Communications Consultant

Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions
Telecommute; Washington, DC
contract position, rate is negotiable
Jun 26, 2017
Metro Area


Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions 
Scope of Work 
Communications Consultant

The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions (Aspen Forum) is seeking a Communications Consultant to perform a wide range of basic communications activities on behalf of our program within the Aspen Institute (AI). The consultant is the sole communications person on the team and responsible for all communications activities. The consultant will report to the Deputy Director but will work with the entire eight member Aspen Forum staff on different projects.

The timeline of this contract is through the end of 2017, with the possibility of further extensions. This contract will entail at least 20 hours per week on average.  The Aspen Forum has offices in Washington DC and Seattle, but it is not required that the consultant be located in either city. Occasional travel to DC may be required. The consultant will be expected to attend our twice yearly major events, which are held in May and October.  Subject matter familiarity and prior communications experience in the Aspen Forum’s area of work is preferred but not required for this position.

Resume and materials are due July 24, 2017.


The key duties for 2017 will be:

  • Generate written copy for a variety of formats to aid the Aspen Forum in telling the story of its work and impact currently and over the past four years, and draws from the examples and experiences of our grantees and partners in 23 communities in the US. Written products range from social media posts to blogs to short reports to annual summaries of activities; all of the content on our web site needs major revision and updating as well.
  • Co-develop (with Aspen Forum staff) new creative ways of disseminating reports and other written materials to increase reach and impact of 2017 publications
  • Increase awareness among the Aspen Forum’s key stakeholders as to our activities and impact across organizational programs including but not limited to recognition of the Aspen Forum’s role and place in the national Opportunity Youth ecology.

Specific Duties Include:

  • Writing/Editing:
  • Update and build social media presence (currently Twitter and Facebook; may expand)
  • Update web site content and related blogging platforms (eg. Medium); write new content as needed
  • Write quarterly organizational e-newsletter
  • Create annual report summarizing activities for the year
  • Write short summaries of activities and create presentations (text and images) for presentation of Aspen Forum work to various audiences
  • Develop promotional materials that document and tell the story of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions.
  • Write occasional press releases
  • Assist with  preparing briefing materials, presentations, as needed
  • Project Management:
  • Engage with many Aspen Forum partners and grantees to create and/or verify communications materials
  • Support other Aspen Forum staff’s management of contract writers producing reports for the Aspen Forum
  • Manage publications process and timeline
  • Act as the liaison between the Aspen Forum team and the Aspen Institute central Communication team on communications issues as needed
  • List management: merge multiple email lists and segment appropriately
  • Support communications needs of at least 2 major annual Aspen Forum events:
  • Programs / other materials for event
  • Promoting event
  • Blogging and doing social media at event
  • Collateralizing materials/presentations at the event into other online formats
  • Layout and Design
  •  of internally produced reports (electronic format only; about 5-10 per year)
  • Image selection and editing for blogs, social media posts, etc.
  • Event programs / collateral material


Skills & Abilities:

  • Exceptional writing, editing, and verbal skills. Ability to write effectively for a variety of different formats and for different intended audiences.
  • Project management skills: ability to work with a wide range of people on the Aspen Forum staff and at our partner and grantee organizations, to keep them focused on communications needs and tasks and on time
  • Track-record of success working with new and traditional media
  • Competence in the use of standard software products: Excel, Word, PowerPoint; Experience with Wordpress or similar platform; Experience with standard email newsletter production platforms and list management
  • Basic graphic design (eg. image manipulation) and page layout skills (Adobe Creative Suite or similar). Position does not require advanced graphics/layout skills.
  • Creative problem solver
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Self-starter and self-managing

It is not required, but we would prefer a consultant with some familiarity with the issues our team works on:  place-based collaborations, the education and workforce needs of young adults (‘opportunity youth’), equity, racial and economic justice.

Location of Work and Travel:

The Aspen Forum has offices in Washington DC and Seattle. It is not required that the consultant be located in either city. Infrequent travel to DC may be required. The communications consultant will be expected to attend our twice yearly major events, which are held in the Spring and Fall.


To be considered please submit the following to no later than July 24, 2017:

  • Your resume (or link to online resume or portfolio)
  • A narrative, that does not exceed three pages, that highlights:
  • Experience in performing the required activities
  • Any knowledge and/or experience with the core areas of focus of the Aspen Forum (i.e. equity; social, racial, economic justice; advocacy; opportunity youth; education and workforce issues, collective impact; community engagement; etc.)
  • What interests you about this consulting project in particular
  • Confirmation of your available start date, your bid for the work, and any other important considerations we should be aware of.
    • All bids should be given as a weekly rate assuming 20 hours of work per week.
  • At least one example each of:
  • Writing: an annual report or summary report of 10-20 pages length
  • Writing: a blog post
  • Writing: an e-newsletter
  • OPTIONAL: Design: if submitting design materials, please include: a report or brief of 5+ pages, an e-newsletter, an event program.

NOTE: Attachments over 10MB are too large to be delivered thru the Aspen Institute’s e-mail system. Please use a service like Dropbox or Google Docs to deliver large files, or send links to specific items from an online portfolio.


  • Two references that can speak to your ability to help organizations of similar size to the Aspen Forum conduct communications activities.

About the Forum for Community Solutions and Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund:

The mission of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions is to support community collaboration - including collective impact - that enables communities to effectively address their most pressing challenges. The Forum works to accomplish this mission by pursuing four complementary strategies including: 1) building awareness by documenting and lifting up proven strategies and stories of success; 2) mobilizing stakeholders through knowledge and network development; 3) removing barriers by advocating for effective policy; and, 4) catalyzing investment by encouraging funder partnerships.

The Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF) is the first funding collaborative launched by the Aspen Forum; it’s overall goal is supporting a network of 21 urban, rural, and tribal communities with multi-year grants to design and scale multiple reconnection pathways that achieve better outcomes in education and employment for opportunity youth. By focusing on the development of educational and career pathways, the OYIF seeks to interrupt the multi-generational cycle of poverty that undermines the vibrancy and economic health of communities. Two additional key goals of OYIF are 1) to build strong evidence of success for utilizing the collective impact community collaboration strategy to build and deepen pathways for opportunity youth, and 2) to make the case for increased adoption of collective impact and community collaboration as an effective model for community change and 3) to begin to scale what works within OYIF and other communities through a policy and advocacy strategy that expands the audience for opportunity youth and those who effectively serve them.

 At the center of OYIF efforts is an emphasis on youth engagement and leadership; OYIF collaboratives seek to authentically and meaningfully incorporate youth voice, decision-making and expertise in designing solutions to the challenges youth face. On the national level, the Aspen Forum is deeply committed to advocating for policy and practice changes in partnership with opportunity youth, and has engaged former and current opportunity youth as thought partners since the launch of the initiative. 

The Aspen Institute The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

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