Overview

Heartland Fund is seeking a Communications Manager to support the new Resource Rural Communications Action Center (RRCAC). This position requires an excellent project manager, strategic communicator and skilled writer who is committed to using the power of storytelling to advance equitable economic development, quality jobs, and climate and energy resilience in rural America. The Communications Manager will help to implement and scale a national rural storytelling effort.

We are looking for a savvy communications professional who understands how to shape compelling stories and who is passionate about elevating racially and geographically diverse rural communities. This is an exciting opportunity to bring a rural-centered perspective to important work underway to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act and the resulting positive impacts. The Communications Manager will help manage a dynamic storytelling effort across multiple rural communities, topics, and media.

This is an exciting new position with opportunities for leadership and rewarding collaborations with rural community leaders and content creators to drive investment in rural communities. You will have an opportunity to help develop and implement a brand new initiative with a diverse range of partners. We are actively building a small but mighty team to enable historic, equitable investment in rural America.

Applications will be accepted now, but not reviewed until after the holidays beginning in early January. Applications will then be considered on a rolling basis, with interviews anticipated to start in mid-January 2024. The desired start date is March 2024.

This is a remote position with a salary range of $75,000 to $85,000 and includes a generous benefits package.

About the Organization 

Heartland Fund is a funding collaborative built to support and connect local leaders and organizations working for progress across diverse communities in rural areas, towns and small cities. Heartland’s grantmaking supports rural people working to transform their lives and communities to advance shared prosperity and democracy. We invest in issue advocacy, community organizing infrastructure, civic engagement, and sustainable urban-rural coalitions, and we prioritize racial equity in all aspects of our work. In addition to grantmaking, Heartland also supports rural leaders and organizations through convening, research, and communications.

Heartland Fund is launching Resource Rural (RR), a new program which focuses on effective federal funding implementation to ensure historic climate and infrastructure investments land for maximum impact in rural communities. Heartland is also home to the Rural Climate Partnership (RCP), which supports hometowns across America to accelerate climate solutions and build healthy local economies. Our RR and RCP programs help remove barriers to federal funding for rural communities – through place-based technical assistance, local organizing, and a large-scale communications and narrative effort – to make a tangible difference in rural people’s lives and advance climate mitigation and resilience.

Why Resource Rural?

As unprecedented levels of federal infrastructure, economic development, and climate-focused resources begin to flow, we have a generational opportunity to make sure this funding lands where it is most needed and can have the biggest impact. Without targeted action, this influx of resources is likely to reinforce, rather than interrupt, entrenched patterns of geographic, racial, and economic inequity because communities with resources are fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunities, while rural communities—especially communities of color and low-wealth communities—are not. Helping underserved rural communities land these resources can dramatically improve quality of life for rural residents, advance climate solutions, and send a powerful message about the importance of federal investment to creating strong local communities and a healthy multi-racial democracy.

The Resource Rural Program

Resource Rural is an ambitious five-year program designed to build engagement, capacity and expertise, and a rural voice at the table in the national conversation about climate progress, workforce development, and equitable community and economic development. The program is built on four key strategies:

Resource Rural National Hub and Resource Partners: To address the capacity gaps that prevent rural communities and organizations from accessing federal dollars, Resource Rural will collaborate with local and regional partners to launch a national Resource Rural hub that supports place-based implementation. Place-based resource partners will provide support directly to rural communities, including grant funding, coordination, and technical assistance, while national hub staff will integrate resources and facilitate learning and rapid sharing of models across the network.
High-Leverage Climate Opportunities: To stimulate a virtuous cycle within which rural residents appreciate the benefits of interrelated economic and climate outcomes, Resource Rural will support high leverage efforts to unlock powerful climate resources (e.g., grants, incentives, rebates, tax credits) in key federal programs to benefit diverse constituencies and tackle barriers to clean energy implementation.
Resource Rural Communications Action Center: To shift rural narratives around federal investment and climate action, Resource Rural will invest in strategic communications and a coordinated narrative that finds and amplifies local success stories and centers how rural people have benefitted their communities and made progress on clean energy opportunities, infrastructure gaps, and economic development using federal investments.
Organizing and Advocacy Support: To make sure these resources truly benefit rural people, especially those most in need, Resource Rural will support organizing and advocacy in key places at the state and local levels focused on federal implementation participation, rule-making, and spending.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities

The Communications Manager will report to the Resource Rural Communications Director and hold the following responsibilities:

Content Development

Collaborate with partners and Resource Rural Communications Action Center (RRCAC) team to identify potential stories and conduct initial evaluations, ensuring stories meet our narrative framing and strategy.
Coordinate story collection efforts, including developing prompts and question sets to help capture compelling stories, work with writers and partners to record conversations and ensure storytellers are comfortable with the intended use of their stories, and manage and organize information about stories/storytellers effectively and properly (e.g., safeguarding personally identifiable information).
Use the interview transcripts and other materials to coordinate with the Communications Director and vendors and partners to develop and edit content (blogs, social media posts, videos, infographics, presentations, etc.).
Produce high-quality written and visual content that distills complex information into easily understandable and engaging materials, including press releases, blog posts, social media content, newsletters, and website updates.

