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Senior Associate Director, Strategic Communications

Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island, United States
Salary Not Specified
Posted Date
Aug 24, 2021

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Communications, Other Communications, Administrative, Business & Administrative Affairs, Development & Advancement, Public Relations & Marketing (Campus), Alumni Affairs, Editing & Publications Management
Employment Type
Full Time
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Job Summary

Rhode Island School of Design is actively seeking a Senior Associate Director for Strategic Communications to join its Institutional Advancement Department (IA). IA cultivates and stewards relationships from a variety of sources to support the priorities of the college. Institutional Advancement understands that art and design drive human progress and produces innovations that shape our world. It is deeply committed to building an inclusive community enlivened by a determination to address the most important challenges of our time. As an employer, RISD offers a supportive, collegial, and inclusive work environment, and a competitive benefits package.

With an in-depth understanding of RISD’s strategic priorities, the Senior Associate Director, Strategic Communications creates impactful storytelling cases for giving and strategic messaging to advance Institutional Advancement’s (IA) work to foster lifelong relationships with alumni, parents, friends, donors, and organizations to strengthen goodwill and philanthropy. The incumbent undertakes research to understand stakeholder needs, build impactful messaging for integrated communications strategies to advance RISD’s fundraising and alumni and family relations efforts. Develops high-quality, innovative, and compelling print and digital fundraising, donor relations, and advancement communications for external audiences. This is a research-focused and writing-intensive role that requires discretion and diplomacy. We seek a culturally competent candidate who will thrive in a campus environment that is committed to advancing the principles of social equity and inclusion, environmental and climate justice, and equal access to resources and opportunities.

Essential Functions
  • Collaborate with RISD senior administration, department heads, and directors of other units to gather intelligence, document, and detail institutional needs to facilitate the Division’s agile responsiveness to donors’ expressed philanthropic interests. Conduct research and interview internal stakeholders as needed for the development of new fundraising and Advancement initiatives.
  • Develop strategic messaging to advance fundraising and advancement communications through impactful, research-driven and storytelling. Incorporate data to strengthen the effectiveness of communications efforts. Write and develop materials at the highest editorial standards.
  • Lead the development and creation of campaign materials, including but not limited to case statements, gift opportunities, major gift proposals, and complex research-driven concept papers.
  • Execute the writing needs of the Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of Campaign Planning + Strategy, including crafting announcements, scripting event talking points and speeches for college and volunteer leadership, and other high-level communications that require discretion and institutional knowledge.
  • Contribute to Momentum, the Division’s volunteer and donor impact magazine, and lead the creation of additional divisional publications. Research and write philanthropy- and volunteer-themed stories and profiles of select alumni. Serve as editorial director of divisional publications as directed.
  • Partner with colleagues to enhance marketing messaging for new Alumni + Family Relations program launches and other multi-channel campaign communications deliverables.
  • Provide high-level narrative writing and guidance for Donor Relations’ stewardship reporting efforts such as impact reports and high-touch communications.
Additional Functions:
  • Provide guidance and support high-level editorial execution in printed and electronic fundraising materials produced by others in the Division to ensure materials are of highest quality and greatest appeal.
  • Complete other related duties as required.
  • Bachelor’s degree in English, Communications or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience. Master’s degree is preferred.
  • Exceptional writing, editing, and proofreading skills, including proficiency in using the Chicago Manual of Style .
  • Seven years of experience in fundraising communications, media relations, public relations, communications, and/or a related field. Demonstrated expertise in the use of Microsoft Office, Adobe, CRM/database, and Google Apps (G Suite) and Asana, or similar project management collaboration tools.
  • Experience directing the work of graphic designers.
  • Ability to manage complex communications projects with multiple internal and external stakeholders.
  • Superlative diplomatic and communication skills, including an ability to work and communicate effectively with a broad spectrum of internal and external constituents (individual donors, alumni, business leaders, foundations, journalists, senior leadership, faculty, and staff), within a broad range of cultural environments.
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively with a broad spectrum of divisional and institutional colleagues, within an environment that values diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects, priorities, and deadlines.
  • Capability to work independently and collaboratively with moderate supervision.


Work Schedule

35 hours/week; 12 months/year

Employment Status

Exempt. Full-Time; Regular



Documents Needed to Apply

Resume (required)

Cover Letter (required)

Writing Sample (required

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please upload all required documents.

The successful candidate will be required to meet our pre-employment background screening requirements.

For certain positions, RISD is currently supporting remote work arrangements due to the pandemic. When work resumes in person, employees are expected to perform work on campus.

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

For internal use only - Job Family:

Development - Operations
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