Communications Director - ACLU of Michigan

Affiliate Offices
September 5, 2017

Position Overview

The Communications Director (CD) is a member of the ACLU of Michigan’s leadership team and plays a key role in executing the organization's strategic priorities. The CD develops and implements communications and marketing efforts to enhance the impact of our work, reach new and diverse audiences, engage our members and financial supporters, and attract high quality media coverage of the ACLU of Michigan’s work. The CD should be able to conceptualize strategies and outcomes over the long term while implementing that work in a fast-paced and often high-pressure environment.

The CD contributes to a collaborative work culture to ensure the excellence of all external communications materials and with our organizational partners and National ACLU staff in the communications, legal and policy departments. The CD directly supervises a digital media strategist, investigative reporter and occasional consultants and reports to the Executive Director.

Specific Responsibilities

1. Strategy and Goals

  • Conceive a broad vision for using communications strategies to further the goals of the ACLU of Michigan, and develop plans to execute that vision and measure progress.
  • Determine appropriate communications channels and tactics to disseminate ACLU news, promote specific advocacy campaigns, publicize events and broaden and engage diverse audiences.
  • Spearhead multi-media public education campaigns to uplift legal, policy and fieldled issue campaigns related to the organization’s strategic goals.
  • Facilitate “one voice” and good use of the ACLU brand by working effectively across departments and with ACLU lay leaders to ensure volunteer work and programs complement state and national priorities.

2. Media Relations, Marketing, and Branding

  • Manage and coordinate all aspects of media relations, including press releases, conferences and advisories, earned media, media requests, talking points, messaging guidance and op-eds, organizational statements, and interviews with ACLU spokespersons. Monitor the media and take advantage of opportunities to engage.
  • Manage speaking requests to ensure effective use of staff time, coordination, high impact, and high quality messaging by all those speaking on behalf of the organization;
  • Manage development, production and distribution of all external materials prepared by staff, experts or consultants.
  • Support development staff activities that require marketing expertise and the production of supporting materials for messaging and events. e. Help lead and support efforts across departments to thoughtfully engage the many thousands of new ACLU members to increase rates of retention. f. Support the Executive Director as a key organizational spokesperson by arranging media interviews, providing background material as needed, and drafting op-eds and statements. Ensure that other members of the leadership team are thoughtfully deployed and well-prepared for media interviews and speaking engagements.

3. New Media Innovation 

  • Manage online presence and digital storytelling platforms that result in measureable action. Explore innovative methods for presenting the ACLU of Michigan’s work digitally.
  • Manage online organizing, email marketing and action alert platforms to ensure effective engagement of ACLU members and supporters.
  • Manage digital storytelling best practices and supervise the production of shareable images, infographics and videos.

4. Leadership

  • Manage, motivate and mentor a team of communications professionals in an environment that supports professional growth, results, and accountability and ensures that the communications infrastructure is well-run, efficient and organized.
  • Collaborate with the leadership team to help shape organizational direction and ensure that priority issues and campaigns have a strong communications infrastructure.
  • Contribute to the financial sustainability of ACLU operations by providing support as requested by development staff and the Executive Director.
  • Contribute to a highly communicative internal culture that ensures all staff are wellinformed of relevant media-related work.
  • Contribute to the annual budgeting process, ensuring that needed resources are identified and secured, acting as a strong fiduciary of non-profit dollars, and being accountable for project expenses.

5. Other tasks as assigned by the Executive Director. 


At least five years of progressive professional experience in public relations, political organizing, journalism, or a related field which included significant writing and editorial responsibilities. B.A. is required, with a preference for journalism, political science, and public relations majors.

Leadership and supervisory experience required.

Excellent writing, editing, speaking and analytic skills; the ability to explain complex civil liberties issues to the public; strong attention to detail and organizational skills.

Demonstrated success directing traditional and digital media campaigns. Knowledge of Michigan media and digital platforms preferred.

Ability and familiarity with interactive design, website and social media management, and online organizing and email marketing strategy. Proficiency with digital content management systems a plus.

Ability to work effectively with diverse coalitions and community groups and value differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstances.

Project management and collaboration experience including interdepartmental or multidisciplinary projects and shepherding projects from inception to completion.

Personal Characteristics

  • Personally committed to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals and programs, with an understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications.
  • An energetic person who can handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities; a self-starter and finisher.
  • A team player that inspires collaboration and functions decisively; flexible and well organized.
  • Emotionally mature and self-confident, with a sense of humor in order to maintain balance and perspective.

Supervision: The Communications Director reports to the Executive Director.

Compensation: Salary is commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits including health  insurance and a 401(k) plan. This is a Band III position.

Application Procedure 

Please submit, in digital form, a detailed letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to Please include or link to a portfolio with a small selection of materials that best exemplify your talents. Materials should not be co-authored or heavily edited. Include Communications Director and your name in the subject line of the email.

Application review begins September 5, 2017. Position will remain open until filled.

The ACLU of Michigan is an equal opportunity/ affirmative action employer. Women, people of color, persons with disabilities, returning citizens, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are encouraged to apply.

The ACLU of Michigan comprises two separate corporate entities, the ACLU of Michigan and the ACLU of Fund of Michigan. The ACLU of Michigan and the ACLU Fund of Michigan share the same mission, office space, and employees. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU of Michigan.”

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