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Senior Communications Officer, Development

Department: Office of Development Effective Date: March 2012

USG 10

35 hr/wk

Reports to: Associate Director, Stewardship

General Accountability

Reporting to the Associate Director, Stewardship the Senior Communications Officer, Development is responsible for the planning, development, and evaluation of creative communication strategies and materials to raise philanthropic support for Waterloo. This position works directly with the Central Development Team which includes: The Stewardship & Donor Relations, Leadership Giving, Planned Giving, and Annual Giving units. The Senior Communications Officer, Development supervises one full-time position, the Communications Associate, who provides project management and writing support to the Development unit, as well as one or two co-op students from time to time. The Senior Communications Officer, Development develops and implements targeted communications strategies, and provides expertise to the four key areas in the Development unit, as well as leads a number of Development-wide communications functions, including management of the Development website. As a communications professional in External Relations (ER), the Senior Communications Officer, Development will interact with other key ER units including Communications & Public Affairs, Principal Gifts, Advancement Services, and Alumni Affairs to ensure that communications strategies within Development are properly integrated, and consistent with branding standards, key messages, and editorial and graphics policies.

Nature and Scope

Organizational Relationships

The incumbent reports to the Associate Director, Stewardship who will:

- Provide direction in establishing and clarifying priority projects,

- Oversee the incumbent’s development and performance as a communications professional,

- Assign special projects and supervisory duties as appropriate, and

- Provide resources to support the position.

Other positions reporting to the Associate Director, Stewardship include the Donor Relations Officer. The Associate Director, Stewarship oversees a team of three professionals including the Donor Relations Officer; Senior Communications Officer, Development; and the Communications Associate.

Within the structure of the Development team, the Senior Communications Officer, Development will work in collaboration with the Associate Director, Stewardship; the Associate Director, Leadership Giving; the Associate Director, Planned Giving; and the Associate Director, Annual Giving to develop, support, manage, and evaluate communications strategies that encourage philanthropic contributions to the university and describe the impact of these contributions on the university’s mission and vision.

The Senior Communications Officer, Development will participate as a member of an internal communications working group in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs including the Senior Communications Officer, Principal Gifts; the Alumni Officer, Communications and Marketing; the Communications Associate; and other ER communications professionals. He/she will also work collaboratively with communications and development professionals in the faculty advancement offices, the university colleges, and other administrative units on campus (e.g. Athletics, Library).

On behalf of the Development team, the Senior Communications Officer, Development provides direction to University of Waterloo Creative Services and other writing, design, photography, printing contractors, and web designers involved in the production of communication materials for university alumni, donors, and prospects.

The Senior Communications Officer, Development provides functional direction to:

- Office of Development staff and co-op students, as required, particularly when they are involved in communications-related projects

- The Development Officer, Family Campaign and Campaign volunteers responsible for providing program assistance to the Keystone Campaign

- ODAA web developer (contractor)

- Creative Services and other contract design/photography/printing staff

- Staff, volunteer, or contract writers, as required


2. Description of general framework and environment

The University of Waterloo is currently transitioning from a transformational fundraising campaign, Campaign Waterloo: Building a Talent Trust which celebrated the incredible achievement of raising $613 million in September 2010 – exceeding its original campaign goal of $260M and its stretch goal of $350M.

As part of the University’s Sixth Decade Plan: Pursuing Global Excellence and Seizing Opportunities for Canada, the External Relations unit will grow annual private sector fundraising revenue from $50M to $100M per year within the next decade (2007-2017). The focus of the Central Development team is to “build the pipeline” of giving up to a threshold of $100,000 including the identification, qualification, cultivation and stewardship of prospects.

The Senior Communications Officer, Development will provide advice, direction and guidance related to the communications activities of the four units of the Development team, in a highly collaborative environment with the managers, directors, and staff of these units. This leadership will include overall strategy development, creative development of communication materials (letters, cultivation pieces, stewardship materials, donor reports, event invitations, solicitation pieces, etc.), overall management of a communications critical path across units, adherence to graphics and writing standards, web content strategy, and evaluation of the effectiveness of various communication strategies. The quality, accuracy, branding, content, creativity, and timing of these communication materials plays a key role in how alumni, donors, and friends perceive the university and their relationship to it. Maintaining positive and dynamic donor relations through cultivating, stewarding, and recognizing donors contributes to ongoing and long-term donor support of the university. The role of effective donor relations is an integral part of each unit in the Development team including Annual Giving, Planned Giving, and Leadership Giving – each representing different donor levels and requiring targeted communication materials and plans.

The Senior Communications Officer, Development will work within External Relations, which is comprised of Alumni Affairs, Development, Advancement Services, Communications and Public Affairs, Government Relations and virtual team members in the faculties, departments, and university colleges. The Senior Communications Officer, Development is a position that is centralized within the External Relations Office and requires co-ordinated project management with all faculties, university colleges, and other organizational units on campus in the development of a number of specialized communication materials and plans (e.g. annual report to stakeholders).

Planning/developing communications within the Office of Development involves a variety of challenges:

- developing communications within budget, with fairly constrained human and financial resources

- developing budgets based on projected and increasing design and printing costs

- being aware of donor/prospect perceptions re: perceived extravagance/costs of materials

- accountability for accuracy in fiscal and other reporting

- accountability for accuracy of facts and information regarding donations, major gifts, donors, etc.

- ensuring that university messages are effectively communicated in all forms of communication

- ensuring that all communications follow the university’s style and branding standards

- staying knowledgeable about changing policies (i.e., privacy legislation, tax changes) and how to communicate that information

- diplomacy in dealing with donors, volunteers, and individuals at all levels during planning, development, and approval processes for communications

- ensuring communication pieces are written in the proper voice (i.e., President; volunteer co-chairs, etc.)

