Job Opening: Communications Manager

posted September 24, 2020

Organization Overview

Founded in 2011 and based in Durham, North Carolina, Book Harvest ( is a nonprofit organization that provides books to children and engages families and communities in promoting children’s literacy and a lifelong love of reading.  Book Harvest believes that books are essential to children’s healthy development and well-being, that all children deserve to grow up in book-rich homes, and that all parents deserve access to the literacy resources and information that will enable them to be their children’s first and best teachers and brain builders.

Book Harvest’s work grows out of deeply held organizational values: racial and education justice; equitable access to resources for every person; the power of every parent; and the brilliance of every child.  Two fundamental strategic objectives inform our innovative programs:

    1. Literacy begins at birth.
    2. In order for children’s literacy to flourish, books and literacy resources must be easily, freely, and abundantly accessible to all children and families.

To date, Book Harvest has provided more than 1,300,000 books and a wide array of literacy supports to children and families in central North Carolina. We are committed to the replication and expansion of what works, in order to achieve maximum impact and to enable literacy success for children in our home community, throughout North Carolina, and across our country.

Job Description

Book Harvest’s Communications Manager is a full-time employee who develops, designs, and implements effective communications and outreach strategies, tools, and events to successfully advance Book Harvest’s mission and to strategically influence and advance public awareness about children’s literacy. He/she/they eloquently, clearly, and persuasively articulates the organization’s mission and vision to a variety of stakeholder groups including but not limited to families we serve, funders, volunteers, public officials and policy makers, researchers, educators, and philanthropists.

The Communications Manager works strategically across all media platforms to spark and grow public awareness about the imperative to address children’s literacy – and specifically to advance Book Harvest’s priorities and projects related to book access and provision, and to support parents and children in the first five years of life.  This work will align with the organization’s core values and may extend beyond our local community, to the state of North Carolina and nationally where opportunities exist.

The Communications Manager reports to the Advancement Director and works closely with the Executive Director and others on the team to ensure that all program-related and mission-derived communications needs are being met in service to organizational fundraising and advancement goals, as well as to the organization’s vision and strategic objectives.


The Communications Manager’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following activities in four core areas (with estimates of time devoted to each).

Outreach and Messaging (40%)

  • Website
    • The Communications Manager creates, updates, and coordinates website content and design, ensuring that information is accurate, timely, up-to-date, and informative.
      • She/he/they regularly evaluates innovative methods to enhance and support the user experience.
      • She/he/they troubleshoots as needed.
    • She/he/they engages and manages outside consultants for website design and functionality support if and as appropriate.
  • Social Media
    • She/he/they generates and curates all of Book Harvest’s social media content and posts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), along with managing platform schedules, tracking data, and monitoring insights to ensure maximize impact.
  • Publicity
    • She/he/they collects and shares compelling stories that illustrate and highlight the true impact of Book Harvest, embedding and including them in outreach and messaging.
    • She/he/they writes, designs, and schedules all electronic communication with stakeholder groups via Mailchimp including but not limited to monthly newsletters, news briefs, announcements, etc.
    • She/he/they maintains, updates, segments, and organizes all subscriber lists within the Mailchimp platform.
    • She/he/they develops and manages media contact lists and cultivates relationships with local, regional and national reporters and outlets whose area of focus and interest match the interests and work of Book Harvest, especially as they relate to current issues in literacy, equity, and education.
    • She/he/they proactively arranges for appropriate media coverage in print, radio, TV, and e-based outlets to promote Book Harvest’s work and accomplishments. At the same time, as/if appropriate, she/he/they serves as a spokesperson for the organization with select media and in select community settings, and helps guide others in the Book Harvest community to be effective stewards of Book Harvest’s message.
    • She/he/they writes and circulates press releases when opportunities dictate (awards, new board members, Book Babies graduation, etc.), and follows up in a timely fashion with press contacts to encourage prompt coverage.
    • She/he/they supports the Book Harvest Speakers’ Bureau, a group of trained spokespeople who serve as ambassadors for our cause. She/he/they recruits and orients new members to the Speakers’ Bureau as needed, and connects speakers to opportunities to promote Book Harvest, ensuring they have everything they need to be successful in sharing the Book Harvest story with a variety of audiences.
    • She/he/they provides support to the Book Harvest Authors’ Circle, seeking out ways to lift up and share their contributions to our cause and our vision.
    • She/he/they creates and implements branding opportunities for the organization in the local community, across North Carolina, and nationwide, as appropriate.

