Role Description – Executive Director of Strategy & Engagement


We are seeking an experienced communications professional who has worked at executive level and has the drive and passion to build an outstanding communications and engagement function for DofE. With a track record in stand-out communications, marketing and external affairs, you will have the vision to build DofE’s brand to become the most loved, respected and well-known youth award in the UK; not to mention a powerful advocate for young people’s opportunities and inherent value. This role also includes responsibility for strategy implementation, impact measurement and planning and performance, so the ability to think strategically and to lead change will be crucial to success in this role. Championing DofE’s new strategy across the organisation, ensuring that all organisational activities support DofE’s strategic objectives and strengthening DofE’s business intelligence and impact measurement functions will be key objectives for this role in its first two years. This role will be responsible for developing impactful brand and commercial partnerships, so the ability to influence effectively, build strategic relationships and work creatively within the resource constraints of the voluntary sector will be key.

Location:  Central London / home-based (the postholder will be expected to travel to central London at least twice per week once the restrictions created by the Covid-19 pandemic are relaxed)

Salary:  £90,000- £95,000

Purpose of the role

  • Provide clear leadership and strategic direction for all DofE communications, brand development, stakeholder engagement and external affairs activity to support DofE’s goal to become the most loved, respected, and well-known youth achievement award in the UK.
  • To lead the development, implementation and monitoring of the DofE’s corporate strategy and impact measurement framework, business planning and performance monitoring processes.
  • Act as a champion and advocate for DofE across the UK, building and maintaining effective stakeholder relationships and media and brand partnerships in order to maximise DofE’s reach, impact and income.
  • To be member of the Executive Leadership Team, acting as a trusted adviser and business partner to the CEO and playing a full role in the strategic leadership of the DofE.

Scale and scope of the role

  • Reports to the CEO and is a member of the Executive Leadership Team
  • People responsibility: c17

Key accountabilities and success measures

Leadership and management

  • Contribute fully to the overall leadership and strategic direction of the DofE as a member of the DofE’s Executive Leadership team.
  • Provide motivational leadership to your teams and the wider organisation in line with DofE’s values, ensuring that staff are supported to meet high standards and recognised for their achievements.
  • Model the DofE desired culture in order to attract, retain and motivate ambitious, talented and diverse staff and volunteers.
  • Act as a passionate and authentic ambassador for the DofE across the UK, engaging with key stakeholders and our DofE volunteer network to promote the work of the DofE, increase overall participation, and help us achieve our ambition to reach a greater number of disadvantaged young people.

Brand building and perception change

  • Accountable for the development of the DofE brand; ensuring it reflects our values, vision and strategic goals.
  • Accountable for developing strategic partnerships, including media, brand and commercial partnerships, to strengthen DofE’s brand, raise DofE’s profile, generate income and maximise our impact on young people.
  • Accountable for the design and delivery of high quality in-person and virtual events to engage our supporters and celebrate the achievements of young people doing their DofE.
  • Accountable for developing and delivering a talent and ambassador strategy in order to enhance DofE’s profile and engage and motivate our key audiences to act.
  • Accountable for DofE’s youth engagement strategy, ensuring that young people have a strong voice in DofE and have opportunities to represent the Awards and tell their own stories.

External affairs and advocacy

  • Alongside the CEO, build and maintain influential working relationships with the UK government and organisations focused on youth, education and employment at national level across the UK in order to enhance the DofE’s reach, impact and financial sustainability and contribute to improving the lives of young people across the UK.
  • Oversee the development of evidence-based policy positions and advocacy interventions in order to advance DofE’s strategy and achieve positive change for young people.

