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Tennessee Higher Education Initiative

Development and Communications Manager

Tennessee Higher Education Initiative


Job Summary

The Tennessee Higher Education Initiative (THEI) is a nonprofit organization working to disrupt systems of harm and create opportunities for autonomy and success by providing college access to people inside Tennessee prisons, preparing students for skillful re-entry, and reducing barriers to continued education and achievement. THEI is a grassroots, community organization committed to principles of harm reduction, healing, and centering the lived experiences of the people we serve. We engage in reimagining and building toward the world we want to see through systems work and direct service.

THEI seeks a full-time Development and Communications Manager. The Development and Communications Manager supports organizational operations in service of our mission to provide college education and reentry services for currently and formerly incarcerated Tennesseans. This position will work under the supervision of the Executive Director to raise awareness and financial support for THEI’s mission of getting people free through the transformative and liberating power of education.

Familiarity with Higher Education in Prison (HEP) programming, the landscape of re-entry, and HEP policy are a benefit. Finally, the ideal candidate must have reliable transportation, and be comfortable working in a carceral setting and collaborating with incarcerated individuals.  We encourage people who have been impacted by the criminal legal system to apply.

The position is a full-time, exempt position. Starting salary is $60,000 per year, plus travel reimbursements, full medical/dental insurance, a simple IRA with a 3% employer match, a monthly wellness stipend, and generous paid leave and holidays. The review of applications will begin immediately.

Job Responsibilities


  • Communicates THEI’s brand and initiatives efficiently and accurately via many channels (website, printed materials, social media, etc.).
  • Provides training to the THEI team to ensure consistent and effective brand communication via social media, website, video production, print materials, and verbal communication.
  • Works in partnership with our third-party web manager to ensure THEI’s website functions properly.
  • Develops and implements systems to update website content and design across all program areas.
  • Designs and publishes marketing pieces utilizing emerging tools to help increase awareness. 
  • Coordinates communications efforts for special events.
  • Manages media relations, including building relationships with media contacts and proactively securing media opportunities.
  • Crafts talking points and develops effective media strategies that may include press outreach, op-eds, and innovative social media.
  • Creates, formats, and distributes regular email newsletters as well as updates and manages email lists using MailChimp.
  • Develops marketing and social media strategies using social media data and analytics to make key decisions.
  • Leads efforts to continue sharpening social media presence to engage supporters, build momentum, and share success stories.
  • Edits video and creates shareable video content.
  • Manages the organization’s communications assets, including photo library, success stories, logo library, infographics, design files, print, and digital collateral.
  • Manages and coordinates communication with contractors.
  • Provides assets to other team members as needed.


  • Cultivates potential diversified sources of public and private funding.
  • Establishes and maintains relationships with prospective donors, foundations, and partners’ contacts.
  • Researches and identifies potential grant opportunities
  • Draft grant applications as assigned.
  • Draft interim and final reports to funders
  • Manages and maintains donor database to include basic donor information, donations, and donor acknowledgments.
  • Responsible for timely acknowledgment and recognition of donors as appropriate.
  • Utilizes the donor database to pull reports, mailing lists, and donor records to assist in fundraising efforts such as individual asks, annual mailings, and grant writing.
  • Ensures donations are accurately accounted for and routed to the correct program area in our accounting system.
  • Manages in-kind donations including tracking, gift acceptance, and gift acknowledgments.
  • Creates relevant policies and procedures to ensure compliance with best practices.
  • Staying current with foundation trends and giving priorities.

Events Management

  • Provide administrative support for special events including data management, mailings, marketing, and other communication initiatives.
  • Work closely with the Executive Director to develop new events to support the organizational mission.


Social Justice Requirements

  • A strong commitment to providing service to at-risk populations and understanding the mission of THEI to be located within a larger social justice movement.
  • A strong commitment to breaking cycles of poverty and incarceration.
  • A commitment to use Person First language because there is evidence that language can shape perceptions about an incarcerated person’s capacity to change.

Core Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent desired
  • Minimum of 3+ years of communications experience
  • Experience with content creation software
  • Excellent written & verbal communication skills, and the ability to write in a clear and compelling style.
  • Proven track record of running successful social media campaigns and increasing subscribers and engagement.
  • Demonstrated ability to increase productivity and continuously improve methods and approaches.
  • Ability to analyze the effectiveness of all marketing and communications efforts.
  • Ability to prioritize and lead multiple projects, activities, and actions with competing deadlines and levels of urgency.
  • Self-motivated, accountable to goals, and willing to learn new techniques, ideas, and skills.
  • Excellent personal organization, work planning, and time management skills.
  • Desired computer skills include proficiency with G-Suite, Slack, and Boomerang.

Additional Information


Full employer-paid medical/dental/vision insurance, simple IRA with 3% employer match, and generous paid leave and holidays.

How to Apply

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to with “Development and Communications Position” in the subject line.

THEI is an equal opportunity employer; all applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran, or disability status.


  • Date Posted: August 19, 2023
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Communications / Marketing / PR
  • Service Area: Community Development
  • Salary Range: $60,000