Director of Community Relations, Strategy and Outreach
POSITION PURPOSE + DESCRIPTION
In partnership with and serving as an integral member of the senior leadership team, the director of community relations strategy and outreach will be responsible for the implementation of NWWVT’s communication and outreach strategy, community and partners relations, and policy agenda, and will contribute to the organizational strategic planning process. The goal of this position is to advance the organization’s position with relevant constituents, including assisting with identifying, developing and maintaining relationships with organizational partners, key influencers, and other stakeholders at the state, regional, and national level, as well as to drive broader awareness and funder/donor support for the organization.
The position will participate in the development of and be responsible for the implementation of a communications, outreach and advocacy plan, directly managing communications activities that promote, enhance, and protect the organization’s brand reputation, and will be responsible for the development, integration, and implementation of a broad range of public relations activities relative to the strategic direction and positioning of the organization and its leadership. This individual will be an ambassador for NWWVT and will need to build relationships to engage the media and partners in achieving the mission of the organization. Additionally, the role will be responsible for NWWVT’s varied and integrated communications and outreach services including, but not limited to: newsletters, annual report and other print publications; web, enews, and other online communications; print and social media and public relations; production and data dashboards for internal stakeholders, and marketing. This position works across the organization’s programs, collaborating with the leadership team and staff to ensure the organization is engaging all necessary advocacy and relationship building to consistently improve access to affordable housing programs.
PRIMARY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
As a director of community relations strategy and outreach, this position serves on the leadership team. With the executive director and other department directors, this position is responsible for developing and maintaining a vibrant organizational culture that supports staff learning and curiosity, satisfaction, development, and accountability. The leadership team is also responsible for developing the organization’s annual budget, ensuring staff policies and benefits are comprehensive and competitive, and overseeing the general direction of the organization.
Communications Strategy, Vision and Leadership
- Implement an integrated strategic communications plan, including policy agenda, to advance NWWVT’s brand identity and policy objectives; broaden awareness of its programs and priorities; and increase the visibility of its programs across key stakeholder audiences.
- Create and implement marketing/public relations strategy that will allow NWWVT leadership to cultivate and enhance meaningful relationships with targeted, high-level external audiences, including the media and key influencers.
- Work with leadership team and staff to recognize internal and external communications opportunities and solutions, and define and execute appropriate strategies to support them.
- Serve as representative on key advocacy related coalitions and other strategic coalitions as they arise.
- Lead development of a robust community building and engagement program to increase awareness about affordable housing and create meaningful opportunities for individuals and communities to take action in their communities.
- Serve as communications counselor to NWWVT leadership and staff on marketing, communications and outreach learning.
- With the leadership team, lead the organization in documenting the fulfillment of the strategic plan, maintaining a vibrant organizational culture, nurturing its strong reputation in Vermont as a leader in providing affordable housing services, ensuring the viability and sustainability of the organization.
- With the leadership team, lead the annual process to develop annual program goals, budgets, and individual work plans for this role.
- Identify partnerships and opportunities for organizational growth to achieve the strategic outcomes which may include identifying new projects and funders and/or opportunities for organizational expansion.
- Oversee development of all print and electronic communications including the annual report, marketing collateral materials and electronic communications including NWWVT’s website and social media; manage relationships with associated vendors.
- Lead NWWVT’s efforts in maintaining and utilizing accurate and compelling data and stories to engage lawmakers and people in Vermont.
- Coordinate testimony for NWWVT staff by either providing direct expert testimony or coordinating and supporting testimony from other staff, partners, and community member.
- Serve as a spokesperson and lead point person on media interactions that help promote and/or impact the organization.
- Exercise judgment to prioritize media opportunities, and prepare talking points, speeches, presentations, and other supporting material as needed.
- Actively engage, cultivate and manage press relationships to ensure coverage surrounding NWWVT programs, special events, public announcements, and other projects.
- Oversee the day-to-day activities of the communications function including budgeting, planning, and staff development
- Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to excellence.
- Mentor and develop non-supervised staff using a supportive and collaborative approach on a consistent basis.
