Director of Communications
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Thousand Currents is thrilled to launch a national search for our next Director of Communications. The Director of Communications will lead and manage their team in developing and implementing a dynamic multilayered communications strategy with the creativity and power to touch hearts and minds, inspire new partnerships and funding, move current and new audiences to action, and position Thousand Currents as a leading voice in the philanthropic sector.
ABOUT THOUSAND CURRENTS ~ Thousand Currents is a public foundation funding grassroots work that addresses the interdependent issues of food sovereignty, alternative economies, and climate justice in the Global South. We have a deeply skilled and committed staff of 23, board of 8, and revenue of just under $5 million. To learn more about Thousand Currents by the numbers view our Annual Report.
For nearly 35 years, Thousand Currents has invested in and learned from more than 1,000 community-led initiatives in over 40 countries. Too often, resource and investment decisions are made without the input and participation of the people who contribute the least to – and are most impacted by - large-scale global problems like climate change, inequality, poverty, and corporate-based food systems. Thousand Currents has intentionally flipped this dynamic, choosing instead to build long-term partnerships with movements and organizations led by women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples. This means honoring their leadership and wisdom, their right to self-determination, and their transformative solutions to global challenges.
In addition to long-term flexible partnership and financial resources, we support our partners in strengthening their impact by linking them with each other and with broader social change movements at regional, national, and global levels through convenings, learning exchanges, and conferences; facilitating the creation and sharing of knowledge practices and resources; and amplifying their solutions to redirect the flow of resources and relationships within philanthropy.
At the same time, we use our position and influence as a vocal and visible advocate for grassroots-led social change, bridging emerging approaches and learnings from the Global South with philanthropic models and practices from the Global North. We do this through our Philanthropic Partnerships program, where we work with donors to adopt transformative practices that dismantle injustice and inequity. Through trainings, workshops, tools, and resources, we help donors strengthen their relationships with grantee partners in alignment with their values and missions. And we bring them together to cultivate a just, equitable, and inclusive philanthropic and social impact investment sector through our practice communities: Thousand Currents Academy, Young Professionals Group, Buen Vivir Fund, CLIMA Fund and Africans In The Diaspora.
The values that underpin and shape our work and approach are courage, humility, creative collaboration, experimentation, and interdependence. These values have allowed us to create new -- respectful -- models of partnership and collaboration. You can learn more about Thousand Currents including our grassroots and philanthropic partnerships and collaborative initiatives here.
LOOKING FORWARD ~ As Thousand Currents approaches its 35th anniversary, we are developing a bold new strategy and vision to guide our work and increase our impact for the future. This strategy will include expanding our Academy to diversify training opportunities, further building out our transformative approach to impact investing through the Buen Vivir Fund, increasing funding for grassroots solutions to our global climate crisis through the CLIMA Fund, launching a Learning and Innovation program, and doubling down on our work to educate and transform philanthropy in service of our partners in the Global South.
We are excited to bring on a talented and bold Director of Communications to help us flesh out and deliver on this strategy, working with our team to amplify our message and vision – and those of our Global South partners – in new and exciting ways.
CANDIDATE PROFILE ~ To fulfill our role as an advocate, bridge builder, grant maker, and investor, Thousand Currents must also be a strategic storyteller and amplifier. The successful Director of Communications will relish the opportunity to lead an innovative, strategic, communications program that engages staff, board, donors, and allies in lifting-up and centering our partners’ powerful stories and solutions. They’ll bring to this work a collaborative, entrepreneurial spirit, a creative, optimistic approach, and a deep understanding of an evolving communications field.
The Director of Communications reports to the Executive Director, is a member of Thousand Currents’ senior management team, and plays a key role in supporting the organization’s strategic priorities, ensuring priority issues and campaigns have a strong well-crafted communications strategy. They will lead, assign, and have the support of a full-time communications manager, interns, as well as consultants and/or vendors as needed to carry out the work.
