Organization: Worldreader

Location: San Francisco, CA

Express Interest

About Worldreader:

Literacy is transformative: it increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health outcomes and breaks the cycle of poverty (UNESCO). Yet there are 740 million illiterate people in this world and 250 million children of primary school age who lack basic reading and writing skills (UNESCO). Books are necessary for the development of these skills, and still 40% of schools in Africa have few or no textbooks at all (SACMEQ II).

Worldreader is on a mission to create a world where everyone is a reader.

Where We Work

Worldreader partners with local governments, school systems, communities, and related businesses in over 50 countries, providing the digital library experience to readers ages 0-100+.

Worldreader programs and projects occur predominately in the global south and their main regional programmatic hubs are in East Africa (Kenya), West Africa (Ghana), and India (New Delhi). Their two primary “headquarters” are San Francisco and Barcelona, and a number of staff work remotely in the US and India, and many of our roles involve frequent travel to the countries where we have partners.

How We Work

The increasing ubiquity and diminishing costs of digital technology enables Worldreader to solve traditional problems related to literacy and books in a simple and straight-forward way. Wherever possible, Worldreader builds on digital platforms and mobile connectivity in the developing world to make books available to children and families; Worldreader provides e-readers to schools and libraries through sponsorships, and has created reading apps and a browser platform allowing anyone, anywhere to access the Worldreader digital library from a Worldreader mobile phone or tablet.

Worldreader actively curates books by local authors for our library. The more relevant and engaging a student’s first reads are, the more likely s/he is to continue learning and reading throughout their life. Worldreader also helps African and Indian authors and publishers translate and digitize their titles and expand their audiences. Worldreader rounds out the library with wonderful titles donated by the world’s top trade and textbook publishers. The organization reaches readers in 55 countries, providing them with 42,899 book titles in 43 languages.

Our Impact

Worldreader’s scaling capacity is effective and an inexpensive way to distribute books to those in limited and no-access areas. The organization has achieved impressive results: after less than 5 months in Worldreader’s program, children show significant improvements in fluency and comprehension.

Through team efforts and partnerships with the private sector, teachers, education experts, and other organizations, Worldreader continues to work towards a world in which every child and their family have the books they need to improve their lives, the practice of reading is commonplace, and where illiteracy is a thing of the past.

The Opportunity:

This is a new chief-level position, created to lead Worldreader’s revenue and advocacy strategies and manage the organization’s growing portfolio of global partnerships. The Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) will be responsible for significantly expanding Worldreader’s worldwide revenue, build organizational capacity for advocacy and fundraising work, and lead partnership and funding efforts.

This leader will have oversight over marketing and communications, advocacy and global insights, fundraising and sales / business development, and partnership management, and will play a critical role in amplifying and guiding the overall branding and messaging for the organization. This leader will proactively build strong relationships with the board, the community, peer organizations and other partners, including corporations. In addition, the CAO will strengthen Worldreader’s brand and lead the creation and execution of integrated communications and public relations efforts that support program and revenue goals.

In addition, the CAO will guide Worldreader’s development strategy in partnership with the CEO and executive team, and will build new fundraising pipelines through effective, data-driven and strategic approaches. The CAO will be charged with growing, managing, and supporting a geographically dispersed and diverse team responsible for cultivating and engaging new donors, and sourcing and developing new streams of potential revenue – including from individuals, corporate philanthropy and other institutional giving sources.

Key Responsibilities

  • Build and be accountable for a comprehensive multi-year revenue plan, growing the organization from $10M to over $30M by 2020, in partnership with the CEO, executive team, and Board.
  • Develop a comprehensive communications and advocacy strategy to engage with and influence key stakeholders and partners, from Ministries of Education to Fortune 500 companies to large NGOs and implementing partners.
  • Consolidate, lead, mentor, support, and inspire a geographically and functionally diverse team.
  • Lead the creation of development, fundraising, and communications plans for Worldreader, and set the tone and direction of the organization’s efforts in these areas, including with senior leadership.
  • Develop revenue models and execute campaigns that fund existing programs and support expansion into new geographies and lines of business.
  • Represent Worldreader on the global stage at public events, gatherings and forums and with partners.
  • Foster collaboration between Development and Program staff.
  • Contribute to the strategic thinking and Worldreader’s development through involvement in the Executive and Global Leadership Teams, and at the Board level.
  • Help steer the Advancement Committee of the US Board of Directors to support the efforts of Board members on behalf of the organization
  • Consistently exhibit our values of Boldness, Collaboration, Respect, and Talent.

Core Competencies:

Reporting to Worldreader’s CEO to provide leadership and guidance for advocacy, development, communications and strategic partnerships, the Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) will be an accomplished, mission-driven advancement and leader with a strong background in strategic planning and new business development. The CAO will be proactive, thoughtful and collaborative, providing direction and feedback to the other members of the senior leadership team and Board of Directors. This individual will have demonstrated expertise in overseeing communications and revenue generation, sourcing and cultivating new sources of revenue, stewarding major relationships (ideally including with overseas and US government agencies), and working with individual and institutional funders in order to increase and serve Worldreader’s programmatic goals.

