Senior Communications Officer
Sacramento or Oakland, CA; Open to Remote
Type of Job
Oct 6, 2021
About the job
The Water Foundation seeks a creative, seasoned communications strategist to help us drive lasting water solutions. The Senior Communications Officer will join a vibrant and dynamic institution with a compelling mission to ensure reliable, clean water for people and nature. The Senior Communications Officer will collaborate with the program team and partners in the water field to drive compelling water narratives that build political will to secure clean and safe drinking water for all people, restore collapsing freshwater ecosystems, and build climate resilience. The Senior Communications Officer will also develop and lead execution of the Water Foundation’s ongoing and evolving communications strategy.
This position will report directly to the Director of Strategic Programs and work in close partnership with the CEO, Director of Programs and Strategy, and program staff. This position provides a unique opportunity to help shape communications strategy on one of the most important issues of our time.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities
The Senior Communications Officer will hold the following responsibilities:
Guide the Water Foundation’s Fieldwide Communications Strategy
- Build communications strategies with core partners—grantees and funders—that increase the political will to advance important changes to water management across the US. This will include conveying the crises of unsafe drinking water and climate change driven extreme weather to secure support for building ecosystem and community resilience and will include amplifying the voices of frontline communities most impacted by water challenges. These communications strategies will anchor focused campaigns to secure water policy, funding, and governance changes and build water champions among decision makers, funders, and other influencers.
- Embed communications strategies in Water Foundation grantmaking as appropriate. This responsibility will be held in partnership with the program team and will involve support for strategic communications-driven initiatives and grantee communications capacity.
Cultivate Network of Communications Leaders in Water Field
- Serve as the Water Foundation’s main point of contact with the media. Build and maintain relationships with key contacts covering water including journalists, opinion leaders, and editorial boards.
- Develop collaborative partnerships in strategic communications networks and organizations to exchange information, share lessons, and leverage efforts.
- Share these relationships and networks with organizational partners to strengthen their communications capacity and build a more cohesive network of communications leaders in allied water organizations.
Lead Organizational Communications Strategy
- Refine an integrated communications strategy for the Water Foundation that conveys its work through myriad communication channels (including earned, social, and trade-based media), galvanizes new partners to its work, and establishes communications protocols for its team.
- Oversee the execution of this organizational communications strategy, including drafting and editing content and sustaining a consistent tone and voice. This responsibility includes managing design, production, and translation of public-facing materials such as website pages and features, periodic partner updates, social media content, op-eds, blog posts, and other communications collateral.
- Oversee the website, social media accounts, and web-based communications platforms with support from the operations team.
- Disseminate publications and publicize events in partnership with program staff.
- Increase the Water Foundation’s capacity to respond rapidly in key moments, including quickly drafting and posting public/press statements and placing quotes with journalists.
The successful candidate will have the following minimum qualifications:
- 5-10 years of experience working in communications field, demonstrating progressive growth in responsibilities and expertise.
- Demonstrated success developing and implementing communications strategies through positions held in government, strategic communications agencies, water agencies, nonprofit organizations, or private business.
- Exceptional writing and editing skills including the ability to quickly synthesize extensive information into clear, cohesive written products.
- A strong network of professional contacts in the communications field, including experience working with journalists and new media.
- Understanding of public policy.
- Experience building and promoting organizational brands.
- Strong work ethic, initiative, follow-through, and good judgment.
- Excellent interpersonal and relationship management skills with proven ability to work cooperatively with peer organizations.
- Capacity to receive and balance input from multiple colleagues.
- Patience, grace, and humor under pressure.
- Passion and commitment to the Water Foundation’s mission.
- Commitment to advancing the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and in the Foundation’s work with its partners.
Compensation and Location
The Water Foundation offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience. The starting salary for the position is $115,000 - $130,000. The Senior Communications Officer will ideally be based near the Water Foundation’s offices in Sacramento or Oakland, CA; however, remote work for those with easy access to a major airport in the Western US will be considered. Travel to the Foundation offices will be required. The Water Foundation encourages people of color, from under-resourced communities, immigrants, LGBTQ+, and others with diverse perspectives and experiences to apply.
About the Organization
The Water Foundation is a nonprofit philanthropy working to support lasting water solutions for communities, economies, and the environment. The Foundation complements strategic grantmaking with creative field-building and engagement with high-level decision makers and community leaders, and helps funders identify and act on opportunities to better manage water.
The Water Foundation works in key watersheds across the West, recognizing that water crosses political boundaries and natural places face similar challenges across the region. As a funder with a singular focus on water, the Foundation deploys staff expertise to move resources to the groups that can most effectively improve water systems for the benefit of people and nature. The Water Foundation’s partners span a broad spectrum: conservation organizations, environmental justice groups, Tribes, agricultural associations, water providers, academics, business groups, and local, state, and federal agencies.
In 2019, the Water Foundation launched an ambitious 5-year strategic framework to guide organizational efforts and maximize impact. This strategy, which reflects extensive field input from partners and stakeholders, takes a systemic approach. It prioritizes securing safe, clean water for people, restoring and sustaining freshwater environments, and building resilience to a changing climate. In pursuing these goals, the Foundation supports the field in tackling immediate water problems, including polluted drinking water and collapsing ecosystems, in ways that alter system drivers, such as social inequality and outmoded infrastructure.
Inequity and injustice underlie many of the challenges the Water Foundation is working to address, such as the failure to provide clean, safe, and affordable drinking water or access to free-flowing rivers and green space to all communities. The Foundation is currently engaged in an initiative designed to provide the learning, competencies, and tools necessary to ensure that the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded and embodied in individual behavior, institutional operations, and strategic programming. While this is a two-year initiative, the Water Foundation is deeply committed to ongoing growth and learning in this area.
More information about the Water Foundation can be found at www.waterfdn.org.
Interested candidates should contact: Amy Segelin (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Chaloner Associates.