The Corporate Engagement Specialist is a contract position focused on proactive fundraising strategies and targeted outreach, particularly with new or lapsed corporate funders. The role will be asked to develop new funding and partnership from corporations and organizations to grow and enrich Children First Fund initiatives. The role will create and execute strategic engagement plans with key external partners to increase revenue and/or raise awareness and provide critical exposure of CFF and its fundraising priorities. The Corporate Engagement Specialist serves as part of the fundraising team cultivating an increased level of giving and engagement. They are responsible for engaging, soliciting, and ensuring the stewardship of corporations/organizations that align with the CFF’s mission, vision, values and supporting the strategic plan and goals.

The role will support the organization by executing specific campaign-based outreach. For example: The individual will be given a campaign (e.g. Back to School) and/or an initiative (e.g. Literacy) and asked to develop and support the launch of a proactive strategy for it, which could include, outreach (cold and warm communications), potential convenings, awareness events, other other donor pipeline efforts, prospect identification, advising on collateral and communications, donor recognition and more.

Responsibilities include:
– Develop and implement a strategic approach for the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of corporate donors and prospects in a targeted fundraising area.
– Lead prospect research on donors and philanthropic funding opportunities aligned with CFF priorities
– Expand the CFF team’s capacity to meet and solicit philanthropic funding by participating in funder calls as content experts, leading the design of pitches and proposals, and drafting follow up correspondence
– Contribute to strategy for outreach or marketing campaigns, and project manage effort
– Work closely with the marketing and communications on collateral development, ensuring collateral is applicable for the respective audience, and use marketing resources to promote and support engagement of funders
– Lead event preparation, including managing logistics and timelines, if needed
– Build deep content knowledge in a few priority areas CPS initiatives and/or program areas
– Identify and execute recognition and stewardship strategies for corporate stakeholders, especially a related to campaign/initiatives led by this role

Meeting expectations:
– Weekly Development and Finance meeting
– Biweekly Prospecting meeting
– Working group meetings (1-2x a month per work group, sometimes more when time sensitive launch or event)

Skills & Abilities Required
– Advanced knowledge of all aspects of fundraising, campaign management and donor relations
– Ability to think creatively and navigate large, complex organizations and political dynamics
– Track record of strong leadership and management; ability to set vision, define tactics, develop and monitor progress and lead towards the achievement of collective objectives
– Ability to work on several high-stakes, deadline-driven projects simultaneously
– Proficiency in prospect research
– Strong written and verbal skills that compel donors to action and/or celebrate the impact of efforts
– Superior organizational skills with great attention to detail
– Self-starter who can anticipate problems and develop preemptive solutions in an entrepreneurial environment
– Strong critical and analytical skills
– Ability to work as part of a team, as well as independently with minimal supervision
– Strong relationship-building skills with various high-level stakeholders and institutional partners
– Passionate about making a material impact in the lives of CPS students

About Children First Fund

The Children First Fund: The Chicago Public Schools Foundation (CFF) is a philanthropic organization in exclusive support of Chicago Public Schools (CPS). CPS is the nation’s fourth largest school district with over 322,000 students served by approximately 51,000 teachers and staff. CFF is the strategic fundraising partner for CPS, and its mission is to promote the growth and success of Chicago Public Schools, educators, students, and classrooms through philanthropy and partnerships.

Every student and every classroom deserves to pursue greatness with foundational wellness and academic resources. CFF raises funds where there are funding gaps in CPS and there is a great need for additional aid to ensure all students - no matter their zip code - receive support in academics, physical and social-emotional health, violence prevention, college and career success, and more. CFF also works to provide support that extends beyond the classroom, particularly by supporting families and communities facing adverse circumstances, and promoting safe, supportive, and equitable learning environments.