Manager, Strategic Partnerships

Posted by
Chicago Cares Inc
Chicago, IL
Published 16 days ago

Organization Overview

Established in 1991, Chicago Cares mobilizes volunteers to build a stronger, more unified Chicago. In 2017, Chicago Cares launched an exciting new Community Investment Strategy to use impact volunteerism as a catalyst for community change efforts on Chicago’s south, west, and northwest sides where the infusion of resources and capacity could be transformational. 

Given the daunting challenges facing Chicago today and a renewed emphasis in the non-profit and corporate sectors on impact, isolated acts of generosity are no longer sufficient as we seek to move the needle on large, intractable social problems like violence and poverty. Impact volunteerism responds to this complexity by connecting volunteer service to the civic engagement, community development, and collective impact work already happening on the ground in communities of greatest need. 

Position Overview

The External Affairs and Finance team provides leadership and expertise to guide the organization’s fundraising, stewardship, and public relations, marketing and communications functions, consistent with Chicago Cares’ mission, strategic priorities, and the needs of our volunteers, donors, and partners. The team leads organizational efforts to ensure a strong, healthy, and innovative development and brand strategy to deepen engagement and increase support for a stronger, more unified Chicago.

Through the External Affairs and Finance team, Chicago Cares:

·        Raises sufficient revenue, including corporate donations, individual donations, and foundation and government grants, to ensure the organization’s strength and stability; and

·        Leads marketing, public relations, communications, and special events to maintain a strong brand presence in the community.

The Manager, Strategic Partnerships will play a key role on the Chicago Cares’ External Affairs team, helping to strategically cultivate and steward stakeholders and donors to deepen engagement and increase support. The Manager, Strategic Partnerships is responsible for cultivation and stewardship of relationships with various donors, with the primary focus on corporate, foundation, and government donors. Through their work, the Manager, Strategic Partnerships influences and inspires stakeholders and donors to support and engage Chicago Cares’ movement to deepen and expand community-driven service and philanthropy. 

The Manager, Strategic Partnerships works both internally with colleagues and externally with stakeholders and donors to align Chicago Cares’ revenue to best in class community-driven service, learning and engagement. Their work builds the power, recognition and reach of Chicago Cares’ brand and expands its influence and support among donors. To that end, The Manager will focus on personal contact with current and prospective donors, conducting extensive e-mail, phone, and in-person communication to deepen engagement and increase support. In addition, the Manager will also be responsible for proposal development, data entry, donor CRM database support, event support, and other development tasks, as assigned. 

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

·        Relationship and Account Management:

o   Donor Strategy: Participate in planning, strategy setting, and reporting on annual projections for donor partnerships.

o   Donor Cultivation, Solicitation, and Stewardship: Manage a portfolio of existing donor relationships. Strategically communicate Chicago Cares’ impact to prospective and current donors, in order to move them towards greater civic investment. Steward partners through the entire continuum of experiences with Chicago Cares, including efforts to ensure all articulated social responsibility, philanthropy, and volunteerism goals are met through Chicago Cares’ initiatives.

o   Donor Management and Accountability: Ensure donor needs are met through the entire lifecycle of their relationship with Chicago Cares, including producing high-quality proposals, ensuring accurate data entry and CRM database management, project managing volunteer engagements, and reporting on impact and invoicing.   

§ Corporate Donor Process Management: Develop, implement, innovate on, and lead campaigns to solicit and steward corporate donors. Conduct prospect research, prepare high-quality proposals for corporate partners, schedule and lead phone and in-person meetings with donors to grow commitment to organization, increase giving, and provide ongoing touch points, secure gifts according to annual fundraising goals, secure in-kind gifts according to organizational need.

§ Foundation and Government Donor Management: Develop and prepare high-quality grant applications, solicitation materials, and funder reports for Chicago Cares. Lead the grant application process and timeline.

o   Interdepartmental Collaboration: Support and lead interdepartmental teams as they relate to projects pertaining to donor strategy. Co-manage project teams assigned to the execution of donor projects, work closely with program staff to coordinate project planning efforts, and ensure donor needs are met. Ensure the health and relevance of donor engagements and manage standards collaboratively with other managers. Participate in cross-departmental committees and task forces, as requested and appropriate.

o   CRM Data Management: Enter and track information on donors and build and generate reports within the donor CRM database (Salesforce) that support effective strategy and relationship management.

·        Outreach, Prospecting, and External Relations

o   Donor Prospecting: Identify opportunities for donor cultivation. Build network of prospective donors and innovate and implement on campaigns to solicit and steward prospective donors. Attend and represent Chicago Cares at various networking opportunities, as identified.

o   Revenue and Business Development: Participate in efforts to align fundraising and development activities to strategy and best and emerging practices in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Corporate Social Responsibility and Anti-Racism, developing the resources and relationships needed to do so. Influence corporate and institutional partners to align service opportunities to best-in-class community-driven service and philanthropy.

o   Positionality and Growth: Know Chicago Cares’ constituents and environment and steward, cultivate, and grow the number of donors and partners that volunteer with and invest in Chicago Cares. Develop an awareness of the landscape in our city and sectors that afford deeper engagement, particularly among foundations, corporations, and government.

o   Influence and Expertise: Continuously develop expertise on current trends in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Corporate Social Responsibility and Anti-Racism staying up-to-date, conducting research, networking with leaders in the field, and actively participating in the life of the foundation, corporate and government sector.

