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Associate Vice President for Communications, Marketing and Engagement

Location:Baltimore, MD
Benefits:An excellent benefit package is offered
Employment Type:Full Time
Department:External Relations

The position of Associate Vice President for Communications, Marketing & Engagement (Associate VP/CME) is a senior leadership position, reporting directly to the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and External Relations (SPER). On certain occasions when the Vice President is unavailable, the Associate VP/CME may be situationally required/requested to serve in the role as acting Vice President (SPER).


The Associate VP/CME provides sophisticated, strategic direction for all day-to-day operations and associated business affairs of LWR’s Communications, Marketing and Strategic Engagement Unit.  S/he is the lead strategist for organization-wide marketing, communications, public relations and constituent education plans to advance LWR’s brand and external profile, and to strategically support all fundraising efforts. In collaboration with the Senior Director for Philanthropic Engagement, she is responsible for growing LWR’s digital fundraising revenue.


The AVP is responsible for managerial oversight of organizational messaging to the public, serves as Senior Editor and Publisher of all LWR communications, and provides services necessary to support effective and efficient LWR program work and internal operations. 


S/he is responsible for building external institutional support for LWR’s work through effective marketing, communications and education strategies targeted to a variety of audiences including institutional partners, Lutheran congregations and individuals.


S/he advises the President and CEO and the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and External Relations on cutting-edge marketing and communications opportunities in social and other online media, along with clear strategies for execution and regular goal attainment analysis.


S/he engages collaboratively with the Senior Director for Philanthropic Engagement with respect to fundraising messaging and strategies particularly as they relate to digital initiatives.  The AVP provides consultative guidance to the International Programs Department and to other SPER units in the most effective use of various marketing and communications vehicles and platforms. 


The Associate VPCME manages the LWR website and all LWR presence on social networking sites; represents LWR as one of the principal public faces of the institution; is responsible for LWR’s public education outreach; manages staff education around communications issues; and conducts regular monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of LWR’s advancement successes across multi-channel communications.


Supporting the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and External Relations in all aspects of his/her work is a direct responsibility of the Associate VP/CME.


The Associate VP/CME supervises approximately eleven (11) LWR staff members and provides managerial oversight for unit relationships with freelance writers and designers, vendors, contractors and consultants as necessary.


The Associate VP/CME supports the Board and organizational leadership with accurate and timely information; provides good communications within the Unit on matters under his/her oversight; collaborates regularly with other senior leaders in SPER and other departments and staff; and makes considered recommendations to organizational leadership with respect to operational improvements and strategic, long-term planning for LWR.




  • Serves as Associate Vice President for the Strategic Partnerships and External Relations department in a line of direct report to the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and External Relations, and leads and directs the Communications, Marketing and Engagement Unit.
  • On certain occasions when the Vice President is unavailable (due to travel, illness, etc.), the Associate VP/CME may be situationally required to serve in the role of Vice President (SPER). In such situations, the Associate VP/CME serves temporarily as deputy Vice President. Any actions or counsel during such a period should be made, to the extent possible, in a manner consistent with what the Vice President (SPER) would be likely to provide, were s/he present.
  • Directs all actions and decisions in accordance with applicable organizational by-laws, policies and procedures and in accord with LWR's core values.


  • In consultation with the President and CEO, and the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and External Relations, provide overarching leadership for the creation and use of all organizational messaging, ensuring brand correctness, comprehensiveness, factual accuracy, appropriateness of tone, etc. Conduct formal, periodic review of organizational messaging, and ensure that such messaging is consistent throughout the organization - as well as across all print and media platforms.
  • Engage collaboratively with the Senior Director for Philanthropic Engagement to: (a) employ compelling organizational messaging in the creation of effective donor communications, and (b) identify potential online fundraising possibilities and plan for their strategic use.
  • Engage collaboratively with Sr. Director for Internal Communications in the President's Office to ensure all internal messaging and communications from the President and CEO is consistent with brand and communication strategies, language and tone.
  • Provide guidance to International Programs Department and other SPER units in the creation and most effective deployment of organizational messaging using various marketing and communications vehicles and platforms.


  • Through consultative processes as appropriate, design organization-wide strategic marketing, communications and public relations plans. Lead organization-inclusive efforts to achieve such plans.

a) Build organization-wide understanding of and buy-in for such plans (including the plans' specific goals and objectives), as necessary.
b) Provide pro-active leadership in the execution of such plans to achieve:
i) strategic objectives (e.g., the creative development, writing, and timely publication of print and online messaging);
ii) the development of media opportunities for organizational leadership; and
iii) innovative educational outreach opportunities to congregations and other audiences.

