Communications Strategist [COMM-36], Communications Department, NY

National Offices, New York, NY
New York
September 18, 2017

Communications Strategist [COMM-36]
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 Associate Director for 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, state advocates, vendors, and partner organizations to develop and implement communications goals and strategic 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.


  • Lead the development of multi-faceted communications strategies on an array of civil liberties issues, with a focus on national security, technology, and privacy, and free speech.
  • Coordinate with vendors working on campaigns relating to national security, privacy, and free speech.
  • Ensure consistency of messaging on all Communications content (including emails to members, action alerts, graphics, and multimedia content) relating to national security, privacy and free speech.
  • Develop and implement general communications strategies to further the ACLU brand as needed.
  • Strategize to determine the most effective spokespeople for disseminating the ACLU messages and brand.
  • Participate in shaping communications plans for legal cases and initiatives to maximize their communications value and effectiveness, as well as the visibility of the ACLU.
  • Develop multi-faceted communications and media plans, including message development and digital strategy, designed to educate, motivate, and influence target audiences.
  • Coordinate emergency responses to breaking news events.
  • Increase coverage of ACLU issues and ACLU messages by cultivating and maintaining relationships with key reporters, editors, producers and bookers.
  • 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.
  • Create and/or produce communications content, including talking points, news releases, op-eds, letters to the editor, blog posts, backgrounders, comics, videos, infographics, interactive web features, and social media content.
  • Conceptualize, as well as draft and edit, opinion pieces such as blog posts and op-eds.
  • 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
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.


  • 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.
  • Preferred: A minimum of two years of experience working on areas of national security and digital privacy; familiarity with the legal, military, and legislative history of post-9/11 America, including government policy relating to surveillance, encryption, Guantanamo, torture, and targeted killing.
  • 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 in a team environment
  • 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.


Please send a cover letter (with salary requirements), a resume and a relevant writing sample of no more than 3 pages to - reference [COMM-36/ACLU-W] in the subject linePlease 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. You can expect to receive an automatic response that acknowledges the submission of application materials.


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.

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 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.”

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