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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Capability to work independently and collaboratively with
35 hours/week; 12 months/year
Exempt. Full-Time; Regular
Documents Needed to Apply
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
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