The Communications Director is a full-time exempt position.
In partnership with the Vice President of Communications and the Editorial Director, the Communications Director will be responsible for developing and guiding the strategies for media relations, brand development and management, community events, collateral development, content creation and content marketing as it relates to RTC’s national portfolio of policy and trail development projects, including RTC’s TrailNation™ program—an innovative trail-network building initiative intended to serve as a model for building trail networks nationwide. This position will work as a communications partner in close collaboration with staff from across the organization.
The Communications Director will work in support of RTC’s mission to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people, with an emphasis on promoting the organization’s leadership as the nation’s largest nonprofit organization advocating for trails and active transportation. The Communications Director’s portfolio will directly advance communications goals that help to build political will for trails and trail networks while supporting RTC’s primary strategic communications objectives nationally: increasing audience engagement across programs and priorities; establishing and promoting RTC’s thought leadership; and raising RTC’s brand visibility.
Develop, implement and evaluate communications strategy and branding associated with each of the TrailNation projects—a portfolio of a minimum of eight projects with initiatives currently underway in Baltimore, the District of Columbia, Philadelphia, the industrial heartland (western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and western New York), southeast Wisconsin, the San Francisco Bay Area, south Texas and Miami. Develop necessary collateral and media materials to ensure success.
Develop and maintain relationships with the media to position RTC’s programmatic activities and TrailNation projects within local markets and nationally.
Coordinate with program teams and development staff to prepare communications plans for foundation proposals and implement upon grant-funded communications projects, including managing grant deliverables and workplans, budgets and preparing necessary timelines and grant reports.
Manage a proactive digital media strategy for RTC’s national programmatic campaigns and TrailNation, including development of online content that engages audiences across digital channels (web, social media, email, etc.) and leads to measurable action.
Manage online and print editorial activities for national programmatic campaigns and TrailNation, including content creation, marketing, testing and measurement.
Coordinate with RTC’s Web Manager to ensure information about national programmatic campaigns and TrailNation is up-to-date, relevant, engaging and actionable.
Organize events to engage the media, partners and local constituents in support of national programmatic campaigns and TrailNation projects across the country.
Work diplomatically with partner organizations from across the country.
Manage external communications consultants.
Direct and support communications priorities across the organization as needed.
The ideal candidate is an accomplished communications professional who possesses the following skills and qualifications:
Minimum 7–10 years of experience in media relations, communications or journalism
An undergraduate degree, or equivalent experience, in communications, journalism, public relations, marketing or a related field
Strong creative, strategic, organizational and leadership abilities
Excellent written and oral communication skills
Demonstrated success in media relations
Demonstrated ability to develop and manage budgets
Superior persuasive writing and editing skills
Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of how to use online and social media platforms and strategies to engage audiences and market content
Other desired qualities include the following:
Strong verbal communication skills
Ability to manage complex projects and competing deadlines
Poise in working with a diverse set of personalities from all levels of the organization as well as external partners
Sound judgement in complex and nuanced situations
Familiarity with campaign/event management
Ability to quickly identify the nuances of RTC’s policy and program messages and translate them into a form understandable by a variety of audiences
A strong commitment to the mission of Rails-to-Trails to advance trail networks across the country.
Telecommuting is allowed.
About rails-to-trails conservancy
Since 1986, the team at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has been standing shoulder to shoulder with passionate partners, trail advocates and public leaders to grow the nation’s trails and trail networks—inspiring movement, spurring economic development, celebrating and lifting up America’s diverse heritage, and connecting the nation by trail like never before.
With more than 1 million grassroots supporters, 24,000+ miles of rail-trails on the ground and more than 8,000 miles of rail-trails ready to be built nationwide, our focus is on linking these corridors—creating trail networks that connect people and places, and bringing transformative benefits to communities all across the country. Our flagship initiatives—the Great American Rail-Trail™, TrailNation™ and TrailLink.com™—bring that strategy to life, connecting millions of people by trail.
We are proud of the impact we’ve made, and we are humbled by the incredible contributions to our movement among the partners, advocates and public leaders who together are making big strides in creating a nation connected by trail.