Senior Director for Legislative Strategy

International Rescue Committee
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    May 01

Position description

Background: Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.

The IRC is on the ground in more than 40 countries, providing emergency relief, relocating refugees and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through 26 offices in cities across the United States, the IRC also helps refugees and other immigrants resettle in the U.S. and become self-sufficient. The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.

The Policy & Advocacy Department is a dynamic team whose mission is to use IRC’s field knowledge, role as expert witness, evidence and solutions to shift the agenda and decisions of policy makers for the benefit of our clients. The Policy & Advocacy team seeks to develop the IRC as a thought leader, and drive transformational change in the humanitarian sector. Specifically, they work to achieve improvements in aid effectiveness through evidence-based solutions; speak out on challenges facing the people we seek to assist; and to promote solutions for protracted displacement.

Job Overview: The Senior Advisor for Legislative Strategy will design and lead the implementation of a range of advocacy efforts aimed at Members of Congress and their staff, as well as key decision-makers within the Administration. Working closely with the Vice President and Senior Directors overseeing the international and U.S. programs advocacy portfolios, the Senior Advisor will lead the team in developing and executing a more robust strategic engagement and influencing strategy, enabling the IRC to strengthen its advocacy impact and better support those we serve. This will be done by maintaining and further cultivating a strong presence on Capitol Hill; with foreign affairs, defence and national security ag encies of the USG; and with key coalitions and non-governmental partners. The Senior Advisor will help to shape IRC policy development and influencing strategies, based on an expert knowledge of the political landscape on Capitol Hill and within relevant USG agencies.

Major Responsibilities:

* Develop an overarching legislative and government relations strategy for IRC with the input of key staff on the Policy and Advocacy Team, ensuring a coherent team-wide approach to engaging policy makers on Capitol Hill and the Administration

* Identify strategic entry points with key decision makers and influencers on Capitol Hill and within the USG, and proactively build strong relationships with relevant committee staff, Congressional offices and USG officials and staff

* Position the IRC as a thought leader with the access and stature to effectively influence key USG decision-makers on priority issues

* Advise other members of the Policy and Advocacy team on strategic engagement with decision makers and staff, and support/lead the team’s direct engagement with targets to represent IRC policy positions through letters, messages, calls, testimony and visits

* Provide context analysis, monitor and report back on policy and legislative developments on priority issues to the Advocacy Team and other internal stakeholders

* Conduct relevant research and develop influencing strategies for IRC priority issues in coordination with the members of the advocacy team who lead on international and U.S. programs advocacy

* Collaborate with internal IRC partner departments to promote alignment between the IRC’s legislative strategy and the work of other parts of the organization (e.g. public communications, revenue campaigns, etc.)

* Represent the IRC at policy-related meetings, hearings and fora with key policymakers and influencers

* Initiate and facilitate meetings for IRC leadership and board members with legislators and members of the Administration

* In particular, lead strategy development and execution of IRC efforts to protect the foreign aid budget, with focus on the US humanitarian accounts

* Develop relationships with Congressional committees and offices critical to the annual appropriations process and relevant government agencies involved in foreign assistance budget formulation including USAID, the Department of State and the Office of Management and Budget

* Work with the Policy and Advocacy officer to develop IRC materials aimed at influencing key decision makers to support strong funding levels for foreign aid and humanitarian response

* Serve as the IRC focal point for various foreign aid-related coalitions including InterAction, the US Global Leadership Campaign and the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

Key Working Relationships:

Position reports to: Vice President, Policy and Advocacy

Position directly supervises: NA

Internal contacts: Policy and Advocacy colleagues; Communications and Revenue departments; Technical Unit leads; International Programs leads; U.S. Programs leads; President’s Office

External contacts: Members of Congress and their staff; officials and staff in relevant USG departments (Department of State, USAID, Department of Defence, National Security among others); White House staff; relevant coalitions

Job Requirements:


* Graduate degree in relevant field such as Public Policy, Law or International Relations


Work experience:

* Seven to ten years of proven Hill experience on complex humanitarian and/or foreign policy issues, including advocacy and/or legislative strategy work

* Successful experience managing high-level relationships and implementing successful influencing strategies

* Background in immigration/resettlement, refugee and foreign assistance issues


Demonstrated skills and competencies:

* Extensive knowledge of the US legislative process and experience advancing legislation

* Deep familiarity with leveraging points throughout US government that can be targeted to achieve policy objectives.

* Knowledge of the international relief and development sector highly preferred

* Ability to think strategically, synthesize complex information and develop innovative policy approaches

* Strong communication skills with a demonstrated ability to communicate successfully with policy makers who have varying levels of knowledge of international relief and development issues

* Excellent writing skills and the ability to translate complex material and data into coherent narratives that resonate with policy makers and staff

* Ability to travel and to work on tight deadlines

* Initiative and ability to work independently on fast-paced issues, and juggle competing demands


Working Environment: Standard office work environment. Up to 10% travel required.

Application instructions

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