Public Awareness (25%)

    • The Communications Manager develops an evergreen public awareness campaign that promotes the essential benefits and imperative of children’s book access and book ownership.
    • In close collaboration with the Executive Director, Advancement Director, and Program Director, she/he/they develops evidence-rich white papers, one-page position papers, and/or opinion pieces designed to influence public policy leaders, elected officials, and funders, with quarterly deliverables expected.

Event Development, Design, and Implementation (25%)

  • Book Harvest’s annual Dream Big Book Drive and Community Celebration on MLK Day
    • The Communications Manager manages all aspects of Book Harvest’s major annual MLK Day event, the Dream Big Book Drive and Community Celebration, including:
      • Developing annual budget for the event.
      • Securing location.
      • Engaging outside consultants for event support if and as appropriate.
      • Coordinating activities of and assignments for the Dream Big volunteer committee, including procuring financial and in-kind sponsorships, organizing book drives leading up to the event, scheduling participants for the day of the event, media coverage of the event, and all logistics associated with the day of the event.
      • Issuing summary report of the accomplishments of the annual event.
  • Book Harvest’s annual Summer Learning Event
    • The Communications Manager develops, coordinates, and implements all aspects of Book Harvest’s annual summer learning event focused on bringing public awareness to the importance of book access and ownership for children when they are out of school. This includes event logistics, follow-up reporting, and working with program managers as necessary to ensure maximum support and impact for the event.

Administrative Duties (10%)

  • The Communications Manager maintains an organizational Communications Calendar in collaboration with the full Book Harvest staff and with the Board of Directors that reflects strategic priorities as well as tactical objectives.
  • She/he/they ensures that all collateral materials created for and by Book Harvest retain appropriate and consistent branding specifications, aligned with the Book Harvest Style Guide.
  • She/he/they works with Book Harvest staff and program managers to manage the development, distribution, and maintenance of all print and electronic collateral materials that pertains to individual programs.
  • She/he/they arranges for the translation of appropriate materials into Spanish and ensures that Spanish versions of content being shared are represented on our platforms as appropriate.
  • She/he/they develops and maintains a comprehensive archive of our press and our photos cleared for publication.


The Communications Manager comes to Book Harvest with a minimum of 3 to 5 years of experience in public relations, communications, advocacy, and/or event management.  She/he/they must have a deeply held and demonstrated commitment to Book Harvest’s mission and share our conviction that all children deserve abundant and equitable access to the books and literacy supports that are essential for success in school and in life.

Professional Experience:

  • 3 to 5 years of experience in the public relations, communications, advocacy, and/or event management field.
  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent professional experience.
  • Exceptional demonstrated writing skills and oral communication skills.
  • Experience in successful event planning.
  • Effective electronic communication and database management skills.
  • Experienced and comfortable working with Windows, GSuite, WordPress, Mailchimp, Canva, and Google Analytics.
  • Proven track record of strong organizational and time management skills and a commitment and ability to prioritize and to meet deadlines with ease.
  • Graphic design and video editing experience preferred.

Professional Characteristics:

  • Personal qualities of integrity, honesty, credibility, and dedication to the mission of Book Harvest.
  • Impeccable judgment.
  • An extreme spirit of teamwork and collaboration, patience and perseverance.
  • Warm and engaging interpersonal skills.
  • A personal expectation of excellence in all tasks performed.
  • A willingness to pitch in as needed and to go the extra mile.
  • A commitment to anti-racist organizational culture.

Book Harvest is an Equal Opportunity employer. We offer a competitive salary, a benefits package that includes generous paid time off, contributions to a 403(B) retirement plan, a stipend to cover health care costs, and an engaging, purposeful workplace culture. People of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

Note that the Communications Manager will work remotely at present, with the expectation that she/he/they will work in the Book Harvest office at 2501 University Drive, Durham, when the office reopens.

Book Harvest is committed to protecting children through its child safeguarding policies. All staff are subjected to criminal background checks and are held to high standards of child protection.

If you are interested in applying for the position of Communications Manager, please submit a resume or comparable statement of experience, contact info for two references, a writing sample, and a cover letter or comparable statement of interest (short video is acceptable) to Kate Panuska, Operations and Finance Director, at No phone calls, please.

The priority deadline for receipt of applications is Thursday, October 8, 2020.

Download a PDF of the job description here.