EC1A, London (On-site)
£50,000 - £60,000 per year (including £3,000 London Weighting)
Permanent, Full-time
Job description
  • Applications Close: 10am Monday 24th January 2022
  • Location: London
  • Reporting to: Chief Executive
  • Salary: £50,000 to £60,000 per annum (including £3,000 London weighting)
  • Interviews Date: TBC
  • Start Date: ASAP
  • Contract: Full-Time, Permanent
  • Benefits: Employee pension scheme, cycle to work scheme, travel card loan, flexible working, Perkbox, Employee Assistance Programme

About The Access Project:

The Access Project is an innovative education charity that helps bright young people from disadvantaged backgrounds gain places at top universities. We support over 1,800 young people aged 14 to 18 across 35 schools.

The Access Project is expanding to become a national organisation. We work in London, the West and East Midlands, grew into West Yorkshire last year, and are expanding into the North West from September 2022. We have a team of 72 employees working in schools and in our regional offices.

A strong commitment to evidence and impact is at the heart of how we work, and we are proud that independent research shows our students achieve higher grades and are more likely to progress to top universities than similarly disadvantaged peers. We are a team passionately committed to our mission, and who support one another’s work. We are committed to improving The Access Project as a place to work for all our people and have developed a new People Strategy. We also recognise we have a way to go before we are the fully inclusive and diverse organisation we want to be, and are developing an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy with support from external consultants and engagement from staff and trustees.

About the Partnerships and Communications Director role:

The Access Project has developed an innovative programme that has strong evidence that it addresses a huge social issue. We have also learned much about what it takes to shift the dial in helping disadvantaged students make it to a top university. We’re now aiming to double in scale with the aim of helping even more young people fulfil their potential and make it to a top university.

We have a loyal and committed supporter base and a demonstrably high-impact programme. We are looking for an exceptional candidate to capitalise on this to significantly accelerate our growth. Our broad mix of fundraised income (corporates, trusts and foundations, major donors, universities, and low and mid-level giving) means we are not too reliant on any one stream.

We believe there is real scope to reach more supporters and increase gift sizes in all these areas. We are in the early stages of creating a donor development board – “Friends of The Access Project” - to engage new and existing individual supporters and their networks. There is huge potential to be bolder in promoting our impact; through our website, social media and through in-person networks. As part of our work to broaden our appeal, we are seeking mission-aligned patrons who will help us to reach their followers and amplify our work. You will lead and support the Partnerships and Communications team to double our income-raising capabilities over the coming years, including by promoting the part all of us can play in helping with fundraising efforts.

The Partnerships and Communications Director is one of six Director-level positions, and as such it has an important leadership role across the organisation: in role-modelling equitable and inclusive leadership; accountability to the Chief Executive and Board of Trustees; and in direct leadership of their team.

Duties and Responsbilities:

The Partnerships and Communications Director will directly lead the Partnerships and Communications team, which currently consists of 8.6 FTEs (including the Director role) who are based across London and Birmingham.

Functional role

  • Develop fundraising strategy
    • Work with The Access Project’s Chief Executive to define how we will generate the income needed for longer-term growth, identifying any opportunities for improvements.
    • Work with team members to build pipeline of multi-year pledges for future income.
    • Collaborate with other teams at The Access Project and utilise data insights to help form the fundraising strategy.
  • Ensure The Access Project reaches income targets
    • Line manage team to deliver to targets and effectively steward donors across all income streams (corporates, trusts and foundations, major donors, universities, and low and mid-level giving)
    • Play direct role in high-value fundraising asks as needed
    • Design and deliver presentations and pitches collaboratively with colleagues
    • Support the Chief Executive with the development of “Friends of The Access Project” donor development Board and stewardship of major donors
    • Work with the Finance Director and team to ensure there is an accurate and up to date picture for income streams in terms of actual and forecast against plan
    • Track and manage performance of income streams and proactively identify any remedial action as might be required.
  • Ensure income generation is aligned with wider strategy
    • Ensure corporate partnerships are aligned with our wider organisational strategic objectives/delivery, for example in relation to volunteering offer and requirements for pro bono support
    • Ensure university partnerships are aligned with our wider organisational strategy (e.g. regional growth plans, programme delivery).
  • Ensure we effectively communicate our work
    • Lead the Communications function at The Access Project (supported by the Head of Communications)
    • Ensure The Access Project has a credible communications strategy (developed by the Head of Communications) in order to articulate clear messages effectively to key audiences
    • Accountable for identifying, recruiting, stewarding and broadening patrons of The Access Project, in particular that they support our work to address structural inequality that prevents young people from fulfilling their potential and limits their life chances.
  • Ensure good governance
    • Develop and ensure best-practice use of donor management system
    • Ensure fundraising activity complies with UK law and regulations
    • Prepare and manage annual partnerships and communications expenditure budgets
    • Report up to date income positions and performance of multi-year fundraising strategies to the Executive team and to the Board of Trustees to a high standard.

