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One of the coolest Creative Director jobs around.

We are working with Salsa Labs (Salsa) in their search for a Creative Director based in Reston, VA. Salsa is a rapidly growing leading provider of cloud-based online organizing software that helps nonprofits and political campaigns to ignite action and fuel change by growing and engaging a base of support online. The Salsa supporter management (CRM) platform seamlessly integrates robust tools for email and social media marketing, online fundraising, legislator and media outreach as well as petition creation. Salsa is used by 2,000+ organizations worldwide with more than 75 million supporters. These are nonprofits like Bikes for the World, seen here

Salsa is not your typical SaaS company. The firm supports its clients in their efforts to do everything from end hunger to eliminate nuclear weapons to providing playgrounds to children. And Salsa’s new Creative Director will be a significant part of helping them achieve their missions. Salsa Labs wants to be known around the world for its passion and leadership for nonprofits looking to leverage the power of the Digital Age to connect with people, ignite action and fuel change.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: Salsa needs a Creative Director who knows how to make an emotional connection through art. Salsa creates great educational content for nonprofits to learn the best practices for growing and engaging a base of support online. Whitepapers, blog articles, eBooks, case studies, one-pagers and briefs … You name it, they’ve written it. But: Salsa hasn’t cracked the code on turning that information into compelling visuals – video, infographic, BuzzFeed posts, social objects, etc. The client wants to connect to its audience through humor, drama, thought-provoking insights and inspiration.

Kinda like Jon Stewart.

As background, Salsa offers small- to mid-sized nonprofit organizations an inbound marketing platform in a software as a service format. The US nonprofit institutions industry includes more than one million organizations with combined annual revenue of about $110 billion. Demand is driven by the need to represent special interests or provide social services that can’t be met by the market or government. The space is fragmented: the largest 50 organizations account for about 25 percent of industry revenue.

The success of nonprofits often depends on efficient operations and their ability to match expenses with fluctuating revenues. Large nonprofits have advantages in fundraising due to strong name recognition. Small nonprofits can be successful if they serve a dedicated membership or have a dependable source of revenue.

Think of Salsa as a Hub Spot for non-profits.

Salsa’s tools give users the ability to segment their digital marketing initiatives in one convenient place. Additionally, Salsa provides strategic education to accompany its product offerings. This is not consulting per se, but rather strategic education to help its clients understand the benefits of a fully integrated CRM strategy powered by Salsa Labs.

Salsa’s revenue model gives it skin in the game.

Salsa gets paid in direct proportion to its client’s success: It has a monthly fee that’s billed quarterly, upfront, on an annual contract. Fees are based on the size of the clients list. If clients aren’t growing and building their list, then Salsa isn’t growing either. The nature of this revenue model coupled with the quality of its technology makes Salsa extremely popular with small to midsized nonprofits.

Nonprofits worldwide are still working to recover from challenges posed by the recent economic crisis, including the presence of a growing number of people in need. In order to meet this increased demand for services with relatively flat funding, organizations have to find new revenue streams from the online generation as well as keep their per supporter acquisition cost as low as possible – which means Salsa’s affordably-priced platform specifically built to help them grow and engage online is well-positioned.

There are CRM solutions that service massive nonprofits like the American Red Cross. However, Salsa’s typical client is unable to afford an extremely high-end commercial solution with hundreds of features. Rather, Salsa clients need a simple, highly affordable, robust platform that gives them most of what they need to do to grow THEIR organization’s support online. Offering a stripped down solution allows Salsa Labs to charge significantly less than the major CRM providers because Salsa Labs doesn’t offer all of the bells and whistles that one would encounter in bloated commercial solutions.

Nobody knows advocacy and fundraising like Salsa Labs.

Because Salsa specializes in advocacy and fundraising, its clients seek to engage through every available medium not just potential donors, but the public at large. The Salsa Platform helps these organizations spread their ideas. For example, the firm serves quite a few social justice and environmental groups who are fighting for positive change, in addition to providing charitable services. These organizations are trying to influence ideas and shape public opinion in addition to raising money. Naturally, content marketing is critically important to these organizations, and as a sharp Creative Director, this is your opportunity to shine.

The timing for Salsa couldn’t be better.

