It’s an exciting time at Open Books! The organization is celebrating its 12th year of operation as a social venture nonprofit that provides quality literacy experiences for thousands of readers throughout Chicagoland. Last year, Open Books had record achievements in serving more than 5,000 K-12 students via 20,000+ program hours, and it granted more than 115,000 previously owned books. More than 500 volunteers and a staff of approximately 20 people worked daily to bring innovative and inspiring programming to individuals and communities most in need. An engaged Board of Directors and Associate Board contributed countless hours to strategic governance and resource development to make Open Books quality programming possible. The image and reputation of Open Books continues to be strong in the literacy space in Chicago, and the future holds great promise.
It is with this backdrop that the Board has begun planning the next stage of sustainability and expansion for Open Books. Several initiatives are on the table and the next Executive Director of Open Books will play an integral role in shaping the strategy to move the organization to the next level of growth and accomplishment. The outgoing Executive Director and board of directors have organized a transition plan that will ensure sufficient hand off to the incoming leader, as well as a seamless transition for the staff and stakeholders as well.
The Executive Director reports to the board of directors, working with them to achieve annual and long-term goals. With overall strategic and operational responsibility for the Open Books staff, the Executive Director acts to advance the mission of the organization. He or she will manage several direct reports who oversee, directly or indirectly, all of the functional areas of Open Books: literacy programs, social venture, finance, philanthropy and marketing.
Leadership and Management – (20%)
Ensure quality across the organization by facilitating information flow, encouraging transparency, promoting synergies and inspiring others to reach their full potential
Actively engage Open Books’ board, associate board, staff and stakeholders
Together with the Board Chair, develop, maintain and support a strong board of directors
Lead, coach, develop and retain Open Books staff, including staff oversight of 19 full-time employees, 10 seasonal part-time employees, fellows, interns and 500 volunteers
Contribute to a culture of innovation, creativity and fun
Planning and New Business – (20%)
Operationalize a growth strategy that will include expansion activities
Establish relationships that build partnerships with new funders, community leaders and other literacy organizations
Be an external presence that enthusiastically communicates program results with an emphasis on inspired learning and building confident readers and writers
Build on the marketing/public relations strategy to expand awareness of Open Books
Fundraising and Communications – (60%)
As the organization relies heavily on philanthropy, guide fundraising activities that generate $750,000 annually to support the existing Open Books program, including foundation/corporate grants, events and individual giving
Expand fundraising activities and develop new approaches to support sustainability and the new growth strategy (scope to be determined)
Focus on relational fundraising that will benefit all levels of giving and generate major gifts
Systematize processes that support the growth of and segmentation within the donor base to position the organization for strategic fundraising and increased levels of giving from diverse sources
Develop and execute strategic development communications that effectively tell the Open Books story and support a more robust philanthropy program
Engage the board in fundraising activities and leverage board, associate board, and volunteer relationships to garner new revenue opportunities
The Open Books board of directors seeks an enthusiastic leader to build on the success of the organization’s foundational years. The successful candidate will be an intelligent, articulate and highly organized self-starter who maintains high standards of work, exercises sound business judgment and can interact effectively with diverse constituencies. She or he will welcome the opportunity to build collaborative relationships and enjoy the challenges of a leadership role, including guiding others and managing for success in an entrepreneurial environment with upside potential. The ideal candidate will share Open Books’ passion for making a difference in the lives of students and individuals served.
In addition to experience in a leadership role, successful applicants should have:
Minimum 12 years of post-college professional experience, including 5+ in a supervisory role; 5+ with one organization and nonprofit experience strongly desired
A bachelor’s degree is required; a master’s degree preferred
Excellence in organizational management with the ability to coach staff, develop and manage high-performing teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, manage a budget and follow through
Commitment to quality programs and data-driven operational excellence
Strong fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders; individual giving/major/campaign gifts experience a major plus
Previous experience working with a board of directors and demonstrated ability to cultivate board member relationships
Immersed and facile with the mission; vocal, visible and externally focused
Authentic, curious, open-minded, confident, strategic and inspiring