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19 Jul 2021

Operations / Administration Senior Manager, Development & Communications

Read Ahead
 New York, New York County, New York, United States

Job Description

About Read Ahead

Since 1991, Read Ahead has connected public elementary school students with caring mentors from leading corporate and community partners. During weekly Read Ahead sessions, our volunteer mentors form meaningful relationships with their mentees, and help children to grow their literacy skills, confidence, love of reading, and other skills essential for success. Over 98% of teachers would recommend Read Ahead to a colleague, and our program impacts the lives of over 750 children each year.

The need for Read Ahead is especially urgent in the wake of COVID-19. To meet this moment, Read Ahead developed a completely virtual program for the 2020-21 school year and is continuing this for 2021-22. Combining our 30 years of experience with new technology platforms that include an educator-designed curriculum, Read Ahead continues to match children with supportive mentors for fun, live program sessions that build connection, confidence, literacy skills, and more. 

With the development of our new virtual program, and anti-racism and anti-oppression commitments (, Read Ahead has an opportunity to deepen our impact for students. We are committed to ongoing improvement as an organization, and are eager to take bold new steps to create better outcomes for the students, families, and schools we serve.

Read Ahead provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetics, or veteran status. We seek to build a diverse staff representative of the communities we serve. All qualified applicants are strongly encouraged to apply.

Position Overview

Read Ahead seeks a driven, organized, and entrepreneurial Senior Manager, Development & Communications to join our Development & Communications team. This newly created position will play a key role in Read Ahead’s fundraising and marketing success, working to collectively meet or exceed Read Ahead’s $1.7M budget for FY22.

This position provides a unique opportunity for someone who is eager to take the next step in their career as a development professional, and meaningfully contribute to a small, collaborative, and results-oriented team. This is an externally facing role, and the Senior Manager will drive success in some of Read Ahead’s signature events and fundraising initiatives, including working with our dynamic and successful Junior Board, and valued corporate partners. They will also serve as a key collaborator in building out new fundraising initiatives with a focus on individual giving, and developing Read Ahead’s marketing strategy with an emphasis on social media and email marketing.

This position reports to the Managing Director, Development, Communications, & Operations. They will directly supervise and manage a Manager, Development & Communications.



  • Drive success in Read Ahead’s signature peer-to-peer fundraising events and campaigns, including #GivingTuesday, a board-led annual appeal in November / December, NYC marathon events, and Junior Board events and initiatives.
  • Develop tailored campaign messaging and collateral, support and engage peer-to-peer fundraisers, and monitor and evaluate campaign progress.
  • Participate in calls and meetings with individual and institutional funders.
  • Serve as a thought partner and collaborator to the Managing Director in the development of new fundraising campaigns and initiatives, with an emphasis on cultivating mid to major level donors. 

Donor Stewardship & Relationship Building

  • In collaboration with the Managing Director, design recognition and stewardship plans for individual and institutional donors.
  • Lead annual renewal and stewardship process for corporate partners.
  • Manage relationships with a portfolio of corporate partners.
  • Develop, oversee, and manage service event opportunities for new and existing corporate partners.
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for Read Ahead’s active and engaged Junior Board.
  • In collaboration with the Managing Director, design and execute an annual calendar of virtual and in-person cultivation and stewardship events.

Event Production & Project Management

  • Drives success for Read Ahead in-person and virtual events (including our annual gala, signature Junior Board event, and cultivation / stewardship events) by designing project plans, executing on or delegating work, and monitoring and reporting on progress.
  • Manages all aspects of event production by serving as primary point of contact for vendors, venues, and event consultants.
  • Collaborates with the MD and event committee members to create compelling event  collateral, drive attendee outreach and stewardship, and track and manage guest lists.

Communications & Marketing

  • Manage the corporate grant renewal and reporting process, including working with Read Ahead’s program team to gather quantitative and qualitative data, writing / editing grants and reports, and participating in calls with funders.
  • In collaboration with the Managing Director, develop an annual content calendar for Read Ahead’s blog, social media, and email marketing including newsletters and campaign-specific messaging.
  • Develop compelling social media, blog, and email content by writing posts, selecting photos and/ or designing infographics, and supporting team members across the organization to identify great stories and contribute content.
  • Monitors and evaluates external collateral and social media to ensure that Read Ahead’s mission, vision, and values are well-represented, and DEIB goals are being met.
  • Write donor acknowledgement and stewardship letters, draft content for online fundraising campaigns, and ghost write emails and other communications for board members and Read Ahead leadership.

