The Communications & Engagement Director works with the Executive Director to inform, mobilize, and grow Arts Alliance Illinois' network of nearly 25,000 activists and to promote the mission, activities, and accomplishments of the organization more broadly. Responsible for building and maintaining key external relationships, the Communications & Engagement Director will cultivate and manage not only a comprehensive communications strategy for supporting AAI’s programmatic priorities, but will also manage new and existing engagement initiatives including membership growth, the Local Arts Network and the One State Together in the Arts Conference.
Founded in 1982, Arts Alliance Illinois is the state's leading voice for the arts and arts education. The Alliance is an advocacy organization that promotes the value of the arts through grassroots organizing, coalition-building, lobbying, and policy-relevant research. We believe the arts are not just relevant, but essential to Illinois’ social, economic, and educational growth and vitality. The Alliance has the largest network of any statewide arts advocacy organization in the country. We are the only group that actively serves and represents artists and cultural organizations across all disciplines, budget sizes, and geographic areas. More information on the Alliance is available at www.artsalliance.org
Responsibilities & duties
Overall External Communication (35%)
Work closely with Executive Director to implement and measure the success of a communications program that will enhance AAI’s image and position within the field.
Develop key messages and timeline/calendar for communications to strategic audiences
With ED and board committee, revisit last branding efforts and determine appropriate implementation strategy for messaging campaign
Track implementation progress for each strategy and related activities, evaluate the effectiveness of the communications program and report progress to the AAI staff and board
Ensure consistent communication throughout the organization
Develop and coordinate means to seek regular input from AAI members and other key constituencies regarding the organization’s relevance and quality
Keep informed of innovations and developments in the arts, especially with regard to communications and public relations
Oversee development of relevant print/design materials as needed in accordance with overall brand
Increase component of earned media/PR in overall communications strategy (currently near 0% of effort)
Stakeholder Engagement Programs (35%)
In collaboration with Executive Director, Development Director and relevant board committees:
Create stakeholder network map (both arts and non-arts stakeholders)
Participate in the strategic planning process, develop new stakeholder engagement strategies at the grassroots and institutional levels, both within the arts and beyond
Manage current membership engagement programs: Members’ Meetings, our biannual conference (One State Together in the Arts) and digital initiatives such as list-building, and online fundraising campaigns, and the Local Arts Network program (in collaboration with the Illinois Arts Council Agency)
Digital Communications and Social Media (20%)
Develop digital communications that engage the field and potentially wider audiences.
Oversee and ensure engaging content creation using the following platforms: website, html emails, blogs, twitter, Facebook (and others as they develop and gain traction in our sector)
Re-envision current website and lead process of implementing upgrade to site
Determine intersections between AAI and other leaders in this space
Build community and online networks, engage online audiences both proactively and reactively, encouraging them to talk about the organization and its work
Monitor trends and developments in digital technology and communications
Supervise part time communications and membership/development associate, who will assist with implementation of communications and engagement strategies
We are looking for a motivated and committed arts leader who is enthusiastic about both strategically shaping the next generation of engagement programs for Arts Alliance Illinois and effectively communicating about the value of those programs.
Bachelor’s Degree in English, Communications, Business, Arts/Arts Administration, or related field.
Minimum 5 years of experience working in marketing or communications, with arts/culture/creative industries experience strongly preferred. Related course work or internship experience may be considered.
Strategic and creative thinker with the ability to take larger strategy and insights and translate them into ideas and executable plans, especially around engaging and retaining members/supporters
Demonstrated innovation and success in digital communications, media relations, and the design and presentation of information.
Understands the mission and voice of Arts Alliance Illinois
Savvy in arenas of design and visual identity development
Experience in coordinating and providing support to large, complicated projects. Ability to work as part of team that values brainstorming and creative input, as well as working independently and taking initiative. Must be productive and flexible under pressure.
Experience in advocacy and/or political campaigns is a major plus
Willingness to experiment and innovate, especially when outcomes aren’t known.
Obsessive attention to detail. Excellent proofreading skills.
Excellent written and verbal communications/interpersonal skills.
Ability to effectively manage numerous projects simultaneously and in various stages of development.
Preferred Technical Skills/Experience
Software skills: Microsoft Office suite, including Word, Excel, Photoshop, and InDesign
Proficient in HTML editing. Experience using CRM platforms (such as Salsa) a plus.
Experience with content management systems: Wordpress, etc.
Familiarity with video production and editing software, especially for the web.
Communications applications we currently use:
Additional Salary Information: Salary is commensurate with experience. Health, dental and life insurance plus 403b retirement plan. Arts Alliance Illinois is an equal opportunity employer and encourages a diverse workforce.
Arts Alliance Illinois is the leading voice for arts and arts education in Illinois and the largest statewide arts
advocacy organization in the US. Launched in 1982 to advocate for continued government funding for the Illinois
Arts Council, the work of the Alliance has broadened to include research, promoting high quality arts education, and
connecting and convening arts organizations, artists, and arts consumers across the state. Its mission remains
advocating for the arts in Illinois.
Americans for the Arts serves, advances, and leads the network of organizations and individuals who cultivate, promote, sustain, and support the arts in America. Founded in 1960, Americans for the Arts is the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education.