There are more than 68 million refugees and internally displaced people in the world, as well as many millions of stateless people living without citizenship rights and victims of displacement resulting from natural hazards. Based on impartial and independent field reporting, Refugees International (RI) advocates for assistance and protection for refugees and displaced persons, and for solutions to refugee and humanitarian crises. Refugees International is committed to ensuring that governments of the world take strong and consistent action to seek durable solutions for these vulnerable populations.
Started in 1979 as a citizens’ movement to protect Indochinese refugees, Refugees International has expanded to become the leading advocacy organization that provokes action from global leaders to resolve refugee and humanitarian crises. Under new leadership, Refugees International has significantly increased the breadth of its activities and its public profile over the past year. As an independent organization, RI does not accept any government or United Nations funding, allowing advocacy to be fearless and independent.
Due to Refugees International’s efforts, abandoned refugees receive food, medicine and education, displaced families return home, and stateless people obtain legal status. The expert recommendations of Refugees International are highly valued by the very people whose decisions bring immediate relief and lifesaving solutions to refugees: government officials in the United States, members of the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, and governments around the world. Based on field-based knowledge of humanitarian emergencies, teams of Refugees International advocates successfully challenge policymakers and aid agencies to improve the lives of displaced people around the world. Where there are needs, Refugees International witnesses what is lacking, presents solutions, and demands action and accountability.
The Director of Communications (Director) reports to the President and is responsible for designing and implementing RI’s strategic communications plan. This is a unique opportunity to work with a talented and passionate team on an issue of international and historical significance. The Director will work across the organization to further RI’s advocacy and fundraising goals, increase RI’s visibility, amplify RI’s impact, and promote RI’s brand.
This position is based in Washington, DC and will lead a two-person communications team.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities
- Design and implement a strategic communications plan for RI that enhances RI’s visibility, protects and promotes RI’s brand, and increases financial support for its work
- Identify priorities and develop strategies and messages for RI field mission findings that reach target media, policy audiences, and donors
- Ensure all RI materials (including, but not limited to field reports, videos, online newsletters, fundraising appeals, invitations, etc.) accurately reflect the organization’s messaging and brand
- Manage the strategic direction and content of RI’s website
- Enhance the organization’s profile in mainstream and online media, increasing RI’s online audience and strengthening its online fundraising program
Team Management and Leadership
- Manage a talented and passionate communications team
- Develop and manage the communications team budget
- Provide support and training activities to staff on media relations, messaging and communications best practices; prep staff for media interviews, and help draft and prep staff presentations to donors
- Oversee the work of external communications vendors, including web designers, videographers, photographers, PR firms, graphic designers, printers, and others
- Manage crisis communications
- Develop communications evaluation plans and consistently measure and strengthen results
- Assist with fundraising proposals related to communications activities and provide donors with information on communications activities
- Develop and maintain relationships with journalists at top-tier media outlets and occasionally serve as spokesperson for the organization to the media
- Draft op-eds, quotes, speeches, talking points, and calls to action for RI’s president, board members, and other high-profile speakers for media, public education fora, and fundraising events
- Bachelor’s degree in communications, political science or international relations, or related field. Master’s degree preferred
- Twelve years or more experience in communications at a non-profit organization, and/or as a former journalist (ideally with management experience)
- Preexisting relationships with editors, producers, and foreign correspondents strongly desired
- Foreign language skills a plus. Experience with U.S. government or UN an asset
- Outstanding writing, editing, proofreading, and storytelling skills
- Understanding of the interactions between mainstream media and strong knowledge of best practices in online outreach and engagement
- Highly developed organizational skills, time management, attention to detail, initiative, and self-motivation
- Experience in managing a team and working collaboratively with colleagues
- Ability to adapt quickly to changes in a fast-paced work environment
- Flexibility, innovative thinking, and a sense of humor
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