Senior Director, Marketing & Communications

Reporting to the associate vice president for development, the senior director, marketing & communications, is responsible for overseeing the design and execution of high quality, cost-effective, creative, innovative, compelling, and strategic communications, stewardship programs, and special events in support of Yale’s fundraising initiatives, with primary emphasis on supporting the university’s capital campaign (planned public launch in fall 2021). 

The senior director oversees a staff of approximately thirty (communications, events, and stewardship teams), including six direct reports. As a key member of the Office of Development’s senior management team, the senior director plays a significant role on the Campaign Working Group, is a member of the university’s Alumni Communications Steering Committee, and is the office’s primary liaison with the central Office of Public Affairs and Communications (OPAC).

In addition to the general principal responsibilities outlined in the next section, the essential duties of the senior director include but are not limited to the following.  The duties include an emphasis on campaign-related initiatives.

  • Develops and implements strategic marketing plans for development’s digital and print communications initiatives, including social media. Leads all campaign branding initiatives.
  • Oversees the development of the campaign case statement and plays a consultative role with schools wishing to develop their own. Socializes and communicates campaign branding strategy and guidelines to colleagues in central development and in the schools and units. Creates and executes plans for other campaign communication vehicles.
  • Provides high level strategic oversight and guidance for a team of event professionals charged with designing and executing an innovative, compelling program of campaign events including the launch and road show events;  executing creative and logistical aspects of all “evergreen” major development special events, including donor cultivation and recognition events, volunteer meetings, and special celebration events, both on campus and throughout the country; taking into account strategic goals when deciding whether events are virtual, hybrid, or in-person; on-campus or off; and serving as a center of excellence in researching, adopting, and leveraging the latest technology platforms for virtual/hybrid constituent engagement.
  • Provides high level strategic oversight and guidance for a team of stewardship officers/writers preparing individual presidential and Yale College dean’s acknowledgements for gifts to the university; preparing compelling and timely annual reports to donors of endowed and selected other funds; assigning undergraduates to scholarship funds to ensure donor intent is appropriately reflected and spendable income correctly allocated; and staying abreast of and implementing new technologies, procedures, tools, metrics to ensure stewardship reporting is best in class, easily auditable, and in compliance with all requirements. 
  • Collaborates closely with colleagues in the President’s Office, OPAC, and the Yale Alumni Association (YAA), as well as with the offices of deans and directors throughout the university, in the development and implementation of communications, stewardship, and event-related initiatives and projects.

Principal responsibilities

  1. Develops and implements strategic marketing plans for development’s digital and print communications initiatives, including social media, and leads all branding initiatives. Directly manages relationships with key vendor partners. 
  2. Oversees the development of a full range of communication vehicles in support of Yale’s fundraising initiatives.  Plays a consultative role with schools as needed. Socializes and communicates branding strategies and guidelines.
  3. Provides high level strategic oversight and guidance for all Marketing & Communications teams, setting overarching unit goals and providing mentoring and opportunities for professional growth.
  4. Provides extensive consultative and creative services for specific fundraising teams, incorporating both “evergreen” and campaign-related initiatives. 
  5. Oversees concept development, content strategy, and design for the Office of Development websites, including the main giving site, public online gift guides, online giving site, volunteer sites, and sites for specific fundraising initiatives.
  6. Acts as the Office of Development’s primary point person for alumni/donor/volunteer communications in times of crisis/negative publicity, providing guidance and feedback as circumstances warrant.
  7. Develops annual non-salary unit-wide Marketing & Communications budget. Responsible for approving all expenditures, providing monitoring and forecasting, and operating within the established budget policies and parameters.
  8. Collaborates closely and effectively with key stakeholders and other colleagues in offices and departments across the university in the development and implementation of fundraising communications, stewardship, and event-related initiatives and projects.
  9. Performs duties and/or projects relevant to creating and implementing a full communications and marketing strategy. May perform other duties as assigned.

Skills and abilities

  1. Proven supervisory and managerial skills, with a commitment to teamwork and with the ability to motivate people and drive results. 
  2. Exceptionally strong analytic, organizational, and problem-solving skills, and with the ability to set priorities, establish strategies, and respond to challenges with flexibility and openness to new ideas.
  3. Outstanding written and oral communication skills.
  4. Demonstrated ability to work closely with and command the respect and confidence of senior university administrators, trustees, and colleagues in the Office of Development, and to collaborate effectively with a diverse body of colleagues in a large complex environment.
  5. Capacity to respond with insight, tact, and sensitivity to donors’ concerns. Ability to maintain strict confidentiality.

Required education and experience 

Bachelor’s degree and ten years of related work experience in an academic or other non-profit institution or an equivalent combination of education and experience.  Experience leading, supervising, and managing a team of employees.

Preferred education, experience, and skills

Significant supervisory experience.  Comprehensive knowledge of Yale’s organizations and programs and/or experience in another university setting.