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, 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 Machelle Denison, Executive Director, the Director of Development 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 will be based out of Waterloo Region and may expect mutual 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 will be a highly successful and credible fundraising expert with a minimum of 10 years of related experience. A current Certified Fund Raising Executive designation is an asset. The successful candidate will have an excellent track record of achievement across program areas including special events, sponsorships, annual fundraising, major gifts and stewardship activities. With a dynamic personality, the Director of Development 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 will strive to strengthen relationships with key donors, stakeholders and strategic partners alike. The new incumbent will leverage Strong Start’s strong brand and identity and translate program strengths 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. As a “people person” 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 also 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 Executive Director
  • 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 leadership
  • 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
  • Work with 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 Executive Director 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 & 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, and analysis
  • Provide leadership in developing donor retention strategies
  • Strong collaboration with the marketing 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

Corporate and Foundation Fundraising

  • Develop corporate and foundation funding strategies and prospect management
  • Ensure timely application, reporting and compliance with grant requirements
  • Ensure fulfilment of sponsorship benefits
  • Collaborate with Finance for 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 Executive Director and Director of Program, establish and maintain relationship with public funders, develop and implement advocacy, public information and government relations strategies

Volunteer and Staff Leadership

  • Lead, mentor, and supervise Development staff to inspire success
  • Develop performance plans based on metrics and industry best practices
  • Evaluate, hire and lead Development staff on an ongoing basis
  • In collaboration with other departments as appropriate, identify training requirements for Development staff; providing 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 Executive Director and Finance department
  • In collaboration with the Senior Leadership Team develop and monitor department expense plans; set and achieve annual contributed 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
  • 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
  • Attend external events throughout the year and as needed


  • University or College degree/diploma
  • 10+ years’ experience in a senior fundraising role including fund development planning, and donor relations
  • Certified Fund Raising Expert designation in good standing
  • 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
  • Proven strong leadership skills and supervisory experience working with development staff providing quality training and education to them as well others in or organization (e.g. non-development staff, volunteers, and board members)
  • Persuasive ability 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 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 considered an asset
  • 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.

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Salary & Benefits (Group Insurance & Retirement)

How to Apply

Please click here to apply. Strong Start welcomes and encourages applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.

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.