Content Distribution & Amplification

Collaborate with partners, vendors and internal teams to develop and execute story distribution and amplification plans.
Help draft media pitches, coordinate interviews, manage media inquiries, build and maintain relationships with media outlets, journalists, and influencers to secure media coverage.
Create and execute social media strategies to increase story visibility, engagement, and follower growth, manage and schedule posts, respond to comments and messages in a timely manner.
Draft and coordinate production of Resource Rural’s newsletter and other email communications to partners designed to amplify and showcase success stories.
Track the impact of stories on an ongoing basis, maintain and analyze story performance metrics, and make recommendations on how to adjust strategies for optimal results.
Create final reports on each story, evaluating its effectiveness and capturing lessons learned for future operations.

Project Management

Create project plans to manage content development and the creation of storytelling assets.
Maintain a strategic communications calendar to support RRCAC planning and prioritization of communications resources and activities.
Manage the process of securing formal approvals, including obtaining signed waivers and copyright consents from storytellers and partners, and coordinate with internal stakeholders to secure approval of content before making it public.
Follow up with storytellers, communicating decisions, actions and next steps clearly and professionally.

Website & Brand Management

Help maintain (either directly or through the vendor) the website by updating content, ensuring accuracy, and identifying ways to improve user experience.Uphold brand guidelines and ensure consistency across all communication materials and website(s), social media accounts, email newsletters etc.
Assist with developing and disseminating communications to keep stakeholders informed of Resource Rural work and success stories.
Participate in brainstorming sessions to develop creative communication strategies that align with Resource Rural goals.
Qualifications 

We realize that some great candidates may not have every single thing on this list – that’s OK! If this job posting piques your interest, we encourage you to apply.

Minimum

Minimum of 4 years of experience in communications, campaigning, public relations, journalism, or a similar role.
Excellent writing, interpersonal, and stakeholder management skills.
Able to bring creative ideas to content creation and distribution that advance communications goals. Understands and applies the power of storytelling.
Experience with digital technologies for communications, including content management systems, social media platforms, and content creation tools for websites and other communications.
Proven ability to develop, implement, and adapt plans to meet ambitious goals. Able to drive multiple simultaneous projects and manage high volume of quality work.
Strong commitment to racial justice and fluency with equity and anti-racist practices.
Experience working effectively as part of a team and with colleagues and stakeholders of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
Values learning and continuous growth.
Appreciation of the diverse cultural traditions of rural people and places.

Desired

At least 6 years of experience in communications, campaigning, public relations, journalism, or a similar role preferred.
Understanding of the media landscape and exposure to media relations operations.
Working knowledge of a range of collaboration and technology platforms, like Monday, Slack, and Google Apps.
Experience living and/or working in rural America is strongly preferred.

Compensation & Job Design

This is a permanent, full time exempt staff position with occasional travel. The organization is virtual, and the position may work remotely from their home within the United States. Expected compensation will be based on skills and experience, with a salary range of $75,000 to $85,000. Comprehensive benefits package includes 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance for employees (and their families). Employees are able to enroll in 401k retirement plan and are eligible for a 3% automatic contribution and up to a 3% employer match on 401k contributions. Employees are also eligible for pre-tax transportation benefits. Employees will receive 120 hours of vacation time, 80 hours of health leave, up to 2 days of casual leave, and 20 hours of volunteer leave annually. Employees will also receive 13 paid holidays throughout the calendar year. Employees are eligible for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave after 90 days of employment. All employees of Windward are required to complete timesheets.

Resource Rural is a program of the Heartland Fund. Heartland Fund is fiscally sponsored by the Windward Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. Windward is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. Windward’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.

Windward participates in E-Verify and will provide the federal government with employees’ Form I-9 information to confirm authorization to work in the United States. Job candidates and employees with the right to work may not be discriminated against on the basis of national origin or citizenship status.

To Apply 

Applications will be reviewed and considered on a rolling basis starting in January with interviews anticipated to start  mid-January 2024. Desired start date is March 2024. Apply by submitting a cover letter and resume to https://cloversearchworks.hire.trakstar.com/jobs/fk0vqeb

Heartland Fund is partnering with Clover Search Works on this search.  Questions regarding this opportunity are welcomed and can be directed to José Leonor at jose@cloversearchworks.com.