Director of Strategic Communications and Advocacy

Arlington, Virginia
Nov 06, 2019
Metro Area
Full Time

Project Description:

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) supportscitizens’ right to participate in free and fair elections. Our independentexpertise strengthens electoral systems and builds local capacity to deliversustainable solutions. As the global leader in democracy promotion, we advancegood governance and democratic rights by providing technical assistance toelection officials; empowering the underrepresented to participate in thepolitical process; and applying field-based research to improve the electoralcycle. Since 1987, IFES has worked in over 145 countries – from developing tomature democracies.

Job Responsibilities:

The Director of Strategic Communications and Advocacy is a member of IFES’ Senior Leadership Team; reports to the Vice President for Global Growth and Outreach; and works closely with the Executive Leadership Team and other senior staff to:

· Establish and execute the organization’s Communications strategy, to include the integration of analytics and other tools to define and target audiences for strategic value.

· Provide daily management of the Communications Team.

· Build and nurture strong, proactive Communications capacities.

· Update and upgrade Communications tools and products to meet industry standards.

· Work collaboratively with programs and research teams to increase the flow of information to Communications to ensure that IFES’ technical leadership, innovation and impact is being effectively and publicly communicated and to better position the organization for business opportunities.

· Develop key messages and themes and support the President and CEO in crafting his public voice and presence.

The Director will oversee his/her team on a daily basis, with priorities including oversight of foundation building projects such as website redesign, rebranding and a creative strategy that integrates video, podcasts, infographics and social media in today’s dynamic communications environment. S/he must be a flexible leader who drives outreach projects forward in a collaborative, innovative, supportive and effective manner.


The preferred Directorof Strategic Communications and Advocacy will be highly motivated with aminimum of 10 years professional experience in communications in the political,government or international development fields and strong management skills andexperience. It is strongly preferred that the Director will also have ademonstrated interest in democracy, human rights, national security andgovernance. The ideal candidate will also have:

·       Proven experiencewriting and crafting speeches, talking points, testimony, blogs and op-eds.

·       Strong projectmanagement skills and be highly organized and detail-oriented.

·       Ability to work withoutclose oversight, as a strong team player who productively engages with othersat varying levels of seniority within and outside of IFES and exhibitsintegrity, judgment and discretion along with a professional and interpersonaldemeanor that elicits trust from colleagues; funders; elected and appointedofficials; and local partners.

·       Demonstrated ability towork with executive and senior management teams on strategic planning andorganizational change.

·       Proven successdeveloping partnerships with media outlets, publications, think tanks, universitiesand foreign affairs organizations.

·       Ability to manage andenhance relationships and cultivate new ones with targeted, high-level externalaudiences, including the media, policymakers, and other key influencers.

·       Understanding of theWashington, D.C. policy environment and a network that includes the Hill.

·       The ability to managemultiple tasks and projects at the same time, managing a heavy workload andintense deadline pressures, as well as the ability to think on one’s feet andengage in decisive and effective decision-making.

·       Experience handlingcrisis communications.

·       Experience living andworking overseas preferred.



Communications Strategy,Planning, and Collaboration

·       Using industry standardanalytics, develops and ensures delivery of an ambitious communicationsstrategy that best promotes IFES’ technical leadership, innovation and impactto influence key audiences.

·       Collaborates with staff to develop integrated, proactive annual communications and outreach plans.

·       Monitors industrycommunications and confers with other IFES teams on political, policy andmarket trends to integrate into strategic communications and outreach.

·       Coordinates closely withother IFES teams to strategically position IFES for new business opportunities.

·       Provides support to thebusiness development team on communications, events and outreach directed atnew business opportunities and growth targets.

·       Aligns IFES’publications with the communications strategy and strategic plan.

External Communications,Outreach and Engagement

·       Serves as a key external spokesperson.

·       Works in tandem withresponsible personnel to leverage congressional, government and academic relations.

·       Oversees traditionalmedia and social media outreach and engagement.

·       Oversees high-profileIFES events that advance our strategic priorities such as the annual DemocracyAwards dinner and U.S. Elections Program. 

·       Identifies and seeksopportunities for staff to participate in external relations engagements andinitiatives, including media interviews, public speaking events andcongressional briefings.

·       Works with responsiblepersonnel to craft or edit high-level thought pieces, marketing materials andtalking points for senior leadership in preparation for outreach activities.

Management and Capacity Development

·       Develops and manages theCommunications budget to meet five-year strategic plan objectives and annualcommunications and outreach plans.

·       Manages the dailyoperations of Communications staff.

·       Leads, hires, on-boards,manages, mentors and develops a team of communications professionals to ensurehigh performance and serves as an organization-wide model for strong strategicleadership, people management and professional development.

·       Promotes a culture ofhigh performance and continuous improvement that values a commitment to qualityand accountability.

·       Develops, trains andsupports IFES staff to serve as spokespersons for the organization.

Public Image and Brand

·       Acts as steward of theorganization’s branding and outreach materials, including the management anddirection of rebranding efforts.

·       Oversees the developmentand updating of modern, streamlined, professional communications templates.

·       Oversees the maintenance and growth of IFES’contact database to advance more targeted messaging practices.

·       Oversees redesign and audience growth of website.


·       Travels internationally when appropriate.

·       Performs other responsibilities, as assigned.

Physical Requirements /Work Environment


“All qualified applicants/employees will receive consideration for employment/promotions and will not be discriminated against on the basis of disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, color, religion, national origin, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic. 


IFES takes affirmative action with respect to the employment and promotion of women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and covered veterans.  IFES will also take affirmative action on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.




IFES is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor”



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