Wake County Smart Start 25th Anniversary logo

Position Profile

Director of Community Relations and Development

Wake County Smart Start


Raleigh, NC

The Organization

Founded in 1996, Wake County Smart Start’s (WCSS) mission is to build the capacity of families and the community to prepare children, birth to age five, for success in school and in life. WCSS works collaboratively with community partners to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of child care, provide preventive health and early intervention services and offer family support services—all delivered as part of a strong, diverse integrated early childhood system.

WCSS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is part of the Smart Start network across North Carolina. The organization receives its primary funding from the State of North Carolina through the Smart Start and NC Pre-K programs, with additional funding received from private grants and contributions.

The Candidate

The Director of Community Relations and Development serves a vital role in the organization, acting as a visionary community-builder and strategic connector, with strong partnership, communication, and analytical skills.

Empathetic, flexible, and passionate about the work, the Director of Community Relations and Development will be respectful of different viewpoints and roles, encourage inclusion, manage conflicts adeptly, and engage in and maintain strong relationships.

The Position

The Director of Community Relations and Development will support the organization’s mission, vision, and values by exhibiting the following behaviors: excellence and competence, collaboration, innovation, respect, trustworthiness, accountability, and commitment to the community. The Director of Community Relations and Development will provide the professional leadership necessary for WCSS to achieve the awareness, recognition and ultimately the resources necessary to take the organization to the next level.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned.

  • Develop and sustain agency brand
  • Work strategically to identify opportunities that advance the agency within the community and county
  • Develop case for support in collaboration with Program Coordination and Evaluation team
  • Develop the story of the organization’s role in shaping the future for young children in Wake County
  • Develop Advancement Plan and fundraising strategies
  • Create tailored messaging to match various stakeholder interest critical to sustaining and growing the work of WCSS
  • Ensure ongoing communications that inform the community of WCSS activities and achievements using various platforms and vehicles
  • Identify and cultivate opportunities for earned media to raise awareness of services, their benefits, and increase public support of WCSS
  • Empower staff, board members, program leaders, advocates and funders with the tools and action plans necessary to advance the system of early care and education
  • Provide talking points to Executive Director, board members, advocates and funders as needed
  • Oversee rebuild of WCSS website
  • Provide research and guidance to Executive Director regarding sensitive communications and conditions affecting the agency

Building Relationships:

  • Strategically build relationships with stakeholder leaders critical to advancement of the agency with a focus on funders (both public and private), business leaders, advocates, and influencers
  • Speak on behalf of the agency to groups and key community leadership to communicate the need, organizational goals, impact expected
  • Represent Smart Start at business, industry, and community events
  • Represent the agency at area Chambers where WCSS has membership, serving on Economic Development and Education Committees where possible
  • Maintain system of contact management and reporting
  • Oversee development and execution of the Better Together Partner Appreciation event

Securing Necessary Resources:

  • Maintain and expand Fund Development systems including development of annual Advancement Plan
  • Lead the organization to identify and adopt specific fundraising strategies for public and private sources and complete grant writing applications in coordination with WCSS departments
  • Provide strategic guidance to Executive Director regarding state and county budgets in context of larger community and political activity
  • Serve as liaison to Advancement committee and plan meetings in coordination with committee chair
  • Provide leadership to ensure fundraising strategies are successfully executed
  • Lead the 25th Anniversary and other key milestone events in collaboration with the Community Relations and Development team, staff, board, Advancement Committee, and community volunteers
  • Identify key leaders and refer their potential placement for committee and board
  • Identify private funding sources and create partnership experiences that advance funding goals
  • Lead the 1996 Society and its activities, including securing of new leadership

Supervisory Responsibilities: Manage and supervise two (2) employees. Carry out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employee(s); planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employee(s); addressing complaints and resolving problems.

Qualifications: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and/or Experience: Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s preferred, and five to seven years experience with a nonprofit organization or a combination of nonprofit and public agency experience. Experience in public relations, governmental funding processes, fundraising and grant writing. Experience in overseeing multiple marketing and communication strategies simultaneously.

Knowledge and Abilities:

  • Experience in building leader-to-leader relationships both in and outside of Early Childhood sector
  • Knowledge of culturally responsive practices and a commitment to incorporating a racial equity lens
  • Experience with multilayered systems of operations
  • Project management skills
  • Public speaking and strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Layout and design knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite and general knowledge of Canva
  • Understanding of design and printing processes
  • Knowledge of legislative and policy development
  • Crisis management skills
  • Experience leading a community committee/Board committee
  • Experience in fund and donor development
  • Ability to work with diverse groups
  • Familiarity with early childhood issues
  • Ability to manage multiple projects requiring extensive follow-up and timely completion
  • Expertise in effective marketing and communications
  • Thinks and works organizationally
  • Ability to think strategically

Computer Skills: Proficiency in word processing, spreadsheet, and database skills. Ability to use email and Internet applications and basic understanding of computer network management effectively and efficiently.

Language and Communication Skills: Strong oral and written communications skills to effectively communicate through reports, correspondence, and presentations. Must be able to make professional presentations to small groups, management officials and the public.

Certifications, Licenses: Valid driver’s license

Safety, Security and Confidentiality: This position requires keeping complete confidentiality of all children’s information and protecting the confidentiality of all service provider files and records.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit, speak, and hear. The employee is occasionally required to stand and walk. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, and ability to adjust focus.

Work Environment: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The target hiring salary for this position is $90,000 to $96,500.

To Apply

Please send cover letter (including a notation regarding how you learned about this search), resume, and contact information for three to five references to:


DEADLINE: Application review will begin May 20, 2022. Applications will continue to be accepted past that date. Early submission is encouraged.