Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC), a national nonprofit organization based in Chicago, is seeking a communications director to help further its mission of making schools healthier places for all children. The communications director will oversee HSC’s communications team and develop and implement HSC’s communications plan through an inclusive process that builds the organization and supports and promotes HSC’s programs, advocacy, fundraising and leadership.
The successful candidate will bring strong experience advancing a nonprofit’s mission and goals and building audiences via a diverse set of communications platforms; excellent writing skills; a commitment to HSC’s mission; a demonstrated commitment to racial equity; and a hands-on, collaborative approach. HSC advocates for policies and programs that support schools in creating the conditions of health for all students. HSC’s key strategies are to empower school stakeholders to be agents of change at the school and district levels, advocate for district, state and federal policies and build the capacity of schools, school districts and educational agencies to better support student health. This work takes place at the intersection of health, education, equity, community and sustainability.
HSC produces a robust set of reports, policy briefs, action alerts, articles and newsletters on an annual basis. The size and scope of its publications, especially on the topic of school health services, is substantial relative to other nonprofit organizations of a similar size.
HSC has a $2 million budget and a staff team of 16. This position reports to the senior vice president. In addition to the communications director, HSC has a full-time Production Coordinator and works regularly with communications consultants. The communications director will work closely with communications colleagues, senior leadership, program leads and the development staff.
Specific responsibilities are as follows:
- Oversee HSC’s communications team, which currently consists of one full-time production coordinator and several communications consultants.
- Lead a team effort to develop and successfully implement an annual communications plan, as well as tailored plans for individual programs, that result in a comprehensive and coordinated strategy for communicating with a variety of audiences and meeting HSC’s program, policy, development and outreach goals.
- Write and provide editing support for program materials, marketing materials, press outreach and other organizational communications (e.g., reports, newsletter articles, action alerts, letters to the editor, policy briefs, blogs, sign-on letters, policy and fundraising campaigns); produce content for general organizational materials.
- Develop, monitor and interpret key metrics for evaluating the success and reach of communications strategies.
- Develop and successfully meet project goals and deliverables including scope of work, project workplans and budgets.
- Oversee HSC’s websites, social media channels, blog and newsletters to effectively engage HSC’s key audiences.
- Develop and refine key messages and ensure integration through all channels (e.g., websites, traditional media, social media, newsletters, webinars, speeches, photos and videos, event presentations and donor solicitations).
- Contribute to the development and execution of an online giving and individual engagement strategy. Provide significant communications support for other fundraising activities including email, social media and print campaigns and the development of collateral to support corporate and individual donor engagement.
- 10+ years of post-college experience in a senior communications role with nonprofit advocacy organization(s) preferred; smart and analytical team-oriented person who understands HSC’s mission, goals, programs and structure and can deploy internal and external resources with a sensitivity to organizational capacity and competing priorities.
- A commitment to HSC’s mission, vision, values and equity priorities.
- Experience effectively managing a team, and demonstrated experience with successful project management; proven ability to work in collaboration, integrate constructive feedback, prioritize work, manage multiple projects and meet deadlines.
- Very strong writing skills and experience writing for a diverse set of audiences and in a variety of styles; substantive experience across a variety of communications channels including print, digital, press and social media.
- Demonstrated understanding of how to use communications as part of an advocacy agenda to create compelling messages, build audiences and build support from key decision makers, partners and funders preferred.
- Experience writing reports, memos and other materials for an audience of education and health policymakers and leaders and philanthropic program officers preferred.
- Experience messaging to corporate and individual donors – both prospective and existing; experience using social media to build brands and attract and steward donors preferred.
- Experience working with the media to place stories, be responsive to timely news and develop relationships that result in longer-term story development and organization/program brand building opportunities preferred.
- Strong technology skills and an understanding of how to apply technology to achieve communications goals. Experience using Adobe Creative Suite (specifically InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator), WordPress, Trello, data management systems (HSC uses Salesforce) and social media platforms preferred.
- The communications director must be based in or near Chicago where the HSC office is located; the HSC office is currently closed so applicants must have a functioning home-office space for effective virtual work through at least the summer of 2021.
- This position will require some travel.
- This position will require working some nights and weekends.
- This position requires some meeting and event setup and support.
- Candidates must be willing to submit to background checks including criminal and driving record reviews.
The salary range for this position is $70,000 to $80,000 depending on experience. Generous benefit package includes employer paid medical, dental and disability insurance, 6% employer matching contribution to a retirement plan after one year of employment and paid vacation and sick leave.
HSC is committed to equal opportunity and nondiscrimination and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability or veteran status. HSC strongly encourages Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), women, LGBTQIA+ people and members of other marginalized communities to apply.
Please send your resume, cover letter, a writing sample, three references and your answers to the three application questions below to firstname.lastname@example.org.
No phone calls, please. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
- Please share an example of an organizational communications plan or a project/campaign plan that you shepherded from beginning to end. How did you balance the process of getting feedback and ideas from people who had final sign off vs. people who were contributors? How did you ensure that key constituencies were engaged, and what was your process for engaging people who were important contributors but did not have communications expertise? How did you set goals and what were your measures for success?
- When you are working on a communications project in an area where you do not have expertise, what is your approach? Please share a concrete example.
- Please share an example of how you have centered racial equity in your communications work. What do you do to ensure that you are listening to underrepresented communities and staying current on issues of race, racism and equity in your work and staying up to date on the changing landscape of language and communications?