Mar 09, 2018

Strategic Communications Manager

  • National Indian Child Welfare Association
Marketing / PR Child and Family Welfare Agency Nonprofit-Social Services

Job Description


Position Summary:

The strategic communications manager for the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) is responsible for promoting NICWA’s public image and visibility through a variety of communications media. They will support and work directly under the supervision of the executive director. The strategic communications manager has four key areas of responsibility.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • strategic communication (develops and oversees implementation of annual communication plan based on organizational strategic priorities; provides strategic communication counsel to executive director);
  • brand management (ensures NICWA’s brand—logo, color palette, brand messages—is consistently applied; ensures that NICWA publications, promotional materials, social media channels, and website look professional and contain high-quality content);
  • positioning of NICWA and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA): ensures that NICWA and Indian child welfare issues are proactively, positively positioned through diverse communication channels, including local, state, and national media outlets; and
  • communication management (leads and guides the work of interns, vendors, volunteers, and potential future staff; provides coaching and support to staff and board of directors).


Essential Functions:


Strategic Communication

  • Within three months of hire, and on an annual basis, conducts a communications audit and develops an internal report citing strengths and gaps in communications capacity and performance as well as recommendations for building necessary capacity
  • Develops, implements, and evaluates an integrated communication strategy, to include both effective response and proactive media, in collaboration with the executive director and departmental leadership. Assists the executive director and development team in keeping abreast of related program information by researching and reading articles, reports, policy documents, etc., and preparing executive summaries
  • Provides communications support to the executive director, such as preparing PowerPoint presentations, writing speeches, drafting correspondence, and preparing media comments/messages as well as developing, securing, and setting up venues for the executive director and NICWA leadership to be public spokespersons and coordinating with outside publishers on articles authored by the executive director and NICWA leadership

Brand Management

  • Coordinates inclusion of consistent, positive image, branding, and key messages in all of NICWA's communications tools and promotional materials, such as brochures, program materials, and presentations, etc.
  • Ensures quality control of all NICWA publications and products for consistency with the NICWA style guide, approved NICWA images, and the NICWA brand


Positioning of NICWA and ICWA

  • Works with the executive director, development staff, management team, and program staff to develop and implement methods and venues for positive public recognition of NICWA and promote an effective, long-term communications strategy, such as media appearances, media relations, etc.
  • Coordinates information presented to media outlets on NICWA program services and events and is the initial contact for media reporters on all inquiries
  • Proactively builds and maintains relationships with key media outlets, coordinates media releases and press conferences, and secures earned media coverage of NICWA events and services
  • Coordinates communications/media issues requiring executive director, development staff, and program staff review, including drafting and finalizing replies and ensuring accurate and appropriate content and timely responses
  • Participates in national efforts to coordinate communications with and support of key partners on a range of policy, program, and research issues
  • Oversees and cultivates NICWA’s audience on social media platforms; ensures compliance with NICWA’s social media policy and standards internally and externally; and in coordination with other departments, develops social media content
  • Promotes a marketing approach, ensuring that NICWA's name and services will be continuously recognized nationally by a variety of constituents and the general public

Communications Management

  • Plans and compiles content generated by staff and coordinates design, layout, printing, and mailing or electronic distribution of NICWA's publications such as the annual report, NICWA News, and Pathways Practice Digest; manages vendor relationships with external designers, photographers, printers, etc., to produce products
  • Sets standards and conventions for NICWA writers and supports staff in developing and exercising strong technical writing skills
  • Ensures high-level proofreading and editing skills on all public documents, such as testimony, communications materials, correspondence, reports, proposals, board minutes, etc.
  • Prepares written materials and verbal reports for quarterly meetings of the NICWA board of directors
  • Provides communications and technical writing consultation and training to NICWA staff or constituents in association with existing NICWA programs, grants, or contracts

Additional Responsibilities:

  • Performs other duties and assignments as directed.
  • Participates in NICWA activities and teams as required.