Consider the Arab spring: Everyone was organizing using online tools, and that kind of thing is only just beginning. Worldwide, more people are learning how to organize and affect positive change through technology. The political, legal, and economic systems can all be impacted through these tools. There is a phenomenal social and cultural tailwind powering Salsa Labs mission. The company is still in startup mode, and there’s a great deal of inspiring work to be done. The company is loaded with brilliant, high-energy people who are totally bought into Salsa Labs mission of serving the larger purpose of humankind. I can’t think of a single company with better energy.

About the Role …

Salsa is looking for someone who can get beyond simply writing information and emotionally connect with an audience. That connection will be charged with humor, laughter, some drama, and above all else it will be thought-provoking. The client has fantastic educational content and they’ve got lots to teach their fans and clients.

But there needs to be something more creative to it than that. Salsa wants a Creative Director who can look at everything the firm does and ask themselves “How do we take this piece of content and transform it into something that will connect with the audience at a higher level? It could be a blog article that’s lacking a visual, or it could be just a simple change of a headline. Or, it could be on infographic that simply needs punching up.

Salsa’s current team is awesome. However, occasionally campaign managers will develop very solid campaigns but simply lack the creative juices to punch them up. As Creative Director, that will be your job. You’ll be working with a graphic designer so that you are not always doing the work yourself, but in terms of the content’s image and attitude – the buck will stop with you.

According to Salsa’s VP of Marketing, Christine Schaefer, the following will be just a few of your workaday responsibilities in this role …

  1. Digital Creation – While Salsa outsources quite a bit of design work, it also needs things done on the fly to take advantage of the moment – a new story, a trending topic, etc. So you’ll need to have your Adobe Creative Suite skills brushed off and ready to go every day, just in case. Additionally, you may be asked to come up with creative copy or headlines. Get ready.
  2. Design Management – You will manage all outsourced design projects. Salsa has a network of designers around the country, and it also uses online design contest services like 99designs to bring in new ideas and specialized skill sets.
  3. Production Management – For all content (both digital and analog), it will be your responsibility to manage the production. That means getting estimates, keeping projects on time and under budget, tracking invoices, and making certain that milestones and deadlines are met.
  4. Monitoring Trends – Salsa has the latest real-time social listening tools, competitive intelligence resources, and a plethora of other research to help the team stay on top of what’s popular for its audience. In addition to reviewing and assessing the information from those sources, you will be participating in online discussions, monitoring industry news, and attending local events to keep your finger on the pulse of what matters most to Salsa’s community.
  5. Inspire & Collaborate – Salsa has a staff a brilliant, creative folks. Sometimes you will be charged with gathering their insights for marketing projects. Other times, you will be asked to provide your input and feedback on their work, editing articles, composing headlines, and more. In all instances, you’ll need to be social in your creative process. However, Christine cautions that “Although inspiring others and collaborating on projects is important, it is equally important to not let projects drag on or drift off course.”

One of Christine’s favorite books is “Orbiting the Giant Hairball” by Gordon MacKenzie, and she recommends that Salsa’s new Creative Director read it cover to cover. According to Christine, “The new Creative Director will be responsible for keeping the entire team from getting dragged down into dull, boring, and institutional thought. Instead, they’ll be expected to expand Salsa’s universe of ideas and help us change how people in our industry think.”

If you’re up to the task and would like to live and work in one of Money Magazine’s Top 10 Best Places to Live, hit us up below!

Strategic Goals:

Draw people to Salsa’s online properties

  1. Organic Search Measures: Performance on Target Keywords; Visit-to-Lead Conversion Rates of Organic Traffic
  2. Link-Building Measures: Social Media Referral Traffic to; Inbound Links – both # of links and # of referring domains
  3. Digital Magazine, Native and Re-Targeting Advertising: Click-Through Rates; Significant increases in audience engagement
  4. Social Media Properties: Quality and Quantity of Shares, Likes, Comments, Tweets, etc.
  5. Web Properties: Petition and Targeted Action Participation; Activity in Client Community (; Increase Brand Awareness and Affinity; Client Retention; Community (Clients, Partners, Industry Influencers and Prospects) Attendance in Virtual and Live Events; Client and Partner Referrals


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