Friends of the Chicago River seeks an experienced and enthusiastic media, marketing, and public relations professional to fill the position of Communications Director for our award-winning environmental organization.
The successful applicant will help shape and publicize the tremendous work our 40-year-old environmental organization does from education to on-the-ground projects to policy formation. We’re looking for someone who can successfully pitch stories to traditional media; maintain and grow our robust social media platforms; effectively communicate with our members, volunteers and online activists through newsletters; engage with local, state and federal decision-makers; and occasionally get wet. If you’re up to the challenge of improving and protecting the Chicago River system for people, plants, and animals, please visit https://www.chicagoriver.org/get-involved.
As a key member of the senior leadership team, the Communications Director will serve as the chief strategist for Friends’ communications efforts and develop and implement a creative and integrated communications plan in support of all Friends’ programs and strategic initiatives. Using Friends’ strategic plan as a guide, the Communications Director will increase awareness of Friends and our public policy and planning, education and outreach, and on-the-ground efforts; build further support for our mission; and help strengthen Friends’ financially. Well rounded and with experience in a comparably sized organization, the Communications Director will be expected to drive efforts through the implementation of an annual communications plan while responding simultaneously to emerging issues and opportunities on a daily basis.
As the only organization exclusively dedicated to improving the Chicago River system, Friends seeks an individual who is committed to and knowledgeable about the environment; already views the Chicago River system as an essential part of the history, culture, and future of the Chicago region; and shows real enthusiasm for the work and the river.
Develop an active media relations program which includes relationship cultivation with traditional and nontraditional media, pitching stories, managing press conferences, and coordinating responses to media requests
Develop external communications strategies that drive policy change, maintain and increase Friends’ presence in the community, and build support for our efforts
Develop and implement an annual communications plan that utilizes Friends’ existing platforms and capitalizes upon them, including social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Define messages that inspire and motivate members, funders, volunteers, partners and other stakeholders and tell stories that convey the distinctive contributions and value of Friends of the Chicago River
Produce, edit, and oversee high-quality written and visual content for social media, newsletters, annual reports, speeches, special events, public comments, articles and messaging for and with Friends’ executive director and other senior staff
Maintain Friends’ web page with current information on all program areas
Promote Friends’ programs and specials events
Develop an understanding of river-related issues and stay well versed in Friends’ efforts
Track and report on campaign metrics
Create and implement organizational protocols for Friends’ photo files and archives
Participate in Friends’ annual all-staff events
Develop crisis communication plans and provides counsel to senior leaders
Special projects as necessary
The right candidate will be highly motivated, expected to recognize and seize opportunities, and possess:
A bachelor's degree with a minimum eight years of experience in strategic communications including at least three years in a leadership position, preferably environmentally related
Evidence of success in media relations and knowledge of the Chicago media market
Experience in marketing and public relations
Superior writer with excellent interpersonal, verbal, and presentation skills
Be highly organized with experience managing multiple tasks in a small organization
The ability to develop and execute communications strategy and annual plans to serve multiple audiences
Demonstrable skill with traditional and social media
Ability to work efficiently and prioritize tasks to meet program and organizational goals
A highly collaborative work style with a track record of working effectively across multiple departments and with a diverse group of people
A commitment to results and solid quantitative skills to perform post-program analysis
Ability and willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends for events and special projects as required
An interest in and commitment to improving and protecting environmental health, natural resources, and the Chicago River system
Willingness to serve with alacrity and adhere to Friends’ stated values from our strategic plan
Please send your resume and cover letter as PDFs files describing: 1) your interest in this position, 2) the ways in which you satisfy the qualifications specified above, 3) salary requirements, and 4) two writing/media/marketing samples to the attention of Margaret Frisbie, Executive Director via email to email@example.com, subject line: Communications Director or mail to Friends of the Chicago River, 411 S. Wells, #800, Chicago, IL 60607.
No applications will be considered without a personalized cover letter detailing the applicant's specific interest in this position. NO CALLS, PLEASE.
Additional Salary Information: Friends offer excellent benefits including generous paid leave, medical and dental insurance, and a retirement match after two years of employment. Friends of the Chicago River is an equal opportunity employer.
About Friends of the Chicago River
Founded in 1979, Friends of the Chicago River is an award winning nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve and protect the Chicago River for people, plants, and animals. With over 10,000 members, volunteers, and online advocates, Friends works to make the river greener and more accessible, while building awareness of the benefits that a clean, healthy river can bring to communities across the watershed. Friends of the Chicago River is working to make the Chicago River one of the world’s great metropolitan rivers. For more information on Friends of the Chicago River, please visit our website www.chicagoriver.org.