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Director and Senior Copywriter, Advancement Communications

Apply now Posting #: 4711
Position Status: Full-time regular
Location: San Diego
Position Type: Administrator, University Advancement

Position Title & Department:

 Director and Senior Copywriter, Advancement Communications; Advancement Operations
Posting #


Department Description:

The Advancement Operations department operates within the University Advancement division and includes the departments of Advancement Services, Annual Giving and Donor Relations.

University Description:

The University of San Diego, a contemporary and engaged Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Diocese of San Diego and the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1949. Governed by an independent board of trustees since 1972, USD remains committed to a liberal arts education grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition and the pursuit of truth, goodness and beauty. Inspired by this centuries old tradition of Catholic higher education, the University welcomes people of all faith traditions and any, or no, religious background. The future success of USD relies on the contributions of those who seek to foster the development of engaged global citizens and an earnest confrontation of humanity’s urgent challenges.

Detailed Description:
The director and senior copywriter for Advancement Communications is responsible for developing the distinct voice and compelling message of support for donor audiences consistent with USD’s brand and marketing standards. This position is responsible for researching,
writing, and producing customized call-to-action communications meant to engage and inspire the university’s most generous donors and top prospective donors, as well as contributing to the implementation of overall fundraising, stewardship, and engagement strategies. The
director will deploy the most effective means of communicating these key messages including, but not limited to, print, electronic, broadcast, social media posts, traditional media announcements, headlines, taglines, and promotional materials. This position will play a central role in supporting and delivering principal gifts fundraising and engagement strategies in order to meet program/campaign goals. As senior copywriter, the director leads in the creation of written materials and communication strategy for key prospects and donors and is the primary
copywriter for campaign cases for support. The director will iterate quickly based on feedback pertaining to corresponding supplemental collateral. This position will stay abreast of best practices and emerging trends, sharing those with all stakeholders and professional colleagues.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Advancement Communications 
  • Develop strategies and innovative approaches to big-idea fundraising, including engaging with advancement colleagues and university partners in the ideation and proposal development for these big ideas.
  • Develop themes and craft clear and error-free copy, correspondence, presentations, and remarks for bespoke donor experiences, including assisting senior university leadership with their donor communications.
  • Plan, write, edit, and produce gift proposals, targeted stewardship materials, presentations, and major/principal giving collateral in support of Advancement Operations, Development, and other fundraising departments.
  • Serve as the lead writer for campaign cases for support and supplementary collateral materials.
  • Coordinate with designers, vendors, and university partners to create and design off-the-shelf proposals, templates, and other fundraising campaign materials.
  • Create headlines, taglines, announcements, and promotional materials in support of fundraising priorities, initiatives, and achievements; transmit to appropriate audiences via print and electronic communications, social media posts, and traditional media.
  • Ensure production schedules are met; accountable for meeting critical deadlines; ensure appropriate approvals and sign-offs have been obtained.
  • Collaborate with UM&C and University Events and Partnerships (UE&P) to brainstorm and integrate case messaging around fundraising priorities, comprehensive campaigns, and milestone achievements throughout the division and socialize with applicable campus units.
  • Liaison between Advancement Communications, UE&P, UM&C, and other marcom colleagues across campus; represent advancement in administrative marcom meetings, strategy sessions, and editorial advisory meetings.
  • Convey to stakeholders and adhere to university branding, marketing, and communications standards ensuring appropriate applications on all marketing materials produced in-house and by external agencies.
  • In collaboration with UM&C, write contributing articles for the USD News Center and USD Magazine, focusing on philanthropy and campaign features.
  • Other duties as assigned.
Department Management 
  • Direct the work of the professional staff, establish goals and objectives, ensure successful and timely completion of work in accordance with project parameters, and inspire productivity and new, strategic approaches.
  • Ensure direct reports adhere to defined internal controls; manage systems and procedures to protect departmental assets.
  • Conduct annual performance evaluations and provide feedback on a regular basis including, but not limited to, coaching and corrective action; report to the AVP on the work and progress of the team.
  • Promote professional growth and provide development opportunities for employees.


Special Conditions of Employment:

Effective June 1, 2023, based on CDC guidance, the University strongly encourages all campus members to stay up to date with Influenza and COVID-19 vaccination recommendations.  For more regarding information USD's COVID-19 protocols, please visit sandiego.edu/onward.

