Organization Summary

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 to alleviate the suffering caused to animals by people and provide animals with a life worth living. Approximately 30 staff and consultants work at AWI’s Capitol Hill headquarters in Washington, DC, as well as from other locations throughout North America. More than 90 percent of AWI’s budget supports its programs to protect farm animals, animals in research, companion animals, and terrestrial and marine wildlife via strategically crafted campaigns, political advocacy, educational programs, and litigation. AWI has long-maintained an A+ rating from CharityWatch and a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, leading independent charity-rating organizations.

Position Summary

The executive director (ED) ensures the smooth and successful operation of the organization, allowing AWI to fulfill its mission, while safeguarding its long-term viability and future success. The ED facilitates the hiring and management of staff and consultants, guides the development and operation of its programs, serves as a representative of the organization, oversees the organization’s operational finances, assists with fundraising and donor relations, liaises with the AWI general counsel as necessary, and reports periodically to the AWI president and the board of directors.

Job Location

Washington, DC, headquarters at our suite of historic row houses. Remote work will not be considered for this position; however, any COVID-19 requirements will be followed, and flexible arrangements for a portion of the work week will be considered.

Job Responsibilities

  • Oversee the day-to-day operations with staff and consultants on premises and remote
  • Work with the president, general counsel, and senior program staff to develop and execute policies and activities to fulfill AWI’s mission
  • Review and approve select external communications, including AWI Quarterly magazine, action alerts, press releases, social media posts, and agency comments
  • Represent the organization while engaging effectively with constituents, other nonprofit organizations, legislators, government officials, scientists, and animal use industries, both domestically and internationally
  • Oversee AWI’s financial recordkeeping, including preparation and execution of annual budget
  • Assist with fundraising, including preparation of grant requests and donor relations as appropriate; analyze relative success of fundraising campaigns
  • Work with general counsel to ensure that the organization operates in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations
  • Oversee and direct human resources programs, including compensation, benefits, leave, occupational health and safety, and training and development
  • Oversee recruitment, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding of new staff and interns
  • Advance AWI’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative, which aims to improve representation within the organization and the animal protection movement
    Other duties as assigned by the president and the board of directors


  • Undergraduate degree (minimum), preferably in science, public policy, government relations, or nonprofit management
  • MBA preferred

Required Experience

  • Minimum three years’ experience as an executive director or other senior executive position with nonprofit organization
  • Demonstrated commitment to AWI’s mission
  • Familiarity with animal welfare issues and laws


  • Strong interpersonal skills, including relationship building and ability to work with a diversity of people, cultures, and constituencies
  • Ability to prioritize heavy workload, work independently and strategically, as well as under pressure, in a fast-paced environment
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Fundraising experience with foundations and individual donors
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office and Word
  • Moderate proficiency with Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint
  • Experience with QuickBooks and donor software such as DonorPerfect considered a plus

FLSA status: exempt


Salary range is in the low to mid one hundreds, and salary is based on experience and abilities. Benefits include medical/dental insurance, 401(k), paid leave, on-site parking, and commuter benefit program.

AWI is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or veteran status.

How to Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume by email to jobs@awionline.org and include “Executive Director” in the subject line. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted. The position will remain open until filled. No telephone calls, please.

Tagged as: executive, human resources, management, operations

About Animal Welfare Institute

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 whose mission is to alleviate the suffering of animals caused by people. Approximately 30 staff and consultants work from AWI headquarters in the Eastern Market district of Washington, DC, as well as in other locations around North America. More than 90 percent of AWI’s budget supports our programs to protect terrestrial and marine wildlife, farm animals, animals in research, and companion animals via strategically crafted campaigns, political advocacy, educational programs, litigation, and engagement with industry, policymakers, scientists, other NGOs, and the public.

Know someone interested?