apply: Please click here to apply.


Spark is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage applications from all individuals regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, and evaluate all candidates based on merit; we strongly encourage and seek qualified applications from underrepresented groups.

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Please note that unless otherwise noted on the job description, Spark requires employees to be located in one of our operating regions and does not provide relocation assistance.

Please note if you were referred to this position by a Spark employee, board member, volunteer, or partner.