| Job Description
Children Now is a nonpartisan umbrella research, policy development, and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children's health, education and well-being in California. Children Now also leads The Children’s Movement of California, a grassroots network of more than 1,900 business, education, parent, civil rights, faith, and community-based organizations, as well as thousands of individuals, working together to make children a top priority in public policy. Learn more at www.childrennow.org.
We are seeking a highly-motivated, experienced Communications and Research Director to lead Children Now’s media and other outreach efforts and development of Children Now’s two signature publications, the California Report Card and the California County Scorecard of Children’s Well-Being, as well as our work to provide data to communities throughout the state. This position will develop and implement communications strategies for the organization including media relations and online communications. The successful candidate will also write and/or edit a wide range of communications including news releases, op-eds, letters to the editor, blogs, and fact sheets, research materials, policy briefs, and other communications across a range of children’s policy issue areas. This position will also oversee dissemination of the materials produced to a variety of audiences including policymakers, Children’s Movement members, media, and partners. This position will also supervise communications and research managers, overseeing the communications, design and research functions of the organization.
The Communications and Research Director will work closely with policy, research and advocacy teams to explain complex policy ideas and data in accessible and compelling print and online communications for a variety of audiences, including policymakers, media, partners and other stakeholders and organizations, the general public, and individual, corporate and foundation funders. This is a full-time position, reporting to the Vice President of Development and Communications in our Oakland office.
Ideal applicants have demonstrated excellent written and oral communication skills, substantial policy-related communications and/or media relations experience. The ideal applicant is also highly motivated, flexible and solution-oriented, an excellent project manager and a skilled supervisor who can organize a collaborative process, invite input, incorporate feedback and complete work according to deadlines and organizational priorities. The Communications and Research Director should be a dedicated team player, have a positive attitude and be someone who thrives in a fast-paced, collaborative work environment. This position is ideal for an experienced manager interested in policy and committed to the organization’s mission to improving the well-being and racial equity of children in California.
- Develop and implement communications strategies for the organization including media relations and online communications, such as website content, social media, blog postings, etc.;
- Write and/or edit news releases, op-eds, letters to the editor, online communications and advocacy campaigns, blogs, and social media posts on Children Now, our policy areas and The Children’s Movement of California;
- Develop plans for disseminating Children Now materials to help to keep the organization’s messages at the forefront of public awareness;
- Project manage the work of the communications department and the development of Children Now’s signature publications - the California Report Card and the California County Scorecard of Children’s Well-Being;
- Help to develop strategies and oversee Children Now’s research and data work to ensure the organization is a go-to resource on data for local communities and other key audiences;
- Serve as the point of contact for the media and with outside public affairs firms on contract with Children Now, and develop and maintain relationships with key media contacts, as well as partner organizations with whom we collaborate on messaging development, throughout the state;
- Develop story concepts and news angles and pitch reporters on the work of Children Now and The Children’s Movement of California;
- Oversee the development of content for The Children’s Movement of California campaigns and the Children Now website;
- Supervise and develop the Communications and Research Managers;
- Partner with policy and research staff to develop talking points on key issue areas, when appropriate, and assist staff with media relations;
- Direct social media message development, scheduling, posting and promotion with an effort to grow Children Now’s social media presence. Must also stay abreast of the latest online trends and strategies and work with the Children Now team and consultants to improve reach and effectiveness;
- Assist with event planning and promotion, as needed;
- Assist with fundraising communications, including foundation reports and proposals, as needed;
- Assist develop presentations and other outreach materials, as needed;
- Assist with other messaging and writing as needed and support the research, administrative and development needs of the organization;
- Exercise sound judgment when developing communications recommendations and always ensure the credibility and reputation of Children Now when working with stakeholders, members of the media and the public;
- Provide ongoing writing support to policy teams by editing and adapting policy content for a range of audiences including foundations and other funders; individual and corporate donors; statewide, regional and local organizations, including business, parent and faith and ethnic based groups; and the general public;
- Support the policy, research and development teams in identifying and capturing strategies to raise awareness of the organization and particular issue areas and develop messaging materials based on those strategies; and
- Work closely with the marketing, operations and research and policy departments to support the other communications, research and administrative needs of the organization.
- A minimum of eight to twelve years policy-related communications, journalism or other relevant writing experience;
- Extensive management experience, including a minimum of 2-5 years supervising professional staff;
- Excellent oral and written communication skills, and excellent research, analysis and editing capabilities including the ability to translate large amounts of research data and complex policy information into clear and compelling narratives that will resonate with a range of audiences and stakeholders;
- Previous experience developing and implementing communications strategies;
- Previous experience working with the media;
- Excellent judgment;
- Demonstrated excellent project management skills with highly organized processes and detail orientation; and skills in incorporating a wide range of contributions and managing multiple components of projects in different stages of implementation;
- Proven ability to drive and lead others to develop a project plan and execute on and achieve desired outcomes, regularly tracking and reporting on progress toward those outcomes;
- Skill at working collaboratively and incorporating feedback and written input from others;
- Excellent relationship-building skills with the ability to manage effective working relationships with diverse and multicultural constituencies, including colleagues, the media, policymakers, partners, funders and others;
- Highly flexible with a willingness to take on a range of writing assignments and to support the work of multiple teams;
- Effective multi-tasking abilities and strategic and efficient time management skills;
- Substantive knowledge of education and health policy in California preferred;
- Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree in communications, journalism or related field preferred; and
- Expert knowledge of MS Office with strong word processing, Excel, database, and internet research skills.
Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. Generous benefits.
Applications must include 1) cover letter, 2) resume, 3) portfolio of published work, and 4) three to five references. Please send and address all correspondence to:
Attn: Communications and Research Director
1404 Franklin Street, Suite 700
Oakland, CA 94612
E-mail applications with attachments in Microsoft Word format only. Please include your name in the file name for all documents (e.g. g.smith – resume). We do not accept phone inquiries regarding the position; please do not call. Position open until filled.
Children Now is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to staff diversity. People of color are strongly encouraged to apply.