Now hiring: Communications Associate

Smart Growth America (SGA) is a national nonprofit that empowers communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to create livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity.

Communications associate

Are you interested in land use, planning, transportation, placemaking, or economic development? Do you have communications experience for an issue-based advocacy organization? Are you eager to use your communications skills to change federal, state and local policies in order to build and sustain walkable places and great neighborhoods? Smart Growth America is seeking an experienced Communications Associate to join our communications team, tasked with developing and spreading SGA’s core message to a national audience: What is smart growth, what are the benefits, and why it is urgently needed in towns, cities, and rural places of all sizes across the country?

Position description

The ideal associate will first and foremost be an exceptional writer and editor with subject matter knowledge of smart growth, land use, and transportation; with something to say and a desire to write about these issues on a regular basis. They are plugged into news about these issues and can turn that information into engaging, original content for our website, email lists and social media. They will be detail-oriented project managers who can juggle multiple projects, deadlines, and timelines without dropping the ball. They have firsthand experience with producing, posting, and evaluating social media content. They are dependable team players who can perform regular duties, but also enterprising and creative self-starters who can offer up new ideas or content. This position reports to the Director of Communications.

The role and responsibilities

The communications team is the hub of SGA, always connected to and sharing the multi-faceted work of our many programs. The associate will produce thousands of words of written content, covering a range of subjects including land use, economic development, racial equity, placemaking, transportation and transit-oriented development, and planning. They will help manage the communications team’s day-to-day operations and coordinate sending emails to our lists, serve as a liaison with all of SGA’s varied programs, manage our digital advocacy efforts to change policies, and help coordinate the release of all publicly released content. This position features significant freedom and responsibility, regular contact & collaboration with our supporters, the opportunity to shape the direction of the smart growth movement, and valuable hands-on experience with room to advance. The associate’s core responsibilities are:

  • Develop and write regular blog posts about our work, as well as enterprising, original content about our issues and/or current events;
  • Draft and edit email blasts and advocacy alerts on our issues and send them out to tens of thousands of supporters using Salsa Engage;
  • Execute social media strategy and manage social media content day-to-day. This includes posting and scheduling content, and evaluating analytics to inform future strategy;
  • Develop, write, edit, and sometimes help design or lay out SGA’s numerous publications and reports, and then help manage those public releases;
  • Conceive and help produce visualizations that tell compelling stories.
  • Maintain our calendar of all external communications, brainstorm ideas for creative campaigns throughout the year on notable days, milestones, anniversaries, etc;
  • Develop & maintain relationships with media, other reporters, and bloggers;
  • Manage our website (WordPress) and other online presences;
  • Help plan and execute our on- and off-line year-end fundraising campaign, as well as other one-off fundraising efforts throughout the year.
  • Help build and hone the organization’s brand and overall message

Required skills and qualifications

The candidate should have demonstrably excellent and efficient (i.e, fast!) writing and editing skills. Candidates should have some proficiency using a constituent relationship management database and with issue-based, digital advocacy. (SGA uses Salsa CRM and Engage.) Candidates should have a solid understanding of how nonprofits use social media effectively. Experience with Adobe Creative Suite is a definite plus, though our preferred candidate will have some design skills. A basic understanding of HTML and CSS will be a boost. A demonstrated interest in smart growth, urbanism, equity, economic development, transportation, community growth or related areas is essential, as is a desire to communicate your thoughts about smart growth to the world. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of a four-year college degree, and at least 3 to 5 years of related experience.

Compensation and location

Salary commensurate with experience and will range between $54-60k. Benefits include health insurance, 401k, and paid vacation and paid sick time.


This position reports to the Director of Communications and is based in Washington, DC. As SGA staff are currently working remotely on an indefinite basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and likely to continue teleworking through at least the end of 2020, the employee filling this position can live anywhere in the United States during the remote working period.

To apply

If you possess the desired qualifications, including the requisite experience and subject matter knowledge of smart growth, please send a resume, a cover letter that describes your interest in smart growth and what you would bring to the position, references, and 2-3 writing samples (700 words or less) to [email protected] with “Communications Associate” in the subject line. Selected applicants will be contacted via email. In your cover letter, please indicate how/where you learned of this job opportunity. Applications will be accepted immediately on a rolling basis until the position is filled. No phone calls please.

Equal Opportunity Employment

Equal opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at Smart Growth America. Employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/ preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law.

Smart Growth America is committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourages applications from candidates of color.