Communications Manager

Job Locations US-IL-Chicago
Regular, Full-Time
Job Category


Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action.  By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive.  And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level.  What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 23 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country.  Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).



Position Summary

The Communications Manager holds primary responsibility for regional and state-level communications around policy and conservation priorities to Audubon members, the public, and key decision makers for Audubon Great Lakes. In that role, and in coordination with counterparts in the Audubon network such as communications staff in Minnesota and New York, the Manager develops regional communications strategies for Audubon’s priority issues, frames messages, develops content, develops earned and digital media strategies, and maximizes use of marketing tools including print and digital media. S/he will work closely with the news media and relevant news outlets to deliver Audubon’s conservation message and to engage constituencies and donors.
The Communications Manager is also responsible for developing print and online content and managing consultants, vendors, and staff to implement an aggressive communications program in the region. The Manager coaches program leaders to develop and deliver quality materials and generate social and digital media in support of strategies to publicize programs and conservation goals.

This position will report directly to the Vice President & Executive Director of Audubon Great Lakes, a regional office of National Audubon Society serving Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. S/he will work closely with communications and conservation staff across the Great Lakes basin, the Vice President of Communications in Audubon’s national headquarters, and other national and regional communications, conservation, and policy teams.

Essential Functions

  • Develop communications plans, messaging guidance, and media training for Audubon’s priority issue campaigns in the region, including but not limited to Audubon’s Great Lakes initiative, Audubon Great Lakes’ conservation agenda, and National Audubon Society’s federal priorities in the states served by the Chicago office.
  • Engage Audubon members across the Great Lakes on local, state and national conservation issues, focusing on Audubon’s Great Lakes initiative and Audubon’s other priority conservation campaigns.
  • Secure local and regional earned media for Audubon’s Great Lakes initiative and other regional conservation priorities. Coordinate with Media Relations team at National HQ to elevate Audubon in national media.
  • Manage digital communications for Audubon’s Great Lakes initiative and other regional conservation priorities.
  • Advise on communications strategy for Grange Insurance Audubon Center
  • Coordinate messaging and communications with Audubon Minnesota, Audubon New York, Audubon Pennsylvania and National Audubon Society as well as regional chapters. Develop budgets and manage vendors and contracts for communications services.
  • Along with program leaders, conduct strategic communications and outreach to influence policy makers.
  • Manage regional communications staff and interns, as needed.
  • Evaluate results of communications program.
  • Engage a variety of stakeholders, including recruiting and training volunteer leaders and staff on communications skills and strategies, as well as coaching Audubon State Directors, chapter leaders, and volunteers to become effective spokespeople for the organization.

Qualifications and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree in journalism, communications, marketing or a closely related field required. Equivalent combination of education and experience also considered.
  • 5+ years in public relations, journalism or other communications fields and 3 years' professional experience with campaign organizing, fundraising, project management and/or advocacy required.
  • Superior communication and interpersonal skills a must; ability to work with multiple stakeholder groups across a decentralized organization also necessary.
  • Strong leadership skills and experience managing and mentoring volunteer groups.
  • Excellent writing skills with a knack for online communications and messaging required.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications and obvious ability to easily learn how to use tools to manage online communications tools.
  • Experience using media databases such as Cision, Vocus or Meltwater strongly preferred.
  • Proficiency with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • A flexible approach to work, with a willingness to travel, as needed, and participate in programs occurring after typical business hours.
  • Strong personal presence and demonstrated interest in wildlife conservation and the mission of the National Audubon Society.
  • Spanish-language proficiency and experience working with diverse media outlets are strongly preferred.


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