Director of Communications
The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
San Francisco, California
Date Posted: 4/6/21
The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund works to advance equality and justice so every person can thrive and live life with dignity and hope. Rooted in the Bay Area, the Haas, Jr. Fund is guided by an enduring set of core values. These values reflect the founders’ vision and shape everything the Haas, Jr. Fund does.
- Inclusion: We celebrate the rich differences in human identity and embrace the perspectives of all people.
- Respect: We are guided by the wisdom and voices of people and communities working for change.
- Collaboration: We believe in the transformative power of working together to advance a shared vision.
- Courage: We take a stand to make a deep and lasting difference on urgent social issues.
The Haas, Jr. Fund focuses on a set of issues we believe are at the core of advancing equality and opportunity in our home state of California and the broader society: Democracy, College Success, Immigrant Rights, and LGBT Equality.
The Haas, Jr. Fund aspires to build an organizational culture that is inclusive and that allows all of us to live and breathe our values and lean into the Fund’s core strengths. We believe deeply in our staff members, we take care of each other, and we work to develop our colleagues’ skills and help them grow. We collaborate to lift up good ideas and diverse perspectives while embracing innovative solutions to the challenges at the core of our work.
The Haas, Jr. Fund has a full-time staff of about 20 professionals and assets of approximately $450 million. Located in downtown San Francisco, it has awarded over $624 million in grants since its founding in 1953.
About the Director of Communications Position
This is a unique opportunity for an experienced professional to lead communications for a mission-focused foundation working at the intersection of many pressing issues facing California and the nation today. As director of communications, you will work closely with the Haas, Jr. Fund’s senior leadership, board, staff, and nonprofit and movement partners to tap the power of strategic communications, narrative, and creative storytelling to make positive change in the world. The director of communications will play a central role in sustaining and strengthening Haas, Jr.’s communications on critical issues via: board and staff thought leadership; collaborations with colleague funders and movement and nonprofit partners; media outreach; and communications across Haas, Jr.’s website, social media, and other channels.
The director of communications will report to the president and CEO, and will partner with the Fund’s leadership team and program staff in ensuring that its communications are strategic and are maximizing its impact on the issues at the heart of its work. Strong collaborative skills also are key; success in this position will require forming strong working partnerships with Haas, Jr.’s staff team, grantee and funding partners, and consultants. The director of communications will oversee a small team including a communications associate and consultants.
The Haas, Jr. Fund’s Communications Goals
As part of a recently concluded planning process and communications audit, the board and staff of the Haas, Jr. Fund explored how they want the organization educate, inspire, and exert influence through its communications and program work. They honed in on several roles for Haas, Jr. that rely on strategic communications:
Awareness Raiser: An important contribution of Haas, Jr. is to spotlight big moments and ideas across its funding areas, and lift up key challenges and opportunities for solutions. Haas, Jr. has historically been an early funder of issues like marriage equality and the Dreamer movement and aided efforts to move public opinion to greater understanding and openness to new ideas.
Narrative Shaper: Haas, Jr. is determined to help shape and amplify messages and narratives that will spur awareness and action across its program areas. The foundation also strives to use its reputation and platforms to bring awareness to the grantees and movements it supports so they can attract added support.
Collaborative Funder: Haas, Jr. is recognized among many partners as a facilitator of collaborative funding and as a foundation that brings different sectors together to solve community problems. Looking forward, the leadership and staff are intent on leaning into this strength and exploring how to deepen and expand Haas, Jr.’s collaborative work.
Sharer of Learning: Through its program work and partnerships, Haas, Jr. regularly generates insights and lessons learned from other funders, as well as government and movement partners. Haas, Jr. also commissions research across its programs to lift up key issues and areas for action. By capturing and elevating lessons and trends from its programs and initiatives, Haas, Jr. has an opportunity to galvanize and leverage resources and energies of other stakeholders.
The director of communications will work with the board and staff of Haas, Jr. to ensure that it is employing strategic communications to maximize its impact across all of these roles.
Areas of Responsibility
The Haas, Jr. Fund has identified five roles for its communications work going forward: reputation stewardship; program impact acceleration; grantee engagement and amplification; thought leadership; and internal communications. We recognize that our day-to-day communications work often overlaps these neat categories, and it is the combination of our work across these categories that adds up to communications impact.
The director of communications will be responsible for overseeing and aligning Haas, Jr.’s work across the five areas, as follows.
