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Communications Director

About the Human Rights Foundation:

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies. HRF unites people in the common cause of defending human rights and promoting liberal democracy. Our mission is to ensure that freedom is both preserved and promoted around the world. We seek, in particular, to sustain the struggle for liberty in those areas where it is most under threat.

What differentiates HRF from other human rights organizations is our singular focus on authoritarian regimes. We consider our mission essential given that today more than 4 billion people live under tyranny. That’s 54% of the world’s population in 95 countries from Cuba to Russia to Saudi Arabia to North Korea. These individuals are more likely to: lack food and clean drinking water; lack access to basic education; live in extreme poverty; face war and civil strife; become a refugee; lack freedom of speech and voting rights; and face constant threats of imprisonment, torture, violence, and death.

Grounding our work in a deep commitment to individual liberty, HRF aims to raise awareness about the nature and vulnerability of freedom around the world. In addition to strengthening the work of grassroots activists in closed societies, our programs provide education about what constitutes a free society, why freedom matters, and how freedom is nurtured, developed, and sustained.

HRF accomplishes their mission by supporting activists and providing them the resources, skills, contacts, and attention they need to make a difference in their countries; by popularizing the struggle for freedom and democracy, and against dictatorship, and by bringing human rights into the mainstream of global public discussion; by producing international legal reports, public letters, and op-eds that can influence institutions, policymakers, and the public at large in the direction of better protecting individual rights in countries ruled by authoritarian regimes.

Each year, HRF brings together activists, philanthropists, journalists, artists, entrepreneurs and students from around the globe for the Oslo Freedom Forum, its transformative annual human rights conference in Norway. HRF recently produced The Dissident, a BAFTA-nominated documentary about the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.


The Role/Opportunity:

HRF has created a new role for a Director to build a communications infrastructure and manage a dedicated, full-time staff that will thrive in an environment in which collaboration is encouraged and rewarded. Building upon the successful work executed to date, this leader will develop communications strategies, sustained campaigns and robust messaging to advance the organization’s impact, reputation, identity and funding. The Communications Director will function as an advisor to executives and a partner to program leads, providing strategic counsel at the macro and micro levels; also serves as a critical hub and synergistic resource to key external partners. They will prioritize strengthening the organization’s relationships with journalists, carving out a distinct voice in the media landscape to amplify the public’s awareness of HRF’s work including litigation and legal representation, research and thought leadership, and legislative advocacy. The ideal candidate can demonstrate a proficiency in movement building, establishing alliances, igniting domestic and global conversations and shifting public discourse – with a particular focus on exposing authoritarianism and corruption; whitewashing in sports, entertainment and fashion industries; technology like encryption and Bitcoin as tools for activists; and the right to fundamental rights. Reports to HRF’s Chief Strategy Officer.



  • Serve as a key member of HRF’s leadership team charged with aligning the organizations’ work for maximum impact, determining organizational priorities and opportunities that best amplify HRF’s mission and values
  • Develop and promote a cohesive identity for HRF’s brand and leadership that positions the organization as a thought leader in the field
  • Work with programming staff to integrate communications into the development of organizational strategy and goals
  • Set and guide the overall communications strategy, narrative, and external positioning of the organization
  • Ensure communications considerations are embedded into HRF’s campaigns at the development stage; serve as an informed and objective partner to HRF’s program leads as they are evaluating the viability of new projects; advise on media relevance, cultural impact and competitive landscape; ensure that clear goals, intended outcomes and benchmarks are outlined at the onset of each campaign
  • Craft and implement comprehensive, strategic and tactical communications plans for HRF’s advocacy, legal and policy reform campaigns that engage top-tier media, securing high-profile opportunities to reach target audiences
  • Identify, assess and pursue opportunities to collaborate with partner organizations and opinion leaders that advance the objectives of the organization’s campaign work; ensure key messages are conveyed with consistency and relevancy; create an echo chamber in the media about policy recommendations and desired outcomes
  • Maintain an external facing HRF experts portfolio – shape, articulate and amplify a narrative about each expert’s specialty; build media relationships, establish program leads as a sought after resource to call upon for commentary, secure press coverage and appearances
  • Brief staff on the delivery of organizational messaging, media train, and build public-speaking skills; equip public intellectuals with the tools and fluency to debate issues in adversarial settings
  • Identify opportunities for injecting HRF’s ideas into the public debate; lead the organization’s analysis of the news cycle; implement rapid response strategies and messaging
  • Oversee HRF’s digital communications strategy that drives engagement across target audiences for priority issues
  • Establish a strong identity and consistent voice for the organization’s website, social media and email communications that is that is nimble, reflective of the organization’s brand and values, and serves as a trusted resource to media and field
  • Lead crisis management and contingency planning, provide counsel on reputational risk
  • Devise methods for measuring impact and reporting activity; demonstrate HRF’s success is quantifiable for external stakeholders such as donors and media
  • Manage and coach a team of three; oversee annual planning, budgeting, and staff development
  • Oversee writing, editing, and dissemination of media-focused materials; provide editorial support for reports, speeches, presentations, and other materials related to programming


Candidate Profile:

Has the following professional experience and personal qualities…

  • Capacity to thrive in a fast-paced, responsive environment
  • Substantive knowledge of, demonstrated experience in, and passion for HRF’s areas of work
  • Big picture thinker
  • Hands-on leadership, ability to inspire trust and confidence across diverse group of colleagues
  • Excellent interpersonal relationship building skills, strong collaborator and communicator
  • Understanding of brand narrative and campaign messaging that resonates with a wide range of stakeholders
  • Analytical and data-driven
  • Flexible, curious, and creative
  • Excellent written and oral skills
  • Comfort serving as an organizational spokesperson, can represent HRF in complex and sensitive policy conversations
  • Media savvy and solid media relationships
  • Experience in journalism and/or communications for non-profit, advocacy or public policy; or for-profit corporate affairs
  • Knowledge of entertainment, sports, art and fashion industries is a plus
  • 8-10 years in communications


How to Apply:

Please email [email protected] with your resume and a cover letter, using “Communications Director – Application” as the subject line. Cover letters may be addressed to Tara Everton.