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Communications Strategist [COMM-39]

Organization: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU)
Date Posted: 9/12/2017
Date Needed: 9/12/2017
City: New York, NY
Location: New York
Country: United States
Primary Category: Non-Profit
Type of Position: Full-Time
Education Requirement: Bachelor's
Experience Requirement: 1-2 years

Description & Details

Communications Strategist [COMM-39]
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.


The ACLU has made an unambiguous and unwavering commitment to the importance of communications as a central and essential element in the success of its mission. The organization places great emphasis on the role of communications in framing the debate on its issues, building support, and increasing the impact of its work. 

The Communications Department of the ACLU’s National Office in New York City is seeking a full-time Communications Strategist.

The Communications Strategist is a member of a team of professionals in the ACLU’s Communications Department in New York and Washington, DC.  The Communications Strategist will work to support the ACLU’s important litigation and advocacy issues and the 53 ACLU affiliate offices.  The ideal candidate is an individual with a fine-tuned sense of “what sells” in the news media, is comfortable liaising with reporters affiliated with major news outlets, is a solid writer and has a firm understanding of social media. We are seeking a candidate who thrives in a fast-paced environment and who pursues a strategic approach to promoting issues and guiding prominent civil liberties experts on working with the media. The Communications Strategist will report directly to the Associate Director of Strategic Communications.



  • Lead the development of multi-faceted communications strategies on a wide array of civil liberties issues, including LGBT, reproductive rights, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, criminal and racial justice, and national security, technology and privacy.
  • Develop and implement general communications strategies to further the ACLU brand as needed.
  • 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, which include message development, web presence, advocacy and social media, to educate, motivate, and influence target audiences.
  • Increase coverage of ACLU issues and messages by cultivating relationships with reporters, editors, producers, bookers, bloggers and other media professionals, including those from Spanish language outlets.
  • Regularly pitch stories on ACLU issues to print, broadcast and digital outlets.
  • Generate and maintain media lists on Vocus to distribute news releases.
  • Create communications content, including talking points, news releases, op-eds, letters to the editor, blog posts, backgrounders and website and social media content. Conceptualize, as well as draft and edit, opinion pieces such as blog posts and op-eds.
  • Write social media language for ACLU initiatives, blog posts, op-eds and related material.
  • Work with the ACLU’s Legal and Advocacy departments to publicize their work. 
  • Prepare clients, litigators, state advocates, and other spokespeople for media appearances.
  • Advise and provide guidance on media outreach and strategy to the affiliate staff.
  • Identify and seize opportunities to promote ACLU messages and spokespeople on ACLU issues, including ACLU clients and non-affiliated messengers.
  • 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 a related field is required.
  • A minimum of three years of public relations experience that includes involvement in advocacy-oriented media campaigns.
  • Experience working with the media and cultivating relationships with print, radio, television and online journalists.
  • 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 on issue-based advocacy campaigns. Experience with criminal justice issues is a plus. Experience in communicating complex issues to varied audiences.
  • Must possess strong organizational skills, be detail-oriented and possess the ability to follow projects through to completion.
  • Experience crafting social media messages, and promoting issues through social media required.
  • Familiarity 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.
  • Strong writing and editing skills; ability to produce clear, concise talking points, press releases and other materials within tight deadlines.
  • Understanding of trends and best practices for online campaigning, and best practices for communicating via email, Facebook and Twitter, preferred.
  • Demonstrated interests in civil liberties/civil rights.

The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.


How to Apply / Contact


Please send a cover letter (with salary requirements), a resume and a relevant writing sample of no more than 3 pages to - reference [COMM-39/ACLU-W] in the subject line.  Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address.  This email address is specific to Development 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 contact:hrjobsincl@aclu.orgCorrespondence 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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