We're looking for a Communications Officer to help build the Better Renting brand and community reach. While you’ll primarily support our communications work around energy justice for renters, including the 'Healthy Homes for Renters' campaign for minimum energy efficiency standards, you’ll also contribute to strengthening traditional media and digital engagement for Better Renting more generally.
In essence, we've created this role because we want to expand the comms capacity across the organisation. There is potential for us to do more with email and social media, but we need more staff capacity (and skills!) to help make this happen. There's so much powerful stuff we hear from renters, and we want to do more to get those stories out there. Ultimately, of course, 'exposure' isn't our end goal: we want to be turning this into power, and turning that into outcomes. Due to lots of incoming media requests we also want someone who can help field those, and someone who can be more pro-active about pitching out stories, but we do also have quite good skills in this area, and so this is a little less crucial.
- Classification: Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Award. Social and community services employee 3.4 to 4.4, depending on experience. Better Renting pays above award rates equivalent to an annual salary of $80,306 to $92,946, pro-rata, or $40.53 to $46.91 per hour. The award includes leave loading of 17.5%. Salary packaging/fringe benefits available.
- Primary location: Open to applicants working remotely or locally with existing staff in Adelaide or Canberra.
- Time commitment: Part-time, 0.8 FTE (30 hours). Weekly workload can be flexible according to your needs.
- Probation period: Three months.
- Position length: Contract to the end of June 2024.
About Better Renting
Better Renting is a community of renters working together for stable, affordable, and healthy homes. With more Australians locked out of homeownership, more of us are renting, and renting for longer. But renters are denied the rights and protections of homeowners. We can't all own a house — but we should all be able to rent a home. Renting can be a genuine alternative to ownership — and Better Renting exists to make it happen.
Why we're great to work for?
Staff retention is important to us at Better Renting, so we aim to be an organisation that people want to stay at long-term. To help achieve this we offer:
- A culture of meaningful work and a high degree of autonomy. It's not enough just to be working on important issues, we also aim for your day-to-day work to be worthwhile and rewarding. This means intrinsically motivating work where you can see how it contributes to the bigger picture. Each staff member is trusted to make decisions about their work and choose the approach that makes most sense for them. There's a great esprit de corps and lots of positivity in our team meetings, helped along by a high-performance culture that values vulnerability, empathy, and ongoing development.
- Growth opportunities. We're all about continuous learning, through regular reflection and debriefing, and the support and opportunities to try new things. This is complemented by committing time and resources for staff training and development.
- Flexibility. There's lots of flexibility around when you work and where you work. If you're more efficient when splitting up your workday and working later, you have that option. If you need to wrap-up early one day to take your dog to the vet, that's an option too. Want to visit your family interstate and work remotely for a week or two? It's all good.
- Pay and conditions. While we have limited means, we pay above-award rates in the recognition that all of our staff are top-notch performers. We also offer two weeks paid shutdown leave over Christmas, a RDO once per two months, and opportunities for advancement and permanency.
You can read more about our approach here.
What we’re up to
A key part of the work of Better Renting is Healthy Homes for Renters. We are coordinating a national collaboration of over 130 organisations pushing for minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties. We work closely with other organisations in every jurisdiction across Australia, and also run central projects such as Renter Researchers. There’s great potential to expand our comms work around this: during your contract you’ll contribute to a messaging review for the collaboration, and also do a lot of liaising with renters to document their experiences and share them through traditional and mixed media. At key campaign moments you’ll also help to mobilise online supporters. We also want to do more work around helping renters to benefit from solar power.
More broadly, Better Renting campaigns on a range of other rental issues, particularly ending unfair evictions and securing limits on rent increases. While this campaigning involves many dimensions, we’re looking for someone who can help in our media engagement, primarily through working with renters to act as case studies. We also want to expand our reach through social media, our email supporters, and our website, to get more renters involved in our work.
The role will involve
Engaging with journalists on behalf of Better Renting. You’d be surprised how often journalists come to us wanting comment or for us to connect them with a renter case study. You’ll be the first port of call for these queries. As such, you’ll be talking with journalists, and also spending plenty of time talking with renters about whether they want to speak to journalists. It’s important that you’re comfortable engaging with renters about this and able to support people to advocate through the media, sometimes for the first time.
