The ACLU-DC is a non-partisan, non-profit public interest organization devoted to protecting civil rights and civil liberties of those who live and work in the District of Columbia. Our 23 staff members work daily to achieve this mission through advocacy before the D.C. Council, litigation, public education, and organizing in all eight wards of D.C. ACLU-DC is an affiliate of the national ACLU, the leading defender of civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The ACLU works in communities, in the legislature, and in the courts to defend and expand individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.  

SUMMARY/OBJECTIVE

The American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia (ACLU-DC) seeks an experienced leader and policy advocate for the role of Policy Advocacy Director. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Policy Advocacy Director has two primary roles: management of the Policy Advocacy team that includes organizing and legislative advocacy professionals (approximately 60% of the work), and substantive policy advocacy as a generalist (approximately 40%). Our work centers on four major issue areas: Criminal Legal System Reform, Protecting the First Amendment, Freedom from Discrimination, and DC Statehood.

The Policy Advocacy Director supervises a team of organizing and legislative advocacy professionals working to effectuate change through legislative, rulemaking, and institutional policy change, community-driven advocacy, public education, organizing, and campaign coalition building to achieve ACLU-DC policy priorities. The Policy Advocacy Director will supervise the strategy, organization, and mobilization of the staff and guide the team using honed policy and political analyses, outreach to strategic allies, persuasive lobbying, and thoughtful campaign coalition management to enhance the ACLU-DC’s political influence and impact. Using an integrated advocacy approach, the department works collaboratively with the Legal and Communications teams to further its goals.

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES

Leadership and Supervision

  • Hire, support and supervise policy and organizing staff. Develop and mentor staff to grow their advocacy skills, including substantive knowledge of issue areas, policy and political acumen, policy campaign planning, coalition building, communications skills, and ability to develop and sustain strong networks of collaborators.
  • Develop long-, mid-, and short-term strategic political analyses to inform strategy and resource allocation to ensure we effectively respond to opportunities.
  • Lead the development and ongoing assessment and adaptation of strategies, campaigns, and tactics to support ACLU-DC’s goals. Create and track metrics to evaluate the progress of policy advocacy campaigns and provide key feedback or interventions to ensure effective execution.
  • Execute tactics, including organizing, communications, lobbying, and legal opportunities to further strategic campaigns.
  • Work to identify opportunities and provide leadership to set organizational policy goals, priorities, and positions within specific issue area(s).
  • Ensure that staff are accountable to achieving organizational priorities and to building and sustaining an organizational culture that promotes collaboration, professional growth, and accountability.
  • Work with staff to identify and effectively resolve work challenges internally and externally.
  • Work with the Leadership Team to help shepherd cross-team development of multiyear strategies to advance political advocacy goals. Help ensure strategic sequencing and sufficient capacity to execute strategies. Support pivots in strategy and resolution of conflicts in the work.
  • Regularly evaluate alignment between program needs and resources to support effective advancement of ACLU-DC's mission, vision, values, and programmatic goals.
  • Set and manage the annual budget for Policy Advocacy work, ensuring alignment between program needs and resources to support effective advancement of the ACLU-DC’s mission, vision, values and programmatic goals.

Policy Advocacy

  • Develop and maintain general familiarity with the work of each team member. Develop and maintain policy expertise in areas that are consistent with the organization’s mission, vision, values and programmatic plan.
  • Promote cohesion among various ACLU-DC campaigns and priorities; prevent or resolve potential conflict in the work.
  • Lobby public officials. Prepare and deliver testimony; draft and review legal and policy advocacy letters and regulatory comments. Sit on government task forces.
  • Analyze proposed and prospective legislation and regulations; provide policy and legal feedback to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Collaborate with the Communications Department to identify and advance opportunities to increase support for ACLU-DC policy proposals through public education. Provide legal and policy expertise to support effective message development and ensure ACLU-DC communications about policy are accurate, comprehensive, and consistent with ACLU-DC goals.
  • Maintain strong relationships with external community partners to ensure that the ACLU-DC’s advocacy work is responsive to community needs and increases the power of impacted communities to effectuate sustained change.
  • Serve as an organizational spokesperson on policy issues consistent with the organization’s mission vision, values, and programmatic plan.

Note to Potential Candidates: Research shows that women, non-binary people, and people of color are less likely to apply for a position if they don’t meet every qualification or skill listed. We know that not all strong candidates will have every skill we list—that’s okay! We still want to hear from you.

QUALIFICATIONS

Required

  • JD strongly preferred. Other advanced degrees with significant policy advocacy experience will be considered, with a minimum of 5 years of advocacy experience required.
  • Experience working in a senior policy position that required significant political advocacy acumen and management finesse required.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and implement effective strategies based on realistic objectives, maintain momentum, and evaluate progress. Civil rights advocacy experience preferred.
  • Demonstrated commitment to civil rights, civil liberties, and racial justice. The ability to quickly develop understanding of different civil rights and civil liberties issues and to advocate effectively in multiple issue areas.
  • Minimum three years’ experience managing staff. A track record of successful leadership that includes strong collaboration, relationship building, and development of staff. Experience managing staff in a union environment is a plus.
  • Excellent delegation, project management, and organizational skills to manage one’s own work as well as the work of others and to achieve long term strategic objectives.
  • Excellent problem solving and conflict management skills, especially as it relates to facilitating effective collaboration among people from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. A high degree of emotional intelligence and ability to exercise judgment in complex situations is a plus.
  • Strong public speaking, writing, and editing skills. The ability to communicate complex information to a wide variety of audiences and communicate strategically on controversial issues. Competence in the use of office computer applications, electronic databases, and electronic legal research.

Preferred

  • At least five years of experience in political, legislative, or policy-related work.
  • Experience working with activists, grassroots groups, and other non-governmental organizations.
  • Experience with political or political issue campaigns.

COMPETENCIES

  • Demonstrated commitment to civil rights and civil liberties consistent with the mission and goals of the ACLU.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences.
  • Excellent communication, media, presentation, written, and analytical skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills and a creative and strategic approach to problem-solving.
  • Goal-oriented, project-oriented, and achievement-oriented, with an ability to recognize and maximize opportunities on behalf of the organization.
  • Understanding of the legislative and political processes, ballot measure campaigns and political strategic planning.
  • Ability to work collaboratively in coalitions, including developing shared plans, coordinating external and internal communications, and navigating internal political dynamics among partner groups.
  • Exceptional initiative, vision, and ability to develop and implement short and long-term integrated policy strategies utilizing a broad range of tactics.
  • Commitment to the highest ethical standards of lobbying and professionalism.
  • Ability to work long hours during legislative session and commute to meetings and events throughout the District, as needed.
  • Courage and integrity.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY

This position currently supervises six (6) staff, including policy and organizing staff. This position is managerial and is not included in the employee bargaining unit.

COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

The salary range for this position is $110,000 to $140,000 with an offer based on individual experience and abilities. Excellent benefits include paid time off, generous paid holidays, medical, dental, and vision insurance, 401K plan with employer matching.

TO APPLY

Application Link

Applications must be submitted via the Bamboo HR application page linked on our website at acludc.org. If you have a disability/ies and need accommodation regarding any part of the application process, please contact us at operations (at) acludc.org. To complete the application, you will need to upload:

  • Current resume
  • Cover letter explaining your interest in and qualifications for the position as detailed in the job description
  • Writing or work sample demonstrating the competencies detailed in the job description
  • Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis; applying sooner is encouraged. The position will remain open until filled. This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU-DC reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.

The ACLU-DC is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU-DC encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or any other classification protected by the D.C. Human Rights Act or federal employment law.