The Director of Communications will set and guide the strategy for all communications, website, and public relations messages and collateral to consistently articulate Openlands’ mission. The Director of Communications will ensure that Openlands is viewed as the “Go-To Regional Player” in conservation and land use issues and opportunities by increasing Openlands’ presence in local, regional, and national media (print, broadcast, and digital) and within the constituent base.
The Director of Communications reports to the Vice President of Development and will work closely with Openlands’ senior leadership as the communications partner on a variety of strategic initiatives. This is a full-time, exempt position.
Develop, implement, and evaluate the annual communications plan for Openlands
Put communications vehicles in place to create momentum and awareness as well as to test the effectiveness of communications activities
Shape Openlands’ messaging on timely issues (e.g., climate change)
Primary staff member to the Communications Committee
Manage the development, distribution, and maintenance of all print and electronic collateral including, but not limited to, newsletters, brochures, reports, fact sheets, website-communications, and Openlands.org
Mentor and lead the External Relations Associate and interns
Lead the generation of online content that engages a range of audiences and leads to measurable action. Decide who, where, and when to disseminate
Coordinate webpage maintenance—ensure that new and consistent information (article links, stories, and events) is posted regularly
Track and measure the level of engagement within Openlands’ constituency over time; work to devise real metrics on community engagement as they pertain to Communications goals
Write and edit news releases, opinion pieces, pitch letters, fact sheets, and other written materials used to execute media relations strategy
Manage all media contacts, serving as Openlands’ primary media contact
Work with Openlands’ program managers to ensure communications (vehicles, audiences) are discussed within each program and are written into grant proposal budgets accordingly
Direct staff in using all of the tools available to them, as well as emerging tools, to advance project goals and “storytelling”
Maintain Openlands’ photo and video archives
Maintain subscriptions to Constant Contact
Interact with website vendor/server administrator, consultants, freelancers (writers and photographers)
Knowledge and Skills:
Highly collaborative style; experience developing and implementing communications strategies
Excellent writing/editing and verbal communication skills
Exceptional planning and organizational skills
A strong track record as an implementer who thrives on managing a variety of key initiatives concurrently
Relationship builder with the flexibility and finesse to “manage by influence”
Sincere commitment to work collaboratively with all constituent groups, including staff, board members, volunteers, donors, program participants, and other supporters
High energy, maturity, and leadership with the ability to serve as a unifying force and to position communications discussions at both the strategic and tactical levels
Self-starter, able to work independently, and entrepreneurial; enjoys creating and implementing new initiatives
Strong working knowledge of social media and e-mail and web-based communications platforms
Education: Bachelor’s Degree
Experience: At least ten years of media relations and/or communications experience, ideally in an “in-house” leadership role within a complex (number and variety of constituents) nonprofit organization, and covering areas such as website content, newsletters, and donor communications.
The ability to take knowledge and transform it into exciting and useful messages and disseminate it to the right audiences through the best distribution channels is critical.
Management experience preferred.
Internal/External Contacts: Responsible for external messaging, therefore near-constantly working with members of the press, partner organizations, designers, et al. Also, communicates widely within the organization to find the best stories or help to shape/edit messages.
Working Conditions: Nothing unusual. Occasionally need to accompany staff to media event and be willing to tour sites we have protected for context.
Decision Making: Decides who at Openlands is best to speak to members of the media.
Confidentiality: Is made aware of most confidential information at Openlands in order to help frame information for public consumption.
Openlands is an equal opportunity employer and seeks to employ qualified individuals based on individual merit. Openlands does not discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of employment based on that individual’s race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, housing status, or any other non-merit factor protected under state, local or federal laws.
Equal Employment Opportunity applies to all personnel actions such as recruiting, hiring, compensation, benefits, promotions, training, transfer, termination, and opportunities for training. Openlands is committed to a fair and equitable workplace where everyone is a respected and valued member of the team.
This position is open until filled. Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter explaining why your skills and experience would complement this position to JobApps@openlands.org. Please include “Director of Communications” in the subject line.
Loop office is ADA accessible.
This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, and scanners. Employee is regularly required to talk, hear, see, and communicate effectively via computer.
Smoke- and drug-free environment
Salary range is market competitive. Benefits include health, life, and disability coverage, a 403(b)-retirement plan, paid holidays and vacation time. This is a full-time position.
Openlands is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives. Openlands' vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.