Partner with us to implement the EL Education K-8 Language Arts Curriculum
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Senior Director, Development

  • Date Posted
    • 1.21.21
  • Organization
    • EL Education
  • Role
    • National HQ
  • Commitment
    • Full-Time
  • Location
    • New York City proximity is preferred; Remote is an option. Approximately 15% travel should be expected for this position.


EL Education is a national nonprofit focused on making lasting change in our K-12 public schools. We partner with schools and districts in urban and rural communities across America to provide a transformative educational experience—steeped in challenge, leadership, and contribution—that prepares students from every background for success in college, careers, and life. Our unique approach of joining character to scholarship, inspiring students to work together to make positive change, has yielded groundbreaking results. Our approach centers on an expanded view of student success—one that integrates growth in the mastery of knowledge and skills, character, and high-quality student work, and is informed by the latest science of how students learn and develop. It is the foundation of our highly rated K-8 Language Arts Curriculum and school design model, both of which have proven through rigorous external research to significantly improve teacher practice and student outcomes.

EL Education has developed a four-year strategic plan, Advancing Equity in K-12 Education, to guide our work over the next four years. We are setting our sights on disrupting education inequities by realizing the full potential of our approach across school systems. We aim to reach 2.5M students by 2025.

EL Education was born out of a collaboration between The Harvard Graduate School of Education and Outward Bound nearly thirty years ago: founded as a break-the-mold model of school design with character and academics at the pinnacle. Our mission is to create classrooms where teachers can fulfill their highest aspirations and students achieve more than they think possible, becoming active contributors to building a better world.


EL Education seeks an entrepreneurial development professional to help drive the organization's fundraising strategy in support of our strategic plan. EL Education aims to raise $50M in philanthropic support over four years to achieve our goals for impact. The Senior Director will help to manage the organization’s comprehensive fundraising campaign. A focus will be on individual giving: developing and launching a plan for engaging individuals, ultimately managing a major gifts portfolio.

The Senior Director will play a key leadership role on our five-person Development Team, reporting to and serving as a deputy to the Managing Director of Development. The Senior Director serves on the organization’s Leadership Team and works closely with the Board of Directors. This leader must be passionate about improving K-12 public education for all children and be an effective communicator, relationship builder, and project manager.


  • Partner with the Managing Director of Development, President & CEO, and the Board to develop a $50M comprehensive fundraising plan in support of the organization’s strategic plan
  • Partner with the Managing Director of Development to develop a case for support, communications materials, and a multiyear plan for engaging donors effectively
  • Develop and lead an effective individual giving strategy that is centered on building strong, sustainable relationships with diverse stakeholders
  • Set and achieve ambitious annual and multiyear targets for support from individuals (e.g. major donors); lead the development of new proposals for unrestricted and project-based support
  • Build positive and collaborative relationships with a diverse group of donors; engage them with our work through communications, school visits, and learning experiences
  • Create compelling communications materials about EL Education’s vision, priorities, and goals to deepen supporters’ understanding of and commitment to our organization; create and manage a plan for year-round donor communications
  • Research, identify and cultivate high-potential prospective supporters committed to equity; proactively match donor priorities to strategic initiatives
  • Oversee an events strategy centered on experiences that connect donors and prospects to our work, potentially including an annual gala
  • Prepare the President & CEO, Managing Director of Development, and board members for presentations and donor meetings
  • Create agendas and reports for Development Committee meetings
  • Oversee a donor management system, leveraging a donor database, with a focus on continuous improvement
  • Partner with the Senior Director of Institutional Giving to establish a plan for Development Operations & Systems
  • Supervise one Development Manager
  • Build positive and collaborative relationships across the organization
  • Keep abreast of philanthropy news and trends



  • 7-10 years of progressively responsible development experience, and demonstrated expertise in implementing an effective individual giving strategy
  • Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree
  • Proven record soliciting and managing major, multiyear gifts, and building strong relationships with a diverse portfolio of donors
  • Deep knowledge of leading philanthropists in education; experience securing gifts in the education sector
  • Proven portfolio management skills and experience with grants management
  • Experience with budgeting and forecasting
  • Experience with fundraising databases, preferably Raiser's Edge

Skills and competencies

  • Excellent communication skills; ability to translate complex ideas into compelling proposals
  • Excellent research skills; ability to be proactive and creative in matching donor priorities to strategic initiatives
  • Proven ability to manage multiple projects and meet deadlines, with attention to detail
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; you find joy in building personal relationships
  • Ability to effectively navigate a complex organization and synthesize complex ideas
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively
  • Ability and willingness to develop and mentor staff and colleagues
  • Discretion, good judgment, integrity, and a strong work ethic are essential


  • A passion for advancing excellence and equity in K-12 education
  • Commitment to and knowledge of EL Education’s mission and work preferred
  • Commitment to leveraging this role to disrupt patterns of inequity within educational systems


New York City proximity is preferred; Remote is an option. Approximately 15% travel should be expected for this position.


Competitive compensation and benefits package commensurate with experience.


Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Hiring

At EL Education, we welcome and value the inclusion of diverse perspectives of our staff in support of our work with students and partners. We are deeply committed to providing equitable access and lifting up different voices inside and outside of the organization. We enthusiastically invite individuals of all backgrounds to apply.

Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.

Please submit your resume and one-page cover letter online (EL Education Career Page) in MS Word or PDF format. In your cover letter, identify the position you are applying for and how you heard of the job opening and EL Education.

No phone calls, please. EL will respond only to finalist candidates.


Candidates of color are encouraged to apply. EL Education is committed to equity across the organization: in services to our partners, in our workforce composition and practices, and in our organizational culture. EL Education provides equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees and prohibits discrimination with respect to the hiring or promotion of individuals, conditions of employment, disciplinary and discharge practices, or any other aspect of employment on the basis of gender, race, color, ethnicity, disability, or any other factor which cannot lawfully be used as a basis for an employment decision. EOE

VEVRAA Federal Contractor