United Friends of the Children

Director of External Affairs

Employment type
Full-Time, Exempt
28 days ago
Los Angeles

Organization Overview

United Friends of the Children empowers current and former foster youth on their journey to self-sufficiency through service-enriched education and housing programs, advocacy, and consistent relationships with a community of people who care.

United Friends has been an integral part of the Los Angeles foster care community since our founding by Nancy M. Daly in 1979. Our early advocacy efforts helped establish the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and pass the Foster Care Independence Act. Innovations in direct services span from co-founding the first transitional housing program in the nation for former foster youth to the creation of an 11-year education support continuum that follows foster youth from the seventh grade through the completion of a bachelor’s degree.

Position Overview

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of External Affairs will oversee a seven-person external relations team and have primary responsibility for the design and execution of the agency’s branding, communications and development strategies. In carrying out these functions, the Director of External Affairs will work collaboratively with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors to maximize board engagement in external relations activities. 

Utilizing a five day a week full-time schedule between Monday-Friday, the Director of External Affairs will work from United Friends’ office in downtown Los Angeles and frequently travel to various locations across LA County for donor meetings.

Duties and responsibilities

Branding & Communications

  • In partnership with the Executive Director, oversee a comprehensive branding strategy that helps advance agency mission, strengthen internal identity and cohesion and further development priorities.

  • Align United Friends’ brand with the agency’s program goals, culture and values by influencing organizational management and leadership practices, leading internal communications, and creating organizational messages and talking points for board and staff.

  • Direct all marking efforts, including website, newsletter and social media, as well as all fundraising communications related to events and donor cultivation and stewardship.

  • Manage media relations, as needed, for purposes of promoting events or raising the profile of policy issues related to United Friends’ mission.


Community Engagement

  • In collaboration with Executive Director and senior leadership, develop and manage external relationships with philanthropic partners, government entities, advocacy coalitions, civic organizations and professional associations.

  • Oversee development and implementation of volunteer programs, by identifying and developing new volunteer opportunities, building out infrastructure to support volunteer management and providing guidance to advisory and volunteer committees.



  • Direct all development functions including events, public and private grants, corporate partnerships and individual giving.

  • Lead event-fundraising activities in partnership with the Development Committee of the Board of Directors and development staff.

  • Oversee grants management in collaboration with United Friends’ development, program and finance staff.

  • Design strategies for corporate engagement through employee volunteer opportunities and sponsorship.

  • Expand individual giving at all levels by creating new major gift opportunities and launching or enhancing annual fund and online giving initiatives.

  • Implement an effective prospect management system that ensures healthy donor pipelines, promotes donor-centered engagement strategies and maximizes overall giving.

  • Develop stewardship program that deepens donor commitment to United Friends’ mission and services.



  • Oversee seven-person develop team and manage relationships with external vendors.

  • Work with ED and Development Committee to establish development policies and long-range planning for development.

  • With ED and senior management team, determine revenue goals and monitor revenues.

  • Develop and review with the ED and Development Committee all policies related to Development.

  • Work with Development Committee and ED to implement Board policies.



  • Other duties as assigned. 


General United Friends Responsibilities

  • Act as a role model within the organization to uphold and implement United Friends’ organizational values:

    • Embrace program evaluation that leads to excellence and impact

    • Build effective and empowering relationships with the youth, community and each other

    • Create a fun and exciting environment that inspires learning and innovation

    • Communicate openly, honestly and with humility across all groups

    • Work together as one organization


Desired Qualities:

  • 10+ years of professional experience in a nonprofit organization; demonstrated success in a development function (managing and forging relationships with multiple donor sources)

  • Tangible experience of having expanded and cultivated existing donor relationships over time

  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral; ability to influence and engage a wide range of donors and build long-term relationships

  • Strong organizational skills

  • Flexible and adaptable style; a leader who can positively impact both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives

  • Ability to work both independently without close oversight, but also a team player who will productively engage with others at varying levels of seniority within and outside United Friends of the Children

  • Ability to construct, articulate, and implement annual strategic development and communications plans

  • Strong organizational and time management skills with exceptional attention to detail

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

  • A professional and resourceful style; the ability to work independently and as a team player, to take initiative, and to manage multiple tasks and projects at a time

  • Passionate about United Friends’ mission


Career Track Leading to This Position:

The Chief External Affairs Officer should have a minimum of ten years of progressively responsible and successful fundraising experience, management experience of diverse development professionals, and experience collaborating with governance boards. Leading candidates will have a proven track record of communication strategy development, amplifying organizational voice and impact in this sector, raising significant support and proven success with annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, corporate giving, contracts and grants, special events, capital campaigns and other campaigns, plus a working knowledge of information systems and databases that support fundraising. Candidates will be expected to have experience leading and articulating a vision as well as the demonstrated ability to make and execute plans, reach goals, and develop staff and volunteers into a highly functioning team. Knowledge of the Los Angeles philanthropic community is preferred. Prior experience working with a sophisticated, engaged board is essential.


  • A bachelor's degree is required; a graduate degree is preferred.


Direct reports

  • Assistant Director, Development

  • Assistant Director, New Initiatives + Special Events

  • Assistant Director, Strategic Gifts

  • Director, Impact + Evaluation



  • A competitive salary commensurate with qualifications and experience and excellent benefits will be provided.


To apply

Resumes can be sent to:

[email protected] & [email protected]org