The American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) is the nation’s premier guardian of the civil rights and liberties that define our democracy. Fundamental freedoms are under attack ranging from free speech, to voting, reproductive, and LGBTQ rights to racial justice. The work of the ACLU has never been more important or more urgent.

 

“Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all

and expand the reach of its guarantees.”

 

The ACLU was founded in 1920 to defend and protect the civil rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the nation’s civil rights laws. It is known for assembling broad coalitions of conservatives, moderates, and progressives to advance civil liberties on a wide range of issues, standing up for these rights even when the cause is unpopular and sometimes when no one else will. 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. When the Trump Administration began an attack on civil liberties, the ACLU was the first organization to challenge its policies. The same holds true during Democratic administrations, whenever civil rights and civil liberties are in jeopardy.

 

The ACLU consists of two separate nonprofits with a combined budget of $375M between the ACLU and the ACLU Foundation. The ACLU is a 501(c)(4) corporation, and the ACLU Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Donations to the Foundation are tax deductible. The ACLU is funded by its 1.7 million members and donors. The 52 Affiliates are separately incorporated nonprofits, though a unified fund- sharing system allocates resources between and among Affiliates and the National Office. A National Board of Directors – with representatives from each of the Affiliates – sets overall policy for the national organization. There are over 1,700 ACLU staff members across the nationwide network.

 

The organization experienced substantial growth since 2016 almost doubling the budget and doubling its staff size in the national headquarters. This growth was fueled in large part due to its ability to quickly mobilize and challenge threats to civil rights and civil liberties so prevalent during the Trump Administration. As the organization has experienced rapid growth, there is work currently underway to ensure priorities, work and resources are aligned and that the values espoused externally are experienced internally.

 

The ACLU, with headquarters in New York City, is the nation’s largest public interest law firm, litigating across the nation and all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (appearing before the body more than any other organization, other than the U.S. Department of Justice). The Washington, D.C., legislative office lobbies the U.S. Congress, and the ACLU uses strategic communications to educate the public about issues.

 

The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union – beyond one person, party, or side. Their mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.

 

For over 100 years, the ACLU has worked 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 LGBTQ+ 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.

 

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the ACLU and central to their work to advance liberty, equality, and justice for all. They are a community committed to learning and growth, humility and grace, transparency and accountability. The ACLU believes in a collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all people within our organization – one that respects and embraces difference; treats everyone equitably; and empowers colleagues to do the best work possible. They are as committed to anti-oppression and anti-racism internally as they are externally. Because whether the ACLU in the courts or in the office, they believe ‘We the People’ means all of us.

 

For more information about the ACLU, please visit www.aclu.org and review the 2022 annual report here.

 

The Role

The Director of National Campaigns, Democracy is a critical member of the team within the National Political Advocacy Department (NPAD) and reports to the Senior Director, National Campaigns & Organizing. The Director is responsible for working with divisions within NPAD, including Policy & Government Affairs and Organizing and ACLU affiliates to chart the course for democracy-related federal campaigns, including across democracy, voting rights, and other civil rights and civil liberties issues. The Director will be responsible for achieving legislative and administrative victories that advance democracy, voting rights, and other civil rights and civil liberties issues at the national/federal level by driving campaign interventions that leverage and build the political power wielded by the Department and the ACLU.

 

NPAD builds power to achieve an accountable, representative democracy. The Department has ambitious goals across Reproductive Freedom, Democracy and Voting Rights, Systemic Equality, Immigration, Trans Justice, Criminal Justice and other core issues in order to protect and expand civil rights and civil liberties, and advance the freedom, equality, ability to prosper, and humanity of all People. 

 

NPAD conducts analysis, develops policy, crafts world class campaigns, and situates the ACLU to have impact across legislative and administrative levers. The team includes policy experts, lawyers, community organizers, lobbyists, campaign strategists, electoral specialists, program managers, and more. They partner across the ACLU to drive national efforts, and support and amplify the priorities of our affiliates and work to center principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging in their approach.

 

The Director will work with a cross-functional team that is charged with developing campaign goals, strategies, and budgets to reach political/policy outcomes. The Director will be responsible for developing staff capacity to work together collaboratively and grow the team’s issue expertise and campaign skills.

 

Operating as a central decision maker on democracy campaigns at the national level, the Director will influence overall campaign strategy and priorities, and shaping budgeting decisions, in partnership with key stakeholders, manage external engagements and develop political messaging frames. While maintaining focus on strategic political advocacy goals, the Director will identify areas of work that should be prioritized by the Division, as well as campaigns and initiatives in response to unexpected, significant developments. 

 

The Director will be responsible for supporting and consulting with the State Campaign Division, the Electoral Team, and ACLU affiliates to identify and execute executing on democracy, voting rights, and other civil rights and civil liberties issues-related state-based campaigns, insofar as they overlap with federal campaigns. In partnership with Policy & Government Affairs, they will also develop and maintain relationships with allies and other partner organizations to further political advocacy goals.

