Communications & Engagement Manager

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Are you looking for a role where you can make a difference? Are you interested in helping to bridge the educational opportunity gap for Chicago Public School students by providing them with an after-school program that supports their academic, career, and leadership success? If so, consider joining the Chicago Debates team. For twenty-five years, Chicago Debates has partnered with Chicago Public Schools to provide debate programming across its district. Through the transformational activity of debate, students are empowered to find their voice, succeed in college and career, and become community leaders. As the largest of the 22 urban policy debate leagues in the country, our goal is to return to our pre-Covid operations and serve up to 1700 students across 90+ schools in the 2021-2022 school year.

Position Overview

The Communications & Engagement Manager will oversee all aspects of Chicago Debates’ communications and outreach efforts so as to drive awareness, raise our visibility and expand our engagement with individuals, corporations, foundations, schools, parents, and students. The Communications & Engagement Manager will work on the Development Team to ensure our outreach and communications advance the mission of Chicago Debates and generate resource development opportunities. We seek an exceptional, creative, engaging and persuasive communicator, project manager and organizer who has the ability to raise Chicago Debates’ brand visibility and engage stakeholders. Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

Core Responsibilities

  • In collaboration with the Executive Director and Director of Development, strategize and develop the organization’s annual communications plan each year, including social media.
  • Secure media coverage ensuring the visibility and awareness of the Chicago Debates brand.
  • Produce website content, case studies, videos and other collateral that explains the mission of Chicago Debates, including website management.
  • Post original content and manage social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Prepare donor correspondence.
  • Serve as organization’s mass communications expert to ensure marketing materials, communications, information, data, etc. are brand driven, consistent, mission, vision, value aligned, and valid.
  • Schedule, manage, write, edit and disseminate an e-newsletter, regular e-blasts and other stakeholder communications.
  • Interact with debate students and coaches to create content for communication materials.
  • Design, manage, and write marketing materials, reports and event communications (press releases, press kits, sponsorship packets, etc.).
  • Manage the communications and marketing of all special events including the annual Make Room for Debate fundraiser, Associates Board special events, board recruitment events, outreach events, etc.
  • Assist in the development of the Winter & Spring Appeals and other direct mail and email campaigns.
  • Develop marketing data reports for use in fundraising efforts.
  • Attend Board and Board Committee meetings as needed.
  • Manage marketing projects with external vendors (including graphic designers, etc.).
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree required, in a marketing, communications, or a related field. Advanced degree a plus.
  • 3-5 years of experience in marketing and communications, preferably in non-profit.
  • Previous experience in development and donor relations/engagement highly preferred.
  • Knowledge of Chicago’s philanthropic community, trends, and best practices to engage them.
  • Demonstrated evidence of success in securing media coverage (newspaper, television, radio, etc.).
  • Strong, creative, and persuasive writer with excellent editing and proofreading skills.
  • Exceptional organizational skills, with detail orientation.
  • Must have ability to prioritize multiple assignments; work collaboratively and independently; communicate about challenges; plan; and most importantly, follow through.
  • Advanced computer skills including use of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
  • Experience with design software (such as Adobe Creative Suite, Canva, etc.).
  • Experience with website management with Word Press and social media.
  • Experience with online marketing and email campaigns (such as Constant Contact).
  • Position requires utmost integrity; ethical behavior and appropriate business practices.
  • Commitment to advancing as a professional in nonprofit marketing and communications.


  • Strong connection to the Chicago Debates mission.
  • Enterprising, outgoing communication style that draws people to our mission.
  • Positive, solution-oriented approach in a team working toward common goals.
  • Strong cultural competency operating in a diverse population with a variety of needs and challenges and communication styles. Execution oriented.
  • Strong interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills.
  • A self-starter, creative, and forward thinker.
  • Strong work and financial ethics.
  • Must have the utmost integrity and an ability to process, protect and exercise discretion in handling confidential information and materials.

Work Schedule

Full-Time, Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm, but requires 40-50 hours per week with occasional evenings and weekends. Ability to work remotely twice a week (Mondays & Fridays) and in-office Tuesday through Thursday.


Range $50k-$55k. Final salary to be determined based on experience and skills. Full-time employees are eligible for health, dental, and vision insurance, Retirement, PTO, Professional Development Allowance, Sick Days, and Holidays. Chicago Debates is seeking a commitment of at least two years.

To Apply

Submit a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to Dr. Toinette Gunn, Executive Director at . Cover letters without salary requirements will not be considered.

Hiring Process

The position will begin as soon as mid-late February 2022, pending candidate’s availability. Qualified candidates must be available for:

  • A Round 1 group interview on January 11, 2022.
  • Candidates who advance to a Round 2 interview should be available on January 18, 2022.
  • Candidates who advance to a Round 3 interview should be available on January 27, 2022.

Chicago Debates is an equal opportunity employer.

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