Birmingham, West Midlands
£27,511 - £30,046 per year
Contract, Approx. 12 months, Full-time
Job description

Job Summary

Do you believe in helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get to university, and want to get people interested in life-changing research into cancer, environmental protection, COVID-19, mental health and more? 

An excellent communications professional with experience developing social media campaigns and writing for print, web and social media, the Communications Officer (Digital) will work as part of the Development and Alumni Relations (DARO) Communications Team to deliver our overall strategy, and to champion our digital activity.  You will be expected to follow a brief and produce high quality impact-driven copy, video, email newsletters and digital content, appropriate for target audiences, for print and online publication, email newsletters and individual communication and will creatively and effectively use social media platforms and the DARO web presence. In addition to the core alumni audience, you will be responsible for the student and young alumni audiences. Experience in producing content for young people and in fundraising communications would be highly desirable.

We are an ambitious and successful research-intensive University (one of the top 100 research-led universities globally) and have produced 11 Nobel Prize winners, including three who received their awards in 2016.  Academics here are tackling some of the world’s most pressing global challenges such as antibody testing and Covid-19, the impact of climate change on our woodlands and forests, issues caused by migration and displacement, the rise in youth mental health issues, and the prevention of needless maternal deaths in the developing world. Our students come from nearly 150 countries and our flagship outreach programmes mean that almost 25% of our student population come from disadvantaged backgrounds, one of the highest proportions in the UK. Philanthropy has always played an important role in shaping the University, most recently in 2015 when we closed the Circles of Influence Campaign, which raised £193 million, making it the largest HE fundraising campaign outside Oxbridge and London. Through ‘Birmingham In Action’, philanthropy will continue to play a vital role in delivering projects to change lives locally, nationally, and internationally. 

Main Duties

•    Working as part of the DARO Communications Team to deliver our overall Communications programme for our global alumni community and friends of the University, including annual printed and digital magazines and social media campaigns.
•    Championing our digital activity by planning, creating, promoting and evaluating content for social media channels and the website. Acting as an expert within DARO in this area, providing advice and creative input and ensuring we use the opportunities presented by new technologies and communication channels.
•    Managing our communications around key dates throughout the year, including religious festivals and awareness days (e.g. International Women’s Day, Black History Month and Christmas).
•    Working with colleagues to support the delivery of graduation activities that help students transition from study to becoming alumni.
•    Within the overall DARO Communications programme, taking responsibility for the planning and delivery of communications to student and young alumni audiences.
•    Supporting key DARO objectives including increasing participation rates, building greater warmth and affinity to the University, generating leads and charitable income by continually reinforcing giving messages, especially in relation to our fundraising and volunteering campaign Birmingham In Action.
•    Identifying opportunities to appropriately share newsworthy stories with alumni, students, staff, international and other key audiences, and the ability to translate academic information into an understandable format for a lay audience.
•    Actively contributing to the annual communications review suggesting areas for improvement and development.  This will include, but not be limited to:
o    Monitoring other University and commercially successful magazines and websites for ideas which could be applied to the University.
o    Reviewing click-through and open rates of electronic communications and hit rates of the DARO website.  Identifying patterns, suggesting and making improvements to effectiveness of electronic communications where appropriate.
o    Reviewing uptake and usage of digital communications and channels.

Leading people

•    Building relationships with colleagues in DARO, the University’s Marketing and Communications team and professional services colleagues across the University.
o    Through these relationships identifying opportunities for DARO messages to be communicated to appropriate audiences.
o    Identifying and gathering story leads on an ongoing basis, using editorial expertise to maximise the value of all content.
o    Representing DARO at University-wide editorial and content meetings.
•    Modelling and acting consistently with the purpose and values of DARO and the University
•    Managing student staff and volunteers ensuring workload is planned and output is delivered on time and to the standards required. 
•    Providing expertise to colleagues across the office to ensure that all outward communications are effective and consistent.
•    Promoting equality and valuing diversity, acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture.

Organisational understanding

•    Understanding key areas of University research strength and innovation and identifying opportunities to highlight these areas through DARO communications by
o    Reading internal staff communications including Buzz, press releases and staff newsletters. 
o    Attending key University events.
o    Monitoring University stories in the local, national and international press.
o    Keeping abreast of issues and developments in the higher education sector.
o    Attending University-wide marketing and communications network meetings.


•    Communicating clearly and openly with others.
o    Efficiently responding to alumni enquiries and comments as part of monitoring our social media channels and Communications Inbox.
o    Being able to create an accurate and concise brief, and follow a brief, to/from colleagues on collaborative projects.
•    Expressing ideas coherently through printed and electronic media.
o    Identifying and using the appropriate communication channel based on a sophisticated understanding of the audience and objectives.
o    Ability to translate complex messages to be understandable and engaging to a diverse and multicultural audience, considering issues such as widely varying levels of expertise, political sensitivities and language barriers.
•    Giving and seeking both structured and informal feedback in a clear, open and constructive manner.
o    Inviting, under the guidance of senior colleagues, internal and external feedback on individual projects or communication channels to increase the impact of DARO communications.

Performance and resource management

•    Prioritisation and management of own workload to ensure output is completed to a high standard and meets necessary deadlines.
o    Producing a weekly schedule of social media content and a report on how the previous week’s content performed.
o    Contributing to the ongoing schedule for all DARO communications to ensure timeliness of messages and the most effective use of all channels available.
•    Demonstrating an understanding of the fundraising priorities within DARO for students and research, and being able to work to a budget for projects. 
•    Undertaking research, providing creative content and design proposals and identifying subjects of interest (or of other value within the DARO strategy) to feature in different communications channels.

More about University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is one of the largest and most diverse employers in the region, with around 6000 staff working in a range ... Read more

Refreshed on: 20 June 2021
Closed date: 30 June 2021
Job ref: 55921Z
Tags: Communications, PR, Digital

The client requests no contact from agencies or media sales.