Position Description: The Senior Communications Officer for Alumni Affairs and Development is responsible for media relations and public communications activities designed to support Harvard alumni engagement and fundraising as well as the university's broader teaching, learning, and research mission. With over 400,000 living alumni throughout the globe, the reach and diversity of Harvard University's donor and alumni community presents a unique opportunity to enhance understanding, as well as to engage and mobilize support for the university's vision and activities in areas that cross geographic and academic borders. Situated within the university's central public affairs and communications team (Harvard Public Affairs and Communications – HPAC) and reporting to the Chief of Staff, this position works to advance the work and goals of Harvard's central alumni affairs and development office (AA&D), including the University Development Office (UDO) and the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA). The candidate will be responsible for creating and implementing outreach, communications, and media relations strategies that further Harvard's engagement goals with donors and friends, as well as with the university's large and diverse alumni audience. As a member of a broader university communications group, the role is also positioned to serve as a strategic partner and key collaborator for fundraisers, alumni relations and communications colleagues, and other colleagues at AA&D and around the university. The candidate will ensure a timely flow of relevant information to leaders, fundraisers, and internal constituents. The candidate will also work to create, manage, and share storytelling and content about the University, as well as content related to alumni and friends of the university, working closely with university content creators and platforms, including the Harvard Gazette and other channels. The senior communications officer will:
devise and execute communications and external media relations and communications strategies related to university alumni and donor news, milestones, and other announcements.
focus on creating best-in-class experiences for alumni, donors, and internal partners through the management, review and deployment of creation of creative content and the use of a wide range of platforms and tools.
work closely with frontline fundraisers, alumni volunteer managers, data, research and administrative managers and other colleagues to manage incoming and proactive media relations and issues, and to share information in a timely and proactive manner.
The candidate will have a strong track record of developing and leading strategic external communications plans for complex organizations; exceptional media relations skills; broad expertise and experience with digital and online communications; understanding of social networking and emerging web technologies; superior oral and written communication skills; and a demonstrated ability to build relationships with colleagues and leaders at all levels and to advise external partners and collaborators as needed.
The senior communications officer will also have proven expertise as a strategic thinker with an ability to implement complicated projects; experience managing complex and multiple projects moving forward simultaneously while keeping colleagues and leaders informed; and a collaborative, proactive, and collegial approach. Harvard Public Affairs and Communications is committed to diversity and fostering an inclusive workplace. We welcome applicants who bring varied experiences, backgrounds, and expertise to advance our work in service to Harvard's mission. This role will be required to attend and cover events, meetings, and have some in-office presence in accordance with HPAC's workplace guidance, and in coordination with AA&D.
Bachelor's degree and a minimum of 8-10 years progressive experience in public relations, media relations, journalism, or directly related field required. Must have experience managing press relations and developing and managing communications strategies, and be a strong, adept, and versatile reporter, writer, and editor. Experience with digital communications channels and social media is necessary.
Additional Qualifications and Skills
The ideal candidate must have exceptional writing, interpersonal and project management skills, and a proven record of working collaboratively with a wide range of constituents. Though a self-starter, the candidate must be able to work as part of a larger team and to balance interests, priorities, and needs of a variety of clients and stakeholders. Should have a demonstrated record of success in positions of progressive responsibility in communications for a complex and fast-paced organization, respecting deadlines and urgency required in this field. Familiarity with donor relations and fundraising a plus. Prior experience in journalism, editing, or government communications a plus.
Salary Grade: 058
Union: 00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary
Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.
EEO Statement We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, has an enrollment of over 20,000 degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than 360,000 alumni around the world. The University has twelve degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, offering a truly global education. Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.