Director, Marketing and Communications (HKI)

Helen Keller International is a global health organization dedicated to eliminating preventable vision loss, malnutrition and diseases of poverty.  Cofounded by Helen Keller – and guided by her fierce optimism and belief in human potential – the organization delivers life-changing health solutions to vulnerable families where the need is great but access to care is limited.  In the US, Africa, Europe, and Asia, Helen Keller’s proven, science-based programs empower people to create opportunities in their own lives and build lasting change. 


The Director, Marketing and Communications will bring strategic marketing and communications skills to help the organization continue to build a growing constituency of supporters (donors, subscribers and others), at a time when the organization has laid essential groundwork. Recently, Helen Keller Intl conducted research that led to a newly branded look and feel. We have sharpened our understanding of target audiences to focus on individuals giving unrestricted support, primarily in the United States.

The organization has also launched several advertising efforts in recent years and is ready to take the next steps. Thus, the Director will join at an exciting time in which s/he will help shape a team and strategy that places marketing at the forefront of the organization’s goals. The Director will work collaboratively with colleagues to craft, shape, and deliver compelling stories and examples of impact, and to create campaigns that engage informed citizens and inspire them to support Helen Keller Intl.

Functional Relationships

Reporting to the Vice President, External Relations, the Director will work closely with other department team leaders, developing strategies that help build engaged, philanthropic audiences. The Director will work nimbly within hierarchical and stakeholder relationships, convening colleagues across the organization to surface content; to create ads, videos, stories, and photos that inspire and activate new and existing donor communities; and to support field and program colleagues in championing Helen Keller’s mission to their target audiences.

The Director will supervise a team of professionals and work in an integrated fashion to align marketing campaigns with fundraising goals. The Director will also work closely with global colleagues at various levels across the organization and in country programs, including the US, acting as a partner to them as they enhance their communications and marketing skills.

Finally, the Director will liaise with an External Relations Committee of the Board, other Board members, the Executive Team, and global and country leadership to shape Helen Keller’s positioning regarding key public health information or news, to support colleagues in public-facing and key presentations, and to shape team members’ public voices on behalf of Helen Keller. Regular communication and a spirit of teamwork, both hierarchically and laterally, are essential to making this structure thrive.

Scope of the Position

The Director, Marketing and Communications will lead the organization’s efforts to refine, motivate, and engage target audiences with the goal of building Helen Keller Intl’s community of enthusiasts, subscribers, and especially donors. The Director will shape and implement an action plan to build funnels of varying widths to attract potential audiences that learn, engage with Helen Keller, and support our mission with donations. The Director will develop and deploy a rich toolkit that includes storytelling, earned media, social media channels, photography, videos, website content, presentations at conferences and convenings, search advertising, search engine optimization strategies, display advertising, and other methods to reach prospect audiences.

The Director will be both strategist and doer, serving as a creative thinker, helping to share and inspire others who are developing key messages, visual ideas, advertising, and stories. The Director will help shape organizational positioning, working across the organization and collaboratively with leaders and program experts to surface stories of impact and to turn those stories into marketing material, sometimes in a campaign framework. The Director will also have in his/her purview media relationships and an earned media/thought leadership strategy in the years ahead.

The Director will act as a convener, helping colleagues to source stories of Helen Keller Intl’s impact, and supporting them as they advance their skills to “communicate Helen Keller Intl” with a unified voice, look, and feel. The Director will lead a team of professionals and consultants and will liaise with communications staff in the field and with country and regional teams, providing feedback, guidance, and training when strategic issues arise that require a coordinated approach and/or presentation or press visibility.

Promising candidates will have both creative chops and the temperament and collaboration skills required to help build organizational strength in marketing and communications.



