Rhode Island School of Design is actively seeking a Director of
Advancement Communications to join its Institutional Advancement
Department (IA). Institutional Advancement cultivates and stewards
relationships from a variety of sources to support the priorities
of the college. IA understands that art and design drive human
progress and produce innovations that shape our world. It is deeply
committed to building an inclusive community enlivened by a
determination to address the most important challenges of our time.
We seek a culturally competent candidate who will thrive in a
campus environment that is committed to advancing the principles of
social equity and inclusion, environmental and climate justice, and
equal access to resources and opportunities.
With an in-depth understanding of RISD’s strategic priorities,
the Director of Advancement Communications drives and coordinates
the efforts of all communications initiatives to advance
Institutional Advancement’s (IA) work to foster lifelong
relationships with alumni, parents, friends, donors, and
organizations to strengthen goodwill and philanthropy. The director
is a key member of the Donor Engagement team who drives the
external visibility of RISD’s fundraising and engagement efforts
comprising Advancement Communications, Donor Relations and Special
Events. This role collaborates with IA colleagues within the Donor
Engagement team and across the division, including the RISD Fund,
Major and Planned Giving, Alumni + Family Relations and Advancement
Services, to oversee the execution of coordinated digital and print
communications initiatives. The director leads the Advancement
Communications team to develop and execute compelling and inclusive
written and visual communications across print, website, email,
video, and social media platforms. This position also ensures
cohesive, timely and impactful messaging across the division and
oversees the execution of an integrated communications strategy
necessary for the implementation of responsive, multi-channel
communications for RISD’s fundraising and alumni and family
- Develop, direct and project manage annual and long-range
strategic multi-channel communications plans and initiatives in
partnership with the Executive Director of Donor Engagement and in
alignment with institutional messaging and branding.
- Lead a growing team of advancement communications professionals
who develop and execute writing, design and data analytics for
digital and print communications. These include promotional
materials, storytelling, fundraising opportunities and case
statements, publications, three websites, email communications,
e-newsletters and social media. Coaches and manages the team,
assess staffing workloads and needs, hires new staff and/or
reallocates project assignments as needed.
- Direct all content production assignments, maintenance and
workflows associated with all projects and initiatives developed
and executed by the Advancement Communications team. Liaise with
appropriate stakeholders to manage the editorial review process for
all external and internal communications and collaborate with RISD
Marketing and Communications and other campus partners to
cross-promote content beyond IA's channels.
- Identify, draft and/or direct the creation and maintenance of
internal communications guidelines, internal communications
newsletters, resources and talking points for IA colleagues and
- Assign, or execute as needed, the writing needs of the Vice
President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of
Donor Engagement, including crafting news announcements, scripting
event talking points and speeches for college and volunteer
leadership and other high-level communications that require
- Serve as editor of IA’s biannual Momentum magazine and other
donor publications as needed. Collaborate with the Executive
Director of Donor Engagement, the Alumni Magazine Editor and
members of the Senior Management Group to identify donor, volunteer
and student stories that convey the impact of philanthropy and
volunteerism. For each issue write and/or assign all content
writing and photograph coordination within the Advancement
Communications team and manage the planning, production and
distribution of the magazine with outside graphic design
- Ensure all visual and written communications are cohesive,
inclusive and aligned with institutional branding and editorial
guidelines. Assess and advise on the cadence of IA’s communications
deliverables to RISD’s constituents.
- Contract with and manage creative vendors to execute
communications deliverables as needed, including but not limited to
website development, graphic design, writers, marketing photography
and videography for a variety of strategic needs.
- Partner with the RISD Fund and Planned Giving colleagues and
their direct response marketing vendors to advise on visual and
- Oversee Advancement Communications budget in consultation with
the Executive Director of Donor Engagement.
- Partner with key campus stakeholders, including faculty and
senior leadership and communications staff in other offices on
communications that require collaboration and discretion.
- Serve as liaison to the RISD Marketing and Communications team
and as IA’s representative on the RISD Communicators Network to
align institutional communications efforts across campus.
- Provide editorial guidance on printed and electronic
fundraising materials and communications to ensure materials are of
highest quality and greatest appeal.
- Complete other duties as required.
- Superlative diplomatic and communication skills, including an
ability to work and communicate effectively with a broad spectrum
of internal and external constituents, within a broad range of
- Demonstrated commitment to social equity and inclusion,
including experience/ability to identify and emphasize diverse
perspectives in communications, and strategy.
- Five-plus years of experience managing a professional
- Extensive experience developing and implementing strategic
communications plans that use communications research and analysis
to drive decision-making.
- Proven ability to write persuasively.
- Strong writing, editing and proofreading skills with expertise
in use of English grammar, punctuation and syntax with proficiency
in the Chicago Manual of Style.
- Demonstrated expertise in the use of Google Apps (G Suite),
Microsoft Office, CRM/Databases, Adobe Creative Suite and Asana, or
similar project management collaboration tools. Ability to manage
complex projects, oversee rounds of revision, and resolve editorial
feedback from multiple stakeholders.
- Experience directing the work of writers, graphic designers,
photographers and videographers.
- Ability to manage multiple projects, priorities and deadlines.
Capability to work independently and collaboratively with moderate
supervision. Ability to occasionally work evenings and
- Bachelor’s degree in English, Communications or related field
or equivalent combination of education and experience. Master’s
degree is strongly preferred.
- Ten-plus years of experience in fundraising and/or marketing
communications, and/or a related field.