- As necessary and in partnership with leadership team, establish and monitor non-supervised staff performance and development goals, assign accountabilities, set objectives, establish priorities, conduct annual performance appraisals, and administer salary adjustments.
Perform other duties as assigned.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES
- Proven ability to work independently and cooperatively, manage complex projects, and build positive relationships with internal and external partners.
- Proven ability to connect with a wide variety of people and partner organizations through meetings, group presentations, and over the telephone, with a combination of warmth and strength, so that you are able to be of service and carry out NWWVT’s mission and goals.
- Innovative thinker, with a track record for translating strategic thinking into action plans and output.
- Demonstrated experience and leadership in managing a comprehensive strategic communications, media relations, and marketing program to advance an organization’s mission and goals.
- Creative and thoughtful on how new media technologies can be utilized.
- A minimum of five years of experience in planning, writing, editing, and production of newsletters, press releases, annual reports, marketing literature, and other print publications and directories.
- Experience in building, mentoring, and coaching a team of communications specialists
- Excellent judgment and creative problem-solving skills, including negotiation and conflict resolution skills.
- Well-developed management skills, ability to influence and engage direct and indirect reports and peers.
- Self-reliant, good problem solver, results oriented.
- Ability to make decisions in a changing environment and anticipate future needs.
- Excellent and persuasive communicator.
- Energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive; a team leader who can positively and productively impact both strategic and tactical finance, and administration initiatives.
- Exceptional written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills and the ability to effectively interface with senior management, NWWVT’s Board of Directors and staff.
- Ability to operate as an effective tactical as well as strategic thinker.
- Passion for NWWVT’s mission.
- MS Office Suite proficiency.
- Ability to lead a team and supervise staff with an emphasis on autonomy, support, and accountability.
- Ability to honor confidentiality and to follow protocols for storing and using confidential information.
- Valid driver’s license & reliable vehicle for in-state travel.
- Proficiency in reading and writing in English.
ADDITIONAL PREFERRED SKILLS + EXPERIENCES
- Experience in advocacy, lobbying, navigating the legislative process, and policy analysis
- A basic understanding of nonprofit management and finances
- Knowledge of and sensitivity toward the needs and concerns of low-income individuals and those serving people struggling to meet their basic needs
- Ability to evaluate the effectiveness of systems, programs, and projects and present recommendations for innovating change
- Demonstrated success working with others to make change in a system or institution to advance and promote social and racial justice.
- Commitment to NWWVT core values including creating and elevating a culture of belonging, excellence and learning where curiosity and ongoing examination is valued and encouraged.
- Commitment to a team orientation and willingness to give and receive feedback with colleagues.
- Commitment to race equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as experience working with diverse groups of people.
- Commitment to NWWVT’s philosophy, mission, and vision.
- Requires repetitive movement; Bending or twisting, reaching, sitting, standing, climbing, and walking; Sitting for long periods of time using keyboard and computer; Safely moving or lifting objects up to 40 pounds. Use hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
- Regular, predictable attendance is required.
- Must be able to work in an office environment and operate a computer and phone for extended periods of time.
NWWVT will make reasonable accommodations to enable individuals to perform the essential functions of their work to the degree we are able to do so.
- Internal Work Conditions: Casual working environment. Work is performed in a climate-controlled office environment with no exposure to hazardous materials/conditions. There is a moderate level of noise from office equipment (phone, copier, etc) and an open office layout.
- Schedule: Limited remote work schedule.
- External Work Conditions: Routine in-state travel to training/meeting sites is required; some availability outside of normal business hours is required.
NeighborWorks of Western Vermont is a 501(c)3 status nonprofit and an Equal Opportunity Employer.
NWWVT is committed to our work on race, equity, diversity and inclusion (REDI). We have engaged consultants who work with us to educate our board and staff, and will continue to listen, learn and engage in actions steps to make change in the areas of program (lending and homeownership), operations and human resources areas. We have a core value of belonging in which we believe and continuously strive to create a culture which supports trust, inclusiveness, dignity, gratitude and respect for and within our relationships with one another, our customers, and our partners. We take personal and organization responsibility for curiously learning and engaging so that we can take the action needed to make our organizational decisions and program operations more equitable and just.