Organisation and team leadership

  • Providing leadership to the Partnership and Communications team
    • Provide effective management of the team, including supporting them to develop their effectiveness as leaders
    • Develop and champion forums for effective cross-team working
    • Ensure effective processes are in place and being used for income tracking and relationship management to ensure effective data collection and partnership retention.
  • Leading the organisation, including through active participation in the Executive team
    • Take an active role in ensuring the organisation is making the right decisions to achieve our stated strategic objectives, by bringing a Partnership and Communications lens, and being able to think in the wider interests of the organisation
    • Take cabinet responsibility for decisions at Executive level
    • Raise profile and importance of Partnerships and Communications function across the organisation and ensure that other teams actively contribute to our fundraising efforts.
  • Representing The Access Project externally
    • Represent the organisation with a high degree of professionalism to further our objectives and social impact.


Person Specification:

Essential skills/experience:

  • Track record of successfully meeting multi-million pound annual fundraising targets
  • Track record of growing fundraising from a range of income streams
  • Compelling advocate and amplifier for our mission, able to engage and elicit commitments from a diverse range of donors Confident line manager, with experience of building, leading, developing and motivating a team
  • Excellent written and oral presentation skills with all external and internal audiences
  • Deep understanding of the fundraising environment, including regulatory requirements
  • Knowledge of how different kinds of funders operate and how to craft written / oral presentations to meet specifications, and how reporting arrangements work
  • Ability to liaise with Finance colleagues to develop income pipeline, actuals and forecasts to give accurate picture of current position and projected outturns
  • Ability to understand, support and challenge communications professionals in developing and promoting The Access Project’s message.

Desired skills/experience:

  • Knowledge of education/social mobility sector
  • Ability to access a broad network of potential supporters of The Access Project’s work
  • Professional expertise in communications.


  • Strategic thinker, experience of converting strategy into detailed operational plans
  • Outstanding project management skills, well organised and reliable
  • Effective collaborator, able to work with colleagues across the organisation to create compelling cases for support to The Access Project (orally and in writing)
  • Passionate about educational disadvantage, widening participation and The Access Project’s mission.


Further Information

Equal Opportunities Statement

The Access Project is an equal opportunities employer and we welcome applications from people from all backgrounds. We are working towards improvements with equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Safeguarding Statement

The Access Project is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

Disclosure of a Criminal Record

The Rehabilitation of Offenders 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order 1986 does not apply to posts where there is access to children. This means that applicants for employment which involves working with children and young people must disclose any criminal record. If you are selected for appointment you will be subject to this procedure. All Disclosures are carried out in the strictest confidence and are made only in connection with your application for employment and for no other purpose. The application for an Enhanced Disclosure will be activated before your first day of work.

Guidance for candidates applying for a job with The Access Project. Please read this carefully before you start to fill in the application form.


The application form plays a crucial part in the selection process, both in deciding whether you will be invited to an interview and at the interview itself. It is vital that you complete this form as fully and accurately as possible. We will not make any assumptions about your experience, knowledge, skills and abilities to do the job.

Read the full vacancy details carefully before you start. All parts of the application form must be completed.

More about The Access Project

About The Access Project

The Access Project works with bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing in-... Read more

Refreshed on: 18 January 2022
Closed date: 24 January 2022 at 10:00
Job ref: Partnerships and Communications Director
Tags: Communications, PR, Fundraising

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