The CAO will make sound decisions while prioritizing the long-term goals of Worldreader and the impact on the many communities the organization serves internationally. An expert communicator, the CAO will lead messaging, branding and marketing for the organization, guiding Worldreader’s brand, including with new strategic partners, potential donors and other key stakeholders. The Chief Advancement Officer is a bold thinker and a strategic, ‘hands-on’ executor, who will help Worldreader maximize the organization’s impact and reach through thoughtful strategic planning, strong partnerships and innovative, effective, data driven innovations. As a member of the leadership team, s/he will bring a genuine passion for Worldreader’s mission and a holistic view of Worldreader’s marketing, communications and advocacy around the globe.

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, with an advanced degree preferred. This role will require approximately 30% domestic and international travel, and may occasionally require more extensive travel. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree. The role is based in San Francisco, CA. To be successful in this role, ideal candidates will have at least 7-10 years of progressive responsibility in similar or related roles and possess the following key attributes:

Strategic Leadership

A trustworthy thought partner to the CEO and the Board, the Chief Advancement Officer will be a strategic thinker with the vision, capacity, and experience to inform decision-making around development, communications, community engagement, advocacy and marketing, in alignment with the overall goals of Worldreader. S/he will be an intuitive planner with a demonstrated ability to set priorities, develop and implement thoughtful, clear, action-oriented growth strategies. With robust analytic skills and the ability to think creatively and collaboratively, the CAO will actively solicit feedback while being seen as an expert in communications, development and fundraising, and have the strength of character to work effectively in advising other senior leaders. The CAO will have humility and agility, and will be able to navigate multiple priorities, knowing when to shift direction and focus and able to make practical, long-term decisions in a timely, thoughtful way.

Fundraising, Sales and Business Development Expertise

The Chief Advancement Officer will be an experienced leader in the field of advancement with a measurable track record of success across multiple fundraising, sales or new business functions. S/he will have demonstrated expertise with a wide range of fundraising and communications channels with particular focus on major/principal individual giving, foundations, and corporate donors. With success as a high touch leader, the CAO will be a flexible self-motivated team player who will serve as expert council to the CEO, Board and the geographically dispersed staff in identifying and devising fundraising strategies. The CAO will also have experience leading strategic planning and generating successful, innovative approach towards soliciting new sources of revenue.

Exceptional Collaborator and Manager / Strategic Partnerships

A persuasive, confident member of the senior leadership team, the CAO will be an engaged, active listener, able to communicate effectively with a broad group of stakeholders nationally and internationally. The CAO will demonstrate honesty, fairness, humor, a willingness to listen and an understanding of cultural nuances of working with global partners and key stakeholders. The CAO will bring a proven record of visible and effective management and the demonstrated ability to build, coach, motivate and retain a strong team of professionals that is focused on impact, excellence, accountability and efficiency. This individual will be an advocate for and mentor to staff and peer leadership, empowering and cultivating staff through active and effective communication, honest and constructive feedback and delegation. A natural consensus-builder, the CAO will be comfortable with ambiguity and have the persistence to drive process forward through collaboration and dedication. The CAO will be a strong relationship-builder with the ability to develop, sustain, and enhance excellent relationships internally and externally with strategic partners.

Communications and Marketing Expertise

The Chief Advancement Officer will be a dynamic, exceptional presenter and communicator with strong interpersonal skills, marketing and branding expertise. The CAO will present Worldreader’s priorities to a range of constituents in a manner that energizes and inspires, while earning trust and credibility. This individual will have an inherent ability to listen intently, think clearly, and respond effectively to a variety of relevant challenges, able to remain firm and steady in delicate situations and in high-level strategic discussions. S/he will have significant depth in creating and delivering compelling and meaningful communications material and crafting strategy around branding and marketing. The CAO will produce effective and nuanced presentations on topics of importance to senior leadership, staff, Board members, external partners and stakeholders with complete transparency.

Passion for the Mission

The Chief Advancement Officer will embrace and have a true passion for the mission of Worldreader its impact and a commitment to literacy. The CAO will have the character, dexterity, and pioneering mindset to lead all development, communications and fundraising innovation for Worldreader. S/he will be a solicitous team player, working closely alongside senior leaders to support the overall mission, and to position Worldreader to achieve the greatest possible impact. With cross-cultural experience, including time spent in the Global South and/or teaching in low-resource environments, the CAO will be driven by the mission to transform education and create life-long learners and readers.


Worldreader has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. This search is being led by Michelle Bonoan and Medelene Beasley. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here.

Equal Opportunity And Affirmative Action Policy
Worldreader provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran status.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital-consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit