Director of External Affairs

Christopher House

Christopher House (CH) is searching for a Director of External Affairs to lead the organization’s fundraising efforts and communication plans. This person will provide leadership for Christopher House’s cultivation and solicitation efforts among its top-tier individual donors, including work to secure major gifts in support of annual operations.

Christopher House’s current strategic plan, designed to build on our innovative model to close the opportunity gap for at-risk children and families, includes priorities to invest in best in class talent and build on our organizational commitment to social justice, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

With a mission to develop independent, creative, lifelong learners, our family of schools build a community of students, teachers, and parents committed to excellence, achievement and perseverance, respect and compassion, and equality of opportunity.

Christopher House partners with parents to provide a continuum of education for students from birth through high school, as well as immersive family supports that help parents create stable, self-sufficient families. We operate accredited early learning, elementary, and out of school time programs grounded in research-based curricula and high-quality instruction.


Children and families thrive when:

  • Education begins at birth and continues throughout life, with parents as a child’s first teacher; 
  • Home environments nurture literacy, achievement, and children’s success; 
  • Parents have high standards and set high expectations for themselves, their children, and children’s schools; 
  • Professionally trained teachers know their students as individuals; 
  • Evaluations and program improvements are data driven; 
  • Parents and staff work together to continuously evaluate and improve programming; 
  • Education includes the development of creativity and perseverance and is multi-disciplinary to foster each child’s unique strengths and interests; 
  • Developing independent, creative, life-long researchers, education must include curriculum designed to help scholars develop socially and emotionally as well as cognitively; 
  • Diversity is celebrated and explored so that learners develop broad perspectives on life and learning; and 
  • Parents and caregivers support their children financially and emotionally.

Position Details

Director of External Affairs
Chicago Illinois
Chicago, IL

Position Responsibilities:

In partnership with the CEO lead the development team to achieve and expand revenue for Christopher House through the creation and implementation of a comprehensive annual Development Plan to raise $2 million.

Individual Giving + Board Management

  • Provide strategic direction and management of the organization’s annual fund and major giving program, crafting strategic plans for solicitation, encouraging donor acquisition, retention, upgrade and effective stewardship. 
  • As appropriate, collaborate with the CEO on key corporate and foundation solicitations for annual support. 
  • Maintain relationships and a representational role with donor and professional groups including serving as the key liaison to special Board subcommittees, including the Board Development and External Affairs Committee. 
  • In collaboration with the CEO and key Board leaders, create and support the implementation of a plan to drive Board engagement and recruitment, cultivating relationships with key donors and leaders as a precursor to Board membership. 
  • Serve as the staff liaison for the Board’s External Affairs Committee.

Marketing and Communications

  • Supervise communications, marketing and public relations efforts in ways that support Christopher House and its annual and campaign fundraising, leveraging opportunities to promote the organization and expand its visibility and strong reputation. 
  • Ensure effective messages and timely creation of all communications materials, including newsletters, annual reports, eblasts, website updates, social media, press releases and other materials designed to educate and engage donors. 
  • Ensure all messaging reflect Christopher House’s strength-based approach and prioritizes respect and confidentiality of our scholars and families. 
  • Interpret Agency mission and function to the community, to other agencies, funding sources, the Board, clients served through direct Agency involvement and through public relations programs. 
  • As a member of the Leadership Team, support communication needs of the team related to all staff messages and other internal communications.

Special Events

  • With the External Affairs team members, oversee the planning of Christopher House’s Annual Benefit, our signature fundraising event, and strategically grow event revenue year over year. 
  • Oversee the implementation of donor cultivation events.

Community Relations

  • Provide support for the Board of Directors, offering effective and timely staffing to volunteers as they identify, cultivate and solicit current and potential major donors in support of Christopher House’s annual operations and capital campaign. 
  • Attend Christopher House events, dinners and meetings, when appropriate, to enhance external relations with stakeholders and support the growth and expansion of meaningful donor relationships. 
  • Attend meetings of the Christopher House Board of Directors.


  • Minimum 10 years of post-college work experience, at least 5 years in a development/advancement role, and at least 3 years in a management position in development. 
  • Proven success in managing a comprehensive set of development functions include fundraising goals from a variety of sources and strategies, including capital campaigns, major gifts, annual fund, institutional giving, planned giving and special events. 
  • Ability to write persuasively, clearly and concisely, blending information from multiple sources. 
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to motivate and build a rapport with a variety of stakeholders. 
  • Experience developing and implementing communications strategies including fundraising campaigns, social media campaigns, and internal communication campaigns 
  • Supervisory and budgeting experience. 
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and fundraising software, preferably Raiser’s Edge and Raiser’s Edge NXT. 
  • Ability to work outside standard work hours, attending fundraising events, Board meetings, and other meetings and events.


  • Bachelor’s degree required 
  • Master’s degree or advanced fundraising certification is preferred.

« Back