If you are passionate about helping young children reach their potential, then Strong Start® Charitable Organization has an exciting opportunity for you. We are dedicated to helping young children learn to read and creating lifelong readers. This essential life skill is the great enabler to learning and future success in school and in life. As our Director of Development & Communications, you will be responsible for designing, leading, growing and implementing all fundraising and donor relation efforts for the organization. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Strong Start, you will play a key role in strategy development and execution for Strong Start’s future growth. We are an organization that is growing our programs and our impact as we expand to new communities in Ontario! It is an exciting time to join our team of inspired, talented professionals.

Reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer, the Director of Development & Communications will originate and implement strategies and tactics to grow funding from all sources, including existing and new individual donors, public and private foundations, corporate donors and sponsors, fundraising events, and targeted grant applications. This position has direct responsibility for the achievement of budgeted revenue goals and is expected to effectively communicate and coordinate development activities across the organization. The Director of Development & Communications will be based out of Waterloo Region and may expect support from team members toward the achievement of donor and sponsor development, objectives, ongoing donor stewardship and promotion of the program within Ontario.

The Director of Development & Communications will be a highly successful and credible fundraising expert with a minimum of 10 years of related experience. A current Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation is an asset. The successful candidate will have an excellent track record of achievement across fund development areas including special events, sponsorships, annual fundraising, major gifts and stewardship activities. With a dynamic approach to work, the Director of Development & Communications will be an energetic, responsible, self-starter who sets goals and works hard to achieve them.

With an authentic passion for literacy, the Director of Development & Communications will strive to strengthen relationships with key donors, stakeholders, and strategic partners alike. The new Director of Development & Communications will leverage Strong Start’s strong brand and identity and translate program strengths and impact into meaningful donor engagement opportunities.

You will be highly organized with an incredible eye for detail and have excellent time management and project planning skills. You will work well under pressure and tight deadlines when needed and be able to prioritize quickly and effectively. You will love the feeling you get from leading initiatives and helping develop the skills of the other members of our fundraising team. You will enjoy building relationships with your team members and with Strong Start’s valued, external stakeholders. You welcome opportunities to work collaboratively with others and enjoy tasks where you can work independently.

Key Responsibilities:

Strategic Development

  • Build and implement the organization’s fundraising strategy to achieve revenue/donation goals (includes direct asks, grant applications, annual giving campaigns, fundraiser events and ongoing individual, corporate and foundation development efforts)
  • Create and implement an annual development plan to support the annual budget and in collaboration with the Chief Executive Officer
  • Lead prospecting and cultivation efforts for new donors, corporate sponsorships, and foundation funding opportunities
  • Retain and grow relationships and funding from existing individual and corporate donors and foundations, both through personal efforts as well as through coordination with other staff and organization leaders
  • Represent Strong Start as the face of the organization at marketing, speaking and fundraising engagements within Ontario and other areas as required
  • Lead and implement long term individual donor retention/stewardship plan
  • Lead Strong Start’s marketing team to promote programs and impact to drive fundraising and awareness of the program
  • Manage accountability reporting for grants awarded and received
  • Work with Chief Executive Officer to inspire and support Board members to assist in the expansion of fundraising commitments
  • Collaborate with Strong Start staff to ensure seamless coordination of fundraising efforts with ongoing marketing and communications initiatives including engaging local and major national media


  • Annual Campaign and Individual Giving
  • Prospect, cultivate and solicit donors at all levels to meet targets
  • Implement Board and major individual giving components
  • Oversee the development and maintenance of donor acknowledgement procedures
  • Ensure effective systems and accurate donor records and reports are maintained, and provide analysis
  • Provide leadership in developing donor retention strategies
  • Strong collaboration with the Development & Communications team for identification and cultivation of donors, and to develop conversion and activation programs for each
  • Cultivate, solicit, and follow up with key planned giving and foundation giving prospects and their legal advisors and financial planners
  • Develop understanding of target donor base and offer unique experiences to attract new donors
  • Implement and oversee programs to acknowledge and thank donors on an ongoing basis
  • Attend external events throughout the year and as needed

Corporate and Foundation Fundraising

  • Develop corporate and foundation funding strategies and prospect management
  • Responsible and accountable for timely application, reporting and compliance with grant requirements
  • Responsible and accountable for fulfilment of sponsorship benefits
  • Collaborate with Finance in the preparation of grants, proposals, deeds of gifts, and all significant contracts
  • Implement and oversee ways to provide reports and thank corporate sponsors

Public Funding

  • Establish budget goals
  • Ensure timely and appropriate grant requests to public funders, and other local municipalities; ensure compliance and timely reporting to same
  • Supporting the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Program, establish and maintain relationships with public funders, develop and implement advocacy, public information, and government relations strategies