·        Project and Team Management

o   Quality Assurance: Ensure the quality of donor strategy, projects, and solutions. Conform activities to the organizations’ policies and practices, processes and structures to best and emerging practices and the impact story. Participate in the organization’s continuous quality improvement processes around donor strategies and technology integrations.

o   Operational Management: Manage activities in line with the organization’s budget, including regularly reviewing expense reports and providing projections for annual budgeting and reforecasts to departmental leadership. Participate in efforts to set annual revenue projections, conduct regular reforecasts and help raise the revenue goal of the annual budget.

o   Team Management: Provide supervision and management support to consultants, contract employees, interns and volunteers, including recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and training, coaching and mentoring, and performance management. When working with consultants, ensure the deliverable meets expectations and hold consultants accountable to meeting expectations and deadlines. Cultivate the team though supervision consistent with Chicago Cares’ supervision philosophy and strategic objectives.

o   Team Resourcing and Troubleshooting: Resource others to advance donor strategy, inclusive of designing evaluation and feedback loops, problem-solving and escalating, and training staff.


·        Organizational Leadership

o   Advance brand identity by reinforcing strategic messages and organizational values.

o   Ensure the economic viability of activities.

o   Participate in, support and steward fundraising activities and events.

o   Contribute to and execute on strategic vision and plans.

o   Represent Chicago Cares at external functions, including local, regional, and national forums on service and volunteerism.

o   Participate in cross-departmental leadership activities. Develop a strong, responsive and collaborative relationship with departmental leadership across the organization to more effectively align operational priorities to the needs of other departments.  

o   Provide support for large projects and special events, including event planning and implementation assistance.

Complete other duties as assigned.

Competencies Needed

·        The ability to cultivate relationships and prospects over a long horizon and effectively close.

·        Cultural competence, a commitment to advancing equity and the practice of anti-racism.

·        Strong relationship development and management to ensure, when exposed to tension, relationships with partners, donors, vendors and bureaucrats persist.

·        Cooperation and collaboration to align programs, external affairs and finance, and operations functions.

·        Accountability, transparency and candor, a willingness to say and hear no, to take feedback productively and engage productive conflict.

·        Strategy, influence and negotiation as connector, advisor, pusher, and strategic risk-taker.

·        Power fluency and analysis and competitive analysis and ability to benchmark, plan, and forecast.

·        Public speaking and public relations.


·        A 2-year proven track record in donor relations, sales, marketing, and/or fundraising.

·        Outstanding relationship building and networking skills and demonstrated success building and sustaining donor relationships in person, on the phone, and virtually.

·        Emerging expertise in messaging and donor engagement, and geographic expertise specific to Chicago and metro region market and social impact considerations.

·        Demonstrated commitment to service, civic engagement and/or social justice. Desire to support and nurture programs that connect people, communities, and causes.

·        Ease and experience working with individuals and groups from diverse cultural, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds. Ability to practice creativity and flexibility.

·        Ability to take initiative, work independently, meet deadlines, and handle multiple projects in a rapidly changing, agile environment – including interruptions and adjustments to priorities.

·        Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills with ability to make effective oral presentations to large and small groups and write clearly and persuasively. 

·        Excellent collaboration skills, including the ability to navigate conflict, hold others accountable productively, delegate effectively and structure group processes.

·        Excellent PC and desktop application skills, including Microsoft Suite, Office 365, SharePoint and Teams. Experience with Salesforce preferred.

·        Ability to maintain a flexible schedule that may require work outside of traditional hours, including the ability to work occasional evenings and weekends.

·        Ability to adjust to various physical and environmental conditions as the position may require (computer work, sitting or standing for long periods of time, etc.).

Organization Overview

Established in 1991, Chicago Cares mobilizes volunteers to build a stronger, more unified Chicago. In 2017, Chicago Cares launched an exciting new Community Investment Strategy to use impact volunteerism as a…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Professional Level


At least USD 56,000
Salary is commensurate with experience, with a base rate of $56,000.


A unique opportunity to build a stronger, more unified Chicago. An outstanding chance to partner with our senior leadership. Icing on the cake? A competitive compensation package including salary, health, 401(k) and paid-time-off benefits.

A unique opportunity to build a stronger, more unified Chicago. An outstanding chance to partner with our senior leadership. Icing on the cake? A competitive compensation package…


Work must be performed in or near Chicago, IL
Associated Location
Chicago, IL, USA

How to Apply

Send cover letter and resume to Please put Manager, Strategic Partnerships in the subject line.

Send cover letter and resume to Please put Manager, Strategic Partnerships in the subject line.

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