Associate Director of Advancement Communications, Content Creation

Posted on 08/21/2023

Willamette University

Salem, OR

Position Summary:

The Associate Director serves as the chief content creator and the contact for external and internal partners within the Advancement Communications team, and through their work coordinates, creates and develops materials that build engagement and connection that lead to development.

The Associate Director’s duties are divided between creative work including content discovery, research, interviewing, creating, editing, and strategic implementation, and writing personalized donor fundraising proposals for prospects with the capacity to make principal gifts ($1M+); and administrative tasks such as managing vendors, supervising two student employees, editing, and project management.

The Associate Director is the primary content creator for Advancement Communications, including key university messages by email and mail, the Advancement website, social media and a monthly e-newsletter (WU News), and is responsible for each project’s completion and execution. This role maintains a strong relationship with partners across Advancement and the Willamette Office of Marketing/Communications, as well as other campus communicators and outside contractors.

The Associate Director has a strong performance history in the key responsibilities of the position: superb writing and communications skills in a variety of formats and media, managing the work of and relationships with inside and outside vendors, and a proven history of establishing production schedules and meeting deadlines. As the primary content creator for Advancement, an understanding of the components of successful solicitation and engagement messages that grow connection, respect for, and investment in the University is essential.

The Associate Director adheres to the principles of ethics and standard practices as articulated in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Donor Bill of Rights the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement’s (APRA) Statement of Ethics, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) Code of Ethical Principles and Standards as well as the standards of practice of their departmental profession, as appropriate.

Reasonable Accommodations Statement:
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Job Description: 

Proposal Writing (40%)

  • Copywriter of customized proposals for principal gift prospects with a capacity to give more than $1 million, based on information provided by the Executive Director of Development.

Content Creation, Editing and Administration (55%)

  • Seek out stories that encourage connection to Willamette University, and tell the story of donor partnership with Willamette University students and programs. With the Director of Advancement Communications, execute a strategy that reaches a variety of audiences through print and electronic media with messages that are meaningful to them.
  • Serve as content creator/coordinator for Willamette University engagement newsletters, including the monthly e-newsletter, “WU News.” Requires proactive acquisition, curation, and management of stories and messaging segmentation for each edition. Content must be strategic, compelling and meaningful, align with University messaging pillars and other messaging imperatives, and help achieve set engagement goals each year. Delivery must be consistent and according to set timelines. 
  • Responsible for creating and maintaining working relationships with internal and external partners, vendors, and contractors (freelancers). Curate and maintain a list of freelancers: vet skill sets, establish each job’s criteria and share working agreements, coordinate workflow, provide direction to create content and frameworks for various communications vehicles, edit materials and provide feedback.
  • Write, coordinate, update and edit content on the Advancement website. 
  • Consult on and provide editorial and proofreading skills for speeches, talking points, presentations, and remarks for Advancement leadership, as well as other print and digital media, as required.
  • Tell the story of Willamette’s uniqueness through student and program profiles, donor impact stories, alumni profiles, engagement news, and more for reports, guides, letters, publications, social media, websites, videos, and other outlets, as required.
  • Implement the department’s social media strategy by creating a plan for posts and messaging, then work from concept, design, and timing to execute regular, consistent posts that reflect Willamette University values and messaging, and build engagement and audience. Create a schedule of posts for each month, in advance, for discussion with the team. 
  • Maintains close relationship with Willamette. (alumni magazine) editor to coordinate content across vehicles, and provides writing, editorial, and proofreading support as needed. 
  • Supervise two student workers who assist with writing, graphic design, proofreading, and social media execution.

Other (5%)

  • Works in partnership with the Advancement Communications colleagues to track, review, interpret, and report communications data.
  • Supports Advancement events and priorities.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Any combination of education, training, and experience that provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the essential functions of the position. 
  • Three or more years of experience writing, editing, and coordinating marketing and communication materials. 
  • Experience working with internal and external partners, including freelance contractors.
  • A history of creative, original, strategic thinking applied to communications strategy and messaging.
  • History of working directly or indirectly with senior leadership to convey their vision and voice in speeches and presentations. 
  • Knowledge and understanding of how to use social media strategically and effectively.
  • Documented success in work organization, and project and time management. 
  • A demonstrated excitement and interest in helping to build and implement a consistent messaging strategy across the units of Advancement that supports the strategy and goals of the University.
  • Must be proficient in Microsoft Office Suite and G Suite/Google skills, with advanced skills in Microsoft Word and Google Documents (editing, formatting, citations, headers, footers, pagination, image embedding) and advanced skills in Powerpoint and Google Slides. Experience with InDesign is helpful.
  • A thorough understanding of Willamette’s history, direction, and goals; the ability to articulate the value of a private liberal arts education.
  • Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal and communication skills as well as an exceptional ability to analyze data. 
  • Proven ability to draft effective direct mail and email communications, preferably in a higher education environment, as well as copy for broad-based messaging platforms including a mix of print, electronic, and social media outlets.
  • Deadline-driven and detail-oriented, must take initiative to actively move projects forward and communicate issues and updates clearly to the team and leadership.
  • Strategic and creative person who is willing to think beyond traditional boundaries or existing practices that may benefit from updating, whether in the industry or at Willamette. 
  • An innate curiosity about people’s stories and how to tell them in a compelling way. 
  • Strong initiative, creativity, a high energy level, and demonstrated ability to lead and motivate people are essential. 
  • Proactive, and able to work collaboratively to establish and meet goals. 
  • Ability to execute tasks with impressive accuracy and quality under sometimes intense deadline pressure, while maintaining high quality and professionalism. Will manage several projects simultaneously, set priorities, and follow through. 
  • Recruit, vet, prepare, collaborate with and manage freelance writers, editors, graphic designers, photographers and more, as needed. Keep and update as needed a list of vendors we have worked with, their contact information, and how they met our expectations.
  • Able to maintain confidential information, navigate relationships with finesse, and work to the highest ethical standards as outlined by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
  • Highly value interpersonal working relationships and have the ability to build, improve, and maintain them.
  • Ability to work occasional evenings and weekends for signature events and activities including Alumni Reunion Weekend one weekend each June.
  • Must reside in Oregon by the first day of employment or otherwise perform work primarily in Oregon.

Salary: $50,440

Typical Work Schedule: 

Monday – Friday 8 am – 5 pm. Occasional evening and weekend work.

Physical Demands & Working Conditions: 

Typical work is performed indoors in a standard office environment.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as received until the position is filled.

All University positions require that candidates submit to a criminal conviction record check prior to hire. Conviction does not automatically preclude candidates from being hired. Nature of conviction will be considered relative to the duties of the position.

You will need to upload the following two documents as part of your application materials in the “My Experience” section labeled Resume:

  • Cover letter addressing the required/desired qualifications and presenting any other applicant characteristics which deserve emphasis
  • Current Resume

​Incomplete applications will not be considered.

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