Nationally recognized nonprofit venture philanthropy seeks a Director of Communications to lead our core communications activities and oversee the development and ongoing execution of our organization-wide strategic communications plan.
NewSchools Venture Fund is a national nonprofit that supports and invests in promising and innovative education entrepreneurs and leaders and helps them accomplish their respective missions to achieve outstanding results for the schools, students and educators they serve. We are committed to helping students graduate high school prepared and inspired to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans. Through our investing, management assistance, network building, and thought leadership, NewSchools helps to reimagine PK-12 education.
We have a fun, passionate, inclusive, bold, accountable, and connected culture where employees at all levels have the opportunity to grow and contribute. Please visit our website to learn more about NewSchools Venture Fund and our core values.
NewSchools seeks a Director of Communications to bring our communications strategy to life. This is an opportunity to shape our organization’s public profile and to tell the story about NewSchools and our ventures – the investments we’re making, the great work our ventures are doing, and the lessons and ideas worth sharing from that work.
The Director of Communications will be the bridge between our investment teams that are generating valuable lessons for the field and key audiences such as funders, entrepreneurs, and policymakers that will benefit from them. This will be accomplished through the creation of a comprehensive functional strategy for the overall organization while also building the infrastructure to respond to the needs and priorities of our investment teams as they arise.
The Director of Communications will directly manage a team of communications professionals who help to shape our external messages and use multiple communications channels to share our work, insights, and data of NewSchools and our ventures. The Director of Communications will also work closely with the investment teams and other senior leaders to identify compelling stories that inform and influence key audiences.
The Director of Communications will work remotely from anywhere in the U.S., though if they are based in the Bay Area, you will be able to work from our office in Oakland, CA when it is safe to do so.
The primary responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:
Set vision and strategy for our organizational communications
Determine (and continually refresh as needed) the top level communications priorities and strategies for NewSchools Venture Fund
Collaborate with development and investment team leads to help inform and align org-wide comms strategies and messaging, and to ensure that these strategies/messages meet their particular audiences’ needs
Develop an updated vision for our communication style and voice, grounded in our established approach along with a future direction as defined by our senior leadership team
Set annual communications objectives and key results that simultaneously chart a path and can be responsive to an ever evolving landscape
Create high-level plans and messaging to address unforeseen opportunities or threats and build rapid response plans for either crisis situations or opportunities to influence a national conversation.
Develop and oversee execution of keys activities aligned to the vision and strategy
Create and execute against a plan for our communications, and publications, and events that is both responsive to timely topics and current events and proactively communicates in our areas of expertise
Identify key digital channels for delivering communications and build the infrastructure to efficiently leverage those channels
Establish and maintain relationships with journalists and other key media gatekeepers
Collect and interpret data from web analytics and other sources to improve outreach and dissemination tactics.
Identify publishing opportunities and speaking engagements at conferences, forums, panels, etc., to raise the organization's profile among target audiences.
Produce periodic performance reports for the leadership team and broader team
Propel internal teams to articulate a clear story of impact and pursue an aligned communications strategy
Support development and investment teams to articulate a clear and compelling narrative about their work and the work of their donors and ventures
Identify and segment each team’s nuanced audiences and map overlap
Create key messages segmented by teams to plan and deliver individualized communications strategy
Ensure alignment across the organization and develop a process for navigating misalignment (e.g. strategies between investment teams do not align, overall communications needs across the organization exceed functional capacity, etc.)
Create a process for supporting investment teams to create communications as they surface opportunities
Create the infrastructure to drive efficiency and effectiveness of communications
Build a comprehensive communications calendar that includes both organization level, funder-focused and investment team level communications
Identify partnership opportunities with like-minded organizations for events, publications, and research
Create a vision for tiered levels of support from the communications team (ranging from the communications team fully drives to minimal support)
Create clear roles and responsibilities for the members of the communications team and line up cost-effective and high quality supplemental external capacity as needed
Select and oversee all external communications channels:
Oversee and expand our presence on our current online platforms (Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Medium, Vimeo, and blog) and the content that we share on them
Write original content for our web properties and for publication with colleagues
Create relationships with external media such as newspapers, blogs, and other online media for cross-posting blogs, collaborations, and publishing original pieces.
Amplify the social media presence of individual team members.
Set a vision for and manage maintenance of a mailing list of subscribed audiences including policies and systems for managing segmentation and crossover
Determine and manage a cost-effect team budget focused on the highest-impact activities as identified through carefully planned and tracked engagement metrics
Build and maintain a bench of high-quality and vetted writers, graphic designers, web developers, videographers, and other contractors to use for various projects.
Train and develop NewSchools team members as communicators:
Periodically design and facilitate learning experiences for the NewSchools team to improve their individual abilities in areas such as maintaining an effective social media presence, blog writing, and op-ed writing.
Occasionally provide targeted one-on-one coaching on specific communications skills.
SKILLS & QUALIFICATIONS
Success in the position will require, but not be limited to, the following proven competencies:
What you’ve accomplished:
Demonstrated ability to create and lead the execution of an organization-wide communications strategy that met or beat its objectives
Proven track record working with social and traditional media; ability to determine the best media type to achieve goals
Experience with media relations and the ability to expand connections with the range of outlets covering PreK-12 education preferred
Skills you have developed and knowledge you have acquired:
Deep knowledge of the PreK-12 education sector including key leaders, organizations, political dynamics, and trends
Ability to understand programmatic work and create and implement communication plans that will promote organizational priorities
Excellent vendor/partner management skills
Proven communicator; excellent writing/editing and verbal communication skills
Ability to manage multiple priorities and deliver high-quality work on time
Strong analytical skills; able to conduct independent analysis, draw conclusions, and make concrete, actionable recommendations
How you work and what you value:
Passion to reimagine learning for children, particularly those in underserved communities
Deep commitment to the values of diversity and equity
Values differences and operates in ways that foster inclusivity and belonging
Comfortable with ambiguity, and can use failure and an iterative approach to work to find success
Self starter and entrepreneurial; is energized by driving towards shared goals and helping to create clarity across an org
Enjoys working on a team and operates in ways that will build trust with teammates (integrity, respect, consideration, etc.), and is eager to meet the needs of multiple constituents with a service mindset
Leverages manager for strategic support while capable of fully accountable for execution of the communications function
EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE
Demonstrated commitment to serving underserved communities
A minimum of ten years of work experience with a career focused in communications and marketing
Communications experience in our adjacent to the PreK-12 sector
Experience managing individual contributors
A competitive compensation package including base salary, performance bonus and complete benefits is available.
NewSchools Venture Fund has a strong commitment to diversity. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Telecommuting is allowed.
About NewSchools Venture Fund
NewSchools Venture Fund is a national nonprofit based in Oakland, CA that supports and invests in promising, innovative entrepreneurs and teams of educators. We help them accomplish their missions to achieve outstanding results for the schools, students and educators they serve. We are committed to helping all students – especially those in underserved communities – graduate high school prepared and inspired to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans. Through our investing, management assistance, network building, and thought leadership, NewSchools helps to reimagine PreK-12 education.