Senior Communications Officer, Research and Innovation
New York City (United States of America)
The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC works with people forced to flee from crises and the host communities that support them, as well as with those who remain within their homes and communities. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure.
Breakthrough solutions are needed to match the gravity of the problems faced by people affected by crises today. That’s why the IRC built the Airbel Impact Lab, the IRC’s Research and Innovation (R&I) team that designs, tests and scales life-changing solutions for refugees and displaced people. The Airbel Impact Lab focuses on addressing three of the world’s most pressing problems, in some of the toughest environments: (i) treating child malnutrition, (ii) delivering last mile education, and (iii) women-centered health programs to save lives and provide choice. Our vision is not only to increase IRC's impact, but to change the way humanitarian aid is delivered around the world.
Job Overview/Job Summary
The Senior Officer will develop and execute communication strategies to effectively position the IRC as a leader in humanitarian research and innovation, and ultimately push the sector to approach problems differently. You will play a central role leading the development and execution of messaging and media strategy.
Embedded within the R&I and Global Communications departments, you will also serve as a strategic partner to identify and make the best use of profile-building opportunities, working with multiple critical partners to deliver measurable results.
You will be responsible for Airbel’s digital and social media outreach, including website development, to deepen our reach to target audience groups.
● Communications strategy. Develop and drive annual communications strategy for IRC’s R&I team. Work with an interdisciplinary team and across various subject matters to understand needs, priorities, and target audiences, and effectively narrow, prioritize, and target communications accordingly. Track and report on relevant metrics.
● Communications planning and execution. In close collaboration with the Global Communications team, develop a long-term communications plan/calendar for select priority areas. Coordinate and deliver on tactics such as: multimedia and digital content development; social media activation; events/conferences; and working with reporters on potential stories.
● Strategic messaging. Develop and update critical messaging for Research and Innovation, and input into and shape materials that showcase IRC leadership in priority areas.
● Oversee digital platforms. Own relationship with Airbel web developer and other key vendors, provide strategic direction and oversight for maintenance and creation of websites. Ensure Airbel’s website is kept up-to-date. Handle Airbel’s Medium publications and Twitter feed. Work in partnership with colleagues from the digital and creative studio teams on communication via IRC digital platforms.
● Media outreach. Develop PR strategy, write and work with journalists on potential stories, op-eds, and press releases for earned media - all in close collaboration with global communications colleagues
● Partner management. Ensure alignment, message harmony, and activations with key internal partners, including digital, advocacy, fundraising, and technical teams, to maximize key moments and opportunities (UNGA, International Women’s Day, etc.).
● Sub-brand and identity. Maintain and update Airbel’s sub-brand and style guide as needed.
● General support. Keep Airbel communications toolkit up-to-date. Build and lead a roster of design and writing consultants for the Airbel team.
● 6-8 years’ experience working as a communications professional in a global organization within the humanitarian or development sector.
● Shown track record of creating communications strategies related to sectoral thought leadership, in particular research or innovation, with many critical partners, and delivering on these strategies to show measurable results.
● An experienced generalist who considers and drives Communications across channels, e.g., media, digital, social, and video.
● Strong media relationships, especially in sector media, and an ability to form new ones.
● Strong writing and editing skills and a good understanding of sector-specific visibility platforms.
● Experience supervising digital platforms and complex websites.
● Knowledge of the humanitarian space.
Key Working Relationships:
● Position Reports to: Associate Director, Planning, Research and Innovation and Senior Director, Partnerships & Program Communications, Communications
● Internal contacts: Chief Research and Innovation Officer; Global Research and Innovation Priority Leads; Global Communications colleagues
● External contacts: Work with journalists, media producers and editors, strategic influencers and communications colleagues from partner organizations
Working Environment: Standard office work environment. This role may require working remotely full or part time and part time remote employees may be required to share workspace.
The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way - Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Equality, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.