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Nonprofit Remote Digest - Issue #405
Common Defense is the country’s only veteran-led grassroots organization committed to engaging, organizing, training and mobilizing veterans to elect accountable leaders and promote progressive values in 2020 and beyond.
The Communications Manager will direct and shape Common Defense’s internal and external communications and social media. The ideal candidate will have a finely-tuned sense of compelling storytelling, be comfortable working independently, have experience liaising with the press, have a demonstrated commitment to people-powered progressive social change.
Supervision and team members:
Reports to the Political Director
Works in collaboration with the Political team and Organizing team
Supervises the work of the Digital team
Supervises volunteers in a Speakers & Writers Bureau
Strategic planning and capacity-building
Develop communications strategies to further Common Defense’s campaign goals and overall narrative strategy, continually expand our audience, recruit new members, and provide avenues for current members to become more active.
Organize Common Defense staff and volunteers into a speakers & writers bureau, to include:
Uplift traditionally marginalized voices, and intentionally and proactively collaborate with these members on message development.
Design and implement introductory and sustainment spokesperson and interview training for members of the speakers & writers bureau on an ongoing basis, taking care to invest in developing a diverse range of speakers
Draft talking points and messaging products to prepare Common Defense spokespeople, consistent with Common Defense’s narrative strategy guidelines
Facilitate “after-action” assessments with speakers
Recruit and supervise communications, social media, and design volunteers to assist with communications duties.
Deepen awareness of Common Defense among the media in line with the communications strategy, to include:
Manage, maintain, and build local, national, and issue-based press lists
Cultivate and hold relationships with individual journalists, producers, and bookers
Develop press kits for Common Defense campaigns
Develop and make pitches in collaboration with the Political Director, including:
Draft and pitch op-eds to opinion editors at local and national publications
Pitch media bookers on Common Defense speakers as guests
Develop and pitch story concepts to reporters
Manage rapid response to breaking events, including:
Conduct scenario-planning with Common Defense staff around potential rapid response scenarios
Draft and send press releases, media advisories, and statements on behalf of Common Defense leadership
Field and prioritize press inquiries
Organize press conferences and act as a media liaison at public events
Develop op-ed and Letter to the Editor (LTE) campaign concepts and draft templates
Monitor press mentions and share clips with Common Defense staff and volunteers
Oversee the team of digital consultants by editing and approving emails, ads, petitions, and other content they draft to engage grassroots supporters and small-dollar donors
Develop partnerships with ally organizations and other strategies to enable list growth
Social Media & content creation
Occasionally shoot, curate, and organize photo and video content
Design and create multimedia content including graphics and memes, and perform basic video editing such as adding captions and cutting clips
Cultivate and hold relationships with communications and social media staff at ally organizations and campaigns
Create and implement a content calendar for Common Defense social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Cultivate and hold relationships with social media influencers
Develop concepts for social media actions to be taken by Common Defense members
Update the Common Defense website as needed
Shares the progressive values of Common Defense, our commitments to equity, and supports our theory of change
Minimum two years of relevant experience (either paid or unpaid)
Fluency in US military and veteran culture, idioms, institutions, organizations, ranks, operations, and basic service histories
The ability to work with, inspire, and develop volunteers, as well as build and sustain durable relationships with a wide variety of allies and stakeholders.
Seasoned news judgement, with a solid understanding of the media ecosystem and compelling media narratives.
Quick and persuasive writer and storyteller, with the ability to translate complex issues into everyday language and memorable sound bites
Strong project management, time management, and planning skills, with a demonstrated ability to take initiative and drive projects forward independentlyA strategic mindset that identifies short-term and long-term opportunities, and an ability to balance conducting rapid-response with pursuing long-term objectives simultaneously
Demonstrated ability to operate well under pressure, tight-deadlines, and while working remotely
Fluency with Google suite, including Docs, Sheets, Calendar, Slides, and Drive
Basic graphic design and video editing skills (eg. the ability to produce simple graphics, or add captions to a cell phone video)
Additional years of relevant education or experience (either paid or unpaid)
Graduate of the Veterans Organizing Institute, or other training programs which teach narrative strategy
Past history of involvement with Common Defense or other veteran organizing
Experience with Democratic electoral campaigns
Experience with progressive movement or labor organizing
Experience with small-dollar grassroots digital fundraising list management, including an understanding of reputations, using analytics to optimize open and click rates, executing multi-organizational joint action petitions, and other list health best practices.
Existing relationships with journalists, opinion editors, producers, media bookers, and social media influencers, particularly those covering:
Veterans and the military
Progressive movement and electoral politics
Media sectors serving underrepresented communities (eg LGBTQ media, Black media, Native American media, etc)
Beltway policymaker-facing media outlets
Existing relationships with progressive elected officials and legislative staff, as well as organizers, staff, and leaders of other progressive organizations, think tanks, movements, or member-led grassroots organizations.
Fluency with setup and back-end management of tools and CRMs, including:
Social media management tools such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Actionsprout, and alternatives
Mobilization tools such as New/Mode & Phone2Action
Phone banking and texting tools such as Hustle, GetThru, etc
Content management systems such as WordPress
CRMs such as NGP VAN, ActionKit, and Mailchimp
PR software such as Cision
Physical residence in Washington D.C., New York City, or one of the following states: AZ, CO, FL, GA, IA, ME, MI, NC, NH, NV, OH, PA, RI, WI
Fluency in Spanish
Advanced graphic design and video editing skills (e.g. the ability to create professional-quality pamphlets and flyers, or film and edit a promotional video including clips from different sources)
Advanced proficiency with Photoshop, Canva, and other graphic design and video editing software.
A substantial existing politically-engaged personal social media audience
Common Defense is an equal opportunity employer, and is strongly committed to welcoming, supporting, investing in, and empowering a workforce that reflects the full diversity of the military community we serve. We strongly seek and encourage candidates who are military veterans, women, LGBTQIA+, Native, People of Color, immigrants, and people with disabilities to apply.
All work is remote, with flexible hours and paid time off, with a baseline of expected availability between the hours of 10AM-6PM EST, M-F. Evenings and weekend work are occasionally required, compensated by comp time.
On top of base compensation, employees are provided with a technology stipend for purchasing equipment such as laptops required for their duties, and a healthcare stipend is provided for the employee and dependents to either purchase or supplement health insurance.
Level of Language Proficiency
Spanish proficiency a plus
How to Apply
Candidates will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Please send application materials to Jobs@commondefense.us
Applications should include:
A Resume (1 page)
Answers to the following questions in lieu of a cover letter:
What is your motivation for applying to this position? (suggested 200 words)
Describe a challenging project you have led which relates to one of the responsibilities of the position, and how you approached it. (suggested 200 words)
Up to three writing samples (e.g. a media pitch, communications plan, content calendar, press release, op-ed, talking points document, etc.)
Optional: A media clips portfolio linking to a few representative media hits that resulted from your work