Assistant Director, Communications & Annual Giving

Posted on 10/30/2023

Kent State University

Kent, OH

Provide coordination, direction and execution in the planning and development of comprehensive communications, marketing and annual giving strategies that support the Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement (DPAE), promote the university among our key constituencies and secure private support. Reports to designated supervisor.

Duties/essential functions may include, but not be limited to, the following: 

  • Assist in developing the overall strategic vision and operating plan for the annual giving program, including strategic planning, design and execution of the Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement’s centralized annual giving operation.
  • Manage specific strategies for multi-channel direct marketing campaigns (direct mail, email, social media) targeting diverse audiences (alumni, faculty and staff, young alumni and students), with the goal of reaching all possible solicitation constituents.
  • Serve as project manager for colleges/units across campuses to ensure their alumni and donor outreach goals, visions and branding efforts align with those of the university.
  • Assist in the creation of campaigns and materials that ensure cohesive messaging throughout all annual giving marketing activities; oversee design for omni-channel marketing outreach.
  • Support the research, planning, writing, editing, art directing, printing and distribution of a variety of materials (brochures, press  releases and public service announcements, advertisements, displays, presentations, feature articles, flyers, video scripts, surveys, reports, campaign-related materials, case statements etc).
  • Analyze results of direct marketing fundraising results (participation rates, response rate, cost-per-piece, appeal effectiveness, click- through, average gift) and suggest ways to improve overall effectiveness of Annual Giving operation.
  • Support DPAE colleagues in development of college/division/campus-based special fundraising appeal projects to ensure they align in timing, messaging and philanthropic goals set by the division and university for alumni and donor outreach.
  • Act as liaison to internal and third-party designers, videographers, photographers, printers, and mail houses to ensure timely  completion of projects.
  • Work collaboratively with annual giving colleagues to ensure segmented donor communications are in alignment.
  • Manage expenses for all applicable projects within pre-determined annual and project budgets.
  • Collaborate with other members of the division to increase general support of constituent programs and special projects.
  • Perform related duties as assigned.

Bachelor’s Degree in marketing, communications or other relevant field and three years of progressively responsible experience in managing fundraising or marketing projects in a non-profit environment.


Knowledge Of:

  • Multiple writing and editing styles *
  • Direct mailing and database applications *
  • Annual giving fundraising best practices *
  • Integrated communication strategies *

Skill In:

  • Writing/editing (in various formats including: fundraising materials, emails, talking points, presentations, video scripts, newsletter articles, brochures and other collateral material) *
  • Written, verbal and interpersonal communication with the ability to communicate effectively with all components of the university and external constituents *
  • Developing and coordinating direct mail and digital solicitation materials, including video, email and social media *
  • Project management  *
  • Organizing information/projects while adhering to established budgets and deadlines *
  • Fundraising and marketing tools and strategies *
  • Utilizing Microsoft Office Suite and other applicable software *

Ability To:

  • Implement and support department communications efforts; facilitate, articulate policy and messages from senior management, serve as subject matter experts and other sources for communication to a variety of audiences *
  • Work in a complex organizational environment with internal and external business partners and vendors, staff and volunteers *
  • Work independently and as part of a team *
  • Segment and analyze large amounts of data *
  • Multi-task while managing multiple projects and assignments *
  • Motivate and cultivate relationships with prospects, alumni and donors *

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