Director of Development & Communications

Job Type

Full Time


Minimum: $80,000
Maximum: $94,000




801 23rd Avenue South
Suite A
United States


School’s Out Washington is seeking a strategic and experienced fundraiser to join our leadership team as our Director of Development and Communications. SOWA is in a dynamic period of growth and transformation and is well positioned to expand our reach and impact. We need a seasoned fundraiser and strong communicator to help us realize the potential of this moment, thereby shifting systems serving young people toward greater opportunity and equity.


About School's Out Washington

School’s Out Washington provides services and guidance for organizations to ensure all young people have safe places to learn and grow when not in school. SOWA is dedicated to building community systems to support quality afterschool, youth development and summer programs for Washington’s children and youth ages 5 through young adulthood, with a focus on youth in poverty and youth of color.

Over our 30 year history, SOWA has spearheaded and led efforts to ensure systems and best practices are in place to promote equitable youth access to quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities. We strive to ensure youth have consistent access to high quality programs that will help them reach their full potential through our four pronged approach: 1) Quality and Training;  2) Policy and Advocacy; 3) Grants to Programs; and 4) Racial Equity.


Founded in 1987 by the City of Seattle, SOWA was hosted and fiscally sponsored by the YWCA of King and Snohomish County. SOWA became our own 501c(3) in 2012. Since then, SOWA has grown rapidly, in staffing, services and budget. Today, SOWA has an annual budget of $8.5 Million, and 47 full and part time staff. SOWA is the fiscal sponsor for two organizations, Youth Development Executives of King County (YDEKC) and SOAR. Elizabeth Whitford, SOWA’s second-only CEO, stepped into her role in 2017.


A Dynamic Moment

Over the past three years, SOWA has helped to lead a statewide initiative to build a model for publicly funded quality training and supports for expanded learning programs, a strategy that continues to gain ground. Last year, SOWA also opened new offices, hired staff, and grew our programming in Tacoma and Spokane, as well as stepped into the role of grant maker for King County’s Best Starts for Kids Out of School Time grants, greatly expanding our role as a funder.

With this new scale and momentum comes the opportunity to revise our strategies for a new level impact. We are uniquely positioned in this moment to more deeply shift youth-serving systems toward greater equity and outcomes for young people through high quality expanded learning opportunities.


The Role of the Director of Development and Communications

Washington state has experienced growing interest among public and institutional donors in building systems of support for expanded learning opportunities. SOWA has pro-actively re-envisioned our development strategy to a focus primarily on private foundations, major donors, and public agencies. Our Director will lead the expansion of this strategy, while also guiding our communications strategy focused on building transparency and engagement of expanded learning providers, youth, and families. SOWA will also build on our peer role as a funder and our systems level expertise on expanded learning to drive a development strategy that includes a robust funder education program, supporting funders to become more effective in advancing equity and youth outcomes through their investment in quality expanded learning opportunities. Our next development leader will bring the drive and expertise to realize this strategic vision.


Primary Responsibilities:

Resource Development and Planning:  

  • Develop and implement a fundraising plan in partnership with CEO & Board, building short and long term strategies to meet identified goals.
  • In partnership with the CEO, develop and implement a new institutional donor education and engagement plan that will support increased, more effective, and more equitable investments into ELO programs and systems.
  • Analyze short and long term giving trends and utilize data to inform development strategies and goals.
  • Develop, cultivate, solicit, and maintain relationships directly with a caseload of current and prospective corporate and foundation donors, major individual donors, and sponsors, and actively support and coach the CEO, SOWA leadership staff and the board of directors to do the same.

Leadership and Management: 

  • Recruit and supervise a high functioning development and communications team, currently with two direct reports and two part time contractors.
  • Lead and oversee the development of strong internal development and communications processes, including oversight Salesforce donor database gift processing and acknowledgements.
  • Contribute to the overall organizational strategy and alignment as a member of SOWA’s Leadership Team.

Communications and Marketing:

  • Work with SOWA’s CEO and external consultants to periodically refresh SOWA’s brand strategy.
  • Develop and oversee the implementation of a marketing and communication plan that will strengthen and advance SOWA’s brand and educate providers, funders, policymakers, media and the community at-large about expanded learning opportunities.
  • Develop messaging, case statements and external presentation materials for funders.


Our Ideal Candidate

We are looking for an experienced development and communications professional, with leadership experience and demonstrated success cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding gifts and investments from government agencies, private institutions and major donors.

They will be experienced working in partnership with donors and foundations around collective action, and maybe they’ve even worked as a grant maker. They will understand the importance of brand and communications strategy, and work effectively with design consultants and communications staff to implement strong communications that engage a wide audience around a common vision and values.

Our next Director will be a strategic thinker, someone who enjoys translating big ideas into concrete action, with experience designing and leading innovative and effective development plans and campaigns. They will be someone who is skilled at navigating and leading change, including implementing and improving the systems and processes that support a high functioning team.

Their commitment to advancing racial equity and social justice will be evident through their actions. They will bring a strong understanding of structural and systemic oppression, and experience in learning and engaging in challenging conversations around racism with colleagues and partners.

The Director of Development and Communications will also bring considerable experience and skills in development and communication:

  •  Minimum 5 years of development experience, including at least two years of leadership experience, in broad based fund development, with a strong track record of securing gifts and sponsorships from major donors and foundations;
  • Demonstrated success developing outstanding relationships with major donors and foundation program officers; Experience working in partnership with funders on coalitions or as part of the philanthropic sector a plus;
  • Strong interpersonal and written and oral communications skills, including comfort networking and proactively building relationships with a broad set of stakeholders internal and external to the organization;
  • Strong ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously and to plan, prioritize, and delegate tasks and responsibilities;
  • Demonstrated leadership in a team setting working with staff, volunteers, and others to accomplish fundraising objectives;
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, maintain self-motivation and persist in the face of obstacles;
  • Strong computer literacy skills, including proficiency with donor database software (experience with Salesforce a plus), as well as in Microsoft Word, Publisher, Excel, and PowerPoint.


Our Equity Commitment

School’s Out Washington is an Equal Opportunity Employer. School’s Out Washington has a commitment to addressing racism, sexism, heterosexism and other discriminatory practices and a commitment to working toward racial equity through undoing institutional and structural racism. Women, People of Color, people living with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals are encouraged to apply.



This is a full-time exempt position reporting to the CEO. SOWA offers a generous benefits plan including ample paid time off, medical, dental and vision insurance, and a 403b retirement savings plan matched by the organization after their second year of employment.


Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

Interested candidates should apply through our employment portal, which can be accessed through our website at

Please upload your resume and cover letter as one document. Cover letters should be no more than 2 pages and should outline how your professional background, experience, interests and passions specifically correlate to the mission and purpose of School’s Out Washington.

Applications received by 10:00 AM on Monday, November 26th, 2018 will receive full consideration. Applications will continue to be accepted after the best consideration date. However, preferential consideration is given to those resumes submitted by the best consideration date. The announcement will remain posted until the position is filled.