Director of Policy Advocacy [NPAD-06], Political Action and Advocacy Unit, New York, NY

National Offices, New York, NY
New York
October 9, 2018

Career Opportunity

Director of Policy Advocacy [NPAD-06]

American Civil Liberties Union

Political Action and Advocacy Unit, New York, 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, advancing racial justice, 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 and civil rights cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than one 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.


The Director of Policy Advocacy is responsible for leading the organization’s policy advocacy team, in close coordination with the Issue Campaigns Director.  The Director of Policy Advocacy will be responsible for managing a team based in both New York and Washington, D.C., and orienting that team towards effective policy work for issue campaigns as well as policy support for affiliate campaigns.  This will require collaboration with state affiliates and the Washington Legislative Office within the National Political Advocacy Department; leveraging the growing grassroots capacity of the ACLU’s People Power project and the new national field team; working closely with the communications team; and staying in close touch with the ACLU’s Legal Department.


Reporting directly to the Deputy Political Director/National Advocacy Director, the Director of Policy Advocacy will do the following:

  • Manage a team based in both New York and Washington, D.C., and orient that team towards effective policy work for issue campaigns as well as policy support for affiliate campaigns.
  • Help the team develop policy agendas in their given issue areas and strategize about how to use policy in effective issue campaigns.
  • Train staff in skills needed for policy campaigns and legislative efforts.
  • Working closely with the state affiliates, develop strategies to achieve the ACLU’s policy and advocacy goals. 
  • Identify and cultivate policy and legislative capacity within ACLU affiliate offices
  • Work with others in the ACLU to make affiliate campaign grants and provide feedback to affiliates on grant commitments
  • Coordinate and strategize with the state affiliates, the Washington Legislative Office, People Power, the field team, and the communications team to bring to bear the most effective, coordinated effort to advance ACLU’s policy priorities.
  • Keep in close touch with the Legal Department to identify and leverage opportunities where litigation efforts can assist policy advocacy efforts and vice versa.
  • Represent the ACLU with coalition partners.
  • Represent the ACLU in public speaking engagements.
  • Help raise money to support the ACLU’s policy work.
  • Work with national and local media to brief them on state and local advocacy priorities of the ACLU.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office using 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, and record of arrest or conviction
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts


  • At least 10 years experience in a mix of policy, advocacy, and government.
  • J.D. required.
  • Experience managing teams required.
  • Experience doing policy advocacy (inside or outside of government) required.
  • Superior analytical skills and understanding of a wide array of civil rights and civil liberties policy areas required.
  • Experience working at the state level preferred.
  • Demonstrated strategic abilities.
  • Demonstrated ability to speak on public settings on behalf of one’s organization
  • Ability to work in a fast paced environment, simultaneously handle many tasks, work efficiently and quickly, and meet deadlines, while remaining composed under pressure.
  • Strong commitment to team building and to positive organizational culture.
  • Experience and comfort working in fast-paced environments.
  • Willingness to travel between New York and Washington, D.C.


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, a resume and a relevant writing sample of no more than 3 pages to - reference [NPAD-06/ACLU-W] in the subject line. Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email 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 Department of Education has determined that employment in this position at the ACLU does not qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

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.”

Stay Informed