Associate Director, Institutional Giving

Organizational Overview: 

Founded initially as a worker relief center for affected restaurant workers and their families following 9/11, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United has grown into a national organization with more than 50,000 members who are at the 

forefront of a movement to improve the lives of restaurant workers by building worker power and uniting workers of various backgrounds around shared goals and values. 

ROC United members in New York, California, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, New Orleans, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C come from all walks of life, diverse racial groups, political backgrounds, faith and gender identities. They are the essential restaurant workers who keep us safe and healthy while they deliver and bring food to our table. 

Because of our efforts to organize restaurant workers, ROC United has won more than a dozen workplace justice campaigns, winning more than $10 million in misappropriated tips and wages, discrimination payments for low-wage workers, and significant policy changes in high-profile restaurant companies covering thousands of workers. We have played an instrumental role in winning statewide minimum wage increases for tipped workers and other policy campaigns at the local, state and federal levels. We have addressed gender and racial justice issues, lifting up women, people of color and immigrants who represent the vast majority of the restaurant industry workforce. Since its founding, ROC United has also partnered with responsible restaurant owners to promote the “high road” to profitability, has trained more than 5,000 restaurant workers to advance to livable-wage jobs within the industry, and has published over 30 ground-breaking reports on the restaurant industry. We currently have chapters operating in Michigan, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco Bay Area, New Orleans, Minnesota, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Los Angeles. 

Purpose 

The Communications Strategist (Strategist) develops, designs and executes communications strategies that advance ROC United’s work on living wages, safe and

better working conditions, and racial and gender equality issues for low-wage restaurant workers nationwide. Working with colleagues in the Development & Communications Department, community organizers, digital, policy and research staff, and partner organizations, the Strategist builds and drives the ROC United’s core messaging, provides thought leadership on campaigns and related efforts, engages target audiences and elevates the organization’s presence by delivering the right content to the right people, at the right time, and through the right communication channels and platforms. The ideal candidate thrives in a fast-paced environment, is detail-oriented and scrupulously organized, an excellent writer, and passionate about social justice. 

The Communications Strategist reports to the Director of Communications. 

Location: Candidate must be near proximity to one of the following chapter offices – New York, Washington, DC,or Los Angeles. (ROC follows CDC recommendations and supports employees working remotely during COVID-19 related closures.) 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities: 

  • Design, create and implement multifaceted communications strategies on a wide array of labor and social justice issues, including but not limited to advocacy and enforcement of living wages (elimination of subminimum wage and combating wage theft), better working conditions (paid and medical leave, safe and healthy working environment), racial and gender equity (best practices on hiring, promotion and fair scheduling for workers of color), immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ rights and voting rights for restaurant workers.
  • Develop and execute media strategies that encompass owned media (website, microsites and social media platforms) and earned media (print and online publications and radio and television stations) to advance ROC United’s “brand” recognition, expertise and services among target audiences.
  • Write, edit, design and produce communications content, including but not limited to talking points, backgrounders, press kits, fact sheets, leaflets, flyers, op-eds, videos, infographics and web features and other materials as needed.
  • Strategize how to shift compelling narratives when necessary, best tell restaurant workers’ stories and experiences, and determine the most effective spokespeople for disseminating ROC United’s messages and brand.
  • Assist in developing, designing and implementing short- and long-term communications plans that include goals, target audience definitions, messaging, and media relations strategies to achieve successful campaigns and initiatives.
  • Develop, plan and implement marketing initiatives to increase awareness of ROC’s brand, programs, and initiatives.
  • Partner with internal stakeholders to build upon key messages and marketing materials to effectively communicate ROC United’s values and benefits to meet desired outcomes.
  • Help increase coverage of ROC United issues and messages by developing, harnessing and maintaining relationships with mainstream and ethnic media, including reporters, editors, producers and publishers.
  • Possess a sharp news sense to pitch news stories and ideas to reporters and editors and, at the same time, change the “hearts and minds” of target audiences and magnify the visibility of ROC United’s work.
  • Work closely with Social Media Manager, digital team and program staff as well as all ROC United’s departments and chapters to determine and shape messaging and maximize their communications value and effectiveness in line with agreed organizational and strategies.
  • The Communications Strategist is a Trusted Advisor role. The successful candidate will frequently work with highly confidential information, including but not limited to details about media contacts, members, donors and other stakeholders.


Required Skills and Abilities 

  • Highly skilled in the following areas: strategic communications, content creation for the web and digital platforms, media, and public affairs.
  • Experienced in member-based, labor or social justice advocacy-related campaigns, community development, digital communications and public relations.
  • Committed to principles of fair wages and better protections for restaurant workers, racial and gender equity, and diversity and inclusion in all ROC United’s work, focusing and fulfilling the organization’s mission, vision and core values in campaigns, program, development, communications, policy application, and organizational practices and processes.
  • Understands the best ways to talk about specific issues from both the organizational perspective and the community perspective
  • Work and engage effectively, timely and accurately in a rapid-response environment, especially with dynamic news cycles, cultural and policy development.
  • Strong organizational and communications project management skills, with a knack for details and completion.
  • First-rate writing and editing skills, with special ability to communicate persuasively and factually in writing communications materials, op-eds and blog posts, and other content for the web, including videos and graphics
  • Ensures consistent look, style, and feel for communications and educating staff on brand.
  • Strong verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • Has experience working with the media (highly preferred) and cultivating relationships with print, radio, television and online reporters and editors, and pitching stories.
  • Exceptional news sense to exercise good judgment in breaking news and rapid-response environment
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel and Outlook) and constituent management software
  • Knowledge of AP style (strongly preferred)


Salary and Benefits 

Salary is commensurate with experience: range $65,500-$72,500 a year. ROC United’s benefits package includes medical and dental insurance, flexible spending account, and generous paid-time-off. 

How to Apply 

Send a thoughtful cover letter and resume that speaks to how your experience and skill set meet our qualifications as one pdf to anthony@rocunited.org. Please include “Communications Strategist” in the subject line of your email. We are looking to hire immediately. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. (The last date to apply is April 30, 2021.) No phone calls, please. 

Women, people with disabilities/ disabled people, people of color, Trans* & Gender Queer/Gender Variant people, LGBTIQ, formerly incarcerated people and immigrants are strongly encouraged to apply.