Southeastern USA

Deputy Director for Development and Communications, SAAFON

The Organization

Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON) is based in Durham, NC and fiscally sponsored by Inquiring Systems Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Since 2006, SAAFON has been working to strengthen Black farmers’ collective power to build an alternative food system rooted in progressive values. We are a network of Black farmers in the Southeastern United States who are committed to culturally relevant, ancestrally guided, and ecologically sustainable agricultural-based living. For more information on the organization, please visit

Position Overview

Overview and Description: SAAFON is a network of small-scale Black sustainable farmers in the Southeastern US. The Deputy Director for Development and Communications will have the opportunity to play a significant role in shaping SAAFON’s next chapter by creating a development-focused community relations and communications strategy alongside key fundraising goals.

The Deputy Director for Development and Communications (DDC) will work on strategic planning in concert with the rest of SAAFON’s leadership team, ensuring an integrated and synchronized approach to the mission and legacy of SAAFON that ensures the success of immediate, short-term and long-term goals with a focus on Development, Fundraising, and Communications. Projects and plans will be developed and implemented in alignment with SAAFON’s continued goals of support for our Farmer-Members, and growing and strengthening our support base through strong development and communications strategies.

This position requires a leader who has a passion for development, fundraising, and supporting Black liberation and sustainable and ecological movements in a Southern, predominately rural context; who is an organized and strategic thinker with excellent writing and communication skills; and who has the ability to juggle a variety of responsibilities. The successful candidate will be able to prioritize projects, work under pressure, and responsibly exercise individual initiative.

Note: This is a new role within SAAFON and provides the opportunity to create and design development and communication strategies from the ground up, taking SAAFON to the next level in alignment with our values, geographical context, culture, and history.


Development (60-65%) – Development planning, prospect cultivation, grant writing, funder relationships, grant reporting

  • Working alongside SAAFON’s leadership team, continuously track and identify SAAFON’s funding needs and prepare medium- and long-term development plans to meet these needs
  • Anchoring grant writing / grant follow up and evaluation, in collaboration with the ED and the Director of Strategic and Programmatic Development (DSP)
  • With the overall team, prepare SOPs and templates for SAAFON’s development work
  • Create and execute strategic and comprehensive development and communication plans to engage, retain and grow individual donors and create a diverse funding portfolio
  • Prospect identification, cultivation and solicitations for development and fundraising:
    • Create and execute plans for Institutional Giving, Planned Giving, Fundraising, Foundation, Individual, Government, and Corporate funders and prospects for current and potential revenue
  • Directly solicit major gifts, and partner with senior staff on donor engagement opportunities
  • Maintaining & monitoring relationships with SAAFON’s funders and potential funders; and engaging in regular communication with funders through individual meetings, conferences, and other events
  • Track portfolio activity, communication and progress and create reports to reflect portfolio activity and performance
  • Anchor conversation, creativity, thought leadership and implementation of approaches to SAAFON’s financial health, stability, and resilience
  • Work with our CRM to help manage and track donors and donations

Communications (15-25%) – Communications and Story-telling are strategic and cultural priorities for SAAFON and are closely tied to SAAFON’s overall development. This work will partner with and oversee the work of the Storytelling and Communications Coordinator (SCC, position to be filled).

  • Coordinate media interest in the Organization, oversee contact with high profile target media, and coordinate responses to media requests
  • Act as the Organization’s primary point of contact with high profile media
  • Represent SAAFON in appropriate external spaces (e.g., with movement partners and collaborators; at conferences; in external committees, etc.)–noting that SAAFON’s external representation is shared amongst the entire staff depending on the specific opportunity, staff capacity, and relevant expertise and experience
  • Work with ED, SCC & Director of Operations (DOPS) on editorial direction, design, production, and distribution of print and electronic materials
  • Oversee the SCC’s execution of day-to-day tasks relating to communications strategies; for example, responding to media inquiries
  • Oversee design & refresh of SAAFON’s website (e.g. Helping the SAAFON team vision and identify core needs; and coordinating and supervising external contractors conducting the design and refresh proper)
  • Partner with the SCC to identify, maintain and develop SAAFON’s narrative strategies, values, and work
  • Work with the entire team and Board to develop and maintain appropriate narrative coherence in how SAAFON presents itself and its values internally and externally
  • Prepare and keep updated SOPs and templates for SAAFON’s communications work
  • With the SCC, design and direct their implementation of Social Media strategy

Strategic Planning and Executive Function (15-20%) – Directs the efforts of Development and Communications at the strategic and tactical levels, supporting the organizational leadership team in planning and steering SAAFON’s overall course and management

  • Alongside other members of SAAFON’s leadership, maintain a systems-view of SAAFON’s direction, culture, and management: offering vision, guidance, and leadership, with humility and support of a “leader-full” movement culture
  • In the absence of the Executive Director, the DDC works with the senior leadership team to serve as the organization’s executive lead, and serves as the secondary liaison to the Board
  • Helping SAAFON maintain internal and external accountability: to each other within the staff, to farmer-members, and to the Board
  • Anchor the development and maintenance of an overall vision, plan, and calendar for SAAFON’s development and funding
  • Anchor the development and maintenance of an overall vision, plan, and calendar for SAAFON’s external communications
  • Ensure that communications and development planning are conducted in alignment with SAAFON’s goals and values
  • Monitor SAAFON’s position in the overall funding and narrative “ecosystem” around Black agrarianism, agroecology, and sustainable farming

Required Qualifications:

  • Possession of a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university; or substantial related work experience and education equivalent to a bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum of three years of experience in a fundraising position, with strong preference for:
    • Experience at the level of manager
    • Proficiency with sponsorship solicitation
    • Proven track record of successful fundraising and development for a mid-sized organization
    • Experience with membership-based/grassroots fundraising
    • Experience fundraising with, for, and from BIPOC-led institutions
    • Experience with both individual and institutional fundraising
    • Familiarity of all aspects of donor life cycle with 5-figure-plus gifts from individuals
  • Knowledge of communications and marketing techniques, with preference for work experience in the areas of development, communications, or nonprofit marketing
  • Knowledge of, and relationships with, high-end fundraising community
    • Knowledge of both national and local (Southern) funders preferred
  • Superior attention to detail
  • Ability to recognize good design
    • Ability to additionally *create* good design, including advanced photography and image editing skills, is a strong plus
  • Experience using Salesforce and/or other similar CRMs
  • Highly proficient with Microsoft Office programs, e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher
  • Expertise in using social media (including Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) as fundraising tools
  • Track record of successfully growing a fundraising pipeline
  • Interest in mentoring other staff and volunteers in fundraising, and ability to help create a culture of philanthropy throughout an organization
  • High ability to think and re-plan on the fly
  • Excellent critical thinking/problem solving skills
  • Emotional intelligence and deep listening skills
  • Proof of right to work in the US

Desirable But Not Required:

  • Proven success in developing and implementing appeals through both traditional and emerging methodologies strongly preferred
  • Experience with MailChimp and Constant Contact or equivalent email management systems
  • Experience working with WordPress or similar website content management systems
  • Personal solicitation experience
  • Familiarity/experience with sustainable/organic/afro/agroecological movements
  • Deep experience working in the US South/Southern Black context
  • Experience in group facilitation and coordination
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and execute small donor cultivation events

How To Apply

To apply, please send cover letter and resume to, with the subject heading “Deputy Director for Development and Communications”.

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