Advancement Communications Specialist

Washington D.C.
The Smithsonian Institution offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive package of benefits.
Jun 11, 2018
Metro Area
Full Time

Advancement Communications Specialist

National Portrait Gallery

Come join a team of dedicated staff at an exceptional time in Smithsonian history, as the Institution continues a comprehensive strategic plan, expands the programming, educational, and scholarly activity of its museums and research centers, and completes its very first Institution wide fundraising campaign.

The National Portrait Gallery is seeking a talented writer with an exceptional eye for design and branding to serve as project manager, principal writer, designer, and editor for a wide variety of communications that focus on donor engagement, solicitation, and stewardship.  These will include:  major gift proposals, stewardship reports (both narrative and financial), case statements, project summaries (including budgets), letters on behalf of the Director, event invitations, remarks for events, briefings, brochures, presentations, and website content updates. 

The Museum has significantly grown its advancement department in the last two years and, as a result, has seen dramatic increases in fundraising performance. Our goal is to maintain this rate of growth for the duration of the museum’s $25 million comprehensive campaign, which concludes at the end of 2018, the Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary year. This position offers excellent opportunities for the successful candidate to make a significant impact on the future of the National Portrait Gallery. There is no better time to join this amazing museum.

Reporting to Commission and Operations Manager, the Advancement Communications Specialist will support the Director of the National Portrait Gallery, the Director of Advancement, our gift officers, and the Board of Commissioners. 


  • Research, write, and design materials in support of fundraising priorities, managing them from inception through delivery
  • Maintain a clear understanding of advancement goals, strategies, and messages, and articulate this information appropriate and effectively
  • Independently incorporate changes, comments, and critiques from multiple reviewers using exceptional writing and editing skills
  • Develop and manage a strategic digital and online communications plan targeted for the museum’s external audience
  • Collaborate with colleagues on the museum’s Communications team to plan and implement communications that uphold NPG messaging, tone, and brand guidelines
  • Assist curators, historians, and other professional staff with proposal submissions, both for external and internal funding, and track all activity
  • Staff museum executives and volunteer leadership by writing briefings, talking points, and follow-up letters
  • In collaboration with gift officers, develop and execute stewardship plans for major donors
  • Manage multiple projects simultaneously, and turn around projects on tight deadlines (often within one business day)

Successful candidates will have:

  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably in English, Writing, or Marketing
  • Experience writing materials in support of fundraising
  • Superior communication skills, both oral and written
  • An exceptional eye for detail and design
  • Ability to easily change writing styles to fit the author, audience, and voice of the piece
  • Ability to translate complex ideas into language easily comprehensible to non-specialists
  • Knowledge of fundraising strategies, principles, and techniques
  • Ability to take ownership of projects and work with minimal direction and supervision
  • Understanding of and dedication to the mission of the National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian Institution is a unique complex of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research centers. The Smithsonian is a national and world treasure and is dedicated to its founding mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”  Its exhibitions, programs, collections, and outreach touch the lives of millions of Americans every year, as well as many who visit us from abroad. 

The Smithsonian Institution offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive package of benefits. This is not a Federal Position, but has similar requirements and benefits. Interested candidates should submit their resumes and a cover letter by July 2, 2018. Please include the title of the position in the subject line of the email.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.  Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

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