Vice President for Communications

Washington, DC, US


Resources for the Future (RFF) is seeking an experienced Vice President for Communications to develop and implement an innovative communications strategy that extends RFF’s reach and strengthens its position as the global leader in delivering policy insights that improve both environmental health and economic well-being. S/He will lead a team that manages RFF’s digital strategy, editorial services, media relations, marketing, social media, government relations, events, and written product line. This individual will serve on the executive team and report to the President and Chief Executive Officer.

The Vice President for Communications will effectively and efficiently enable RFF to achieve the communications aspects of its institutional strategy, working with other members of RFF’s executive team. External communications and relations are essential to RFF achieving its commitment to being the most widely trusted source of research insights and policy solutions leading to a healthy environment and a thriving economy. Communications activities are key to the central elements of RFF’s strategy, including RFF’s commitment to:

  • Impact. Providing effective communication and value for decisionmaking;
  • Focus. A clear, compelling, and responsive institutional agenda based on the critical environmental and natural resource challenges requiring economic analysis; and
  • Reach. Increased attention to a broader set of decisionmakers (outside of Washington DC in both the public and private sectors), and to leveraging RFF’s network position as a partner and convener.

RFF’s work impacts a wide array of audiences and stakeholders, including policymakers, academics, media, corporate leaders, and other decisionmakers around the world. The successful candidate must be able to understand RFF’s research and translate the importance of its findings through an array of communications platforms and to a variety of audiences. S/He should develop and execute a plan to work with and promote RFF’s experts and their work among people who can make a difference in important environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions.

The VP will set communications priorities for RFF in conjunction with other members of the executive team and develop and implement a communications strategy to communicate and promote the ideas, solutions, and insights generated at RFF to the influencers and decision makers who turn policy aspirations and investment choices into concrete and politically viable forms. The VP will also work closely with the VP for Development to develop and execute a comprehensive marketing campaign and expand fundraising for RFF.

The successful candidate should have a proven track record of managing successful communications teams, knowledge of and interest in economics and environmental policy, a commitment to non-partisanship, and demonstrated success in generating and sustaining media and targeted audiences’ interest in a research-focused organization.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement comprehensive communications strategies for RFF as a whole, its programs, initiatives and projects, so that information is disseminated to the right audiences, in the right form, at the right time.
  • Oversee RFF’s communications products and services, including Resources e-magazine, issue briefs, reports, working papers, Web, media, social media, podcasts, blog, videos, webinars and other online products, annual report, marketing materials, and high-quality, research-oriented events. Develop new products and redesign or repurpose existing products. Oversee RFF’s obligations with respect to the licensed operation of RFF Press.
  • Lead and manage the communications team, including publications, editorial, digital media, media relations, government and other external relations, and events.Provide mentorship and creative direction.
  • Leverage the capacity of the RFF President and program Vice Presidents as the organization’s external representatives.
  • Promote and coordinate media interest in RFF in a manner consistent with organizational objectives. Build beneficial relationships with journalists.
  • Partner with the Development team to create, design, and implement marketing and promotion strategies to best represent RFF through diverse outlets as a means of engaging current and prospective donors, and work with Development in best communicating RFF’s work to donors.
  • Collaborate with the Vice Presidents of the Energy & Climate and the Land, Water, & Nature programs, as well as individual RFF researchers, to organize and promote high profile events that generate interest in RFF and promote a broader understanding of its mission and work. Convene policy-relevant seminars and workshops and high-visibility public gatherings that attract world-renowned leaders from the policy, business, academic, and advocacy communities.
  • Ensure that the RFF website is robust in its content, technology, and ease of use. Ensure that RFF continually updates and takes advantage of new communications technologies and new means for the distribution of information.
  • Develop benchmarks to evaluate the effectiveness of communications strategies and campaigns.Provide feedback to staff about the external environment into which they publish their work.


  • 10-15 years of experience in strategic communications in the public policy and social science research arenas, and managing a team of communications professionals.
  • Bachelor’s degree (minimum) in a related field; preferred Master’s Degree.
  • Knowledge of environment/energy/resource issues and economics. 
  • Versatile and strategic communicator with ability to design and implement strategy to effectively articulate RFF’s mission and work to a wide variety of audiences and stakeholders.
  • Understanding of think tank work and the ways in which public policy is shaped, and substantial working knowledge about the ways in which different communications platforms can be used to inform the public policy process.
  • Solid track record of developing and implementing successful and innovative communications strategies.
  • Proven writing experience.
  • Dedicated to the work of RFF, sharing in RFF’s commitment to reasoned public decision making, informed by the best available research.
  • Expertise in traditional and digital media platforms.
  • Knowledge of and relationships with journalists and media networks.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to effectively work well with a wide range of constituencies, including senior officials, fellow executive leaders, journalists, researchers, and staff.
  • Demonstrated initiative and ability to work well with a team in a dynamic environment.
  • Ability to work under tight deadlines and manage competing projects simultaneously.

Salary is competitive with a robust benefit package that includes the option of an employer-paid medical insurance plan; generous annual and sick leave; and, an employer-paid retirement plan.

RFF is an equal opportunity employer. Women, minorities and veterans are encouraged to apply.

Learning More and Applying

To learn more: contact Ressie Walker, Human Resources Manager, at [email protected], or 202-328-5053.

To apply: Applications will be accepted online at: Please upload a thoughtful cover letter, salary requirements, and current resume.