Senior Director, External Affairs job with Our Turn


Our Turn activates the next generation of diverse civic leaders who know what is possible for all students because they have built power in their communities through leadership development, grassroots organizing, and movement building. Over the past few months, our work and our members have been recognized by Fast Company, Buzzfeed, Teen Vogue, and more. We are looking for a mission-focused Senior Director of External Affairs to drive the movement forward by securing revenue and developing an innovative fundraising program. The Senior Director of External Affairs will be part of our leadership team and will partner with our growth, communications and people teams to strengthen the sustainability, impact and culture of Our Turn.


We approach our work with the boldness to believe that students have the power to rewrite the rules of education in our country and the humility to know that thousands of people have gone before us in this fight. We know that young people, especially BIPOC youth, have been excluded by policy makers who shape their educational experience and respond by providing transformational leadership development and grassroots organizing experience that subvert traditional power dynamics. Our team is very collaborative and works with urgency, passion and, above all, a lot of joy. We create intentional spaces to build our relationships and set aside time to celebrate milestones, solve problems together, or just share our latest Our Turn swag! We are looking for determined and enterprising social justice activists to join us and continue the fight for equity in education.


Fundraising strategy and execution (60%)

  • Develop a development plan and dashboard that achieves our $2.3 million goal for FY23, with a pipeline for future increases that aligns with the upward trajectory of the organization.
  • Work closely with the growth team and young leaders to identify key operational and programmatic needs, and map those needs with the fundraising strategy and landscape.
  • Work with the Development Manager to manage a portfolio of Foundation and individual donors, ensuring timely execution of all proposals and reporting.
  • Develop a strategy to diversify and expand our fundraising portfolio beyond traditional education donors, including foundations, local donors, high net worth individuals and corporations.
  • Position the CEO to effectively manage presentations and donor relations through research, writing and outreach.
  • Create compelling cultivation and management plans for prospects and donors, and partner with the CEO to manage certain relationships.
  • Partner with the COO and CFO to provide a consistent and transparent view of revenue and cash against our operating budget and expenses.
  • Collaborate with the CEO to shape a fundraising culture within the board.
  • Identify and share donor ideas with staff and young leaders.

Strategic Communications (20%)

  • Collaborate with the communications team to:
    • Develop and execute a thought leadership strategy towards donors, including but not limited to events, reports and stories.
    • Placement of Drive Our Turn at key events and conferences.
  • Work with all teams to identify and distribute programmatic stories to key audiences.

Organizational strategy and culture (20%)

  • Supervise a team including a development manager and scholarship students, and develop individual and team action plans that support the professional growth of all members.
  • Collaborate with the leadership team to design and implement the organization’s strategy, including strategic stories, developing and managing scorecards, and team action plans.
  • Work with all teams to shape a values-driven anti-racist organizational culture, including ownership of certain culture development initiatives.


  • 5+ years of fundraising and partnership development experience, with experience securing donations over $100,000 across multiple revenue streams, including but not limited to foundations and wealthy individuals.
  • Experience collecting revenue for 501(c)(4) transactions is a plus.
  • Significant organizational leadership experience, demonstrated by guiding cross-functional teams towards measurable results.
  • Achievement in developing marketing and communications tactics that advance objectives with target external audiences.
  • Primary mission leader who develops strategies and action plans to serve the theory of change of the organization and its constituents.
  • Strategic and persuasive communicator with the ability to inspire and persuade audiences around organizational strategy, differentiation and opportunity.
  • Experience working in a remote and multi-state work environment.
  • Strong relationship builder with clear unity of purpose and generosity of spirit.
  • Comfort and desire to work across differences and experience implementing inclusive and equitable practices in a non-profit setting.
  • Alignment with Our Turn Student Agenda:
  • Works easily with ambiguity, can change pace quickly, and can start moving a project forward even before all the details are understood.
  • Self-taught who operates with a mindset of growth and curiosity, and who won’t waver until he crosses the finish line.


The salary range for this position is $100,000 to $110,000. A comprehensive benefits package is included with employer covering 85%+ health care premiums. Benefits include: health, dental/vision, FSA, pension with employer match, unlimited PTO.


Our Turn encourages people of all identities and backgrounds to apply for this role and is committed to recruiting a team that reflects the diversity of our student movement (BIPOC, members of the LGBTQIA community, first-generation students). Our Turn does not discriminate against any candidate based on race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, nation of origin, disability, age, marital status, military status, parenthood or any legally protected class.

Shirlene J. Manley