McKnight Foundation
  • 02-Jun-2022 to 15-Jul-2022 (CST)
  • Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • Salary
  • Full Time

McKnight offers a robust benefits package that includes medical, dental (100% employer paid), 403b match, and paid parking.


The Role

The communications director will leverage the power of strategic communications to advance the mission of the Foundation and its program goals. As a sophisticated navigator of the digital ecosystem, an astute and caring steward of trusting relationships, and a perpetual solutions-finder, this person will have an opportunity to guide the communications team and collaborate with senior leadership to enhance the department's work for maximum social impact. This person will further the Foundation's commitments to changemaking, transparency, knowledge sharing, thought leadership, and good governance by amplifying McKnight's identity and influence internally and externally with key audiences.

The communications team is involved at almost every level of the Foundation's work, from aiding the president's office in strategic communications-both internal and external-to elevating the Foundation's leadership through earned media, providing strategic counsel to program areas and investment teams, authoring important written pieces, producing videos, sharing updates via the website, newsletters, and social media, and more.

Reporting Relationships

The communications director will report to the chief of staff and will be a critical partner to the president and executive leadership team. This leader will attend some of the executive leadership team meetings.

This leader will have four direct reports-two senior communications officers, a communications officer, and an additional communications role (to be hired) - as well as outside firms and freelancers.

Key Responsibilities

Internal and External Communications Strategy and Implementation

  • Develop and execute comprehensive internal and external communications strategies to support the Foundation's overall strategy and objectives.
  • Serve as a strategic owner or advisor on foundation initiatives and announcements, delegating where needed, and providing or arranging for training and counsel.
  • Develop a foundation-wide content strategy and oversee the development of official internal and external communications, including written pieces, websites, social media, and videos.
  • Help translate strategy into action, supporting program teams in telling their stories, shifting narratives, and amplifying the ideas and innovations of grantees.
  • Advance the Foundation's transition from grantmaker to changemaker by helping deepen the practice of strategic communication foundation-wide, elevating the foundation's voice and thought leadership at key strategic moments.

Team and Culture

  • Build, strengthen, develop, and support a high-performing communications team.
  • Lead and provide work direction for the communications team.
  • A proven collaborator capable of building and maintaining robust relationships with the director cohort and senior leadership across the Foundation.
  • Advance the Foundation's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and foster a culture aligned with the organizational values of curiosity, respect, equity, and stewardship.
  • Demonstrate cultural competency and emotional intelligence and communicate with candor and openness.

Building Relationships

  • Build and maintain robust relationships with director cohort and senior leadership across the Foundation.
  • Develop and maintain strategic external relationships to ensure successful communications strategy.

The Ideal Candidate

The McKnight Foundation seeks an experienced communications leader with passion and experience leading internal and external communications efforts across a complex organization. The ideal candidate will be energized by spearheading strategic communications in a dynamic, changing environment, adept at inspiring teams through change, and willing to dig in and "roll up their sleeves."

Qualifications of an Ideal Candidate

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Experience contributing on a strategic, managerial, and operational level as a leader and a strong individual contributor.
  • Experience developing a proactive narrative around complex issues.
  • Possess stellar communication skills in writing; ability to prepare clearly written articles, summaries, and analysis and edit and curate communications generated by others.
  • Able to quickly grasp complex issues and experience distilling and conveying key elements to multiple audiences.
  • An innovative and thorough understanding of digital media and how it is used to promote programs, amplify key voices, and advance foundation goals.
  • A proven ability to think proactively and creatively, and to develop impactful, data-informed communications strategies and campaigns.
  • Track record of success moving the needle on important issues through targeted communications strategies and tactics.
  • Well-versed in pitching media, writing compelling statements, and executing winning digital strategies.
  • Experience with various social media platforms and how digital is changing the media landscape.
  • Able to quickly pivot as urgent issues arise, display calm under pressure, consistently meet deadlines.
  • Experience working effectively and collaboratively across organizational functions.
  • Able to analyze, question, and identify key issues and use data to support conclusions.
  • Able to view issues and challenges from multiple dimensions and apply intellectual energy and creativity.

Core Competencies

Foundation-wide Competencies

  • Collaborates, Communicates Effectively, Manages Complexity, Builds Networks, Being Resilient, Drives Results, Strategic Mindset, and Instills Trust.

Function-specific Competencies

  • Communicates Effectively, Strategic Mindset, Ensures Accountability, and Decision Quality.

Minimum Education and Experience

  • A degree in communications or a related field
  • Ten years related full-time professional work experience in nonprofit, foundation, public relations, or other for-profit business
  • Five or more years of managerial level experience
  • Combination of equivalent education and experience as previously listed

This opportunity is a full-time, exempt position based in Minneapolis. The position salary range is $205,200 - $216,600.

For the protection of everyone entering our spaces, as of January 1, 2022, McKnight Foundation requires all employees, contractors, and vendors entering McKnight offices to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entering our space. All new hires will be asked to comply with the vaccine policy.

Applications will be accepted through Friday, July 15, at 5:00 pm Central Time.

Download the full position profile for more information.

The McKnight Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity.
We encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply.

The above statements are not intended to encompass all functions and qualifications of the position, rather, they are intended to provide a general framework of the requirements of the position. Job incumbents may be required to perform other functions not specifically addressed in this description.

McKnight Foundation
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