Background check:  Successful completion of a pre-employment background check.

Degree Verification Requirement: Persons offered employment in this position will be required to provide official education transcripts for degree verification purposes. 


Job Requirements:

 Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Five years’ experience in professional copywriting as part of an in-house marcom environment or agency, supported by a strong portfolio showcasing relevant work.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including public speaking; ability to communicate positively and effectively with a diverse audience; possess exceptional critical listening and thinking skills.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and expertise in communications and the ability to write and edit copy; command of the English language, including AP writing style and exceptional grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax, and proofreading skills.
  • Ability to distill information to then translate into engaging, persuasive copy that triggers the intended action; fast and efficient researcher.
  • Must exhibit attention to detail with excellent organizational and time management skills; remain professional under pressure.
  • Strong leadership/management skills, including proven ability to direct, mentor, recruit, evaluate, and motivate staff.
  • Experience working with stakeholders on projects from conception to completion.
  • General understanding of fundraising techniques and strategies.
  • Friendly and personable; mature, positive attitude; a team player.
Preferred Qualifications:
• Bachelor’s degree in English, Marketing, or Journalism/Communications.
• Advanced degree.
• Previous work experience in higher education or other large, complex organizations.
• Previous work experience with non-profit fundraising.
Performance Expectations: Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
  • Commitment to working as a member of a team and collaborate with colleagues.
  • Strong sense of integrity and ethical conduct.
  • Cultural competency and sensitivity a must; ability to understand different cultural contexts and viewpoints, demonstrate respect for others, adapt to different cultural settings; and accept cultural differences.
  • Versatility to write for different platforms and audiences; ability to ascertain tone and voice of the subject matter, shift gears throughout the day and adapt writing style accordingly.
  • Consummate self-editor, able to spot and correct mistakes.
  • Ability to accept criticism and apply it to future projects.
  • Knowledge of online communication tools to increase contacts with donors and others
  • Demonstrated excellence in setting priorities and working independently with minimal supervision under heavy workload, frequent interruptions, distractions, and deadlines.
  • Skill in investigating, analyzing, and solving problems.
  • Ability to handle confidential and sensitive information with tact and discretion.
  • Must possess a clear understanding of the university’s branding, writing, and graphic standards and ensure standards are adhered to at all times.
  • Knowledge of USD’s policies and procedures.
Posting Salary:

$6,684 - $8,334/mo.; Excellent Benefits

The University of San Diego offers a very competitive benefits package including; medical, dental, vision, a retirement contribution given to you by the University, and access to on-campus Fitness Centers.  Please visit the benefits section of our website to view all of the perks and benefits that USD has to offer.  USD: Human Resources: Benefits

The salary range provided in this posting reflects what we reasonably expect to pay for this position.  Actual compensation offered or earned is dependent on experience, education and other factors including departmental budget.

Special Application Instructions:
Resume and Cover Letter Required

Click Apply Now to complete our online application. In addition, please upload a cover letter and resume to your application profile for the hiring managers’ review.  If you have any questions or difficulties please contact the Employment Services Team at 619-260-6806, or email us at jobs@sandiego.edu

Additional Details:

Hours: 40 hours per week

Closing date: Open until filled

Note: External job postings will be up for at least five days. After that time, applications will be reviewed by the hiring manager/committee throughout the posting period. A candidate may be selected at any time which could then close this posting on a date earlier than listed.

The University of San Diego is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion and is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the campus community.

The University of San Diego is a smoking and tobacco-free campus. For more information, visit www.sandiego.edu/smokefree.

Advertised: Pacific Daylight Time
Applications close:

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Notice of Availability: In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act), the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is available at www.sandiego.edu/safety/documents/annualreport.pdf. This report is published by October 1st of each year and includes current institutional policies and procedures concerning campus safety and security; fire safety and evacuation policies; sexual misconduct and relationship violence reporting and response stands and protocols; and crime and fire statistics for the three previous calendar years. To request a paper copy, please contact the Clery Act Compliance Manager via email at clery@sandiego.edu, by calling (619) 260-4768, or in-person in the Hughes Administration Center, room 150.