Policy Advisor/Senior Policy Advisor, Terrestrial Wildlife Program

Animal Welfare Institute

Washington, DC

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $72,500-$110,000 per year to start, plus generous benefits
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

Permanent, Full-Time | Remote or Washington, DC | Advanced Degree/J.D. Required
Five+ Years (Policy Advisor) or Ten+ Years (Senior Policy Advisor) Experience Preferred

Position Summary: The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) seeks a full-time policy advisor or senior policy advisor to join our Terrestrial Wildlife Program team (Program). This is a new role that expands our Program and presents an exciting opportunity to develop and implement innovative legal, policy, and administrative efforts to protect terrestrial wildlife at local, state, national, and international levels. You will use a broad suite of advocacy tools to advance the Program’s mission to reduce the detrimental impacts of human activities on wild animals. We work to foster humane, nonlethal, science-based solutions to conflicts with wildlife, protect threatened and endangered species and their habitat, and address unsustainable and inhumane global wildlife trade. You will report to the Program’s Director/Senior Attorney, and work with other members of the Program as an integral part of an experienced, high-performing, close-knit, and collaborative team.

About AWI: Working at AWI, you will join over 30 highly motivated staff and consultants working in our headquarters in Washington, DC, and remotely across the United States and Canada. We envision a world where no animal suffers because of humans. For 73 years, we have advanced our mission through strategically crafted political and legal advocacy, educational programs, litigation, research, and engagement with policymakers, scientists, industry, educators, other NGOs, the media, and the public. We are a national nonprofit dedicating more than 90 percent of our budget to programs and campaigns that protect animals everywhere: in the wild, in agriculture, in commerce, in our homes and communities, and in research. AWI is committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion, creating a culture that values differences and where all employees thrive.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Identify and engage in opportunities to protect terrestrial wildlife through federal and state regulatory mechanisms, legislation, and litigation.
  • Engage in administrative advocacy at the state and federal levels by drafting petitions for rulemaking, comments on proposed regulations, and ESA listing petitions.
  • Advance AWI’s legislative efforts by drafting and reviewing state and federal legislation, engaging with state and federal policymakers, and testifying before Congress, state legislatures, and administrative agencies.
  • Research and prepare reports to educate the public and to influence policy.
  • Draft and submit FOIA and other public records requests and appeals, track agency responses, and communicate with federal and state agencies to obtain timely responses.
  • Assist with the Program’s work related to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, as needed.
  • Represent AWI at meetings, hearings, conferences, and other events.
  • Draft action alerts, press releases, op-eds, educational materials, social media posts, website content, donor updates, and AWI Quarterly magazine articles.
  • In conjunction with AWI’s communications staff, devise and implement media strategies.
  • Cultivate strong relationships with government officials, legislators, and fellow advocates.
  • Build alliances and participate in advocacy organization coalitions.
  • Participate in training and professional development opportunities.


  • A J.D. or advanced degree in environmental policy, public policy, or a related field is required. Candidates with an active license to practice law may be considered for a staff attorney or senior attorney position if the candidate indicates interest. Attorneys will have the opportunity to engage in litigation, if desired.
  • A minimum of five years of relevant experience is required for the policy advisor position. A minimum of ten years of relevant experience is required for the senior policy advisor position.

Qualifications and Skills

  • Passion for AWI’s mission; demonstrated commitment to preventing animal suffering and preserving wildlife.
  • Experience using a broad suite of legal advocacy tools, including federal and state administrative rulemakings and petitions, and legislation.
  • Experience working using law, science, policy, and communications to advance legal advocacy.
  • Outstanding research, writing, and communication skills.
  • Excellent oral advocacy skills, including public speaking experience.
  • Strong knowledge of the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Administrative Procedures Act, Freedom of Information Act, and other federal and state laws that protect terrestrial wildlife.
  • Exceptional ability to facilitate conversation and drive decision-making in a consensus-oriented team and organization.
  • An entrepreneurial spirit, with demonstrated ability to take initiative and think creatively.
  • Demonstrated ability to cultivate and maintain relationships with a wide range of stakeholders and policymakers, including other NGOs, state and federal government officials, and legislators and their staff.
  • Understanding of scientific principles as they apply to the Program’s activities.
  • Superb work ethic and sound judgment, with the ability to assume responsibility for project leadership, including planning and implementation, and ability to balance independent action with regular communication with Director and Program team members.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and proactively, as well as high capacity to work constructively in a team environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a fast-paced environment, meet deadlines, use good time management and organizational skills, and prioritize a heavy workload.
  • Commitment to the highest standards of professional conduct.
  • Ability to work effectively with and to understand the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.
  • Commitment and positive contribution to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work culture.

Job Location: The position may be located either on-site at AWI’s headquarters in Washington, DC, or in a remote location anywhere in the United States. 

Salary and Benefits: The starting salary range is $72,500-$90,000 for the policy advisor position and $90,000-$110,000 for the senior policy advisor position. Salary is based on education, experience, qualifications, skills, internal equity, and location. The hiring range maximum is reserved for candidates with the highest qualifications and relevant experience.

We offer an excellent benefits package, including:

  • 100% employer-paid medical, dental, and vision insurance.
  • Paid time off policy that includes three weeks of vacation, two weeks of sick leave, five personal days, 12 paid holidays, and bereavement leave.
  • 401(k) with employer match of 5% of employee’s salary.
  • 12 weeks of paid parental leave following childbirth or adoption.
  • Support for mental wellness, including CareFirst Wellness and an Employee Assistance Program.
  • 100% employer-paid short-term and long-term disability benefits.
  • Access to reduced-rate pet insurance payable through payroll deductions.
  • Resources to attend conferences and professional development trainings.
  • If working in the dog-friendly DC office, on-site parking and access to DC Metro SmartBenefits program, or if working remotely, resources to support a home office.

AWI is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to employment practices that provide equal opportunities for all persons without regard to age, gender, race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law. We are committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization, and encourage applications from candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the animal welfare movement.


To apply: Please submit the following materials to jobs@awionline.org, with Terrestrial Policy Advisor in the subject line: (1) cover letter, including an explanation of your interests in wildlife protection and your motivation to work in this position and the public interest field; (2) resume; and (3) two writing samples that are your own work. If the writing sample is not entirely your own work, explain your role in drafting the writing sample. A rulemaking comment or petition and a report or white paper are preferred writing samples. First round of interviews will be taken from applications received by June 14, 2024. After this date, we will continue to accept and review applications received, and we encourage candidates to apply. The position will remain open until filled. 

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Admin & Leadership, Policy And Law, Wildlife
Tags Outreach