External Affairs Director


The External Affairs Director is a member of Higher Learning’s Advocates’ senior staff and is responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s campaigns, communications and outreach. Based in Washington, DC, the External Affairs Director will have a national presence on behalf of the organization, requiring a thorough understanding of campaign, media and outreach strategies, innovative approaches to reach key audiences, and a commitment to the organization’s mission.


  • Lead the development and implementation of effective short- and long-term communications, messaging, and outreach campaigns and strategies, including executing creative approaches to outreach, and identifying target audiences.
  • Support, identify and cultivate relationships with partners inside and outside of Washington, DC who share a commitment to Today’s Students.
  • Develop and disseminate a diverse range of digital and non-digital products and assets to support campaigns.
  • Lead working groups with internal and external partners to execute campaigns.
  • Manage the organization’s communications staff and work collaboratively to execute the organization’s communications goals.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Experience running, managing, or otherwise taking a leadership role in strategic advocacy campaigns.
  • Knowledge of and comfort with engaging with key media contacts in local, national, and trade outlets.
  • Demonstrated success in creating innovative and creative approaches to advancing a policy agenda through communications, outreach, or advertising, including digital.
  • Exemplify flexibility, an ability to work independently, to be highly-organized, and an attention to detail;
  • Strong oral and written communication skills; 
  • Able to manage complex situations and relationships with confidence, confidentiality and tact; and
  • Operating style suited to working in a small team environment where teamwork, creativity and flexibility are valued.

Work Environment and Physical Demands

  • Work is performed in an office environment, mostly sedentary.
  • Visual and auditory acuity for extensive use of various forms of technology.
  • The position is based in Washington, DC with national travel needed to execute the organization’s work.


A competitive compensation package including salary and benefits is available and is commensurate with experience and qualifications.

To apply for this position, please submit a cover letter and resume to careers@higherlearningadvocates.org with EXTAFFAIRS in the message title.

Higher Learning Advocates is an equal opportunity employer.  Women and people of color are encouraged to apply.

Higher Learning Advocates is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that supports and advances policy changes that increase postsecondary attainment. We support a postsecondary system that is student-centered, equitable, outcomes-based, and focused on educational quality by advocating for policies that: are based on student outcomes, make postsecondary education and student aid work for today’s student, and ensure access and affordability. We are bipartisan, strategically minded, and focused on improving postsecondary outcomes for all students.