Communications Strategist [COMM-81] - Communications Department, NY

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • New York, NY, USA
  • May 21, 2019
Full time Public Policy

Job Description

Communications Strategist [COMM-81] - Communications Department, NY


Office:  National Offices, New York, NY

Location:  New York

MAY 17, 2019


Communications Strategist [COMM-81]

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 Communications Department of the ACLU’s National office in New York City seeks applications for the full-time position of Communications Strategist.



The Communications Strategist will play a critical role in developing and executing communications strategies that advance the ACLU’s work on civil liberties and civil rights. The role will work to execute strategies on reproductive rights issues through collaboration with communications colleagues, digital team members, organizers, lawyers, lobbyists, state advocates, vendors, and partner organizations to develop and implement communications strategic plans.  The position will also engage target audiences about ACLU litigation and advocacy; create content for publications and the website; and, plan events such as mobilization activations, and issue teleconferences. The Strategist will report to the Director of Strategic Communications.



  • Lead the development of multi-faceted communications strategies on reproductive rights issues.
  • Help develop and implement organizational communications strategies to further the ACLU brand as needed.
  • Strategize to determine the most effective spokespeople for disseminating ACLU messages and brand on reproductive rights issues.
  • Develop multi-faceted communications plans to educate, motivate, and influence target audiences , which include goals, target audiences, messaging, as well as media relations, digital, advocacy and social media strategies.
  • Participate in shaping communications plans for ACLU initiatives to maximize their communications value and effectiveness, as well as the visibility of the ACLU.
  • Increase news coverage of ACLU reproductive rights work and ACLU messages by cultivating and maintaining relationships with key reporters, editors, producers and bookers.
  • Identify needs for digital content and written materials for ACLU’s reproductive rights work, and partner with the cross-organizational digital team and relevant working groups to have them produced in line with agreed strategies;
  • Identify and lead responses to breaking news events, often requiring sensitive judgment calls in emerging civil liberty crises.
  • Create and/or produce communications content, including talking points, news releases, pitches, op-eds, letters to the editor, blog posts, backgrounders, social media content, comics, videos, infographics, interactive web features, and social media content.
  • Develop and pitch feature stories.
  • Lead communications rapid response efforts across platforms, swiftly and effectively.
  • Lead cross-functional working group of ACLU staff to develop, execute, and evaluate an ongoing communications program on reproductive rights issues.
  • Develop and update issue talking points for ACLU and affiliate staff in preparation for responding to addressing sensitive and/or controversial issues.
  • Prepare clients, organizers, litigators, state advocates, and other spokespeople for media appearances.
  • Collaborate with reproductive rights colleague organizations on movement-wide communications activities, and maintain relationships with communications staff at other reproductive rights groups.
  • In coordination with multimedia staff, conceptualize, script, direct, and produce all video content relating to civil liberties issues.
  • Work in collaboration with the advocacy team to develop communications strategies and tactics for federal and state legislative and advocacy initiatives.
  • Provide guidance to affiliates in the development of communications materials and strategy, when necessary.
  • 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, record of arrest or conviction.
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.



  • Bachelor’s Degree in Communications or a related field is required. Advanced degree is a plus. 
  • A minimum of three years’ professional experience in a combination of the following areas: media, strategic communications, journalism, content creation, digital communications, and public relations.       
  • Experience working on issue-based advocacy campaigns, and in communicating complex issues to a variety of targeted audiences. 
  • Experience in reproductive rights and abortion-related issues.
  • Knowledge of current trends in reproductive rights advocacy and communications, including familiarity with messaging, political trends, and the wider reproductive rights movement.
  • Strong project management skills, including leading cross-functional teams, managing complex processes, meeting and program facilitation.
  • Must possess strong organizational skills, be detail-oriented and possess the ability to follow projects through to completion.
  • 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 with the media and cultivating relationships with print, radio, television and online journalists.
  • Proven experience in exercising judgment in breaking news and rapid response environments.
  • Experience in online media production, especially video and graphics.
  • Experience crafting social media messages, and promoting issues through social media.
  • Experience with online news, social media and digital advocacy tactics.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to work collaboratively with others including cross departmentally as part of a team.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and Associated Press style required.    
  • Familiarity with Cision public relations software a plus.  
  • Basic proficiency with HTML; experience using a CMS to publish and update website content, preferred.
  • Understanding of trends and best practices for online campaigning, and best practices for communicating via email, Facebook and Twitter, preferred.
  • Experience using Photoshop to edit basic graphics, a plus.
  • A demonstrated interest in civil liberties and passion for the work of the ACLU is essential. 



The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package.



Please send a cover letter, a resume and a relevant writing sample of no more than 3 pages to  -  reference  [COMM-81]  in the subject line.  Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address.  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.

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, 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:  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.”




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