Head of Development and Communications


The Position:                            Head of Development and Communications

Reports to:                                Chief Executive Officer                                           

Location:                                   Southern California or Bay Area, California or New York, New York

Consulting Search Firm:         Carlson Beck


CollegeSpring is a national non-profit organization that equips low-income students with the academic skills and mentoring they need to close the SAT, ACT, and college opportunity gaps. Since 2008, CollegeSpring has served more than 19,000 students in the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, and New York, helping them achieve increased test scores, acceptances into better-matched, more-selective colleges, higher persistence rates and greater opportunities for future success.


CollegeSpring equips students from low-income backgrounds with the academic skills and mentoring they need to close the SAT, ACT, and college opportunity gaps.


Low SAT scores, coupled with less assistance in the college admissions process, create a significant barrier to college access for low-income students. CollegeSpring co-founders Garrett Neiman and Jessica Perez learned that that even though many nonprofits and schools were dedicated to college access, SAT scores remained a fundamental barrier without systematic solutions. They created the first business plan for CollegeSpring in a social entrepreneurship course at Stanford, attracted philanthropic support, and launched three pilot programs in the summer of 2008.

With a new CEO recently appointed to lead CollegeSpring, the organization is poised to further scale its program to ensure more students are better equipped to apply, match, and graduate from college. Today, CollegeSpring has a staff of approximately 30, a Board of Directors of 10, an operating budget of $4M and offices in New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. CollegeSpring is funded through a mixed revenue model, as school partners contribute toward the cost of the program.

Members of the leadership team include:

  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Executive Director, New York
  • Executive Director, Bay Area
  • Executive Director, Southern California
  • Head, Strategy and Growth
  • Head, Development and Communications
  • Head, Program and Impact

In addition to individuals, current foundation and corporate donors include: Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Kresge Foundation, William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, ECMC Foundation, Warriors Community Foundation, The Edwin Gould Foundation, Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, Koshland Foundation, W. M. Keck Foundation, Dodge and Cox, PwC, Quest Foundation, and Southern California Edison.

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The organization is seeking a seasoned and motivated development professional to work with senior leadership to drive new revenue, and bring fresh ideas to the development and communications function.

The Head of Development and Communications (“Head of Dev Comm”) is responsible for designing  and implementing a comprehensive fundraising and communications infrastructure, which includes building a revenue strategy, and the requisite procedures and systems to accommodate regional and national fundraising efforts.  The Head of Dev Comm must lead the effort to build a culture of philanthropy internally by ensuring the organization consistently prioritizes fundraising and generates best thinking in this functional area.

Beyond the role of internal lead and strategist for all fundraising and communication efforts, the Head of Dev Comm will also be responsible for directly cultivating and managing a portfolio of donors as well.

Reporting to the CEO, Dr. Yoon Choi, this individual will be a trusted, action-oriented, thought partner in development, enabling her to elevate CollegeSpring’s brand nationally.  At the same time, the Head of Dev Comm will work closely with regional Executive Directors, and program and development colleagues to substantially expand fundraising in the key markets currently served by CollegeSpring. Given the structure of CollegeSpring, s/he will have to be aware of the complexities of coordinating regional fundraising and national fundraising. Additionally, the Head of Dev Comm will be responsible for guiding the strategic communications for CollegeSpring in order to support and enhance donors, and to increase the level of awareness and knowledge of the organization nationally and in the sector.

The Head of Dev Comm will be part of CollegeSpring’s leadership team and will work across other functional areas on organizational strategy, planning, budgeting and performance management. S/he will also directly manage a team which consists of a Communications Manager, a Development and Grants Manager and a Development Coordinator. This team will support regional and national cultivation activities, conduct research, oversee and manage preparation for donor meetings, collect, track and maintain accurate information for the database, communicate internally to staff and Board, and  externally to donors and the media, and be responsible for managing development operations via CollegeSpring’s database (Salesforce).


  • Lead the building of CollegeSpring’s fundraising infrastructure to support national and regional fundraising efforts. Establish organizational systems and procedures which complement CollegeSpring’s growing earned revenue effort.
  • Lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive fundraising vision and strategy to attract new and maintain existing donors. Create specific strategies and benchmarks for corporate, foundation and individual fundraising.
  • Coordinate the intricacies of regional fundraising efforts with national fundraising, including working with each regional ED on developing realistic, annual fundraising goals.
  • Serve as a systems builder, strategist, table setter and thought partner to the CEO and Executive Directors when it comes to regional and national fundraising.
  • Support and prepare the leaders in the field for successful fundraising activities that will benefit the organization and/or the individual CollegeSpring regional sites.
  • Work with staff and Board on the identification and cultivation of donors to support CollegeSpring mission and programs.
  • Lead, utilize and manage fundraising team including a Communications Manager.
  • Facilitate best thinking and generate fresh ideas on identifying, researching and cultivating corporations, foundations and individual donors in the specific regions and nationally.
  • Assist Executive Directors and CEO on the management of relationships with current and new corporations, foundations and individuals.
  • Explore and develop potential new communication initiatives such as E-Newsletter, monthly giving programs, annual report, web-based fundraising, and increased use of social media for fundraising.
  • Support the Development and Grants Manager in collaborating across the organization to produce proposals, grant reports, stewardship reports and other donor materials.
  • Embody and support organizational values and efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion.



  • Ten years of development experience, with a minimum of five years of leadership and management in fundraising required.
  • Demonstrated success in establishing and growing a fundraising operation and revenue; has successfully conducted face-to-face presentations with current and prospective major donors and corporations.
  • Proven ability to manage projects, set priorities, and work within deadlines is required.
  • Experience with successfully launching development efforts in new markets/locations. This might be experience with a development operation that is multi-site statewide or national/regional in scope.
  • A successful track record of working with a founder, regional executive directors and Board members and committees is important.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communications skills, both written and verbal with a track record of being able to relate to a variety of individuals and groups.
  • Professional flexibility to be able to travel to the locations of CollegeSpring programs including Bay Area, New York and Los Angeles.
  • Demonstrated creativity, problem-solving skills, strong initiative and the ability to work both collaboratively and independently.

Education: A Bachelor’s degree and knowledge of development technique are required.


The successful candidate will have or be:

  • A leader who is a builder of systems, teams and cultures;
  • Excellent organizational and planning skills and the ability to think strategically;
  • Flexible and entrepreneurial; enjoys building and growing a donor base of support for an organization;
  • A leader who motivates and inspires a team to do the hard work well;
  • Strong manager who is committed to coaching and developing staff;
  • An organizational role model for responsiveness and follow through;
  • Demonstrated ability to establish collaborative relationships with colleagues in remote offices;
  • Able to balance a variety of activities;
  • Collaborative and positive leader who is willing to roll up sleeves as needed
  • Passionate about CollegeSpring mission and vision;
  • Confident presence — comfortable with and energized when engaging with senior and influential Board and community members.
  • Respectful of CollegeSpring fundamentals that contribute to successful programs while engendering future success via creativity and innovation;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills as a passionate and persuasive communicator; and
  • Demonstrated flexibility and adaptability to changing circumstances


A competitive compensation package, including a comprehensive benefits package, will be offered, commensurate with experience.


For additional information regarding this opportunity, please contact:

Heidi Holzhauer                                                  Claire LeTard

Partner, Carlson Beck                                          Principal, Carlson Beck

707.963.1250 direct                                             985.773.3326 direct

415.298.6659 mobile                                           [email protected]

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