 

Additional responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Work with other departments across the ACLU, including colleagues in Communications, Analytics, Legal, etc. to develop comprehensive strategies to advance goals.  
  • Maintain big-picture awareness of emerging opportunities and challenges in the issue areas.
  • Support efforts to fundraise on behalf of the Department and the broader ACLU.
  • May provide subject matter expertise, advice, and support to fellow colleagues as they develop and execute campaigns in new and unfamiliar issue areas

Demonstrate an ability to be flexible and adjust priorities as necessary in order to adapt to changing external environment

  • Center principles of equity, inclusion, and belonging in all work, embedding the values in program development, policy application, and organizational practices and processes.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the mission and values of ACLU and NPAD.
  • 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, disability and socio-economic circumstance .
  • Demonstrate a commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts

The role is based in Washington, D.C. and occasional travel is expected.

Candidate Profile

The ACLU seeks a highly-skilled and experienced individual who brings deep issue campaign experience and passion for democracy, voting rights, and other civil rights and civil liberties issues. They will have a track record of designing campaign strategy and tactics and executing sophisticated campaign plans on a national scale.

This leader will be experienced in leading legislative and administrative advocacy campaigns.  They will be familiar with building, leading, and working within coalitions. The successful candidate will naturally connect and build strong relationships with others, demonstrating strong emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively. They will bring excellent research, writing, and analytical skills. The successful candidate will be comfortable representing the organization and bring public speaking experience.

This next leader of National Campaigns, Democracy will be effective working in a fast-paced environment, can handle multiple tasks simultaneously, is able to work efficiently and quickly, is reliable in their delivery against deadlines, and is composed under pressure.

In terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:

Setting Strategy & Executing for Results

  • Proven track record in issue advocacy and/or electoral campaign experience at the national/federal level - campaign management experience strongly preferred.
  • Decisive in strategic planning but is aware of a changing environment and maintains a needed level of flexibility.
  • The vision and skills to create and articulate an inspiring vision for the Division.
  • The ability to set clear and challenging goals while committing the organization to improved performance; tenacious and accountable in driving results.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty; capacity to adapt nimbly and lead others through complex situations.
  • A leader who is viewed by others as having a high degree of integrity and forethought in their approach to making decisions; acts in a transparent and consistent manner while always taking into account what is best for the organization.

Leading Teams

  • Demonstrated experience leading people and teams
  • The ability to motivate the team, attract and recruit, and retain top talent, delegate effectively, celebrate diversity within the team, and manage performance; widely viewed as a strong developer of others.
  • Able to persevere in the face of challenges, and exhibit a steadfast resolve and relentless commitment to higher standards.
  • Self-reflective and aware of their own limitations; leads by example and drives the organization's performance with an attitude of continuous improvement by being open to feedback and self-improvement.
  • The willingness to make mistakes in pursuit of ambitious, game-changing goals, while possessing the ability to accept responsibility and learn from those mistakes with a sense of humor and humility.

Relationships and Influence

  • Outstanding relationship builder who uses influence effectively in a variety of settings, both within the organization and with external constituencies, including public officials, trade associations, and other relevant parties.
  • Ability to work in a matrixed and federated environment; strong conflict management skills; ability to bring consensus around a common purpose and deliver collaborative solutions.
  • Demonstrated commitment to working respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.
  • Skilled at advocacy, influence, and persuasion; able to convince others to act on information or recommendations based on compelling logic or common best interests.
  • Deep commitment to actively promoting the values and practices of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and further fostering an environment of belonging and trust.
  • Excellent emotional intelligence and ability to work closely and collaboratively with a wide range of people.

Compensation

The ACLU values equity, transparency, and clarity in pay. Consistent with the ACLU’s compensation philosophy, there is a set salary for this role. The annual salary for this position is $206,637 (C2 Level). This salary is reflective of a position based in New York, NY, where the ACLU’s National Offices are headquartered. This salary will be subject to a locality adjustment (according to a specific city and state) if an authorization is granted to work outside of the location listed in this posting.

Equal Opportunity Statement

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer and values 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, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people; women; people with disabilities, protected veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals are all strongly encouraged to apply.

The ACLU makes every effort to assure that its recruitment and employment provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions.

The ACLU is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please email benefits.hrdept@aclu.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The Department of Education has determined that employment in this position at the ACLU does not qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Contact

Russell Reynolds Associates has been exclusively retained for this search. Individuals interested in applying are invited to submit, in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF form, a curriculum vitae and brief explanation of interest to ACLUDemocracyCampaigns@RussellReynolds.com. Inquiries and nominations should also be sent to this address.

 

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