Director of Strategic Writing

Job description

Director of Strategic Writing

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Posted Job Title
Director of Strategic Writing

Job Profile Title
Director, Communications

Job Description Summary
The Director of Strategic Writing in DARMAX leads a writing team to produce a wide range of written material in support of Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) goals, including DAR speeches for the University President and other senior administrative and volunteer leaders; strategic fundraising publications; and creative impact stories and other content for print and online channels. The work produced by this team elevates the visibility and understanding of Penn's priorities and related fundraising goals, as well as the impact of philanthropy at the University. The audience for material produced by the strategic writing department ranges from all Penn alumni, current parents, and other donors to select groups of volunteers or donors. The University of Pennsylvania is presently in the final year of The Power of Penn Campaign, a $4.1 billion fundraising campaign that will close on June 30, 2021. The Strategic Writing team will be specifically responsible for writing speeches, reports, and other content to support stewardship and communications related to the successful conclusion of the Campaign.

Job Description

The role of Director, Strategic Writing involves assigning, reviewing, and editing every writing request that comes to DARMAX from our colleagues across DAR. This position also oversees the production of two publications—the Campaign Magazine and Proudly Penn—and reviews writing for the monthly Knowledge for Good e-newsletter to approximately 200,000 constituents. In addition to the editorial role, this position manages key relationships with colleagues across DAR, including senior staff in all units, the Principal Gifts office, and the President's office, to ensure streamlined processing of writing requests, tracking of deadlines, and resolution of concerns arising.

The successful candidate will be an excellent writer and an accomplished editor and project manager. Experience with speechwriting is required. A high level of emotional intelligence and ability and desire to build relationships across functions and levels is critical. An understanding of development and alumni relations and the strategic function that communications play in fundraising and engaging constituents is also vital in this position. As a manager it is also essential that the Director champion employee engagement and fostering staff growth and professional development.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • As Chief Editor for all content produced by the strategic writing team, establish and sustain standards of excellence in written materials and online content that highlight the University's core mission, priorities and positive impact on society—including speeches for the University President, Trustee Resolutions, fundraising and engagement print collateral, articles for publications, written content for website and digital formats.

  • Manage a team of four senior and associate senior writers, assigning, reviewing, and editing their work; evaluating their performance and providing constructive feedback on an ongoing basis; and advancing their development as writers through individualized attention, regular team writing workshops, and other professional development opportunities.

  • Interact effectively and with diplomacy with a wide range of individuals including peers and leadership staff across DAR, and across Penn as relevant to management of assignments, representing DARMAX as an expert and leader in strategic writing practices.

  • Perform effectively in a fast-paced environment, meeting and managing to deadlines on a daily basis while maintaining a calm presence and positive demeanor.

  • Contribute conceptual, strategic thinking to the operations of DARMAX while performing as part of the department's leadership structure.

  • Work closely with the Managing Director, DARMAX to manage assigned projects within budget and in accordance with the University's established fiscal procedures

Minimum Qualifications Required:

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and 7 to 10 years of professional work experience in Communications or a related field.
  • 3+ years of strong supervisory experience including managing a team, with demonstrated ability to motivate people and nurture talent, lead teams through change, set priorities, facilitate productive meetings and measure and manage performance.
  • Expert writing, editing, and proofreading skills.
  • Excellent project management skills.
  • Experience writing for non-profit development purposes required.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to function with diplomacy and build positive working relationships with peers and leadership.
  • Demonstrated history of effective performance within demanding, deadline-driven environments, and ability to maintain a calm, professional demeanor when under pressure.

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
Development and Alumni Relations

Pay Range
$72,837.00 - $138,391.00

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

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Job No:
Posted: 11/23/2020
Application Due: 12/4/2020
Work Type: Full Time