Government Relations Associate

Location: Headquarters, DC
Department: Government Relations and External Affairs
Supervisor: Vice President of Government Relations and External Affairs


This professional position is responsible for advancing Defenders of Wildlife’s legislative and administrative interests before Congress, the Administration and the media.  Issue priorities are drawn from Defenders’ current priorities, including endangered species; wildlife; climate change; public lands; and related appropriations issues.  Most immediately, the primary focus with be on issues including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. .  Responsibilities include: direct lobbying; developing legislative and advocacy campaign strategies; leading and/or participating in inter-departmental campaign teams;  leading and/or representing Defenders’ interests in national issue-based coalitions; working with and monitoring Congressional committees; drafting reports, fact sheets and testimony; obtaining legislative and political information; and generally assisting the advocacy work of Defenders’ Government Relations and External Affairs division.


  • Play a leading role in clarifying and advancing Defenders’ legislative/administrative goals for assigned issues

  • Employing sound political judgment, build an effective network of congressional, coalition and public support to advance assigned issues

  • Utilizing strong legislative judgment, identify and implement effective legislative/administrative strategies and projects to advance assigned issues

  • Continually marshal, leverage, and organize inter-departmental and, where possible, external resources on assigned legislative/administrative issues through ongoing campaign planning, project management, legislative targeting, team building, and coalition leadership

  • Implement, as appropriate, various aspects of issue campaigns through activities including: direct lobbying; coalition representation; legislative, policy and legal analysis; multi-party negotiations; bill drafting; direct and grassroots lobbying materials development; action alert drafting; testimony and public presentations; media representation; and drafting press materials and legislatively focused Web content

  • Closely monitor legislative developments in assigned issues and disseminate timely information about those issues throughout the organization

  • Provide timely responses to requests for progress reports, funding proposals, budgets and other information requested by departments including: Government Relations, Communication, Online, Membership, and Development

  • Contribute to the development of Defenders of Wildlife’s legislative Report Card through activities by identifying potential votes and drafting vote descriptions

  • Effectively contribute to Defenders’ positive image on Capitol Hill, with outside organizations, and in the media

  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.


  • Education:  Bachelor’s (B.A./B.S.) degree or equivalent in Natural Resources, Public Policy, Law, Biology, Education, or related discipline.  Advanced degree preferred.

  • Experience:  2+ years of Capitol Hill or other legislative experience, preferably involving natural resource issues.  Experience working with wildlife conservation issues and knowledge of federal resource agencies, laws, treaties and policies dealing with use and conservation of natural resources.  Political experience, judgment and sensitivity, including a thorough understanding of lobbying, resource and appropriations committees, budget process and federal legislative procedures and grassroots targeting.  Experience developing, implementing, and managing legislative and advocacy campaigns on a national level.

  • An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.

  • Other:

  • Strong writing, media, and verbal communications skills                

  • Ability to conduct research, analyze information, and produce quality work products in a consistent, efficient, and timely manner

  • Ability to effectively lead and/or represent Defenders’ interests in national issue coalitions

  • Other relevant experience with public policy, education, grassroots organizing, communications, editing, and/or development

  • Ability to work effectively as part of Defenders’ legislative and administrative advocacy team


  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so.

  • Employee needs to be able to attend in-person frequent, often lengthy, and sometimes sequential out of office meetings held on Capitol Hill and elsewhere

  • Employee should be able to use a portable data assistant on a regular basis

  • Employee must have ability occasionally to work hours beyond the standard work day


  • General office working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.


Interested applicants please reference Government Relations Associate in your subject line and submit a letter of interest, resume, writing sample, and salary history to us via e-mail at:

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.

All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.