  • Lead unit staff in creating and disseminating such other unique communications pieces as may be appropriate to publicize LWR and its programs and initiatives to various publics and constituencies.
  • Advise the Vice President (SPER) on:
    a) cutting-edge marketing and communications opportunities in social and other online media;
    b) strategies for execution of online engagement, including a comprehensive review of associated market research and financial analysis of expected costs/ROI;
    c) the results of analysis of multi-channel communications/fundraising efforts; and
    d) recommendations for multi-channel growth possibilities and proposed changes of approach in related resource-investment.
  • Steer the design and implementation of all jointly-developed communications plans with the International Programs Department.
  • Serve as Senior Editor and Publisher of all LWR communications, directing unit staff - and advising staff from constituent departments and units - in the writing of marketing and communications pieces. As required, write such pieces.


  • Oversee effective management of the LWR website and all LWR presence on social networking sites. Ensure that the organization maintains an innovative and cutting-edge approach to online media use. Monitor the approach of other not-for-profit organizations for creation and adaptation in LWR's online communications and fundraising.
  • Provide for domain acquisition/protection and website security.
  • Guide the development of robust, creative, and innovative approaches to digital fundraising, ensuring full partnership with the Philanthropic Engagement Unit.
  • Guide the technical design and execution of approved fundraising plans across multiple online platforms, ensuring full partnership with the Philanthropic Engagement Unit.


  • Lead innovation for new ways to engage, educate and energize congregations and other Lutheran organizations around poverty, global development and LWR's work, supporting the outreach of LWR U.S. Regional Representatives/Donor Advisors. Invigorate existing programs such as the material resources ministry (e.g., Quilts & Kits).
  • Provide leadership and guidance in the organizational relationship with Thrivent Financial®, working to enliven ties between LWR and the financial institution and generate new ideas for partnership.
  • Oversee the development of new strategic initiatives designed to strengthen church body relationships with ELCA, LCMS, NALC, LCMC, etc. Work closely with the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and External Relations to implement such plans. Ensure coordinated and strategic LWR participation in various events hosted by Lutheran institutions.
  • Provide leadership and strategic direction for the implementation of the new LWR coffee partnership initiative ("LWR's Farmers' Market"), bringing together LWR coffee farmer program participants, Thrive Farmer, and Lutheran congregations.
  • Steer and provide insight for an aggressive LWR public education outreach campaign. Identify media opportunities [e.g., NPR interviews, book launches, streamed discussions of issues and LWR programs] in which senior organizational leadership and other staff members can represent LWR and expand the public face of the institution.
  • In concert with other SPER leaders, IPD Public Policy staff and others, identify opportunities and manage the hosting of and participation in other's events focused on global development issues, seeking to profile LWR's experience, expertise and innovation. Ensure excellence in leadership and management of logistics, content planning and execution of events.
  • Issue media releases on breaking LWR developments. Ensure website page is kept current; periodically devise creative and compelling media releases to keep LWR in the public eye when there has been a gap in "breaking developments."
  • Represent LWR as one of the principal public faces of the institution as required.


  • Provide for organization-wide staff education around communications issues, styles, methods and techniques. Supply expert guidance in, and training opportunities to staff members on, a variety of aspects of the position's leadership portfolio, including:

a) use of cutting-edge, multi-platform media opportunities for various purposes;
b) targeted information-gathering;
c) creation of message content that is both engaging and strategic;
d) writing style tailored to communications type;
e) compelling visual design; and
f) videography styles/techniques.


  • Create organizationally-tailored evaluation tools and conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of LWR's advancement efforts across multi-channel communications.
  • Direct the creation and regular periodic provision of unique reports intended to support the Unit's work. Such reports shall be generated by statistical data gathered regularly and analyzed by the Unit to guide and underpin strategic marketing and communications output, with the intent to reach growing audiences - Lutheran and otherwise - through an appropriate mix of print materials and technically-sophisticated media presence.
  • Provide regular reports of pertinent analytic findings to the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and External Relations and others in organizational leadership, making strategic and/or operational recommendations as appropriate.
  • Play a key role in developing and strengthening overall organizational processes and initiatives, both programmatic and administrative, through rigorous use of data analysis and general knowledge management.