  • This position works under the direct supervision of the Executive Director.
  • This position has no supervisory responsibilities.

Standards of Conduct:

  • Models ethics, integrity, and accountability
  • Exercises sound judgement
  • Adheres to accuracy and quality standards
  • Contributes to NICWA’s learning community
  • Manages workload effectively
  • Manages adversity
  • Develops strategic perspectives
  • Displays professional effectiveness
  • Promotes NICWA’s mission, vision, philosophy, and goals
  • Builds organizational knowledge
  • Maintains constituent focus and builds constituent knowledge
  • Champions change
  • Builds relationships
  • Communicates effectively and powerfully
  • Demonstrates cultural competence
  • Fosters collaboration and teamwork
  • Inspires and motivates others to high performance
  • Abides by NICWA policies, procedures, and organizational structure
  • Supervisors are expected to:
    • Staff effectively, utilizes talent, and empower staff
    • Foster a culture of continuous improvement by offering recognition and rewards


  • Bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, media relations, business management, marketing, social services required
  • Five or more years of organizational communications experience, including planning and publication of newsletters, brochures, program materials, and website content
  • Three or more years of experience building positive, proactive relationships with media
  • Experience working with media to shape and inform stories
  • Three or more years of public relations or marketing experience
  • Three or more years of website management experience and understanding of tools such as Google Analytics and search engine optimization
  • At least three years of general supervisory experience
  • Strong knowledge of Native culture and social service systems with demonstrated working experience with tribal organizations, tribal service systems, and tribal government structures
  • Demonstrated knowledge, experience, and ability to manage projects, using skills and tools to organize project work involving competing deadlines and to balance internal and external demands
  • Demonstrated knowledge, skills, and experience to communicate through oral presentations in settings at the national, regional, and community level, as well as in tribal settings to different types of audiences in an effective and timely manner
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication (including listening, writing, speaking), customer service, and time management skills essential
  • Demonstrated knowledge, skills, and experience to actively cooperate in a team environment, both in leadership and peer relations, and motivate others to do the same
  • Proficiency with operating a variety of office equipment and computer hardware/software applications specifically Microsoft Office products is required
  • Proficiency with social media platforms (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram), Adobe Creative Suite (including Adobe InDesign, CVENT, and Photoshop) is preferred
  • Possesses strong proofreading and grammatical skills with attention to detail

Travel Requirements:

Has ability to travel approximately 5% –10% of the work year

Typical Physical Activity:


Physical Demands:

Frequently involves sedentary work that involves repetitive motions: exerting up to 30 pounds of force and a negligible amount of force to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects, including the human body.

Physical Requirements:

Constantly requires the ability to receive detailed information through oral communications, and to make fine discrimination in sound. Constantly requires repetitive movement of the wrists, hands and/or fingers.  Often requires walking, reaching over and outward or moving about to accomplish tasks. Often requires standing and sitting for sustained periods of time. Occasionally requires ascending or descending stairs or ramps using legs, feet, arms, and hands. Occasionally requires stooping, kneeling, squatting, crouching, climbing on stools which entails the use of the lower extremities and back muscles.

Typical Working Environmental Conditions:

The worker is frequently subject to inside environmental conditions which provide protection from weather conditions, but not necessarily from temperature changes, and is occasionally subject to outside environmental conditions.


The individual must perform the essential duties and responsibilities with or without reasonable accommodation efficiently and accurately without causing a significant safety threat to self or others. The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by employees assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of all personnel so classified.


Send completed application materials including a cover letter, CV/resume, completed NICWA employment application including references (available on our website at or by calling (503) 222-4044), any copy of relevant certifications, and three writing samples: a newsletter article (reflecting general organizational communication to stakeholders), a media release, and a technical writing sample of at least 750 words to:

National Indian Child Welfare Association

Attn: Human Resources

5100 SW Macadam Ave., Ste. 300

Portland, Oregon 97239


Fax: (503) 222-4007

Title / Level of Responsibility


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