Senior Direct Response Writer

About The Unit: The University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact (, the most ambitious and comprehensive campaign in the University's history, will raise $5 billion to support faculty and researchers, practitioners and patients, and students and programs across the University. Launched in October 2014, the campaign supports priorities in every division, school, department, and institute, and aims to engage 125,000 alumni and friends over its five-year duration. Please note: This role is located in Harper Court at 5235 S Harper Court - the corner of 53rd Street and Lake Park. For more information:

Unit Job Summary: Senior Direct Response Writer: Create and produce content that will motivate alumni to act to help meet our participation and fundraising objectives. Generate content across various channels including direct mail, email, banner ads, social posts, website and others. Write direct response for higher education audience. Write with a high level of creativity to projects. Develop copy aligned with strategy, is accurate and maintains brand standards. Develop and maintain positive working relationships with designers, production and marketing team members, units, and other internal stakeholders involved in the development of direct marketing campaigns. Synthesize multiple opinions into strong, alumni-facing copy. Manage multiple writing projects, prioritize competing deliverables and meet assigned deadlines. May conduct interviews with students, faculty or alumni. Understand and articulate complex university topics, programs or newsworthy information into succinct, reader-friendly copy. Will represent the Direct Response team in a variety of internal meetings, be required to run with feedback and act as a communications expert and partner on interdepartmental projects. Plan and execute direct marketing copy to targeted audiences that will drive recipients to take action such as donating to the Association, attending a conference or participating in viral e-campaigns. Write creative content for a variety of media -- primarily email and mail but including web, social, display ads and other platforms as needed. Develop and proposed creative concepts derived from campaign projects briefs or at the direction of Director of Direct Response. Research and communicate complex University of Chicago topics. Research industry advertising and marketing trends independently to improve program performance. Lead projects at each phase until final delivery Collaborate with graphic designers, conceiving editorial and design concepts in tandem and allowing for design to inform editorial and vice versa. Develop and maintain strong working relationships through superb communications and professional demeanor. Perform other duties as assigned. Seek opportunities for professional development that will enhance job performance, including building networks within the University and with colleagues at peer institutions.

Unit Education: Bachelor's degree or higher required. Concentration in communications, journalism, English or a related field preferred.

Unit Experience: A minimum of three years of professional work experience in fundraising, development, alumni relations, donor relations, nonprofit management, research, marketing, communications, sales or similar professional work experience required. A minimum three years of relevant professional work experience in writing and editing required.

Unit Job Function Competencies: Applicants must be currently authorized to work permanently in the United States. A current resident of the Chicago area or willing to relocate to the Chicago area required. Knowledge of English grammar, punctuation, spelling and style required. Demonstrated ability to write clear and effective copy for both print and digital required.
Exceptional writing skills in both long and short copy formats required. Ability to produce a large volume of writing strategically, persuasively, and quickly required. Strong verbal and writing skills, high attention to detail and follow-up, and excellent organizational skills required. Strong commitment to customer service required. Ability to manage confidential information with discretion and tact required.
 Proven record of accomplishment of increasing campaign performance required. Direct marketing writing skills with a high degree of creativity required. Understanding of production workflow required. Ability to understand key target audiences, their needs and their relative importance required. Excellent client service orientation required. Demonstrated ability to multi-task in fast-paced work environment, manage project schedules and meet deadlines required. Ability to work collegially and collaboratively in a team setting required. Exceptional work ethic and track record of personal initiative required. Must be flexible and adaptable to new programs in an emerging and changing environment required. Demonstrated skill and knowledge of, or ability to learn quickly, the internal workings of the University as well as the technology tools available to the Office of Alumni Relations and Development, including Griffin (the University's Donor Relationship Management System), an Apple computer environment, InDesign, Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint required. Strong leadership qualities, including the ability both to delegate and to execute, thereby leading by word and by example required. Ability to work collegially and collaboratively in a team setting required. Exceptional work ethic and track record of personal initiative required. Outstanding interpersonal and communications skills characterized by the ability to listen, to speak and to write well required.
Must be flexible and adaptable to new programs in an emerging and changing environment required. Willingness and ability to travel to campus and/or non-campus locations for University business required. Willingness and ability to work evenings and weekends required. Dress code of business or business casual attire required. Knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style preferred. Understanding of the University of Chicago, its history, organization and modus operandi preferred. Familiarity with design and print production process preferred. Advanced knowledge and understanding of marketing principles strongly preferred. Demonstrated ability to write for established brands preferred. Nonprofit or higher education communications experience preferred.

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