Ignite stands with youth on their journey to a home and a future with promise. We are a leading human services organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty for youth. Through housing, education, employment, career planning, financial empowerment, mental health support, and community connection, we help more than 500 youth per year get on the path to reaching their full potential. Following their time with Ignite, many of our youth achieve financial stability and move into their own long-term home. Ignite intends to be the last program our youth will ever need, but the family and place they can always call home.
While Ignite has a long-standing history that dates back to 1976, we continue to innovate. In 2019, we re-branded to Ignite and launched a new, next generation independent housing model focused on increasing youth’s independent life skills through increased financial literacy and responsibility.
In addition to our programs, we make significant impact through our local, state and federal advocacy work, which starts with our CEO and is carried out at all levels of our agency, from the board of directors and staff to the young people we serve.
Today, we have more than 40 full-time and part-time staff as well as 100 volunteers who contribute to our mission, and a $3.5 million annual budget. We are looking for a forward-thinking, values-driven leader dedicated to maintaining and developing an open, collaborative and transparent culture across our organization, while continuing to advance our mission.
At Ignite, we envision a world where all young people have the support they need to be defined by their potential, not their circumstances.
Position Title: Vice President, External Relations & Philanthropy
The Vice President, External Relations & Philanthropy sets the strategic revenue and communications direction of Ignite to ensure the sustainability of our organization for the clients we serve. This leader is an integral part of the executive leadership team and works with management, the board and all staff to define strategies that align to the organization’s vision and direction. This role is responsible for the oversight and planning in the areas of fundraising, communications, public relations, branding, impact data, public policy advocacy, agency funding strategies, and donor & partner engagement.
The Vice President, External Relations & Philanthropy leads fundraising and communication efforts, including corporate partnerships, fundraising events, individual and major gifts, donor relations, and government, foundation and corporate grants. The position also oversees communications and marketing plans and strategies that address public relations, media relations, online giving, social media and other digital communications, key messaging, and storytelling – ensuring that communications and fundraising activities complement the agency mission.
Prepare, implement, monitor a development strategic plan, to include but not limited to:
Develop a long range plan that targets various sources of earned revenue, including foundations, corporations, individuals and government.
Identify revenue and engagement opportunities, including prospecting research for new private and public revenue.
Ensure funding streams (current and planned) align to program needs/outcomes.
Develop strategies to maintain consistent and accurate database management, in all platforms used to connect with external contacts.
Educate and guide leadership and staff on building and maintaining donor relationships.
Lead revenue planning that results in diversified funding streams that support long-term program growth.
Responsible for the development, implementation and management of capital campaign initiatives as required by agency strategic direction.
Develop a comprehensive communications strategy that speaks to all audiences, including: donors, companies, government partners, board members, prospective partners/donors, staff and others as needed.
Ensure accurate and ongoing tracking of various agency data, including but not limited to:
Monitoring various earned and unearned sources of funds.
Ensure alignment of fund data against budget factors.
Provide thorough and ongoing grant communications with Finance to ensure appropriate payroll and expense allocations are applied.
Assist Director of Finance and Administration in preparation of annual agency-wide budgets to accurately reflect expected and prospective revenue.
Monitor annual operating budget for the External Relations & Philanthropy Department.
Supervise, organize and undertake direct fund solicitation efforts, including direct marketing, special events, major donor development and corporation, foundation and government agencies.
Supervise all facets of grant, private and public, proposal development, preparation and submission including but not limited to oversight of:
Revisions and reporting.
Prospect research to ensure new private and public sources that align with mission of agency are continually being explored and pursued.
Ensure that renewals for private and public grants are submitted on time.
Lead staff responsible for the planning and execution of major fundraising events, including, but not limited to, pre-event prospect and post-event analysis of cost effectiveness.
Work with staff to monitor donor pipeline to ensure updates and/or replacements are secured in order to maintain the financial stability of our program.
Serve as staff liaison to the External Relations & Philanthropy Committee of the Board
Evaluate and oversee the activities and performance of the staff and monitor compliance with Ignite Personnel Policies
Communications and External Partnerships
Work with CEO and board to draft external messages and crisis response plan for situations as necessary.
Manage all public relations efforts of agency.
Approve all outside-sponsored events.
Oversee the production of all promotional and informational materials used by Ignite.
Oversee production of the annual report, newsletters and other print or electronic media presentations.
Oversee a comprehensive communications plan that keeps Ignite supporters and partners informed, engaged, and enthused.
Oversee brand awareness and marketing strategies.
Support strategies to ensure the agency “speaks with one voice” in all communications, engaging program staff where appropriate.
Direct communications efforts to ensure that all production, coordination, and implementation of materials for events, program, public relations, and branding are carried out via print, electronic, and social media outlets.
Other Duties as Assigned
5-10 years’ experience in development leadership, inclusive of work with external relations and communications.
Proven fundraising success with revenue in excess of $1M dollars.
Bachelor’s degree in related field required.
Extensive experience in communications, special events management, direct mail, corporate and foundation relations, government funding, individual donor relations, and measuring social impact.
Strong verbal and written communication skills with experience in development and marketing related writing.
Sound judgement and strong discretion in handling sensitive and personal information.
Superior interpersonal skills and ability to project professional competence, leadership capability, and personal maturity.
Ability to present in a convincing and professional manner and to inspire and generate enthusiasm among donors, volunteers, staff and stakeholders.
Demonstrated capacity to work as a member of an ambitious and successful management team.
Reporting Relationship: Chief Executive Officer
Classification Status: Exempt
Ignite (formerly Teen Living Programs) helps unstably housed youth, ages 14 to 26, get their youth back and take the first step toward their journey to a stable home and a future with promise.
Our programs and services are designed to meet the immediate and long-term needs of unstably housed youth. But it’s our sense of community that truly makes Ignite unique. Participants build deep relationships with one another as well as our staff that continue to positively impact their lives long after they graduate from our programs.
Youth homelessness is not a choice, and all young people deserve to be defined by their potential, not their circumstances.
Every individual and their situation is unique. Ignite meets youth where they are, physically and emotionally, and makes a daily commitment to putting them on a path to reaching their full potential.
Every young person who comes to Ignite has a chance at a new beginning, and with each new beginning, we’re building a stronger future for Chicago.