Associate Director of External Relations - Pahara Institute

Location: San Francisco, CA

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Mid Level


The Pahara Institute is dedicated to identifying, strengthening sustaining and connecting diverse, high-integrity, seasoned leaders who are reimagining public education. Pahara's programs are aimed at improving leadership in education at a crucial point in our country's history when our goal of a more equitable democratic society as well as our changing economy demand dramatically more from our public schools. Today there is a growing community of education reform leaders and entrepreneurs who are spearheading innovative approaches to better serve all students, especially those in low-income communities.



Located in Napa, California, The Pahara Institute is a partially virtual organization with a small and dynamic team of 17. The Institute was launched in 2012, building upon its flagship program, the Pahara-Aspen Fellowship, which was originally created as the Aspen-NewSchools Fellowship in 2006. Today, Pahara’s programs include the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship, the NextGen Fellowship, and regional and topical convenings serving our approximately 650-member alumni network.

The Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship is a two-year cohort-based leadership program modeled after the renowned Henry Crown Fellowship at the Aspen Institute. It is focused on increasing both the strength and diversity of leadership for the educational excellence and equity movement by bringing together senior entrepreneurial leaders in education who have been nominated by recognized leaders within the field, and providing them with an opportunity to step back from their demanding daily work to reflect with peers on their collective and individual work as leaders and change agents.

The NextGen Fellowship is a 12-month leadership development program focused on supporting high potential, emerging senior leaders who bring a diversity of underrepresented perspectives and have the potential to strengthen and shape the future of the educational excellence and equity movement. By identifying individuals who can amplify underrepresented voices, and providing them with high-level leadership development and networking opportunities, this program encourages and supports those who will become senior leaders in the field and helps strengthen the educational equity and excellence movement by engaging more diverse perspectives.



The Associate Director of External Relations will drive the execution of Pahara’s development and communications strategies, design and implement external relations processes and systems, and work with the Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of Strategy and Operations (VPSO) to secure the resources necessary to drive Pahara’s growth and impact. The Associate Director of External Relations will also be responsible for tracking the effectiveness of, and refining, Pahara’s development strategy over time. This is an important new role on Pahara’s management team, and one with opportunity for leadership and impact within a small but mighty team.

Specific duties include, but are not limited to:

Donor Development

  • Refine, improve, document and implement existing development strategy aligned to Pahara’s mission in partnership with the CEO and VPSO, to reach goal of raising $5-6M per year;
  • Serve as strategic thought partner to CEO and VPSO and provide them with knowledge management, communications, and meeting preparation support aligned with development strategy;
  • Assess and innovate on existing internal systems and supports to enable ongoing development efforts, including improving tracking and reporting tools, defining processes, and communicating best practices internally;
  • Manage the external prospecting process by leading research to identify and prioritize funding prospects, recommending tailored approaches, and managing preparation for meetings with key and potential supporters;
  • Develop high impact, expertly-crafted communications tools about Pahara’s work to be used in development efforts, including writing and preparing high quality, highly relational grant proposals and other materials to secure funding.

 Donor Relations

  • Design and project manage tailored donor relations or stewardship plans that consistently engage and inspire Pahara donors and result in continued or increased gifts to fund Pahara’s work;
  • Provide exceptional semi-annual/annual reporting for existing Pahara donors;
  • Ensure accuracy and confidentiality in tracking of donor data and timeliness in donor correspondence.

Network and External Communications

  • Refine and improve communications strategy aligned to Pahara’s mission in partnership with the Chief Program Officer and VPSO in order to meet organizational goals;
  • Develop and maintain a communications plan, and project manage communications efforts across departments, to support high quality communications that consistently deepen and expand relationships and intra-network dialogue and meet mission critical objectives with all external audiences;
  • Develop high-quality, compelling, timely, on-message content across media channels (including website, social media, print collateral, and press releases) and across departments;
  • Develop external-facing communications and style guides across departments, and support teams in maintaining a relationship-building tone in all network and external communications;
  • Track network engagement and surface insights to Pahara’s management team to help increase engagement and impact.



Pahara is a mission-driven organization and our team is made up of professionals with a deep commitment to serving the needs of disadvantaged children through public education. Pahara is a strong fit for professionals who are resourceful, responsible, tenacious, independent, self-confident, who possess strong personal motivation, and demonstrate exemplary professional behavior and values. In addition, the successful candidate will have:

  • At least 7 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising, including specific expertise in individual giving;
  • A deep love of persuasive, compelling storytelling in service of organizational fundraising/communications goals;
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills, and a high level of attention to detail;
  • Demonstrated track record of effective lateral and upwards management to achieve goals;
  • Demonstrated track record of building systems that support sustainable, effective, and efficient relationship building, development and communications efforts;
  • Proven ability to lead projects including extremely well developed skills around organization, project planning, collaborating with various stakeholders, balancing multiple priorities, problem-solving and exceptional follow-through;
  • Proven ability to identify and/or appropriately assess  prospects for funding from individual donors and/or foundations;
  • Strong interpersonal relationship-management skills, including ability to work collegially at all levels of the organization, as well as independently and virtually in a fast-paced environment;
  • Commitment to diversity and a high level of cultural competence;
  • An entrepreneurial mindset;
  • Exceptional integrity, accountability, and judgment;
  • A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, preferably in writing, English, public relations/affairs, marketing, communications, journalism, nonprofit management, public policy or other related field;
  • Proficiency in Google’s business suite, and Microsoft Office applications.

The ideal candidate will also have:

  • In addition to 7 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising, at least 3 years of experience in external communications/public relations (can be concurrent or sequential to fundraising experience);
  • Proficiency in developing compelling narratives in Google Slides/Microsoft PowerPoint for executive-level audiences;
  • Familiarity with video editing programs and ability to create quick and high-impact video stories;
  • Commitment to and experience with the mission of accelerating the achievement of low income students;
  • A Master’s Degree in a relevant field.


Pahara provides competitive compensation and an attractive benefits package including full healthcare coverage for employees, and access to 401(k) accounts with a matching contribution policy.


We are a nimble and partially virtual organization by design, so that our professionals can work where they have built their lives. However, given the close nature of the partnership that the Associate Director of External Relations will have with the CEO and VPSO who are based in the San Francisco Bay Area, preference will be given to candidates based in the Bay Area. In-person meetings may be required up to 4 times per month; these will take place in Napa, California.



Pahara is committed to providing equal opportunities. We serve diverse organizations, and are committed to nondiscrimination. It is our policy to ensure that all individuals with whom we are in contact are treated equally without regard to age, race, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, expression, gender identity or veteran’s status. 

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