Senior Communications Officer

Marketing Washington, District of Columbia


The annualized salary range for this position is $64,000-70,000

Position Description

Location Washington, DC

Position Status Full-time 

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible.
In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions
into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.
Now, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary 

The media relations team is a small but dynamic group of professionals dedicated to getting the word out about Mercy Corps’ outstanding work to help people around the world survive through crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. The team strives to raise Mercy Corps’ public profile and support the agency’s fundraising and advocacy efforts. The team primarily engages with international media and U.S. national and regional media, but also works with community groups and influencers in key markets. 

General Position Summary 

As an integral member of the Mercy Corps media relations team, the Senior Communications Officer will focus on relations with news media, messaging and storytelling for defined issues and topics. They will conduct media outreach, reaching out to national, international and “hometown” press around newsworthy Mercy Corps initiatives, fielding inbound media inquiries, and promoting Mercy Corps senior executives.

Essential Job Responsibilities 

Communications and Media Relations

  • Write, edit and distribute press releases, talking points, fact sheets and other media relations materials.
  • Build relationships with local, regional, national and international journalists who can help tell the Mercy Corps story, particularly around the climate crisis, youth opportunity, innovation and global emergency response.
  • Serve as on-the-record spokesperson for Mercy Corps. 
  • Organize and run press briefings for staff/executives returning from program visits or otherwise in the media spotlight.
  • Generate story ideas; liaise with program staff, policy team, researchers, fundraisers and others to keep up-to-date on potential stories. 
  • Develop and implement media outreach plans; coordinate with policy experts, social media and web content experts to maximize the value of outreach.
  • Liaise with Policy and Advocacy team and other Washington DC-based staff to develop messaging and plan potential media outreach around Mercy Corps stories relevant to US overseas development and assistance policy.
  • Liaise with the Managing Director of Communications to conceive and execute a strategy around the promotion of senior Mercy Corps leaders.
  • Conduct program site visits when needed to research stories, conduct media outreach, and gather stories and visual assets.  
  • General support for Mercy Corps media relations and communications team.
  • Other duties as necessary.

Organizational Learning 

  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves. 

Accountability to Program Participants

  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
    to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Director of Media and Communications

Works Directly With: Other members of the communications team, including Mercy Corps Europe press officers; digital marketing and fundraising teams; VP of Marketing and Communications; Chief Development and Marketing Officer; office of the Chief Executive; corporate and foundation team; policy and advocacy team; other departments including Program Operations, Humanitarian Leadership and Response and Technical Support Unit.

Knowledge and Experience 

  • BA/S or equivalent in journalism, marketing, public relations or international relations required. 
  • 5-7 years of professional experience in media relations, journalism or marketing required. 
  • Established track record of generating positive media coverage in US and UK national outlets; relationships with media in or reporting for these markets. 
  • Proven experience as an effective on-the-record spokesperson with print, broadcast and online media.
  • Superior written and verbal communications skills a must; ability to “translate” technical language into compelling stories needed. 
  • Experience in international development or knowledge of development issues preferred.

Success Factors 

The successful Senior Communications Officer will be a proactive PR professional with a rolodex of established media contacts, and an excellent storyteller and writer with a nose for news. They need to be able to prioritize, multi-task and organize many urgent tasks. They should be a self-starter who can strategize and implement fully baked media outreach plans, as well be a good team player. They must have a deep knowledge of Mercy Corps programs and a commitment to the goals of the organization. This person will demonstrate creativity and flexibility, as well as a proven ability to learn quickly and be accountable for results. Even temperament and a good sense of humor appreciated.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions 

The position is based in Washington, DC and may require up to (25%) travel to Portland, Ore. and program site locations. 

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a country program or on a visit/TDY to a program site. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision.  Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.