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Communications Manager (Policy Outreach and Engagement)

The Urban Institute

Washington, District of Columbia 20037
Job Type:
Job Status:
Full Time
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Job Details

Outreach and Communications Manager

(Research to Action Lab)


Who we are:

At the nonprofit Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities.  Our employees are empowered to open minds, shape decisions and offer solutions.  We encourage intellectual honesty, innovation, diversity, and mutual respect, and our analysis elevates the debate, wherever it takes place.

The Urban Institute has built a cutting-edge in-house Outreach and Communications team (COMM) that is translating research for broad audiences. As part of that effort, Urban is hiring an Outreach and Communications manager to develop and execute innovative strategies that engage policy leaders and changemakers with creative content.

How you’ll contribute:

The Outreach and Communications manager will support Urban’s new Research to Action Lab, an innovation hub that provides strategic and philanthropic advice to public, nonprofit, and private sector leaders. Urban’s Lab tests new strategies for policy impact and develops cutting-edge tools, programs, and trainings.

Working closely with senior researchers and policy experts, the Manager will design and implement the Lab’s strategic outreach plans, developing products for policymakers and practitioners, and major conference programs. S/he will support the work of the Pay for Success Initiative and the Promise Neighborhoods Training and Technical Assistance Program along with other projects. S/he will serve as a member of both the COMM and Lab teams, reporting to the senior director of external affairs in COMM with a dotted line to the Lab.



  • Develop and execute strategic outreach plans for key audiences – using direct contact, digital channels, social and traditional media, databases and other platforms – to ensure that research insights reach key decision makers and stakeholder audiences
  • Translate content, hone research insights, and develop products—including digital content and fact sheets—that are relevant to policymakers and practitioners at all levels
    • Manage and oversee the program for high-level convenings, roundtable discussions, issue specific workshops and virtual learning opportunities in partnership with research teams
    • Draft and disseminate targeted and segmented email campaigns to key audiences including thought leaders, influencers, advocates, policy makers and other stakeholders
    • Conduct outreach and use social and traditional media to leverage research and influence policy conversations on the national, state and local level
    • Manage and develop work plans and track workflows, deadlines, and milestones on specific products and meetings
    • Use Salesforce, a CRM system, to manage and track relationships and engagement with key audiences
    • Share research within the news and policy cycles
    • Manage cross-team collaborations of researchers, policy analysts and communications staff
    • Coordinate activities among teams of researchers, communications staff, and external collaborators



What you’ll bring:

The successful applicant will have:

  • BA or MA in Policy, Political Science, Communications, Marketing, Journalism, or related field
  • Four to six years of outreach and communications experience related to policy work (e.g. state legislatures, advocacy, Hill)
  • Passion for social and economic policy research and knowledge of the federal, state and local policy landscape, process, and opportunities
  • Excellent project management and organizational skills, with demonstrated leadership in managing a large initiative or major project
  • Experience designing and managing programs for a variety of convening types
  • Strong writing, editing and analytical skills
  • Knowledge of strategic stakeholder outreach best practices and current trends
  • Ability to translate complex research into clear, compelling content for target audiences
  • Ability to be a team player and natural collaborator who works well within large teams
  • Proven ability to set objectives, measure success, and meet (or exceed) goals
  • Familiarity with Salesforce or other customer relationship management (CRM) systems a plus


What you’ll experience:

Working in the Nation’s Capital - the epicenter of public policy - among a network of policy experts, you can expect to have an impact on policy areas you care about and work with great colleagues who are smart, mission-driven, and collaborative. You will blend academic rigor with on-the-ground collaboration, be encouraged and supported to fulfill your potential through meaningful work that matters and, enjoy a welcoming workplace free from harassment, discrimination and intolerance.

In addition, we offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes: medical, dental, disability, and life insurance coverage. Competitive paid time off allowance, and eligibility to participate in a generous retirement savings plan plus elect a pretax benefit for commuting expenses.


The Urban Institute is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity without regard for race, ethnicity, gender, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected status under applicable law.

The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans.

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