Job Opening: Vice President, External Affairs

The Vice President, External Affairs will report directly to the Chief Executive Officer of Horizons for Youth. In collaboration with the Board and senior leadership, the new Vice President, External Affairs will work to refine and implement a strategic fundraising plan that guides all aspects of the organization’s fundraising. The plan will focus on a relationship-based major gift program and expanded marketing and communications activity for the organization to successfully complete its 25th anniversary campaign and enhance its fundraising capacity. HFY aims to complete the campaign in June 2018 and realize, annually, 8 to 10% growth in fundraising revenue for the next four years, or $4 million. 

The successful candidate will work to expand the culture of philanthropy at HFY and continue the organization’s efforts to build a comprehensive development program that meaningfully engages existing donors and attracts new supporters. This leader will play an important role to establish clear policies and procedures for internal operations and setting measurable short- and long-term goals and metrics to evaluate achievement. S/he will also work to refine HFY’s multi-channel communications plan so as to increase the visibility of the organization and attract new support. 

To be successful, the Vice President will need to bring a record of accomplishment in the area of major gift fundraising, particularly in the implementation of a strategic relationship management system. S/he will establish donor portfolios for his/herself, the Chief Executive Officer, and select development staff while leading a team of five full-time staff and serving as the champion for all issues related to fundraising, marketing and communications. Staff members include the Individual Giving Manager, Strategic Projects Manager (campaign), Development Manager (grants), Director of Special Events and Marketing Manager.

Major Objectives

Within the first 12 to 18 months, the Vice President, External Affairs will achieve the following:

  • Establish trust and confidence quickly with the Chief Executive Officer, senior leadership, staff, and board through capable leadership. 
  • Become a known external “face” for HFY and serve as partner to the Chief Executive Officer and board members in their efforts to attract new donors.
  • Create a fundraising plan that incorporates the campaign to achieve long-term, sustainable growth and allows for effective identification, cultivation, and solicitation of leadership-level and major gifts from individuals and foundations, many of whom attend HFY’s two annual events, On Cloud Nine and No Ordinary Evening. 
  • Lead, mentor, and motivate a cohesive team to achieve and exceed 2017 and 2018 revenue and communication goals.


The ideal candidate will possess most of the following qualifications:

  • A passionate commitment to advancing HFY’s mission of providing scholarship assistance and mentoring support and community building for Chicago students from low-resource neighborhoods.
  • An accomplished record of success in major gift cultivation and solicitation.
  • A minimum of 7-10 years of professional development experience, including proven success leading, managing, and retaining a high-performing development team. Experience in capital campaigns is an advantage.
  • Ability to identify, qualify, cultivate and manage donor relationships in a way that facilitates deepened engagement over time.
  • Experience building trust and rapport with boards and volunteer leadership, effectively inspiring and supporting new levels of engagement with fundraising activities.
  • A positive and authentic approach to relationship-building that inspires long-term financial support and a genuine investment in improving the lives of HFY students.
  • A high degree of initiative and energy; an entrepreneurial spirit and ability to manage multiple priorities simultaneously.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required.


The Vice President, External Affairs will have the following primary responsibilities:

  • Develop a comprehensive operating plan for fundraising, marketing, and communications, which includes a formalized approach to major gifts and expanded communications activity for the organization.
  • Build personal, philanthropic relationships with individual donors and prospects that inspire greater giving and engage new supporters, while using strategic relationship management practices to track the activity.
  • Develop and manage the board fundraising strategy, educating board members about the role they play and supporting their engagement. Serve as a liaison to the development committee of the Board.
  • Represent HFY to the philanthropic and civic community and serve as an ambassador in various public and private settings.
  • Supervise the members of the development and marketing and communications team who are responsible for existing fundraising activities, including:
  • Operating fund appeals, which currently includes e-appeals and a holiday mailing to a donor base of nearly 3,000 individuals. 
  • Foundation giving, which includes management of the grant application process
  • Fundraising events, including On Cloud Nine  and No Ordinary Evening
  • Development-related communications, such as newsletters, press releases, annual reports, appeal letters and other communications to advance fundraising efforts, as well as maintenance of the website and social media channels
  • Donor information, acknowledgement processes, and tracking systems
  • Create and assign donor portfolios for the Chief Executive Officer and Individual Giving Manager; meet regularly with the development team to evaluate and refine cultivation and solicitation strategies.
  • Maintain and improve development systems that include tracking for individual, foundation, and corporate giving, and expanded use of HFY’s eTapestry donor management system.
  • Establish measurable goals and metrics for fundraising activities and results in order to gauge effectiveness.


Horizons for Youth has retained Campbell & Company to conduct this search. The team for this project includes Andrew Smerczak-Zorza, Consultant, and Joey Scheiber, Associate Consultant. To be considered for this opportunity, please send a letter of interest and resume to:

Joey Scheiber
Associate Consultant, Executive Search
(312) 896-8897, direct

Horizons for Youth is committed to the principle and practice of equal opportunity in both those it serves and in its employment practices. Horizons for Youth does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin in its client acceptance procedures, employment policies or in any of its programs or activities.