  • Develop and maintain sound operational and business procedures within the Communications, Marketing & Engagement Unit. Periodically review the Unit's operational practices, evaluate the need for change, and devise upgraded systems and practices to review with the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and External Relations.
  • Ensure protection of all LWR trademarks and proprietary branding (e.g., new initiative products, program titles); provide oversight of legal action taken respecting any trademark infringement or dilution.
  • Hire, train and supervise staff, including temporary staff members and/or interns who may be employed. Place a premium on supportive, mentoring leadership techniques to guide staff members.
  • Regularly observe and evaluate the job performance of staff members. On a periodic basis, meet individually and informally with staff to provide feedback, making constructive suggestions for (a) performance improvement and (b) areas for potential growth and career development. Conduct formal performance reviews in accordance with LWR policy.
  • Ensure strong management/staff communication. Provide staff with complete and timely information on subjects that concern their general duties and responsibilities. As appropriate, make sure that staff members are made aware promptly and formally of (a) new or uniquely-occurring situations or activities within the organization, and (b) leadership decisions that might affect their work.
  • In consultation with the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and External Relations, formulate unit budgets. Provide budget oversight for the Unit. Work closely with and advise the Vice President on matters pertaining to overall organizational fiscal stability.
  • Provide periodic reports and other information to the Board and organizational leadership as required, insuring that such reporting is comprehensive, accurate and timely.
  • On an on-going basis, give consideration to and offer professional advice to the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and External Relations and other organizational leaders on long-range planning issues for the organization. Make formal recommendations on these matters, as necessary.
  • Travel to various program locations and engage with congregations (particularly in congregational-conference and larger-church-body settings), as appropriate. Attend governance and/or management meetings as required.
  • Engage and manage relationships with freelance writers and designers, vendors, contractors and consultants as necessary for the effective achievement of unit objectives. Oversee the provision of all out-sourced services procured by the Unit, monitoring performance and the on-going financial implications of using such external service providers.
  • Collaborate with other organizational leaders in developing and strengthening overall organizational processes and initiatives, both programmatic and administrative.
  • Support the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and External Relations in all aspects of his/her work, and carry out other general management assignments as required by him/her.


  • Deep commitment to LWRs core values and ability to model those values in relationships with colleagues and partners
  • Minimum of twelve (12) years of marketing/communications/public relations management. Experience at an executive or senior leadership level in a not-for-profit setting strongly preferred.
  • Minimum of five to eight (5-8) years of direct managerial experience in the institutional use of social and other online media - including social networking, social entrepreneurship, crowd-funding, and crowd-sourcing across multiple platforms - for marketing, fund-raising and general communications purposes. Comprehensive knowledge and understanding of cutting-edge communications technologies.
  • Master's degree in a relevant field. MBA with a concentration in media management preferred.
  • Experience in program work, even at introductory level, strongly beneficial.
  • Experience in management of institutional website development, including usage-monitoring and website evaluation and modification over time, website domain acquisition and protection, and website security.
  • Proven, sustained success in raising organizational profile (visibility) and building brand recognition through the use social and other online media.
  • Demonstrated ability to think creatively about - and recommend, design, and implement - new communications avenues, in print and/or online.
  • Comprehensive general knowledge of communications design principles, including an understanding of underlying engagement strategies (e.g., emotional, psychological). Design training (in both print and online media) preferred.
  • Experience in (a) public speaking as an institutional representative and (b) being the visible face of building media and other inter-organizational relationships.
  • Experience in managing trademark and brand protection.
  • Demonstrated dynamic leadership and managerial skills. Ability to work effectively with minimal supervision. Demonstrated ability to handle a heavy workload and to delegate responsibility.
  • Extensive experience in hiring and supervision of staff and freelance writers, designers, and technical personnel, and management of outside consultants and contractors. Ability to instruct and motivate staff and evaluate performance of regular and freelance staff and consultants.
  • Capacity to relate collaboratively with multiple constituencies and to create a positive, collegial working environment. Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain productive relationships with colleagues, staff, donors and external partners. Ability to use facilitation skills and participatory approaches to problem-solving. Affinity for work in team settings.
  • Strong organizational and communications skills, including ease in making professional presentations. Solid computer skills.
  •  High standards of personal and professional integrity. Demonstrably deep commitment to LWR's core values and an ability to model those values consistently.
  • Demonstrated good judgment. Ability to exercise discretion, engage in sound critical thinking and problem-solving, conduct complex data-based conceptual analysis, and make fair decisions.
  • Experience working with a wide range of people from diverse language, racial, cultural, ethnic, economic, and other backgrounds. Ability to work and communicate sensitively with diverse populations. Commitment to affirmative action in hiring decisions and vendor/contracting relations.
  • Fluency in French and/or Spanish desirable.
  • Familiarity with Lutheran theology, church structures, and church member motivations/sensitivities desirable.
  • Willingness and ability to travel domestically and internationally, at least 20% of the time to countries where LWR works. Travel may be to countries that are experiencing political instability and have poor infrastructure including poor road conditions, limited amenities and poor housing accommodations. In addition, the travel may be to countries where infectious diseases or vector-borne diseases are present. Travel may be required to locales that experience extreme temperatures (either hot or cold) and high altitudes.

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