Director of Communications

Website advanceillinois Advance Illinois

The Communications Director sets and guides the strategy for all communications, including messaging, media relations, public relations, and digital media, in order to consistently articulate Advance Illinois’ mission, goals, and brand. The Communications Director will leverage their expertise in communications strategy to ensure that we continue to grow our brand recognition and increase our campaign effectiveness. The Director will be a strategist with robust knowledge of how to craft an effective message that will resonate with our diverse network, coalitions, and constituent base. They will also work closely with Advance leadership to devise communications strategies and provide strategic advice to help meet annual goals.

Responsibilities:

  • Develops, implements, and evaluates an annual communications plan in collaboration with senior management that aligns with annual organizational goals and priorities;
  • Develops and executes a robust marketing and communications strategy in collaboration with colleagues to ensure high-impact communications, earned media, and strong support of all Advance Illinois efforts;
  • Develops and implements a comprehensive public relations strategy to strengthen and elevate Advance Illinois’ brand, elevate and effectively message our policy campaigns across the state including, Advance Illinois website, Funding Illinois’ Future campaign, We, The Village, and Coalition for Equitable Higher Education Funding and create content and workplans for these coalitions;
  • Develops and implements communications campaigns that tie to each of the organization’s advocacy goals to create momentum, awareness, and action using earned media, social media, and grassroots communications tactics. Monitor online metrics and analyze results on audience demographic trends, preferred content and to identify opportunities for targeted engagement;
  • Creates compelling, persuasive, relevant, and accurate communications content that will increase the public’s engagement with the organization and build community support for improving schools across the state;
  • Drafts presentations, testimonies, op-eds, letters to the editor, media alerts, one-pagers and press releases;
  • Cultivates and maintains media relationships for disseminating information, positioning Advance as a media source and leveraging public relations opportunities;
  • Works closely with colleagues, including Development, Policy, Government Affairs, Community Engagement and Project Directors, to produce collateral material to support their work;
  • Edits a range of campaign-focused written materials to ensure clarity, conciseness, effectiveness, and alignment; and
  • Supervises the Communications Associate, interns, and other contract staff.

Required Qualifications and Qualities:

  • Strong commitment to and alignment with Advance Illinois’ mission of improving our state’s public education system;
  • Minimum of 8 years’ experience in a communications, public relations, or marketing role (online writing or marketing-related writing experience a plus);
  • Outstanding and fast writer and editor;
  • Ability to grasp and effectively communicate complex, detailed information in a clear, concise manner for a variety of audiences;
  • Comprehensive strategic thinking and rapid problem-solving skills to effectively handle crisis communications;
  • Preferably an extensive knowledge of public education issues and/or experience creating high-impact advocacy campaigns;
  • Ability and experience preparing clear, accessible, and comprehensive correspondence, reports, studies, and other written materials, as well as demonstrated skills in public relations and public speaking.
  • Experience in a fast-paced environment and comfortable working in an ever-shifting political environment; familiarity with state political and legislative environment highly preferred;
  • Knowledge of and experience using social media in today’s media landscape, including Twitter, Facebook, and enthusiasm for emerging technologies as tools for social change;
  • Experience determining and analyzing metrics to evaluate and improve communications strategies;
  • A tremendous drive and strong ability to achieve outcomes. Ability to set and adhere to strict deadlines. Excellent planning and organizational skills as well as an exceptional attention to detail;
  • An entrepreneurial, learning orientation and an ability to embrace and incorporate direct feedback;
  • Existing press and media relationships within Chicago and Illinois required; particularly political and education reporters covering Springfield and Chicago. Relationships with national media a plus.
  • Sincere commitment to work collaboratively with all constituent groups, including staff, board members, and other supporters from all backgrounds and cultures;
  • Management experience;
  • Assist Communications Associate to grow and expand their knowledge and expertise of Advance Illinois policy areas as well as communications skills sets;
  • Comfort pivoting between high-level, strategic work and smaller tasks. No job is too big or too small;
  • Values self and community care and the ability to engage in ongoing DEI conversations and activities.
  • BA/BS

Compensation
Competitive salary that is commensurate with experience along with excellent benefits such as: health/dental insurance; short-term/long-term disability plans; 401K with a company match plan; flexible spending account; holidays and vacation accrual.

Commitment to Diversity
Advance Illinois is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to engaging the skills and leadership of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Individuals from historically marginalized backgrounds and communities are strongly encouraged to apply and to engage actively in ongoing organizational work to strengthen and sustain a diverse team that works effectively and inclusively.

To apply: Submit a resume and cover letter to communications@advanceillinois.org. All submissions will be acknowledged and you will be contacted if you are selected for an interview. No phone calls please.

To apply for this job email your details to communications@advanceillinois.org