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External Relations Director

Washington, DC
Closing date
Sep 27, 2023

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Executive, Management, Director
Full Time

Job Details


AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin.

AARP's Integrated Communications and Marketing (ICM) Group includes Membership, Content and Editorial, Customer Experience, External Relations, Brand Strategy and Strategic Communications. Across paid, earned, shared and owned channels, ICM manages AARP's reputation, drives engagement and member growth, and showcases AARP's mission and value through one, integrated voice.

The External Relations Director oversees the development of key Advocacy-related public relations programs, strategies and tactics to build relationships with key community and thought leaders and advance organization initiatives, particularly for health and health care issues. Collaborates with senior leadership to develop public relations strategies to inform, educate and influence external audiences and build and enhance organization's brand and reputation.


  • Develops and maintains enterprise strategy for managing, advancing, and protecting the organization's reputation and brand.
  • Sets strategy and implements advocacy-related media relations efforts and campaigns.
  • Helps develop partnerships to enhance the organization's reputation, positioning, engagement, and reach.
  • Writes media-facing documents that are often complex, nuanced, technical, or sensitive in nature.
  • Provides complex project management, including work with vendors.
  • Provides senior-level counsel and support to executives and leadership in all media interactions.


  • Bachelor's degree in Communications, Public Relations, or a related discipline (Master's degree or post graduate work preferred) and 10+ years in communications or public relations. Experience working for a public relations agency, national non-profit organization, federal agency, congressional office, or with a consumer brand is preferred.
  • Deep knowledge of health and health care issues.
  • Advanced user of Twitter, other platforms, and social media listening/analytics tools.
  • Deep knowledge of several social networks in a professional capacity.
  • Previous significant project management experience, including an understanding of budgeting and staffing needs.
  • Strong writing and editing skills.
  • Ability to work effectively and calmly in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain successful relationships with top tier, advocacy/policy, national trade, long-lead, specialty, regional and local media, as well as advocacy and policy influencers.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to motivate and collaborate with team members and colleagues.

Additional Requirements
  • Regular and reliable job attendance
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills
  • Exhibit respect and understanding of others to maintain professional relationships
  • Independent judgement in evaluation options to make sound decisions
  • In office/open office environment with the ability to work effectively surrounded by moderate noise

Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA)

AARP observes Mondays and Fridays as telecommuting workdays, except for essential functions. Remote work and telecommuting can only be done within the United States and its territories.

Compensation and Benefits

AARP offers a competitive compensation and benefits package including a 401(k); 100% company-funded pension plan; health, dental, and vision plans; life insurance; paid time off to include company and individual holidays, vacation, sick, caregiving, and parental leave; performance-based and peer-based recognition; tuition reimbursement; among others.

Equal Employment Opportunity

AARP is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce and sustaining an inclusive culture. AARP does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, color, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, mental or physical disability, genetic information, veteran status, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law.


AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, social welfare organization with a membership of nearly 38 million. Our aim is to disrupt preconceived notions about aging, turn goals and dreams into Real Possibilities, strengthen communities and fight for the issues that matter most to people 50-plus and their families; such as health care, employment security and retirement planning.

Company info
601 E. St. NW

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