Building Better Renting’s digital reach. We currently reach audiences through social media channels and our email list. We’re looking for someone to help us get more strategic about this and do it in a more consistent fashion. This will include responsibility for our social media posting, including sourcing and developing content. You’ll also be responsible for making sure we engage our email list(s) more often, and make better use of our website. Part of this will also be engaging with renters in our community to help share their stories more effectively. And at key times, you’ll work to mobilise folks online around campaign actions.
Contributing to a messaging review for ‘Healthy Homes for Renters’. We developed a messaging guide for ‘Healthy Homes for Renters’ early in 2021. It’s time to update it! Over the next several months you’ll be part of a process to engage with supporters and do our own desktop research to update our campaign messaging to reflect new and emerging issues such as the cost of living crisis and the opportunities of rooftop solar.
The interpersonal dimension of this work is very important. It is essential that you are excited by the prospect of having conversations - sometimes challenging - with renters in all sorts of different circumstances, and that you have the emotional intelligence and leadership skills to support these people to confidently share their voices.
Here’s what your role might look like week-to-week:
- Responsible for social media channels. You schedule a range of posts across our social media channels, drawing upon recent news articles as well as creating original Better Renting content. You make sure to engage community members to encourage interaction and participation. This also includes our Facebook Groups for renters!
- Preparing emails for our community. TBH, we haven’t done a great job of engaging our supporters through email, and hopefully you can help to change that! We’d love to see a strong vision for growing our email list and engaging people more regularly and meaningfully. This will involve developing a communications plan, then writing and implementing email blasts.
- Working with renters as media talent. You speak on the phone with some renters about the possibility of doing media in the future, recording their stories and their interest in future media engagement. Later, in response to a query from a journalist, you get in touch with someone else you spoke with recently, supporting them to do an interview and share their story. You check-in after the story is published to debrief.
- Messaging review for ‘HH4R’. From week to week, this will involve different things like 1-1 chats with key informants to get their input, meetings for group discussion, reviewing published reports, developing updated messages, and working on a final paper.
- Being part of the team. At Better Renting we avoid silos — while you’ll have areas of ownership, you’ll work closely with other team members across a range of tasks. Importantly, you may play a role in providing feedback and ideas to help other team members navigate challenges, and also sharing your own challenges for group input.
We will be evaluating applicants on whether you are:
- A good fit for the team. We’ve got a great culture at Better Renting, and we want a team member who will help to strengthen that. Key parts of this culture are a commitment to reflection and ongoing learning, to vulnerability and honest feedback, and to rigorous ‘accountability with empathy’.
- Demonstrated ability to write clear, engaging content for various platforms. This is a communications role after all: you’ll be authoring social media posts, emails, website content, you name it. Being able to write suitably and effectively for the context is essential.
- Able to advance a campaign through digital media. You can operate email and social media alongside other forms of campaigning to help grow an online base and activate supporters behind an issue.
- Able to use traditional media for campaign impact. You can comfortably liaise with journalists in response to their queries or to pitch our own work, using this to earn media coverage that helps to shape the national narrative around renting.
- Comfortable working with a diverse renter community. The renters in our community are at the heart of what we do and we need people who can relate to them with understanding and respect. This may include people dealing with issues like mental health challenges, family and domestic violence, or disability. You’ll need to work with these people with sensitivity and compassion, respectful of their boundaries, while also supporting them to advocate through the media.
We encourage you to apply even if you don’t have all of the above characteristics. A passion for the work and an eagerness to learn are the most important things. The successful applicant will be able to tailor the role to best align with what they can offer.
Applications are due 9am Monday August 21 - we will begin reviewing applications that day, and will not consider applications received later than 9am, Monday August 21.
You can apply through this form: https://airtable.com/appE0LJy7yJ8Q6ZkH/shr57pciWG5LNkt93
If you have any questions you can contact us via [email protected].
We plan to complete interviews and make an offer before 15 September 2023, ideally a candidate could begin in early October.
Better Renting is an equal-opportunity employer. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, LGBTQI people, and people with a disability are encouraged to apply.