Volunteer and Staff Leadership

  • Lead, mentor, and supervise Development & Communications staff to inspire success
  • Develop performance plans based on metrics and industry best practices
  • Evaluate, hire, and lead Development & Communications staff on an ongoing basis
  • In collaboration with other departments as appropriate, identify training requirements for Development & Communications staff and where appropriate, provide or provide access to training
  • Cultivate, recruit, and motivate the Board of Directors fundraising efforts
  • Attend meetings and report regularly to the Board of Directors

Administrative and Financial Accountabilities

  • Create, manage, and monitor the annual development budgets and cash flow projection in collaboration with the Chief Executive Officer and Finance department
  • In collaboration with the Senior Leadership Team, develop and monitor department expense plans; set and achieve annual goals
  • Provide timely and reliable information to Finance to ensure accuracy of projections
  • Collaborate with Finance on tax receipting requirements for special events and individual giving to ensure compliance with CRA
  • As appropriate, create reporting templates in collaboration with the Senior Leadership Team that support analysis and decision-making on a timely basis
  • Adhere to the Entrepreneurial Operating System™(EOS) used by Strong Start to manage strategic direction, goal setting and tracking, meeting management, and day-to-day operations
  • Assure legality and maintain confidentially of all solicitations


  • University or College degree/diploma
  • 10+ years’ experience in a senior fundraising role including fund development planning, and donor relations
  • Certified Fund Raising Executive designation an asset
  • A member in good standing of the Association of Professional Fundraisers Canada would be an asset
  • Proven success in annual fundraising including annual events, grants, sponsorship, individual giving, and other gift solicitation strategies
  • Experience in prospect development and management with a record of excellence in stewardship
  • Significant experience with fundraising systems, structures and procedures including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and donor management software; experience in Keela is an asset
  • Proven strong leadership skills and supervisory experience working with development staff providing quality training and education to them as well others in our organization (e.g., non-development staff, volunteers, and Board members)
  • Compelling communicator to inspire the confidence and trust of donors, volunteers, staff, and Board members
  • Proven track record of donation solicitation
  • Incredibly organized, self-motivated, with great attention to detail
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including experience in grant-writing, report writing and formal correspondence that can be customized in a variety of ways for specific audiences and used to provide oversight and editing for other Development & Communications Team members
  • Skilled in designing and delivering inspiring, engaging public presentations
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including diplomacy, tact, and teamwork
  • Flexibility and ability to effectively manage multiple tasks with solid planning skills and use of good judgment
  • Ability to prioritize time, work, and projects efficiently, working well under pressure and with minimal supervision
  • Thrives in a fast-paced work environment, maintains a positive frame of mind, and sets an example of professionalism for other team members by living our Core Values
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Highly skilled in Microsoft Office Suite (Power Point, Excel, Word, Office 365)
  • Experience and oversight of digital marketing strategy and tactics as they relate to development
  • An understanding of and commitment to confidentiality including demonstrated ability handling sensitive confidential information in all formats
  • A valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle is required
  • Some travel is required to meet with stakeholders and attend special events
  • Available to work occasional evenings or weekends at special events and meetings
  • Must be able to safely lift 30 lbs.

This is a full-time role working approximately 40 hours per week with some additional work required on evenings and weekends, periodically. The work location is at our National Program Deployment Centre in Waterloo. There will be times you will work from different locations including but not limited to schools, businesses, community centres and other local locations in Ontario for fundraising and public relations activities, and any other special events.

Working from home on occasion with permission is subject to our Work-From-Home Policy.

Remuneration: Salary range $80,000 to $90,000. Salary & Benefits (Group Insurance & Retirement).
Strong Start is committed to an inclusive selection process to attract candidates representing the diversity of the children and families we serve. Strong Start is an equal opportunity employer and accommodations are available during all phases of the recruitment process. We ask that any applicants requiring accommodations make their needs known in advance.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, July 31, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. EST or until a suitable candidate is found. Please follow the instructions to apply and include a cover letter along with your resume.

We thank you in advance for your interest. Only those invited for an interview will be contacted. To learn more about Strong Start, we invite you to visit our website.


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Salary range $80,000 to $90,000. Salary & Benefits (Group Insurance & Retirement). Strong Start is committed to an inclusive selection process to attract candidates representing the diversity of the children and families we serve. Strong Start is an equal opportunity employer and accommodations are available during all phases of the recruitment process. We ask that any applicants requiring accommodations make their needs known in advance.

How to Apply

Please apply here. APPLICATION DEADLINE:  Monday, July 31, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. EST or until a suitable candidate is found.

About Strong Start Charitable Organization

Strong Start® Charitable Organization is a registered Canadian charity that helps children learn to read. Our programs involve working with children directly in addition to providing resources for families to support the development of strong literacy skills. We work through partnerships with schools, community centres, educators, and volunteers to create lifelong readers. Together, we are helping young children reach their potential and strengthening communities.