Communications Manager, Housing & Communities (Office of Communications)
About Urban Institute:
At the Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. As a nonprofit focusing on social and economic policy, our researchers and policy entrepreneurs open minds, shape decisions, and identify transformative solutions to the most pressing issues of our time.
To open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.
Collaboration, Equity, Inclusivity, Independence, and Integrity
For more information on the Urban Institute, please visit https://www.urban.org.
Central to Urban’s mission is fostering a truly inclusive community that ensures ongoing relevance to a changing world. Housing and place matter. Quality, affordable housing anchors families. The communities where people live can influence nearly everything in their lives: where they work and how they get there, the quality of schools that their children attend, their health and safety, even their longevity. With an emphasis on place—from cities and suburbs to tribal lands—Urban investigates the factors that shape the quality of life in American communities. Policymakers, regulators, advocates, and philanthropists look to our evidence-based analyses to inform solutions to housing-related problems.
The communications manager will advance our mission by managing the execution of communication strategies that drive impact for Urban’s research on housing and communities, which includes related bodies of work such as transportation and climate. Under the direction of communications and research/policy leadership, they will help shape and deploy robust external visibility and engagement campaigns that position Urban as a leading source for changemakers seeking actionable data and evidence that informs housing and communities solutions and advances racial equity. They will engage with, cultivate, and grow diverse audiences and help maximize opportunities for Urban’s research to impact policy and practice.
This position reports to the director of media relations with a dotted line to Urban’s housing and communities research leadership.
What You’ll Do:
Communications Strategy and Management
- Help develop and implement overarching communication strategies to promote Urban’s housing and communities research initiatives.
- Manage and execute integrated visibility, engagement, and impact campaigns across channels.
- Coordinate cross-functional teams in the execution of campaigns, ensuring tasks are integrated and connected.
- Manage an editorial calendar of product releases and opportunities for impact.
- Prepare landscape analyses to inform broader communications strategy.
- Monitor relevant policy news cycles and identify opportunities to elevate Urban voices and research.
- Prepare media pitches and other content to generate earned media visibility for Urban voices and research.
- Cultivate relationships with beat reporters, producers, and editors at news outlets and identify areas for partnership.
- Help train Urban spokespeople for interviews and other media engagements.
Messaging and Content Creation
- Partner with research and policy colleagues to translate technical material into accessible and compelling content for priority audiences.
- Draft messaging materials for housing and communities communications campaigns that align with broader organizational goals and objectives.
- Write and edit content for distribution through Urban’s communications channels, which could include newsletters, social media, media pitches, events, and blog posts, plus other digital content for urban.org.
Metrics and Analytics
- Measure, assess, and track the impact of communications efforts through digital and media analytics and report on results.
- Seek and capture audience feedback that informs the design and substance of future communications efforts.
- Adjust communications tactics and strategies based on data-driven insights.
Communications Leadership and Relationship Management
- Coordinate and guide individuals on projects across various teams.
- Represent team interests to internal stakeholders, which could include staff across communications, research, and policy functional areas, and external stakeholders, which could include reporters, policymaker staff, funders, and communications counterparts at other nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.
- Identify and build relationships with dissemination partners to help extend the reach and impact of Urban’s work.
Who You Are:
The successful candidate will:
- Possess the knowledge and skills usually associated with a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, political science, public policy, or a related field and five plus years of communications or public affairs experience, showing increasing responsibility.
- Have contributed to the execution of the communications strategy for an organization, preferably with a focus on housing and communities, transportation, and/or climate policy.
- Be flexible, open-minded, and able to adapt to change.
- Demonstrate strong organizational skills and a proven track record in coordinating and leading teams in the completion of an objective, including the ability to measure success.
- Follow policy news cycles closely and bring good news judgment.
- Have excellent writing and analytical skills.
- Be able to form relationships with and earn trust of a range of internal and external stakeholders and manage collaborations involving multiple and sometimes varying perspectives.
- Exhibit relevant experience with/or demonstrated interest in housing and communities-related policy issues; interpret data and be able to translate complicated research for broad audiences.
- Display an aptitude for digital platforms and databases, which could include content management systems (Drupal), project management applications (AirTable), constituent relationship management (Salesforce), media monitoring (Meltwater/Cision), and/or other tools; show proficiency in MS Office, Word, and Excel.
- Be entrepreneurial, collaborative, audience-oriented, and metrics-driven.
Additional application guidance:
- Applicants should include a cover letter, writing sample(s), and a resume in their application package.
What You’ll Experience:
No matter your role with Urban, you will contribute to meaningful work that makes a difference for people and communities across the country. And whether you call the Washington, DC area or elsewhere home, you can expect to be part of a welcoming and hybrid workplace. We are committed to cultivating a community and working in a manner defined by collaboration, equity, inclusivity, independence, and integrity.
Urban’s greatest asset is our people.
The target salary range for this position is Min $65,000 – Max $95,000. Salary offered is commensurate with experience and considers internal equity. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Salaries are just one component of Urban Institute’s total compensation package. Urban is committed to supporting our staff’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being through a robust benefits package for yourself, eligible dependents, and domestic partners.
It includes generous paid time off, including nine federal holidays, medical (including prescription), dental and vision insurance, and transit benefits. Urban is unique in that we offer 403(b) retirement plan participation immediately after you’re hired and a generous employer contribution after six months of service and 500 hours, with immediate vesting. You’ll also have access to a health advocate, personal finance coaching, an Employee Assistance Program, and educational assistance for undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
With the conclusion of the government-issued COVID-19 national public health emergency, Urban has updated our COVID-19 safety guidelines. All Urban Institute employees working from our onsite location must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and comply with any masking requirements. Fully vaccinated is defined as receiving the primary series of US approved COVID-19 vaccinations (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen) with the addition of at least 1 COVID-19 booster. Employees who are working onsite may request exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement based on a medical condition or a sincerely held religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated. Where such an exemption is approved, Urban will discuss potential accommodation with the employee. These guidelines do not apply to employees who are teleworking or other offsite staff.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by the people assigned. This posting is not an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and requirements. Urban management reserves the right to amend and change duties, responsibilities, and requirements to meet business and organizational needs as necessary.
The Urban Institute is an equal-opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender or gender identity, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, veteran status, pregnancy or family responsibilities, matriculation, disability, political affiliation, or any other protected status under applicable law. The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans.
Reasonable accommodation requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
The Urban Institute has formally recognized the Urban Institute Employees’ Union, which is part of the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU). Urban management and the Union work together in good faith and are motivated by a shared commitment to this institution. This position is included in the Union-represented collective bargaining unit, and specific employment terms and conditions are subject to collective bargaining negotiations.