Reputation Stewardship. The Haas, Jr. Fund recognizes that the reputation of any organization is earned over time—and it can be lost overnight. It is the role of our communications team to help ensure that Haas, Jr.’s reputation for advancing and supporting breakthrough solutions on urgent issues will continue, particularly as Haas, Jr. enters new and sometimes high-profile areas of work. The director of communications will work to ensure that we are advancing and protecting this reputation through engagement of core audiences via a range of communications channels.
Program Impact and Acceleration. In all of Haas, Jr.’s work, the driving question is around impact. More specifically, we want to make sure our investments and our “more than grantmaking” activities are resulting in real improvements in the lives of the communities we care about. The communications team works with program staff to make sure strategies are informed by an understanding of how strategic communications can accelerate and broaden their impact. The director of communications will develop and oversee communications activities that support the organization’s ambitious program goals.
Grantee engagement and amplification. The Haas, Jr. Fund’s work is guided by profound respect for the nonprofit organizations and leaders we support. A vital role for the communications team is to lift up the stories and voices of grantee partners in ways that allow them to build their influence and broaden their base of support. Haas, Jr. regularly uses its communications channels to share grantee voices, and we work with program staff to invest in the communications capacity of grantee and movement partners. The director of communications will be responsible for overseeing this work in collaboration with the program team, and for helping to build collaborative, respectful relationships with grantees in ways that support them to achieve shared goals.
Thought leadership for Haas, Jr.’s leaders and staff. An important role of communications for Haas, Jr. is supporting and enabling the leadership team and program staff to develop and use their voices to drive even greater impact. The communications team regularly works with leadership and staff on presentations, webinars, speeches, blogs, op-eds, and other communications. The director of communications will oversee this work by identifying and vetting opportunities for amplifying leadership and staff voice, framing and developing content, and helping colleagues develop their voice and hone communications skills.
Internal communications. We know internal communications is key to teamwork and the collaborative organizational culture we seek. We strive to become an organization where communications is part of everyone’s job description, and where we use communications to keep mission and values aligned, and to keep each other informed and engaged in the full breadth of our work. The communications department will support the creation, review, and presentation of board dockets which are important internal communications documents. In addition, the director will lead the communications department’s efforts to experiment with new ways to advance cross-departmental communications and teamwork.
Success in the director of communications role will depend on a range of knowledge, skills, and abilities. As a candidate for the position, you will need to demonstrate:
- Demonstrated commitment to Haas, Jr.’s mission and values and the work of advancing equality and justice.
- Ability to professionally represent the Haas, Jr. Fund and the Haas family.
- High energy, maturity, and leadership with the ability to serve as a unifying force and to position communications discussions at both the strategic and tactical levels.
- Relationship builder with the flexibility and finesse to “manage by influence.”
- Sincere commitment to work collaboratively with all constituent groups, including staff, board members, grantee partners, community members, and other funders.
- Highly collaborative style.
- Experience developing and implementing communications strategies.
- Self-starter, able to work independently, and entrepreneurial; enjoys creating and implementing new initiatives.
- Excellent verbal communication skills and ability to communicate in equity-based modern language that can reach many audiences. Effective storytelling skills.
- The ability to write clearly, succinctly, analytically, and persuasively in a jargon-free and inspiring style.
- The ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously and meet deadlines.
- Understanding of how narrative contributes to societal and policy change.
- Knowledge of multiple media channels including ethnic media and knowledge of current events, particularly as they relate to Haas, Jr.’s work.
- Awareness of and deep commitment for inclusion and equity.
- The ability to be an effective team member by partnering productively with colleagues and contributing to a healthy organizational culture.
- Compassion, empathy, a sense of humor, flexibility, and a dedication to high-quality work.
- Experience managing social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Familiarity and experience with the following applications (or similar)
- Drupal 9 platform;
- Campaign Monitor;
- G Suite and Google-related collaborations and productivity apps;
- Salesforce or other centralized customer relationship management (CRM) systems;
- Google Analytics and Google AdWords;
- Hootsuite and/or other social media marketing platforms;
- Adobe Creative Suite, primarily Photoshop;
- Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Bachelor’s degree.
- Work experience in the nonprofit sector, journalism, public interest communications, or a related field.
- Knowledge of how information acquisition is evolving, including in social media and ethnic media channels.
- An understanding of transformational messaging and the importance of shaping narrative for societal and policy change.
- An interest in learning about the philanthropy field and the role of strategic communications in social change.
The Haas, Jr. Fund offers competitive salaries and benefits. To apply, email a cover letter, resume, and list of three references (candidates will be notified in advance of any outreach to your references) to email@example.com. Use the subject line: Director of Communications. Submit PDF files only (one combined PDF file is preferred). Applications will be accepted until filled.