Communications Manager (SI)

About Sightline Institute

Founded in 1993, Sightline Institute is a Seattle-based public policy think tank committed to making Cascadia, the region stretching from Alaska to northern California, a global model of sustainability—with strong communities, a green economy, and a healthy environment. We innovate, analyze, and promote smart policy and monitor the region’s progress. We believe sustainability lies at the intersection of environmental health and social justice, and we strive to identify injustice and work to dismantle the systems that perpetuate it.

Sightline provides research reports and commentary; maps, graphics and tools; legislative and coalition support; and framing and messaging guidance. We advise and inform public officials, change makers, and the media, and we collaborate with diverse allies in pursuit of our mission. Learn more at 

About the Communications Program

The communications team packages and promotes Sightline resources, delivering ideas and expertise to journalists, decision makers, emerging leaders, and influencers, with the aim to advance our framing, shine a spotlight on our resources and staff, and push progress on our priority issues. The communications team maintains and improves our outward-facing content, including editing and publishing for our website, sharing content and ideas on our social media platforms, press relations including routinely pitching stories to reporters, and regular email newsletters. We collaborate with other staff and consultants to develop compelling messages, visuals, and multimedia.

The communications team contributes to the development and coordination of our coalition-building and legislative strategies, stakeholder and lawmaker engagement, outreach, and messaging. In 2020 our most pressing initiatives focus on emergency rental assistance and abundant, affordable housing and nation-wide capacity-building for Vote By Mail in advance of the 2020 election. This work will remain responsive to political opportunities and obstacles that arise due to COVID-19.

DEI Commitments

Our team seeks out opportunities for community outreach, idea and resource sharing, cross promotion, and feedback and learning, especially among partners representing marginalized constituencies and communities of color. The team’s community engagement will help inform outreach strategy, storytelling, marketing, editing, and press outreach. The communications team works with Sightline program teams to grow our networks and deepen roots among key community allies and potential collaborators. 

About the Position

Reporting to the Senior Director, Communications and Campaigns, the Communications Manager will lead Sightline’s strategy for connecting our work to our increasingly diverse target audience of regional and national media and decision makers. The Communications Manager should have a keen attention to detail, be curious, creative, and collaborative, and have the ability to develop thoughtful, strategic outreach. Each Sightline staff member serves as a community-builder and ambassador of our mission, and so passion for sustainable and equitable communities is a must as is a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Primary Responsibilities

Press Strategy

  • With communications and programs teams, set and execute Sightline’s earned media strategy
  • Build and maintain relationships with beat reporters and key outlets and help position Sightline as their “go-to” source for our issue areas, growing and maintaining our media lists
  • Monitor regional and national press for relevant stories and hooks, pitch Sightline content, and coordinate timely responses to emerging media opportunities
  • Write media advisories, talking points, op-eds, quotes, social media content, and press statements

Digital Content and Marketing Strategy

  • Drive Sightline’s digital marketing strategies, including social media, web, and newsletter
  • Work with research teams to create, solicit, and edit high quality content, visuals, and multi-media for web, email, and social media to promote Sightline’s work, engage our target audiences, and grow our impact
  • Execute our email newsletter strategy; coordinate and develop newsletter content and schedule (with MailChimp); maintain and grow subscriber lists
  • Implement testing strategies, including A/B testing tools and beyond, to increase engagement rates with critical audiences
  • Manage and maintain Sightline’s website and publishing schedule and establish workflow for requesting, creating, editing, and publishing content
  • Develop an SEO strategy, identifying keywords and executing search optimization strategies to improve our organic reach and grow engagement
  • Track, synthesize, and report on key metrics to shape strategy

Organizational Communications Strategy and Support

  • Participate in organizational planning and strategy and coordinate communications efforts to support organizational objectives
  • Work with Development staff to support fundraising and outreach to donors and to engage subscribers
  • Help develop and maintain quality and consistency of Sightline’s brand, credibility, and voice throughout all external communications
  • Manage relationships and projects with communications vendors, consultants, and contractors
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration and build relationships and strengthen partnerships with ally organizations, to support our priorities


Ideal Candidate Skills/Experience

  • 5-7 years of relevant communications experience
  • A strong commitment to building sustainable and equitable communities
  • Ability to write and edit creative, compelling copy and to accurately distill complex concepts to clear, persuasive prose
  • Experience pitching stories to journalists
  • Familiarity with social media platforms, strategy, and tools
  • Familiarity with WordPress, MailChimp, and Cision (or similar)
  • Experience with analytics tools
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to juggle multiple projects, teams, and deadlines

If you don’t meet all the criteria above but still feel your experience could be a good fit for the role, please apply. We recognize that candidates who don’t check every box can still add value to our team.


