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Opening: Communications Director

Publication date: 
March, 2019

Position: Communications Director
Organization: Council on Foundations
Location: Washington D.C

Organization Summary

An active philanthropic network, the Council on Foundations, founded in 1949, is a nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. It provides the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance and sustain their ability to advance the common good. The Council empowers professionals in philanthropy to meet today's toughest challenges and advances a culture of charitable giving in the U.S. and globally.

Position Description

Responsible for the development, integration, and implementation of a communications plan that includes a broad range of public relations and communications tactics aligned to the strategic direction and priorities of the Council on Foundations and its leadership. The Communications Director is responsible for designing cross-functional communications activities that promote, enhance, and advance the work, vision, and reputation of the Council. Communications strategies shall position the Council as a credible thought leader and advocate for philanthropy nationally and globally. The Communications Director has a depth of understanding of the rapidly changing means in which content is aggregated and delivered and works closely with other program leaders and staff to implement a mission-focused, enterprise-level communications strategy.

Essential Job Functions

  • Designs and leads a communications plan that is aligned with the mission and vision of the Council, implemented with measurable outcomes, communicated with traditional and new communication tactics and tools, and leverages internal collaboration for effectiveness.
  • Continually develop new and improved approaches to advance the Council’s program strategies and initiatives; and, effectively utilize social media and other online vehicles to ensure information about the Council is accurate, consistent and accessible to external audiences and members.
  • Reinforce, train, and grow the Council’s staff capacity to engage effectively with key audiences and members about the mission, program outcomes and goals in alignment with the Council’s core values.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Leads the creation of content serving as an Editor-in-Chief for internal and external needs, including press releases, media advisories, one-pagers, talking points, blogs, newsletters, annual reports, white papers, videos, special events, campaigns, etc.
  • Acts as a project manager creating timelines and action plans to drive key external communications projects to completion.
  • Ensures there is a deepening interconnection and cross-pollination among the programs and initiatives of the Council
  • In collaboration with other departments, support the development and implementation of a communications and marketing strategy for externally facing Council programs and services.
  • Work with colleagues across departments to ensure consistent messaging and understanding of the Council’s brand and value proposition
  • Serves as the communications lead for all Council-produced research publications, surveys and reports, including providing editing support and guidance on communications rollout strategies.
  • Leads communications efforts surrounding disaster philanthropy, including serving on internal task teams and executing communications needs related to manmade and natural disasters.
  • Actively engage, cultivate and manage press and media relationships to ensure coverage of the Council’s programming, public advocacy, organizational progress, and key partnerships by pitching stories, press release distribution, handling media inquiries, and other communication innovations.
  • Lead efforts to internally socialize a communications plan aligned with the mission and vision of the Council that increases the competency of all staff to communicate with members, partners, stakeholders and the general public
  • Provides talking points, FAQs, and other materials as needed to prepare executive team, senior leadership, and others for external communications and speaking engagements.
  • Tracks media coverage of the Council on Foundations and provides monthly analysis reports of successes, gaps and opportunities.
  • Monitors online news and social media for breaking stories, developments in or related to philanthropy and communications, industry trends, and relevant commentary, providing regular updates to team on articles, issues, and relevant news.
  • Offers an internal ‘client service’ type experience, demonstrating the ability to manage priorities while maintaining strong relationships with internal, cross-functional team members.
  • Engages and forges positive working relationships with Council members, leaders in the field, and important mainstream and electronic media.
  • Works collaboratively across the organization to strengthen the Council’s messaging, to maintain and increase the Council’s membership and to advance the Council’s fiscal goals.
  • Demonstrated ability to anticipate, prioritize, and manage tasks collaboratively as a team player with grace and flexibility in a rapidly changing environment.


  • At least seven years of marketing and/or communications experience.
  • Experience leading an organization’s communications functions
  • Experience using Salesforce or other CRM system required.
  • Demonstrated competencies and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Able to generate and deliver powerful verbal, graphic, and written communication.
  • Outstanding written and verbal communications skills including experience preparing press releases, news articles, presentations and other content.
  • Experience creating and executing innovative strategic communications and/or media outreach plans for a range of projects, initiatives and campaigns.
  • Outstanding verbal communication skills including experience giving presentations and working with the media at events.
  • Works cooperatively, respectfully, and collaboratively with other employees; functions as a team player; and accepts constructive suggestions for improving job performance from supervisors and colleagues.
  • Exercises discretion and independent judgment.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

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