The Director of External Relations is responsible for leading, facilitating and supporting the delivery of global integrated communications strategies (including brand architecture and strategy, PR and media relations, Business to Business communication) and global resource mobilization (including strategic partnerships, fundraising, and grant management) objectives for the Fairtrade system. This will require the director to lead and coordinate with colleagues in our member offices around the world, as well as with key partner organizations.
Duties and Responsibilities
The Director leads the teams in each of these areas (communications & brand, PR and media relations, and resource mobilization) at the central office in Bonn. He/she also plays a leading role in delivering and coordinating global communication and resource mobilization strategy across the Fairtrade system, supporting, and liaising closely with our member offices. The Director works very closely with the Global CEO to deliver against the goals in the Global Strategy. He/she is hands-on and able to design and implement operational, strategic, and innovative activities, while effectively managing and developing a high-performing team.
- Provide leadership and guidance to the Fairtrade system in the development of strategies, tactics, and metrics to deliver on the Global Strategy in the areas of global integrated communications and global resource mobilization.
- Convene and empower Fairtrade member organisations to achieve their communication and resource mobilization goals, in delivering their contribution to the Fairtrade Global Strategy.
- Deliver strategic guidance to the Global CEO and Fairtrade International Directors in the areas of External Relations.
- Inspire and empower Fairtrade International management and staff with the confidence and ability to act as ambassadors for the Fairtrade brand, including values, vision and mission, brand positioning, and key messaging.
- Lead on improvement and innovation of communication, partnership development, and fundraising methodologies, processes, tools, and opportunities.
People & Team Management:
- Manage and develop the External Relations unit, building on trust and effective communication, to ensure a motivated, engaged, and high-performing, collaborative team.
- Maintain oversight of staff workload and resources, effectively manage external requests, and maintain the well-being of the team.
- Share expertise, serve as a mentor, articulate expectations, and clarify roles and responsibilities of the unit team members.
- Ensure all External Relations unit members are trained and/or briefed on required policies, including compliance, and human rights.
- Ensure the positioning of Fairtrade as a respected thought leader on relevant issues.
- Act as a spokesperson and lead communicator and advocate with the media, governments, civil society, partners, and other policy influencers as appropriate.
- Ensure Fairtrade’s brand positioning, messaging, and impact stories are communicated consistently, efficiently, and on time to relevant external and internal audiences via strong integrated communication and partnership strategies.
- Monitor risk register, and provide guidance to Global CEO, Executive Director, and Legal Unit on issues that may affect Fairtrade’s brand reputation or result in legal action.
- Oversee high-risk media management and support members on media crisis management and response.
- Maintain Fairtrade’s global media risk procedures, train member organizations, and monitor compliance, working closely with media relations staff and within Fairtrade’s wider risk management framework.
- Work closely with the Legal Affairs Unit to protect the Fairtrade brand and help ensure the brand, mission and values are aligned, embedded, and implemented coherently and consistently across the Fairtrade system.
- Work closely with the Global Advocacy department, and Global Advocacy Centres of Excellence to ensure coordination of key messages, advocacy communications, media alerts, and grassroots campaign activities by member organizations.
- Foster close collaboration and reduce duplication between the External Relations Unit and member organizations through regular meetings, including phone calls, in-person meetings, and virtual conferences.
- Ensure high-level service to Fairtrade member organizations across the globe and to all other external and internal partners.
Planning and budgeting:
- Forecast and deliver short- and long-term plans and budgets for External Relations and its activities, monitor progress, assure adherence, and evaluate performance.
- Contribute to the system-wide development of the Fairtrade Global Strategy and the operational and implementation strategy for Fairtrade International.
- Provide budget guidance and oversight to members of the External Relations unit.
- Ensure monthly budget reports are accurate and updated in line with the requirements provided by the Finance Unit.
- Educate External Relations unit members about the Fairtrade Code and Procurement Policy.
Undertake other tasks that are consistent with the level and responsibilities of this post.
Education, Qualifications & Experience
Level of education
- Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Communications, Integrated Communications, Marketing Communications, International Development, International Relations, or a similar field appropriate to Fairtrade
Knowledge / Job-Specific Competencies
- At least 5-7 years’ experience working at a senior level in an external relations role.
- Experience inclusive of responsibility for conceiving and executing brand-building campaigns and strategic marketing and communications initiatives
- Experience in global resource mobilization, and partnerships strategies.
- Proven track record in line management and developing teams and staff members.
- Proven track record in media relations and crisis communications at a senior level.
- Sound social media, B2B, and fundraising experience.
- Sound knowledge of business analytics
- Experience working in multi-stakeholder environments.
- Desired: in-depth knowledge/experience of one or more of the following: the role and impact of the fair trade movement; international development; human rights in international supply chains; ethical trade; corporate social responsibility.
Professional Skill Requirements
- Thought leadership and strong emotional intelligence.
- Demonstrable ability to drive work forward on own initiative, take decisions and set priorities.
- Experience in managing complex, multi-stakeholder projects, delivering on time and to budget.
- Experience in operational planning, proposal development, and budget management.
- Ability to manage and motivate teams to achieve targets.
- Ability to manage change.
- Analytical, critical, integrative, and holistic thinking.
- Creative approach to communication.
- Languages: Fluency in English essential; writing skills to native level. Knowledge of Spanish, French, and other relevant languages is desirable.
- Service-driven, empathetic, and goal-oriented style.
- Excellent diplomatic/political sensitivities, with demonstrated ability to work sensitively and foster collaboration in a multi-stakeholder environment.
- Excellent organizational and coordination skills.
- Collaborative and supportive approach to teamwork and people management.
- Learning mindset.
Terms of Appointment
This is a full-time position.
How to Apply
If you wish to be considered for this position, please complete the Application Form below. In addition, we encourage you to please attach a copy of the most recent English version of your CV.
All information will be in the strictest confidence.
SRI Executive is exclusively retained by Fairtrade International to undertake this assignment.