The ACLU of Washington (ACLU-WA) seeks an experienced and sophisticated Communications Director to orchestrate the planning and execution of strategic communications that maximize the organization’s impact in protecting and advancing freedom, fairness, equality, and justice. The Communications Director heads a six-person department that includes expertise in online communications and advocacy, strategic writing, and public relations.
The Director will supervise, support and inspire the communications team to ensure that communications are consistently strategic, collaborative, values-based, and consistent with ACLU policy. As a member of the senior leadership team, the Communications Director reports to the Executive Director and works collaboratively with staff across departments. The position requires a blend of issue advocacy, media relations, new media, message framing and communications planning.
The ACLU-WA is a leader among state affiliates of the ACLU, the country’s premier guardian of liberty. We work in courts, legislatures, and communities to protect and extend civil liberties and civil rights, and we are committed to equity, inclusion, and cultural competency in our work. The ACLU-WA uses a combination of advocacy tactics, including legal, policy, legislative, nonpartisan activism, and communications to advance our goals, and works with allies across the political spectrum. The ACLU-WA’s staff of 40+ employees and numerous volunteers work in a fast-paced, friendly and professional office in downtown Seattle. More than 80,000 members, activists, and donors support us.
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, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, socio-economic circumstance, or record of arrest or conviction.
Strategic Communications. In collaboration with program staff, and occasionally with other state affiliates or the National office, develop, execute, and evaluate strategic communications plans and messaging campaigns to advance our litigation, legislative and political advocacy, public education, and other work. Develop and deliver narratives that will move public opinion to support our advocacy on critical and sometimes controversial issues, infusing principles of equity and inclusion in our communications. Direct and supervise creation of internal messaging toolkits.
Media Relations. Supervise and direct ACLU-WA relations with news media across the state, both traditional and new media, as well as media serving communities of color and other special populations. Monitor media and keep relevant staff apprised of emerging issues and significant developments. Supervise or handle the writing of press releases, pitching stories to media, responding to media inquiries, and managing press conferences. Serve as general spokesperson for the ACLU-WA and determine which staff and other voices will speak on specific cases, issues, and programs. Online. Support the Online Team in developing strategies for online advocacy and social media. Ensure that content for our website is accurate, compelling, and strategically placed. Collaborate with IT Director to increase effectiveness of the website and use of social media.
Publications. Ensure that publications are accurate, structurally sound, compelling, strategic, and express our values. Publications include legislative and issue backgrounders, campaign literature, activism assets, web content, and policy reports.
Public relations. Provide guidance and support to the Public Relations Director who is responsible for organizational promotion, engagement events, and public speakers, and who develops promotional materials, advertising, donor updates, and supporter publications, including the Annual Report and Civil Liberties newspaper.
Management and Training. Foster a team environment driven by a shared vision, goals and processes. Facilitate collaboration, professionalism, and clarity of roles and responsibilities. Provide public speaking coaching, media training, and interview prep for staff and other spokespersons as needed.
Other responsibilities. Handle other projects related to advancing public understanding of civil liberties and the ACLU’s work as assigned. Attends various ACLU and community events. Helps ensure smooth and effective office operations. Helps maintain a positive, respectful, welcoming, and professional work environment for employees and volunteers. Serves as a liaison with the communications team at ACLU National.
•Ten years professional communications experience that includes a blend of issue advocacy, media relations, new media, message framing, and communications planning.
•Excellent journalistic writing and speaking skills for explaining complex legal and policy issues to diverse audiences.
•Strong analytical skills for developing messaging on issues and evaluating success of communications strategies and educational programs. Familiarity with basic legal terms and concepts, and ability to translate this knowledge into common language.
•Experience working with community partners of diverse backgrounds and cultural experiences. A demonstrable understanding of how to integrate racial equity principles into the work and how to work with impacted communities to frame messages.
•Ability to coach and support senior leaders as spokespersons.
•Demonstrated management and supervision experience, including the ability to motivate, lead, set objectives, and promote creativity and professionalism.
•Strong understanding of and commitment to civil liberties issues and support for the ACLU.
•A commitment to fostering an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences. Support for ACLU-WA norms of readiness, respect, reliability, and strategic action.
•Ability to lead planning of long-term communications projects and campaigns while at the same time responding nimbly to urgent communications needs.
•Evening and weekend work will be required as well as occasional travel, mostly within Washington state.
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-WA reserves the right to change the description and/or posting at any time without advance notice. This position is “exempt” under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
APPLICATION PROCEDURE To apply, email a letter of application and resume to Jobs@aclu-wa.org and include in the subject line of the email: your last name and Communications Director. In your letter, please indicate where you learned of the posting. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website at www.aclu-wa.org/careers.
The ACLU of Washington comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Inc. and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington Foundation. The two corporations share the same overall mission, office space, and employees. The job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU of Washington.”
Additional Salary Information: Salary is based on experience and qualifications. Benefits include three weeks of vacation to start, excellent medical and disability insurance, a retirement plan, and an ORCA card.
About ACLU of Washington
The ACLU is the nation's premier civil rights and civil liberties organization. We are the unwavering voice of freedom, fairness and equality for all people in America. We work in the courts, the legislatures, and in our communities to protect and extend basic rights for everyone. The ACLU is fueled by more than a million members and supporters as well as thousands of volunteers. The ACLU takes no government funds - we are people-powered!
The ACLU of Washington is the state affiliate of the ACLU. We work to ensure justice, freedom and equality are realities for all people in Washington state, with particular attention to the rights of people and groups who have historically been disenfranchised. Such as the young man stopped by the police because of the color of his skin. . . . the 10-year old immigrant girl forced to represent herself in court.. . . the disabled grandmother who is refused an apartment because of a decades-old conviction. . . . the woman told she may not have a hysterectomy in a religious-run hospital. . . . the gay couple refused service at a flower shop . . . and many more.