Communications and Marketing

  • Accountable for developing and delivering an integrated communication and marketing strategy and function for DofE; ensuring our target audiences understand who we are, what we do, and how they can benefit from DofE or support our mission.
  • Oversee the design and creation of multi-media marketing and promotional collateral to promote DofE to young people and their parents and engage key stakeholders.
  • Accountable for high quality internal communications to ensure an engaged and motivated staff team.
  • Accountable for the Commercial team and commercial partnerships; ensuring that DofE participants and alumni have access to high quality, good value products and services that support them in working towards their Awards and in maintaining the healthy habits they develop through their programme in later life.
  • Lead crisis communications in unpredictable and sometimes serious situations.
  • Accountable for understanding and segmenting our key audiences and gathering user insight to inform bespoke communications strategies that engage and motivate our key audiences; including fundraising supporters.
  • Accountable for DofE’s digital communications and web presence ensuring that DofE has a strong and engaging presence on the social channels that our key stakeholders engage with most.
  • Accountable for the Commercial team and developing and promoting an attractive and relevant package of commercial offers for DofE participants and alumni.

Strategy implementation and Impact Measurement

  • Accountable for the development and implementation of DofE’s corporate strategy; working with senior leaders to translate the strategy into operational plans with clear deliverables and KPIs.
  • Accountable for developing and delivering the DofE’s annual and multi-year business planning process, ensuring it complements the annual budgeting process, monitoring progress against organisational plans and providing high quality performance analysis and actionable reports for senior leaders.
  • Accountable for implementing and augmenting the DofE’s impact measurement framework and impact reporting, ensuring DofE can demonstrate the value of our programmes and grow participation and financial support for our work.
  • Accountable for strengthening DofE’s data analysis and business intelligence functions, ensuring we can use data and insight for maximum organisational benefit and to inform future plans.

The post holder will also:

  • Provide effective supervision, performance management and appraisal and professional and personal development opportunities for their staff.
  • Be a role model as an enthusiastic, authentic ambassador for the DofE and engage positively with stakeholders, providing a high level of customer service.
  • Uphold the values of DofE, working collaboratively with colleagues across DofE.
  • Demonstrate DofE’s commitment to building a diverse and inclusive organisation.
  • Follow DofE’s Safeguarding and Data Protection policies and procedures at all times.
  • Ensure that all health and safety procedures are followed at all times.
  • Any other duties that may be reasonably required.

Person Specification

Experience and knowledge

  • Experience of working at Director level, operating as part of an Executive management team, setting and delivering against strategy and operational plans and reporting directly to a Board / Trustee Board.
  • Successful track record of working as a senior Communications professional; building and leading a high-quality communication and marketing function in a complex organisation.
  • Successful track record in developing and delivering organisational strategy and measuring and communicating social impact.
  • Experience of developing data and insight strategies and a strong business intelligence capability.
  • Successful track record in developing influential relationships and partnerships with media, leading brands, commercial partners and key opinion formers.

 Skills & Knowledge

  • Ability to bring a strategic vision to life and translate organisational strategy into effective operational delivery.
  • Outstanding communication skills with the ability to inspire and engage staff, volunteers and supporters and external stakeholders in support of DofE.
  • High degree of commercial acumen and a strategic mindset with the ability to identify opportunities and embrace new initiatives.
  • Understanding of the political, economic and cultural context as it affects young people in the UK today and the ability to design strategic ‘moments’ that boost DofE’s brand and engage new and existing supporters.
  • Strong planning and project and programme management skills.
  • The ability to build effective relationships with a wide range of stakeholders and an understanding of the dynamics of franchise organisations whose services are delivered by volunteers.
  • Creative and able to use data and insight to design effective interventions that engage and delight our key audiences.
  • Understanding of the requirements for safeguarding and quality assurance in organisations serving young people.
  • Able to see the bigger picture and make informed decisions in the interests of the organisation as a whole.


  • High degree of personal integrity and authenticity, a ‘can do’, positive attitude, always willing to go the extra mile.
  • Has high standards and expects excellence, deals kindly but firmly and decisively with poor performance and poor attitudes and behaviours.
  • Organised, efficient and delivers what they say.
  • Collegiate, with highly developed interpersonal skills, works collaboratively with others to achieve organisational goals.
  • Strongly customer-centred and committed to continuously improving the quality of operational delivery.
  • Passionate about developing and empowering young people.
  • Results-focused and impact-driven.
  • Inclusive and committed to equality, diversity and acting as an ally.
  • Adaptable and resilient, with the ability to change direction when needed.