Operations & Management

  • Be an active and engaged collaborator in Read Ahead’s organization-wide efforts to advance our DEIB goals. This will include, but is not limited to, participating in team meetings and / or working groups, and ensuring that all project plans and outcomes are aligned with DEIB goals.
  • Ensure timely and accurate donor, gift, and acknowledgement information is entered into the CRM database (Kindful), and support the Managing Director with monthly / quarterly / annual financial reporting and reconciliation processes.
  • Collaborate with the Managing Director and Operations Director to streamline data entry and reporting processes. 
  • Monitor donations during peer-to-peer campaigns, ensure that accurate and timely donor lists can be shared with peer-to-peer fundraisers, and oversee corporate matching fund follow-up.
  • Analyze prior campaigns, donation history, and prospect research to advise Managing Director on new areas of fundraising opportunity. 
  • Oversee budget and expenses for specific campaigns and events, ensuring that funds are spent wisely and stay within budget. 
  • Support, coach, and manage one full-time direct report (Manager, Development & Communications). 


Read Ahead General Qualifications

  • Passion for Read Ahead’s mission.
  • Experience with and committed allyship to communities and students of color.
  • Ability to think strategically, understand the big picture, collaborate effectively with internal and external stakeholders, and implement vision.
  • Ease with engaging in open, productive disagreements with colleagues, with a firm commitment to a decision once made.
  • Practices a growth mindset, along with a deep commitment to genuine learning and self-improvement for themself and others.
  • Highly self-aware and reflective with the ability to give and receive feedback.
  • Familiarity, comfort, and ability to thrive within a small, dynamic team.

Position-specific Qualifications

  • Skilled listener, with the ability to understand diverse stakeholder perspectives, and tailor messaging accordingly. 
  • Sound judgment, with the ability to independently manage external and internal relationships with key stakeholders, and ask for help when needed.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to create compelling narratives that advance Read Ahead’s story across a variety of platforms including grants, marketing collateral, donor outreach letters, and social media. Experience with grant writing and/or creating social media content is a plus, but not required.
  • Highly organized administrator with flexibility, strong attention to detail, the ability to both create and improve processes and systems, project-management skills, and a love of problem-solving.
  • 4-5+ years of experience in a nonprofit role (development or marketing strongly preferred), with a desire to take on increasing responsibility and learn all aspects of fundraising at a dynamic, growing organization.
  • Ability to learn & leverage technology to support team collaboration, workflow, and efficiency required. Training on current Read Ahead tools (Google Suite, Kindful CRM, Qgiv,, Later, Slack, Canva, etc.) will be provided. Prior experience with fundraising CRM databases (Salesforce, Raiser’s Edge, Kindful, etc.) and online fundraising sites (Qgiv, Classy) a strong plus.
  • Passion to lead, coach, and support staff to grow professionally.
  • Enthusiasm for staying up-to-date with fundraising trends, and mission-related news.
  • Experience with organizations serving New York City public schools, families, and communities and/or youth literacy or mentoring programs preferred, but not required.

Salary/Benefits: $80,000 – $85,000/ year. Competitive benefits package includes:

  • 90% health and 100% dental care coverage
  • $3,000 annual employer-funded HRA
  • Eligibility to contribute to 403(b) with up to a 3% match by Read Ahead for all employees who are employed on the last day of the calendar year (e.g. 12/31/2021)
  • Eligibility to participate in pre-tax TransitChek program
  • Pre-tax FSA and Vision Plans offered
  • Vacation day accrual based upon employment anniversary date; during the first year employees accrue 15 days per year and after the first year accrue 20 days per year
  • 10 sick days and 3 personal days per year
  • The Read Ahead office is closed between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day each year, and for all federal holidays
  • Remote work policy offered

How to Apply

Please submit a resume and cover letter to Ariel Grace (Managing Director, Development, Communications, & Operations) at In your cover letter, include why you are interested in working for Read Ahead and why the Senior Manager, Development & Communications role is a good fit for you. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications received by July 31, 2021 will be prioritized. No phone calls please.

Bureaus: New York. Job Categories: Full-Time. Job Types: Operations / Administration.