National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • 10-Jun-2021 to Until Filled (EST)
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Arlington, VA, USA
  • Full Time

What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation's leading voice on mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Today, we are an alliance of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and a national office who work in communities across the United States to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need. NAMI advocates for all who are affected by mental illness, both the individuals and the people in their lives. In particular, we work to address disparities and injustices and to promote dignity and inclusion for all people with mental illness and their families. In addition to being advocates, we educate, we listen, and we lead as evidenced by our public awareness campaigns, the range of numerous programs we provide, and our strong public policy.

We currently have an opening for a Director, External Communications. The Director of External Communications is responsible for developing effective communication strategies for elevating NAMI's reputation through managing the media relations, social media and thought leadership team, as well as collaborating with other NAMI departments to raise NAMI's profile. The director conceptualizes and implements strategic communications plans that leverage earned media opportunities to grow NAMI's profile and subject matter expertise with the press and other key stakeholders, influencers and decision makers. The Director works with the Chief Communications Officer and other department leaders in meeting the organization's strategic communications needs.

This position is based in Arlington, VA (currently remote due to COVID)


  • Consults with NAMI leadership to develop comprehensive communications strategies to amplify NAMI's position as the leading voice for individuals and families affected by mental illness.
  • Manages media relations, social media and thought leadership staff to drive our reputation and position as a leading voice for mental health and shape public discourse and reporting on key issues among major national and regional media outlets, other thought leaders and external stakeholders
  • Develops and executes strategic communications plans to engage and activate NAMI constituents. Identifies the most effective use of communications vehicles and forums (print, online, social media, video, special events) for projects.
  • Collaborates with the Director of Brand and Content Marketing on the development of collateral materials. Works with digital and creative teams to develop, produce, and maintain materials for the web and social media.
  • Helps to establish NAMI as the go-to mental health organization through public relations and public affairs
  • Coordinates with Strategic Alliances and Development department to utilize NAMI's ambassador and influencer corps to elevate our profile on multiple platforms and channels, while increasing funding opportunities.
  • Edits position papers, CEO Op-Eds, blogs and content for NAMI publications and social media channels.
  • Identifies emerging policy and communication trends and issues for campaigns, briefs, analyses, statements, and NAMI programs and services.
  • Builds and maintains relationships with communications and media relations professionals at partner organizations and collaborates periodically on joint efforts and events.
  • May serve as organizational spokesperson.
  • Creates quarterly reports and presentations as needed.
  • Manages expenses and budget related to their assigned projects and deliverables.
  • Other duties as assigned


  • Bachelor's degree in a related field
  • 8 - 10 years of communications experience, preferably in a mission-driven, non-profit organization
  • Experience with mental health or related issues is highly desirable
  • Demonstrated experience in public affairs campaign development
  • Strong story conceptualization, writing and editing skills with experience in the management of print and digital publications and other collateral materials
  • Strong, proven social media management experience
  • Strong, proven effectiveness as a manager and leader
  • Experience managing integrated digital, print and broadcast media to optimal results.
  • Ability to define and manage deadlines, manage multiple tasks, and ensure quality communications outcomes
  • Excellent verbal and interpersonal communications skills, with extensive public speaking experience
  • Ability to work well under pressure and deadlines, and to roll up the sleeves to get the job done as needed
  • Good "news sense" with the ability to spot trends/issues and proactively engage the organization in the conversation
  • Knowledge of legislative process helpful and experience with communicating to grassroots volunteers and/or within an affiliate structure desirable
  • Up to 10% travel may be required

Work Conditions & Physical Demands:

Essential functions are performed in a general office setting with low noise. Job demands may require long periods of sitting; telephone work and/or computer work, as well as interactions with other team members and external stakeholders. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. NAMI is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.

Must pass background check.

Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/D/V

National Alliance on Mental Illness
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