Our ideal candidate will share our commitment to human rights, social, and climate justice. They’ll be a skillful strategist with a track record of using a variety of communications vehicles to galvanize and inspire change. Most importantly, they’ll be motivated by the opportunity to engage in a reciprocal process of curiosity and learning with our staff and partners and will be excited to transform that learning into compelling stories that move philanthropy to adopt transformative practices that dismantle injustice and embrace economies of self-determination, interconnection, and well-being.
RESPONSIBILITIES ~ Delineating job functions is a tricky business. As any communications professional in a social justice organization knows, their role may take surprising turns and will certainly call upon their ability to be strategic and responsive, big picture, and hands-on. The Director of Communications will be someone excited to:
Lead The Way ~ by crafting a bold, multilayered communications strategy that encompasses written, spoken, visual, social, and digital communications to advance Thousand Currents’ vision;
Take Us There ~ by generating and overseeing the plans and timelines needed to ensure the strategy is implemented in a coordinated and integrated way across the organization; leading and guiding their team to hold pieces of the work;
Bring Their Craft and Eye for Beauty and Brilliance ~ by creating, curating, and promoting bold new content -- all kinds of it! articles, op-eds, blogs, collateral, videos, photos, reports, donor materials: whatever it takes to amplify the work and wisdom of our partners. And as our reach and ambition grows - paying the same attention to the aesthetics and art of our messaging as to the brilliance of content;
Expand Our World ~ by identifying new and possibly unexpected marketing and relationship opportunities, promoting our work in diverse media forums and keeping it fresh;
Build Internal Capacity ~ by training our grassroots partnerships teams to gather stories and weave powerful content and messaging into their work; supporting our philanthropic teams in targeted advocacy and messaging; collaborating with the learning and innovations team to translate knowledge products into communications content; and supporting our Global South partners if needed in strengthening their communications capacity -- always ensuring content respects our partners voices, and is aligned with and reflects our values.
Track and Refine ~ by ensuring efficient systems to manage our contacts and media files; track and analyze audience segmentation, website usage and social media campaigns -- sharing lessons learned and refining as needed.
Connect and Grow With Us ~ by contributing to our culture of collaboration, entrepreneurship, pitching-in, and planning, learning, and growing together.
QUALIFICATIONS AND QUALITIES OF IDEAL CANDIDATES ~ We seek highly qualified candidates with as many of the following areas of knowledge, ability, skills, and experience as possible:
- Significant senior level experience in leading communications functions including media relations, video, digital, and social media production, narrative strategy, and strategic communications planning and implementation.
- Resourcefulness in developing cutting edge approaches that distill complex concepts into compelling and accessible written and visual narratives.
- Demonstrated success in leading and fostering staff and team development and capacity.
- Relational - ability to connect with and engage current and potential partners and allies including grassroots partners, movement leaders, next gen advocates, philanthropy, and individual donors.
- Excellent judgment and discretion, self-aware, and emotionally intelligent; flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances.
- Alignment with and commitment to the vision and values of Thousand Currents.
- Ease with technology and communications platforms; Salesforce or equivalent database skills.
- Experience in Asia and the Pacific, Africa, or Latin America (living, working, volunteer, or study) a plus; knowledge of power dynamics, extractive practices, and impacts strongly preferred.
- Fluency in written and spoken Spanish preferable.
- Flexibility and capacity to travel by plane to meetings at locations nationally and possibly internationally; maintenance of a valid passport is required.
COMPENSATION AND CULTURE ~ The Director of Communications is a full-time exempt position. Remote work is possible though preference is for folks based in New York City or Oakland where we have hubs. The salary range for the position is 95k – 115K with generous benefits including 100% employer paid premiums, partner/child coverage, a health reimbursement arrangement, sick and vacation leave, flexible holidays, and opportunities for professional and personal development.
HOW TO APPLY ~ Cory Pohley of Bandwidth Consulting is supporting our search. Applicants must submit a resume, a substantive and thoughtful cover letter describing their interest and making the case for the relevance of their experience to the key areas of focus, and a sample or link to a digital, video, or written communications piece of which they are especially proud to: email@example.com with the subject line: Director of Communications. Deadline to apply is November 13th, 2019. The position will remain open until filled.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY ~ Thousand Currents supports diversity in staffing and values and complies with all applicable federal, state, and local la