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Assistant Director (Direct Marketing Communications)

Southern Methodist University
Texas, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Posted Date
Dec 22, 2021

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Position Type
Administrative, Business & Administrative Affairs, Public Relations & Marketing (Campus)
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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About SMU

SMU’s more than 12,000 diverse, high-achieving students come from all 50 states and 90 countries to take advantage of the University’s small classes, hands-on research opportunities, leadership development, community service, international study and innovative programs. The University offers a strong foundation in the humanities and sciences and undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs through eight schools.

Now in its second century of achievement, SMU is increasingly recognized for the ways it supports students, faculty and alumni as they become ethical leaders in their professions and communities. On the most beautiful college campus in the country, SMU Mustangs are energized by unbridled opportunities – from teaching, learning and research to creativity, performance and athletic endeavor.

About the Department:

Development and External Affairs (DEA) supports SMU by securing funding for University priorities; by promoting meaningful involvement in the life and work of the University; by heightening international, national, state and local awareness of SMU; and by supporting the enrollment of a diverse and able student body.

DEA comprises the offices of Office of the Vice President, Annual Giving and Alumni Relations, Development Services, Program Services and Donor Relations, Marketing and Communications, Principal and Major Gifts, and School and Project Development.

SMU continues to leverage the benefits from the largest fund-raising campaign in its history to achieve dramatic increases in academic quality and impact.

About the Position:

The Assistant Director for Alumni Giving Communications develops, manages and executes all day-to-day direct marketing engagement & stewardship communications, ensuring complete alignment with the overarching goal of increasing annual engagement and giving among donors, parents, alumni, faculty/staff, students and friends.

The Assistant Director will work closely with colleagues across DEA to produce and execute engaging mail and email campaigns, including event invitations for up to 30 segmented programs, mass volunteer recruitment outreach, ongoing stewardship for three donor societies, and other marketing activity aimed at advancing each constituent’s engagement journey. Role will collaborate with colleagues to ensure all messaging is completely integrated with solicitation and digital content and that execution is aligned with overall marketing calendar, working with vendors as appropriate.

Essential Functions:

  • Work with Director to glean annual engagement priorities for constituencies such as alumni, students, parents, faculty/staff, & others. Use available information to craft concise, coordinated mail & email copy for comprehensive communication campaigns. These include event marketing for large, highly segmented audiences, monthly newsletters, volunteer recruitment & stewardship messaging.

  • Expertly manage and execute detailed, multi-channel, highly segmented mail & email mass communication campaigns (min. of 30 mailings & 100 emails) for audiences up to 130K. Partner with Director to use updated messaging that meets university editorial & style guidelines. Collaborate with marketing teams to acquire assets, place copy in pre-approved email layouts, manage proofing & approval process & execute sends using mail provider/email platform in accordance with marketing calendar’s direction. Maintain relationship with print vendor for mail execution. Maintain knowledge of email service provider's parameters. Using project management software, adhere to timelines to execute all monthly and quarterly communication strategies on time and on budget.

  • Work with other Asst. Directors to suggest, produce deliver accurate, integrated content for other marketing channels, as needed, including web, social, digital, student caller and peer-to-peer channels. Collaborate with stakeholders to ensure recommendations for supplementary content integrates all messages with overall campaign goals.

  • Work with Alumni Data Manager to manage and upload accurately segmented prospect lists (up to 130K records) with tracking source codes for text, email and mail communications, using extensive audits to ensure their validity and accuracy. Facilitate communication/training with stakeholders, as needed, to ensure appropriate audience engagement. Conduct ongoing data quality checks to maintain list health and ensure accurate list personalization. Track and report data integrity updates including mail NCOA and email bounces. Ensure opt-out data, address updates and other communication preferences gleaned from channels are continually updated in CRM. Ensure proper follow-up & stewardship are executed in an accurate and timely manner by sharing mail and email responses with appropriate colleagues.

  • Develop, regularly review & report on activity - monitoring results of all mail and email engagement campaigns by analyzing data including click through rates, responses & other metrics. Coordinate with Director to improve open/engagement results for each send. Timely archive final sends & data reports in shared data drives for common access. Monitor and report ongoing engagement results & suggest tactical adjustments to maximize participation to stakeholders, as needed.

  • Manage all day-to-day aspects of mass-marketing for up to three annual giving stewardship societies, including consecutive giving and leadership level giving societies. This includes mail and email sends related to special events and activities, impact-driven content and newsletters, on occasion. Maintain accurate lists for these giving societies for timely and accurate annual stewardship. Suggest prospect leads from engagement efforts for future cultivation and solicitation efforts.

  • Build simple surveys, registration and sign-up forms to facilitate volunteer recruitment, online event registration and general constituent engagement, as appropriate. Manage these forms' execution in conjunction with campus partners, providing data to stakeholders in a timely fashion for appropriate follow-up.

  • Other duties as assigned

  • Occasional evening and weekend work for signature alumni event weekends and SMU Giving Day will be required.


Education and Experience:

Bachelor’s degree is required.

A minimum of two years of experience executing print mail, or email direct marketing campaigns for large audiences is required.

Solid knowledge and experience in the print production or email marketing process, highly preferred. Experience in sales, marketing or nonprofit fundraising, highly preferred. Experience with Emma or other email service providers, highly preferred. Experience with donor stewardship strategies, a plus.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Candidate must demonstrate strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate broadly across the University and foster productive internal & external relationships. Must also demonstrate strong writing skills with an eye toward succinct copy for print, email, & digital channels, required. Strong proofreading & editing skills are essential.

Candidate must possess strong problem-solving skills with the ability to identify and analyze problems, as well as devise solutions. Must also have strong organizational, planning and time management skills with the ability to manage multiple priorities. High attention to detail & accuracy is required. Strong analytics skills, a plus. 

Microsoft Office proficiency, including Word, Excel and Outlook, is required. Experience with email service providers such as Emma, is highly preferred. Experience with Asana, AirTable, or other project management software is highly desirable. Experience with CRM platforms, ideally Blackbaud CRM or similar tools, as well as a working knowledge of Adobe suite is a plus. Google analytics certification, preferred. Training on email service providers, preferred.

Physical and Environmental Demands:

  • Sit for long periods of time
  • Bend
  • Handle object (dexterity)
  • Push/pull

Deadline to Apply:

January 19, 2022

Priority consideration may be given to submissions received by January 7, 2022.

EEO Statement:

SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,


SMU offers staff a broad, competitive array of health and related benefits. In addition to traditional benefits such as health, dental, and vision plans, SMU offers a wide range of wellness programs to help attract, support, and retain our employees whose work continues to make SMU an outstanding education and research institution.

SMU is committed to providing an array of retirement programs that benefit and protect you and your family throughout your working years at SMU and, if you meet SMU's retirement eligibility criteria, during your retirement years after you leave SMU.

The value of learning at SMU isn't just about preparing our students for the future. Employees have access to a wide variety of professional and personal development opportunities, including tuition benefits.

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