The Opportunity

The Communications Strategist is a member of the Communications Department’s team efforts to ensure top-notch strategic communications to advance the legal and policy advocacy goals of the ACLU of Northern California (ACLU NorCal) and the ACLU of California (ACLU-CA), a statewide collaboration of the California affiliates aimed at maximizing our impact and enhancing the protection of civil liberties and civil rights statewide.

The Approach

Our work is guided by the principles of freedom, equality, and justice enumerated in the Constitution. However, we know that because of historic and systemic racism and other forms of oppression, these principles are not equitably applied to all. In an ideal world, everyone would have equal access to justice and equal protection under the law. Unfortunately, neither our world nor our country is ideal. Our work involves hard subject matters that can be emotionally draining for some people. Ideal candidates will understand that as a mission driven organization; we strive to make the world a better place knowing that the road is long and hard. At the same time, we understand the importance of self-care, and do our best to reflect that in our practices and values.

The Position 

The Communications Strategist directly contributes to this work in comprehensive ways including strategic communications, media relations, and writing, with a thorough understanding of digital strategy and social media. This role will advance the work of the ACLU NorCal and ACLU-CA by utilizing goal-oriented, strategic communications tactics to amplify and publicize our work, educate the public, engage our base online, and influence how our issues are framed in the media.

You are a self-starter who thrives in a busy, bustling environment with the ability to easily balance multiple projects coming at you at once while staying focused on the details that matter. You work well under pressure and are professional at all times with strong oral and written communication skills. You are committed to racial and social justice and you treat every person with whom you work with dignity and respect and actively work to foster an equitable and inclusive experience for staff and other partners in your work.

About the Organization

The ACLU of Northern California is an affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, a nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the defense and expansion of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU NorCal) is comprised of two distinct corporations, the ACLU Foundation of Northern California (the “Foundation”, a 501c3) and the ACLU of Northern California (the “Union”, a 501c4). The incumbent is a joint employee of both corporations. For most of the last century, ACLU Nor Cal has been part of many of the most major – and sometimes controversial – struggles for civil liberties and civil rights in our state.

Our mission is to ensure that Constitutional rights don’t just exist on paper but are protected in practice. As we move into a new era, we face dangerous policies that threaten our civil rights and civil liberties, we must use our decades of experience in impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and fearless organizing to fight these policies and protect our most cherished rights and freedoms. At the same time, ACLU NorCal is committed to advancing proactive and positive change to transform laws and institutions to advance our values. We are committed to fostering an anti-racist work culture and to anti-racist principles and learning.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and execute communications plans and strategies to amplify, promote, and publicize the efforts/work of the ACLU NorCal and ACLU-CA.
    • In consultation with the Communications Director, develop the strategy for communications projects.
    • Pitching and media relations.
    • Works with the Digital Strategist, the Creative Strategist, and the Communications Associates as needed to implement the communications plan.
    • Define messaging frames and craft talking points to be used in press releases, media interviews, blog posts, social media, and email action alerts.
    • Use the Communications Department’s strategic communications process to manage requests from program staff for communications support.
    • Contribute to refining and updating the Communications Department guiding processes and protocols about best practices in strategic communications.
    • Other communications projects as assigned by the Communications Director.
  • Produce content: write blog posts, op-eds, and press releases; produce videos; craft strategic messaging; draft content for the ACLU News.
    • Write and edit blog posts for the ACLU NorCal blog, including ghostwriting for program staff.
    • Ghostwrite and edit Op-Eds.
    • Craft email action alerts, and participate in email action network strategy, in close collaboration with the New Media Strategist/Web Content Manager.
    • Write articles for the ACLU News, a print member publication.
    • Draft and edit other ACLU NorCal written materials as assigned by the Communications Director.
  • Monitor and post on social media, collaborate with the Digital Strategist to identify social media opportunities.

The Communications Strategist is essentially a project manager and has the authority to determine the strategy for projects they are assigned in consultation with the Communications Director. For instance, when an attorney or policy director submits a communications support request form related to a particular lawsuit or other matter, the Communications Director assigns the project to the Communications Strategist. In consultation with the staff-member who submitted the request, the Communications Strategist determines the appropriate strategies for the project’s goal. The Communications Strategist then drafts a communications plan and has the decision-making authority to determine what communications tactics best achieve that goal (eg: writing a press release, submitting an op-ed, advance pitching to a particular reporter, producing a video, mounting a social media campaign, writing a blog, etc.). The strategist then works with the Web Content Manager & New Media Strategist, the Creative Strategist, and the Communications Associates as needed to implement the communications plan.

Qualifications

Experience/Education:

  • Bachelor’s Degree.
  • At least five years in public interest communications, journalism, or social justice advocacy.

Required Skills / Competencies:

  • Excellent writing and editing skills.
  • The ability to distill complex legal concepts into narratives that are compelling and accessible to target audiences.
  • Solution-oriented approach, with a willingness to take initiative, while juggling several priorities.
  • A willingness to be flexible and adapt to quickly changing priorities.
  • Ability to work both independently with personal enthusiasm, optimism, and a sense of humor, and as a team member in a busy office with competing demands.
  • Commitment to racial and social justice.
  • Strong media and press strategy acumen.

Preferred Skills / Competencies:

  • Fluency in Spanish is preferred and highly valued, but not required.
  • Experience in journalism is preferred, but not required.

Technical Skills:

  • Video and audio production skills preferred, but not required.

Total Compensation

We are committed to creating and maintaining a diverse workforce through equity initiatives, which includes equitable pay practices. Competitive compensation is commensurate with experience. Starting salary range for this position is $74,132 - $86,487 Annually.

We understand how vital our work is and at the same time understand the toll engaged activism can take. Our goal is to retain staff and we believe that having a robust benefit offering is vital in meeting that goal. Our benefits include four weeks paid vacation in addition to 14 office holidays; fully employer-paid medical, vision and dental insurance for staff members, their dependents and spouse or domestic partner; life and long-term disability insurance; and 401(k) plan with employer match. We have a robust Employee Assistance Program and emerging Employee Resource Groups.

This position is represented by IFTPE Local 20.

To Apply

Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible as we will be evaluating applications on a rolling basis.  Applications must include (1) a resume, (2) a cover letter, and (3) a writing sample.  Applicants concurrently applying to any other position with the ACLU should state what other position they are applying for in the cover letter. Please submit your application online at: https://boards.greenhouse.io/aclunc/jobs/5369264002

The ACLU NorCal 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 e-mail hr@aclunc.org.  If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The ACLU of Northern California advances equity and inclusion in the workplace by providing equal employment opportunity to support a work environment free from discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (over 40), sexual orientation, military and veteran status, and any other basis prohibited by law. The organization also provides reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. This equal employment opportunity policy applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, selection, advancement, training, problem resolution, and separation from employment. Through this policy, the ACLU NorCal strives to establish and maintain an equitable and accessible work environment that is free from discrimination and supportive of a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our communities and the people we serve.

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