- flexibility and diplomacy in handling conflict/crisis situations with contractors/vendors (e.g., re-orders needed due to errors)

- overlapping meetings and multiple deadlines coinciding with various event and program schedules, which results in a fluctuating and challenging workload that requires flexibility and the ability to set priorities

- a high degree of autonomy and ability to take initiative




Significant Internal Relationships

o  President’s Office

o  Vice-President, External Relations

o  Associate Vice-President, Annual and Planned Giving

o  Associate Vice-President, Principal Gifts & Campaigns

o  Senior Director, Advancement Services; Manager, Gift Processing; Manager, Records

o  Associate Director, Stewardship; Donor Relations Officer; Donor Relations team

o  Associate Director, Planned Giving

o  Associate Director, Leadership Giving

o  Associate Director, Annual Giving; Annual Giving team

o  Communications Officer, Principal Gifts

o  Alumni Officer, Communications and Marketing

o  Communications & Public Affairs staff

o  Development and Alumni Officers across campus

o  Faculty and College heads

o  Chairs and volunteers for Keystone Campaign

o  University of Waterloo Creative Services and Central Stores staff

o  Student Awards Office



. Significant External Relationships

- Waterloo alumni, friends, donors, and prospects (individual, corporate, foundation, etc.), including recognition circle and major donors

- Contractors and vendors


Statistical Data

The Senior Communications Officer, Development is responsible for:

- Content, development, and maintenance of Office of Development web pages

- Management and production of annual report to stakeholders, with circulation of approximately 20,000 (alumni, friends, corporations, etc.)

- Oversight of Keystone Campaign communications, including profiles, solicitation materials, annual calendar, special appeals (up to 10 pieces), ongoing publicity/promotion for special programs/annual event, to an audience of approximately 4,500 campus community members

- Invitations, publicity, and stewardship materials for recognition circle events

- Correspondence on behalf of university president to donors in our annual recognition circles (gifts of $1,000+), including thank-you letters, renewal correspondence, etc.

- Development of stewardship materials for Laurel Society members (those who have made planned gifts) – approximately 490 members with expectancies valued more than $50 million.

- Development of electronic stewardship newsletter for current donors, two or three times a year

- Creation of compelling stewardship videos for current donors, two or three per year

- Development of print materials for annual appeals

- Management of annual publications, donor listings, print inventory, correspondence updates for Annual Giving and Donor Relations units

- Management of communication flowcharts for Annual Giving and Keystone Campaign correspondence and pledge stewardship

- Assists in developing and monitoring communication budget and expenditures (with signing authority) for Donor Relations (approx. $50,000), including annual report, web communications, photography and video, and a variety of print pieces

Specific Accountabilities

-Ensures that Waterloo’s branding standards, messaging, and style guidelines are consistent in all print and web communications related to Development communications

- Responsible for overseeing the content, development, and ongoing maintenance of Office of Development web pages, including the development of specialized web pages for targeted events and appeals (e.g., parents, anniversary, etc.)

- In collaboration with Stewardship & Donor Relations team, develops, implements, and evaluates communications strategies/initiatives to recognize and steward donors through print publications, website content, web-based communications, and major gift recognition correspondence/programs, reflecting a highly personalized approach whenever possible

- In collaboration with the Annual Giving team, develop, implement, and evaluate marketing/communication strategies, correspondence, print publications, advertisements, publicity, and website content for various fundraising appeals/programs and the cultivation and stewardship of donors

-Manages Keystone Campaign communications strategy in collaboration with Keystone Campaign manager and the Keystone Campaign co-chairs, working group chairs, and working group members

- Responsible for administrative management of Donor Relations, Annual Giving, Leadership Giving, and Planned Giving program print inventory and mailings, and gift recognition/acknowledgement revisions process (president’s thank you letters, pledge acknowledgements, benefit forms, etc.)

- Responsible for accuracy of recognition circle member/donor listings in print and web communications

- Main point of contact for inquiries regarding Donor Relations communications/reporting

- Oversees development of invitations, publicity, advertising, news releases, and other promotion for Donor Relations events (in collaboration with Donor Relations Officer and other event managers)

- Liaison with the Stewardship and Senior Communications Officer, Principal Gifts related to principal gift communications that might be featured in the annual stakeholder report or other Development communications

- Liaison with the Alumni Officer, Communications and Marketing related to collaborative communication initiatives (e.g., anniversary calendar, alumni e-newsletter, international alumni correspondence, etc.)

- Liaison with Communications and Public Affairs related to collaborative communication efforts, and ensuring that major communications pieces (e.g., annual report, alumni magazine, websites) are properly integrated

- Writes and/or edits recognition, thank-you, and fundraising letters from the president, other senior officers of the university, and Keystone Campaign Co-Chairs

- Develops professional print pieces for all units within the Office of Development

- Accountable for the control of expenditures for all communication projects including soliciting quotes, cost analysis, reconciling invoices, and ongoing project tracking

- Supervises the Communications Associate and assigns responsibilities as appropriate to support the Development communications function

- Responsible for co-ordinating the Office of Development’s social media efforts with the Office of Alumni Affairs and Communications and Public Affairs, including researching trends, staying up-to-date with the latest tools and platforms, making recommendations, and spearheading initiatives

- Develop video content for web and donor recognition, collaborating with colleagues as needed

- Researches donor behaviour – specifically as it relates to the Office of Development’s communications – and shares expertise broadly with the team

- Represents the Office of Development on Communications Council, the Marketing Roundtable, and other committees

Working Conditions