Join our team


Basic Function: The Senior Communications Officer is a member of Refugees International's External Relations Department and reports to the Vice President for External Relations. He/she helps lead the organization’s communications efforts. This includes the development of long-term communications strategies and organizational messaging that furthers the organization’s advocacy and fundraising goals, increases RI’s visibility and safeguards and promotes RI’s brand.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities: 
•    Under the direction of the Vice President for External Relations and in close coordination with the Director of Policy and Advocacy and the RI Press Officer, ensures that all communications efforts and activities align with RI’s strategic plan. Advances a proactive, effective communications strategy that enhances RI’s visibility, protects and promotes RI’s brand and increases financial support for its work;
•    Identifies communications priorities and develops strategies and messages for RI field mission findings that reach target policy audiences and donors;
•    Proactively develops and maintains relationships with journalists at top-tier media outlets and occasionally serves as spokesperson for the organization to the media;
•    Conducts a “final edit” of RI advocacy reports before they are released to the public;
•    Researches, cultivates and expands RI’s media contacts and enhances the organization's profile in mainstream and online media, increasing RI’s online audience and strengthening its online fundraising program;
•    Drafts 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;
•    Works closely with RI’s Press Officer to continue to strengthen social media efforts, including Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. Explores innovative ways to engage new social media audiences;
•    Assists with fundraising proposals related to communications activities and provides donors with information on communications activities;
•    Provides support and training activities to staff on media relations, messaging and communications best practices; preps staff for media interviews and helps draft and prep staff presentations to donors; 
•    Manages the strategic direction and content of RI’s new website; 
•    Oversees the work of external communications vendors, including web designers, PR firms, graphic designers, printers and others;
•    Participates in 1-2 overseas RI missions annually and ensures that the mission is covered effectively through photographs, videos, etc.; 
•    Develops and maintains a communications activity calendar;
•    Oversees the development of the annual report and develops new communications products, including videos, media- and donor- friendly reports and other products that elevate the organization's profile;
•    Works closely with the Vice President for External Relations to ensure proper tracking of communications-related expenses;
•    Manages crisis communications, when necessary; 
•    Develops communications evaluation plans and consistently measures and strengthens results;
•    Ensures 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;
•    Provides communications updates to RI staff;
•    Assists Vice President for External Relations with other tasks as assigned.

Special Education/Experience Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in communications, political science or international relations, Master’s degree preferred; at least 8 years’ experience in communications at a global non-profit organization, and/or as a former journalist. Overseas work experience strongly desired. Knowledge of non-profit sector and humanitarian/human rights issues highly desirable. Preexisting relationships with editors, producers and foreign correspondents strongly desired. Foreign language skills a plus. Experience with US government or UN an asset. 

Special Knowledge/Skills Requirements: English fluency; outstanding writing, editing, proofreading and storytelling skills; in-depth understanding of the interactions between mainstream media and strong knowledge of best practices in online outreach and engagement; proven ability to communicate orally and in written format to diverse audiences, including the mass media, the U.S. government, donors, activists, and the general public; highly developed organizational skills, time management, attention to detail, initiative and self-motivation; excellent inter-personal relationship and communications skills; strategic thinking; the ability to juggle competing priorities; ability to adapt quickly to changes in a fast-paced work environment; videography skills strongly desired. Flexibility, innovative thinking and a sense of humor all required. The job may require lifting boxes and computer work which may require repetitive motion, prolonged periods of sitting, and sustained visual and mental focus.

Please send a cover letter, resume, and one writing sample to In the subject line write Senior Communications Officer followed by your family name. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.



General information on internships

Interns are essential to the work of Refugees International. RI strives to provide interns with an environment that encourages their professional development, offers networking opportunities, and increases their understanding of humanitarian issues worldwide.

Refugees International accepts a limited number of applicants for unpaid internships throughout the year. Interns should be willing to commit a minimum of 15 hours per week for 10 weeks to the internship and be able to work at the Refugees International office in Washington, DC.

All intern applicants must either be enrolled as students or have graduated in the last three months.

Internships are based loosely on the following schedule:
Winter/spring, January – April (application deadline: November 15)
Summer, May – August (application deadline: March 15)
Fall/winter, September – December (application deadline: July 15)

If you would like to apply, please refer to the instructions below. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but priority will be given to those received by the deadlines listed above.

Please note: the following positions are only general descriptions of the types of internships that may be available. Each type of internship may or may not be open during different semesters.

General Intern
The General intern assists the Office Manager and RI staff with both administrative tasks and special projects. General interns have the opportunity to gain exposure to all aspects of the organization. Responsibilities may include answering and transferring phone calls; greeting guests to our office; assisting with special projects; attending local conferences and seminars on behalf of the advocacy staff; and compiling News Clips to update our staff on our focus countries.

Program Intern
The Program intern works closely with our advocates, who complete approximately twelve field missions a year, and support staff. Responsibilities may include attending local government and NGO conferences; conducting research on focus countries; assisting in the creation and editing of research reports; and providing additional front office support. The Program intern may also work with the Communications Department to promote Refugees International through website development, media relations, and promotion of publications.

Development (Fundraising) Intern
The Development intern works with the Development Department to support fundraising activities in various capacities, ranging from prospect funding research to assisting the development team with a variety of administrative tasks and other fundraising projects as they arise. Responsibilities may include supporting foundation fundraising and grant writing; coordinating mailings; supporting event planning and execution; updating donor databases; and conducting research on potential funding sources and new fundraising techniques.

Application Instructions
To apply for an internship with Refugees International, please forward your resume, a cover letter, a brief writing sample (2 – 5 pages), and a list of three references to Your cover letter should clearly indicate the semester you are available and your interest in a general, program, development and/or congressional internship. Please submit all materials at one time. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Please fill out and forward this questionnaire as part of your application.

Only those candidates selected for further review will be contacted by Refugees International.

General information on Fellowships

Criteria for candidates for the RI Resident and Non-Resident Fellows Program: 

  • Must have completed at least a Master’s Degree in a relevant field of study,
  • Must have previous work experience relevant to RI’s work or can demonstrate an ability to do research,
  • Must submit a one page proposal which includes research relevant to RI’s work prior to being offered a position and subject to review through the supervisor by the Management Team,

The proposal must include a final product—e.g., a longer report—for possible publication by RI,

The proposal must include a work schedule which is at a minimum three months in duration and ten hours per week (Resident Fellows only),

  • RI will provide fellows with a work station and materials to perform their tasks. RI will not provide any additional compensation.
  • RI encourages fellows to seek outside funding and will assist the fellows with the application where possible.

Other Requirements:

  • Fellows must renew with RI on an annual basis which includes submitting a new one page proposal;
  • RI reserves the right to publish the final product of the fellowship. If RI does not choose to publish the report then the fellow can use the document as they wish;
  • Fellows will be assigned to one staff person at RI and all work assigned to the Fellow must go through the supervisor;
  • Fellows are required to update their assigned staff person as to work they are doing and communications made regarding RI at a minimum on a monthly basis;
  • Fellows are strongly encouraged to draft blogs on relevant issues at least once a month—to be reviewed by RI staff;
  • Non-resident fellows are expected to have significant knowledge of the organization and have spent at least three months in RI’s Washington office prior to serving as a non-resident fellow;
  • Non-resident fellows may have an RI account: meaning they would have an email address and they would have access to RI folders.

For more information on RI fellowships, please email