  • Shape and implement a strategic marketing plan aimed at target audiences with the potential to become donors and influencers and by promoting Helen Keller Intl’s impact, increasing the organization’s visibility, and inspiring action.
  • Develop a toolkit of marketing and communications methods, including the Helen Keller Intl website, social media channels, advertising, creative assets such as photography and video, annual report, photo essays, print pieces, and search engine optimization strategies.
  • Implement a marketing calendar across channels and in coordination with fundraising efforts, program activities, and conferences in which Helen Keller is presenting.
  • Develop on-brand reports to charity watchdogs and lead collaborative campaigns with donor advisories and key funding partners (e.g., Red Nose Day).
  • Provide editorial and creative direction and input for storytelling.
  • Write and edit stories; craft digital advertising for social channels, SEM, display advertising; draft scripts and talking points for speeches, events, and interviews; craft press releases and media advisories.
  • Spot new opportunities for advertising, speaking engagements, and participation in conferences and other opportunities where Helen Keller’s work can “get out there” and be seen among target audiences.
  • Use existing and/or cultivate new relationships with journalists and key media outlets in local, national and international markets, and serve as primary contact for media requests.
  • Keep abreast of the news and creatively pursue ideas in which Helen Keller could contribute our expertise and on-the-ground experiences in order to productively shift public conversations about key issues.
  • Convene colleagues with official and unofficial roles in communications, at field levels, in global management, and in programmatic areas in order to build skills, support one another, develop stories, and integrate a strong brand across the organization, so that we communicate in a unified voice and with shared visuals and data.
  • Liaise with our field offices and our affiliate Helen Keller Europe to ensure consistency in external representation, our use of the Helen Keller Intl brand, and to guide how we speak to public issues that arise.
  • Implement tracking methods and analyze findings to inform our strategies and where changes might be needed.
  • Develop crisis responses, with the Executive Team and other colleagues, as needed.
  • Develop and manage budgets.
  • Hire and supervise vendors for maximum effect.
  • Guide and provide coaching for key organization staff, so that they are empowered, skillful, and ready to be strong ambassadors for Helen Keller with partner organizations, media, and donor audiences.
  • Build a highly effective team, recruiting, supervising, mentoring, and evaluating staff, and utilizing the organization’s methodology of frequent performance conversations with team members. Delegate authority, consult with, and guide staff to achieve goals.
  • Actively keep abreast of trends and help the organization adapt based on those trends. 

Required Competencies

  • Expertise in multi-channel marketing;
  • Expertise in communications, media, and public relations;
  • Solid understanding of integrated campaigns for digital channels, including SEO, SEM, and social media.
  • Experience with Raiser’s Edge or other CRM/fundraising software
  • Experience with a content management system (WordPress, Drupal)
  • Demonstrated knowledge in managing graphic design, digital and print production, budgets and vendors.
  • Excellent writing, editing, presentation, and coaching skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to identify, establish and maintain effective working relationships with media contacts.
  • Experience in crisis communications.
  • Demonstrated success in content development and editorial direction.
  • A proven track record of coaching and enabling programmatic experts to identify, source, and tell stories and share impact, so that those colleagues gain comfort and skills in providing important content for donor audiences.
  • Highly developed people skills with a focus on mentoring and providing strong leadership to team members. Strong manager; facilitator; integrator.
  • Excellent manager, collaborator, and skillful team leader, with demonstrated experience in fostering positive working relationships with team members, internal customers, high-level staff and external vendors.
  • Experience managing complex vendor relationships, negotiating contracts, and maximizing productivity of outside vendors and consultants to bring complex projects in on-time and on-budget.
  • Energetic, self-motivated candidate with high productivity.
  • Creative problem-solving skills, and ability to multitask, prioritize and manage multiple projects with competing deadlines.
  • Proven ability to use sound judgment when working with highly confidential information.
  • Ability to work independently, move projects from conceptual stages to launch, and handle multiple and often competing deadlines.
  • Knowledge of global health issues and/or international development.



  • Multimedia design and/or content management experience.
  • Understanding of goals of various branches of External Relations, including different kinds of fundraising, marketing and communications.
  • French language skills, a plus.



  • Education and Experience: Bachelors’ degree; Masters preferred; and 10+ years related experience with significant communications and marketing experience in a nonprofit fundraising environment, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Preferred Experience: experience in international non-profit organizations a strong plus
  • Travel:  Ability to undertake travel for occasional conferences and visits to domestic and international programs
  • Languages: English is our primary language.


To Apply

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to [email protected] noting the job title in the subject line.


In the spirit of our founder and namesake, Helen Kellers dedicated to building an inclusive workforce where diversity is fully valued.


Helen Keller is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities.

If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need to request an accommodation during the application or interview process, please contact us at the email above or call: +1 646-356-1789.

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  • Reed Young
    published this page in Job Board 2020-11-02 11:02:07 -0500