Ideal Candidate Competencies

  • DRIVEN AND ADAPTABLE. You want to leverage the skills and experience you’ve built in marketing and communications to drive smart, engaging outreach, and to grow your leadership and expertise. At the same time, you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and figure out a bug in the HTML or resize a batch of images. You excel at the small stuff and the high-profile work: e.g. you can spend hours Googling to build a robust list of potential partner organizations, and then turn around and act as an ambassador for Sightline to those organizations, forging connections around shared priorities.
  • THRIVES ON COLLABORATION. You are fueled by working with others, brainstorming and building on others’ ideas. You come prepared with ideas and insights. You ask questions and seek clarity. (But your ego survives when things are scaled back or your favorite idea won’t fly.)
  • A GREAT COMMUNICATOR AND ATTUNED LISTENER. You can make a concise case for your point of view. You can boil a complex idea into a compelling press pitch or social media post. You can give constructive feedback and clearly delegate tasks. You are a skilled listener and can synthesize and apply input from others. You like words as precise, persuasive tools. But you don’t love words so much that you won’t ruthlessly edit your own (or others’) copy!
  • CURIOUS AND CREATIVE. You are an innovative and creative thinker who thrives on thoughtful experimentation, perpetual learning, and problem solving. Even in your spare time, you read about stuff like hashtags and SEO and what makes memes go viral. You know what’s on-brand (or off) when you see it. You have an eye for clear, compelling visuals and design (enough to explain what you want to a graphic designer). You seek out tools or mentors or resources that will make your work better. You are excited to study up on new issue areas and learn how to do new things.
  • DIGS METRICS. You get excited about analytics. You know your way around Google Analytics and A/B testing floats your boat. You can drill down into metrics and translate the data into both small refinements and big picture strategy for audience engagement.
  • METICULOUS WITH DETAILS AND INSISTS ON ACCURACY. We are a policy think tank. We get the facts right or we lose credibility. Like us, you hate typos (they happen to everybody) and strive for clarity and accuracy in written and visual content. You check your work--at least twice. If you’re not sure you have someone else check too.
  • DEDICATED TO RACIAL, SOCIAL, AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE. You have demonstrated a commitment to the hard work of dismantling systemic racism and systems of oppression. You are patient when progress is slow, but hopeful and proactive in pushing yourself, your work, your peers, and your communities forward.
  • EXCITED TO WORK FOR JUST, FAIR, SUSTAINABLE PUBLIC POLICY. You are committed to making the world a better place, sometimes with flashy, sweeping, high-impact campaigns and sometimes by spending hours searching through media databases or conducting quiet, behind the scenes outreach about a complex policy mechanism to a tiny subset of decision makers.
  • LIKES TO LAUGH. You are looking for an amazing team of smart, dedicated, and fun individuals. The work is exhausting sometimes. The world is not always receptive. Crises are compounding as we speak and it can be hard to keep up. In the face of all that’s challenging and draining, we like to keep our spirits up with fun, humor, and connection--especially as we all live through the COVID-19 lockdowns.
  • RESPECTFUL AND OPEN. You treat all fellow staff members, interns, and volunteers with integrity and goodwill and without prejudice in regard to race, religion, ethnicity, disability, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or other personal attributes irrelevant to job performance.


Compensation and Benefits

Target salary is $60-$69,000. We offer a robust package of benefits including a retirement contribution of 10% of salary (added to, not subtracted from, pay); full medical and dental insurance for self and partial coverage for dependents; four weeks of paid vacation and two weeks of paid sick leave per year, and a three-month paid sabbatical leave every seven years. Sightline’s staff members work hard but enjoy balanced lives and a collegial organizational culture.



This position will be remote for the foreseeable future. We prefer candidates located in the PST time zone with knowledge of the Cascadia region.


To apply:

Please send a resume and cover letter detailing your interest in the role and how your skills translate to the position and at least one published writing sample to Karen Rea Recruiting at [email protected].  We prefer all application materials be assembled in a single PDF and labeled with the applicant’s name. Please also tell us in your email where you found this position; this information helps us streamline our recruiting processes.


The application deadline is September 4, 2020 and applications received by that date will be given priority, but we will accept applications until the position is filled. First round recruiter interviews will take place via Zoom through 9/8.  Zoom interviews with the Sightline team will take place the week of September 14, 2020. We anticipate extending an offer by the end of September.


Sightline Institute is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. Applicants will not be discriminated against because of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, religion, national origin, citizenship status, disability, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, medical condition or any protected category prohibited by local, state or federal laws.


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