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Manager, Donor Communications and Stewardship

John G Shedd Aquarium
Chicago, United States Posted: January 23, 2024

Shedd Aquarium is seeking a full-time Manager, Donor Communications & Stewardship to engage diverse audiences in the mission of the Aquarium. This role will collaborate with teams across the organization to identify opportunities for storytelling and communicate those narratives through a Development lens. They will create compelling content for a variety of uses including written communications, talking points, presentations, reports, and events, and will proactively partner with counterparts in External Affairs and Marketing to ensure consistency in messaging. A successful candidate will be a strong writer and strategic thinker who can seamlessly toggle between solitary writing projects and creative collaborations. This position reports to the Director, Donor Relations and plays a key role on the Philanthropic Engagement team. 

  • include the following. Other duties may be assigned. 
  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission, and values. 
  • Help advance and promote Shedd’s commitments to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion through the lens of our mission. 
  • Collaborate with teams across the Development department and aquarium-wide to develop compelling, timely written communications, including annual reports, impact and stewardship reports
  • Lead effort, in collaboration with gift officers and Finance, to write and produce solicitation and stewardship materials (proposals, impact reports) that accurately reflect the proposed investment in Shedd Aquarium and the appropriate use of donations
  • In partnership with the Director, develop an annual suite of stewardship touchpoints across a variety of channels and a recommended calendar for deployment.
  • Identify key segments in our donor audience base
  • Develop a strategy for tailored materials to inspire different audiences   
  • Manage campaign donor recognition and stewardship
  • Prepare and manage recognition agreements and make appropriate updates in Tessitura
  • Use campaign recognition matrix to develop curated stewardship updates
  • Oversee the creation of donor rolls for physical and digital recognition
Draft event communications, including:
  • Compose invitation copy for donor engagement events, both virtual and onsite.
  • Collaborate with featured speakers to develop scripted remarks and talking points, and compile visuals and slide decks as needed.
  • Lead script development and managed approval timelines for the annual Shedd Gala aquatic presentation, in partnership with Creative Director
  • Respond to storytelling opportunities, sometimes on short notice, to allow gift officers to share news in a timely fashion with their portfolios
  • Manage review and feedback processes, clearly articulating and adhering to deadlines
  • Update and manage the centralized resource library through consistent and meaningful connections to program area staff. 
  • Adhere to Shedd processes, including submitting JIRA tickets and routing all materials for approval 
  • To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.
  • The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions. 
  • Bachelor’s degree in a communications-related field or 3 years of comparable work experience. 
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality.  
  • Strong writing skills, a firm grasp of AP Style, and strong proofreading and editing skills.  
  • Ability to effectively present information to and collaborate with all levels of employees. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills to develop a cooperative work relationship with staff and the public.  
  • Detail-oriented and project management skills.  
  • Ability to meet deadlines.  
  • Strong work ethic and integrity. Goal and results-oriented.  
  • Must be able to work flexible hours including early mornings, nights, and weekends as necessary,  
  • Great attitude! Interest in conservation, zoo/aquarium, non-profit, and cultural institutions and a strong desire to excel in this industry.   
  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.
  • Lift to 20 pounds
  • Sit
  • Walk and Stand for extended periods
  • Stoop 
  • The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions. 
This person may be exposed to: 
Moderate Noise 
Loud Noise 
  • We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply.
  • Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team.
  • If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).

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