Head of Communications

GiveWell is a research organization that identifies and funds cost-effective giving opportunities, focusing on global health. We’ve grown from raising $1.5 million annually in 2010 to over $600 million in 2022.

Despite the size of our impact, we’re a relatively small team of about 70 people. Our communications responsibilities are currently split between several staff members. We’d like to hire someone to take leadership of our communications responsibilities, consolidating them into a single team. We believe that a strong communications function is critical to our continued growth, and we are looking for an exceptional leader who’s excited to find unique ways to tell GiveWell’s story of impact to new and existing audiences across the globe.

This opportunity is unique:

  • We’re committed to transparency. Our first priority is being open and honest with our donors and followers. We do not oversell and we do not hide our mistakes. We’re looking for someone to get creative about sharing the rigor and complexity of our work in high-fidelity ways, which will most likely look and feel different than most nonprofit communications campaigns.
  • Communications is an organizational priority. Our primary goal is to move as much money as possible to the most cost-effective giving opportunities that we can find. We can only do that with a strong communications strategy that translates our technical research into compelling calls to action. We are committed to ensuring the communications team has the resources it needs to succeed. From leveraging internal stakeholders like the CEO, growing the FTE headcount of the communications function, or anything else that helps produce top-notch communications about GiveWell.
  • Impact pathway. This role can be the difference between reaching our ambitious fundraising goals and not, which directly affects GiveWell’s ability to save and improve lives around the world.
  • Our brand is ready for greater influence. We have built a trusted research product that many people write about and engage with. We have strong relationships with writers, influencers, and thought leaders that are ready to be taken to the next level.
  • High pay, high expectations, high performance. We’re a small team because we’re able to attract the best. We maintain a high-performing, collegial culture and pay accordingly.

Core responsibilities

Under your leadership, the GiveWell communications team will be responsible for:

  • Owning what we say. You will create and maintain a comprehensive communications strategy and be the go-to person driving what we say and where we say it. This includes being the chief steward of our brand, our voice, and our messaging to key audiences, and any risk management associated with it.
  • Communicating about our work in the world. It’s critical to our growth that we share the rigor, complexity, and nuance of our research in compelling ways on owned, earned, and paid channels. You will set a content publication agenda for our staff’s research and ideas, generating content from both your team of communications professionals as well as via supporting the external voice of our senior researchers.
  • Maintaining GiveWell’s excellent brand. You will monitor GiveWell’s brand reputation (via press coverage, mentions, etc) and evaluate risks to our brand to guide our decision making accordingly (for example, by determining whether we should partner with a particular influencer or not). You will also help bolster our brand by generating positive coverage and conversation, via the press or other channels.
  • Managing press relationships and securing media coverage. You will pitch stories, manage press requests, decide which interviews we will take and who takes them, handle interview prep, build and maintain relationships with journalists, and work with our external PR firm.
  • Fast, reliable service on day-to-day communications operations. Under your leadership, the communications team will manage “bread and butter” communications items like updating the website, monitoring social media, and writing our newsletters and donor emails.
  • Special projects as needed. For example, we’re currently reviewing the use of the word “charities” in our public messaging and deciding if we should update this language (e.g., to “organizations” or “grantees”) We’ll ask you to take point on similar decisions.
  • Anything else that helps us achieve our mission. We hope you’ll come with ideas.

Who might be a good fit

You might be a good fit for this work if you:

  • Are a gifted storyteller in terms of writing, content creation, and thought leadership, who can craft a compelling narrative about our mission.
  • Have good instincts for how a range of audiences are likely to perceive our communications output. You can usually predict when something might be confusing, off-putting, or easy to misconstrue, and can help us navigate communicating complex ideas with sensitivity and nuance.
  • Are able to write and edit quickly and cleanly in our voice. To get a sense of the style of writing you would be asked to oversee, we encourage you to read a few past blog posts (two examples are here and here). In general, we strive to communicate as clearly and carefully as possible, with strong reasoning transparency. While we want to make a positive case for our work, we will not sacrifice accuracy and rigor. We do not mislead donors or other consumers of our work.
  • Have a solid understanding of GiveWell’s work. You feel able to represent GiveWell positively and persuasively to people with a wide range of backgrounds and levels of familiarity with our work.
  • Are sufficiently comfortable with economic principles and quantitative reasoning to translate technical content for a non-technical audience (with support from other staff — you don’t need to be an expert on our research yourself).
  • Have great interpersonal skills and the ability to interface effectively with people in all program areas at GiveWell and externally.
  • Experience with PR and media is a plus.
  • Management experience is a plus.

The ideal candidate for this position will possess many of the skills and experiences described above. However, there is no such thing as a “perfect” candidate. If you are on the fence about applying because you are unsure whether you are qualified, we would strongly encourage you to apply. We hope you’ll also tell us which elements of the role you’re most and least excited about.

Role details and benefits

  • Compensation:
    • Tier 1 (San Francisco Bay Area or New York City): $182,800.
    • Tier 2 (all other US locations): $165,700.
    • International: Determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Location: GiveWell’s staff work primarily remotely within the U.S. and abroad.
    • Offices: You are welcome but not required to work from our offices in Oakland, California, or Brooklyn, NYC.
    • International work: We are happy to employ staff internationally on a case-by-case basis. Because this role requires significant external interaction with media and stakeholders in the US, we have a strong preference for candidates who can be consistently available during 12pm - 5pm Pacific Standard Time.
  • Flexibility: We support and encourage flexible working, including flexible hours, working remotely, and working from the office when you choose. The majority of our staff, including senior management, work flexibly in one way or another.
  • Visa Sponsorship: We will attempt to sponsor work visas for hired staff members who wish to move to the US. However, please be aware that processing times are country specific and are much longer than usual right now. We are also unable to control visa eligibility and cannot guarantee visa approval.
  • Benefits: Our benefits include:
    • Fully funded health, dental, vision, and life insurance (we cover 100% of premiums within the US for you and any dependents)
    • Four weeks of paid time off per year
    • Four months of fully paid parental leave
    • Ergonomic home workstations or coworking space memberships
    • 403(b) retirement plan
    • You can see our full list of benefits here.
  • Start date: We’d like a candidate to start as soon as possible after receiving an offer.

To apply

Apply here. We only accept applications through our website.

You can see our FAQ document for this role here. Please email us at jobs@givewell.org with any additional questions.

About GiveWell

GiveWell is motivated by the simple question: How can we do as much good as possible?

Our staff researches and makes grants to support the most cost-effective global health programs that save and improve lives. We focus on global health and poverty alleviation in the lowest-income parts of the world because that is where we've found we can have the greatest impact.

Since 2007, we’ve directed over $2 billion to cost-effective programs and interventions. In 2022, we directed over $400 million. GiveWell is one of the world’s largest private funders of global development efforts, and we estimate that the funding we've directed has saved more than 200,000 lives.
Recent grants have supported programs that:

Additional information

If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at jobs@givewell.org.

As part of our dedication to the diversity of our staff, GiveWell is committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity and to making employment decisions based on merit and value. We are committed to complying with all federal, state, and local laws providing Equal Employment Opportunities, as well as all laws related to terms and conditions of employment. We desire to maintain a work environment free of harassment or discrimination due to sex, race, religion, color, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, citizenship, physical or mental disability, marital status, familial status, ethnicity, ancestry, status as a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, age, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws.

We will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.