Communications Strategist [COMM-17]
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
Communications Department, NY
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, record of arrest or conviction.
Reporting to the Deputy Director of Strategic Communications, the Communications Strategist will play a critical role in developing and executing communications strategies that advance the ACLU’s work on civil liberties. The Strategist will work to execute strategies through collaboration with internal communications colleagues, lawyers, lobbyists, national political advocacy staff, ACLU state affiliate staff, vendors, and partner organizations to develop and implement communications strategies and media relations plans. The Strategist will also engage target audiences about litigation and advocacy; create content for publications and the website; and, plan events such as issue teleconferences.
ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
- Lead the development of multi-faceted communications strategies on a wide array of civil liberties issues, ranging from criminal justice reform, immigrants’ rights, voting rights, LGBT, reproductive rights, and national security, technology and privacy
- Develop and implement communications strategies to further the ACLU brand as needed
- Strategize to determine the most effective spokespeople for disseminating the ACLU messages and brand
- Develop multi-faceted communications and media plans, which include message development, crisis preparation and ally engagement, to educate, motivate, and influence target audiences
- Participate in shaping communications plans to maximize their communications value and effectiveness, as well as the visibility of the ACLU
- Increase coverage of ACLU issues and ACLU messages by cultivating and maintaining relationships with key reporters, editors, producers and bookers
- Identify and lead response to breaking news events, often requiring sensitive judgment calls in emerging civil liberty and civil rights crises
- Prepare, review and copy-edit media materials, letters to the editor and other communications materials
- Create and/or produce talking points, news releases, op-eds, letters to the editor, backgrounders, and participate in generation of videos, infographics, interactive web features, and social media content
- Develop ideas for and pitch feature stories
- Develop and update issue talking points for all advocacy and communications staff nationally and at affiliates in preparation for responding to addressing sensitive and/or controversial issues
- Prepare clients, litigators, state advocates, and other spokespeople for media appearances
- Work in collaboration with the advocacy team to develop communications strategies and tactics for state legislative and advocacy initiatives
- Provide guidance to affiliates in the development of communications materials and strategy, when necessary
- Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office; a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance, record of arrest or conviction
- Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts
EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
- Bachelor’s Degree in Communications or a related field is required. Advanced degree is a plus
- A minimum of five years of professional experience in a combination of the following areas: media, strategic communications, digital communications, and public relations
- Experience working on issue-based advocacy campaigns, and in communicating complex issues to a variety of targeted audiences
- Must possess strong organizational skills, be detail-oriented and possess the ability to follow projects through to completion
- Ability to communicate persuasively and professionally, in writing through op-eds and blog posts, and to communicate verbally to a wide variety of media, political, stakeholder, and influencer audiences
- Experience working with the media and cultivating relationships with print, radio, television and online journalists
- Proven experience in exercising judgment in breaking news and rapid response environments
- Experience in online media production, especially video and graphics
- Experience crafting social media messages, and promoting issues through social media
- Experience with online news, social media and digital advocacy tactics
- Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to work collaboratively with others including cross departmentally as part of a team
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office and Associated Press style required
- Familiarity with Cision/Vocus public relations software a plus
- Basic proficiency with HTML; experience using a CMS to publish and update website content, preferred
- Understanding of trends and best practices for online campaigning, and best practices for communicating via email, Facebook and Twitter, preferred
- Experience using Photoshop to edit basic graphics, a plus
- A demonstrated interest in civil liberties and passion for the work of the ACLU is essential
The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.
HOW TO APPLY
Please send a cover letter (with salary requirements), a resume and a relevant writing sample of no more than 3 pages to hrjobsCOMM@aclu.org - reference [COMM-17/ACLU-W] in the subject line. Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address. This email address is specific to the Communications Department. In order to ensure your application is received please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address.
Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this career opportunity
Applications will be accepted until the position is 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 reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.
The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction.
The ACLU undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.
We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact:firstname.lastname@example.org. Correspondence sent to this email address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed. Applicants should follow the instructions above regarding how to apply.
The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”