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Communications Director

For American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont (ACLU-VT)

Position Summary

The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont (ACLU-VT) seeks a highly motivated, organized, and skilled professional with demonstrated communications experience to join our team. The Communications Director will help to articulate ACLU-VT’s values, priorities, and mission across multiple initiatives, advocacy campaigns, and platforms—print, broadcast, and online media.

Recognizing our democracy faces unprecedented challenges, the ACLU of Vermont is taking our statewide advocacy and community engagement to the next level: strengthening our litigation and advocacy capacity, expanding communications and public engagement strategies, and building new infrastructure for issue campaigns and electoral engagement. We are also committed to fostering a strong internal culture of belonging, with an emphasis on inclusive and equitable practices and increasing organizational diversity.

We are a passionate, highly motivated group of lawyers, public policy experts, lobbyists, communications professionals, community organizers, and fundraisers, and we are looking for exceptional talent to join our team. To learn more about us, visit our website

Please note that due to COVID-19, our organization is currently operating remotely. This will continue until at least Nov. 1, 2021, and we are likely to extend our remote work policy and remote work flexibility beyond that date. It is our expectation that the person hired to fill this position will eventually work from our Montpelier office with occasional travel throughout Vermont.

OVERVIEW

Reporting to the Executive Director, supervising the Digital Communications Strategist, and working closely with other program directors and our full staff, the Communications Director will guide strategy and planning for all external ACLU-VT communications, including developing and executing strategies to increase ACLU-VT’s presence and influence in state and federal politics; maintain the organization’s position as a leading source for information about civil liberties in Vermont; and galvanize support for ACLU initiatives among ACLU members, supporters, and the public at large. This is a full-time position, based in Montpelier and requiring some travel around the state.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Strategy: Develop and execute a creative, multi-faceted communications strategy designed to further ACLU-VT goals and mission and expand ACLU’s influence and effectiveness at the state and federal levels. Identify specific communications goals, develop long- and short-term plans to reach them, and measure progress. Determine appropriate communications tactics to disseminate ACLU news, promote advocacy campaigns, publicize events, attract supporters, and make civil liberties accessible and relevant to a broad audience. Respond timely and appropriately to significant news events, and anticipate, recognize, and capitalize on strategic communications opportunities.

Messaging: Shape the language, images, and multimedia that represent ACLU-VT and its positions carefully, compellingly, and convincingly. Ensure that consistent, clear messaging follows through all modes of communications, for a range of audiences and across programs. Apply an equity lens to all communications, ensuring that historically marginalized communities are centered in communications strategy and materials.

Supervision: Support and supervise the Digital Communications Strategist to optimize ACLU-VT’s online presence, generating content that is engaging and results in measurable action. Develop and manage posting of content to digital channels, including web site, social media and email to subscribers. Generate and manage photo and video content. Implement long and short-term plans for the organization’s use of email, social media, web, video and emerging communications technologies, and proactively explore innovative methods for presenting our work to a wider audience.

Writing & Editing: Draft and edit a wide range of documents and resources for public education, fundraising, outreach, legislative advocacy, and other purposes. Manage development, distribution, and maintenance of all print collateral including newsletters, annual reports, brochures, invitations, and donor materials. Provide editorial and design direction, handle quality control and proofreading, guide production, and implement distribution plans. Oversee brand management and design of promotional materials.

Media Relations: Handle all aspects of media relations, including guiding rapid response to daily events on issues related to civil rights, politics, and legislation; field media requests; affirmatively pitch stories to reporters; write and disseminate press releases and advisories; manage a media database; draft talking points; give interviews and make public statements; and arrange and prepare for interviews with ACLU spokespersons.

Outreach: Identify outreach opportunities and represent ACLU-VT at events statewide, including community forums, presentations, panel discussions, press conferences, and rallies. Organize public events to educate and mobilize ACLU supporters and the broader public, utilizing volunteers as appropriate. Increase coverage of ACLU-VT messages by developing and maintaining positive relationships with reporters, editors, and producers.

Internal Communications & Supervision: Work collaboratively and respectfully with other departments and colleagues.  Facilitate interdepartmental communication so that staff are informed of ACLU-VT developments and activities. Recruit and manage communications volunteers and interns. Work with vendors and contractors to design and produce communications materials as needed.

Administrative & other duties: Create and maintain administrative resources such as media lists and protocol to enhance strategic planning. Attend national and regional ACLU training and staff conferences. Perform other related duties as assigned by the Executive Director.

QUALIFICATIONS 

  • At least five years’ relevant experience and demonstrated success in communications, preferably in legislative or political communications.  
  • Familiarity with and demonstrated interest in ACLU issues—including racial justice, privacy, criminal justice reform, reproductive rights, freedom of speech, LGBTQ rights, and police accountability—strongly preferred. 
  • Excellent research, writing, and editing skills. Strong organizational and time management skills. Meticulous attention to detail and ability to produce clear, concise materials on tight deadlines, manage multiple projects simultaneously, and respond rapidly to significant developments.
  • Commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, both in the workplace and in collaboration with community partners and constituents. Demonstrated knowledge of – and/or commitment to deepening understanding of – racial equity.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with emotional intelligence, receive feedback, work through conflict with integrity, and operate within principles of solidarity when working in partnership with constituencies impacted by oppression. Proven ability to work effectively with others in a fast-moving but collegial team environment and in a manner that respects differences in race, ethnicity, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Ability to communicate persuasively and professionally, in writing—including via press releases, email alerts, and social media—as well as verbally, to a variety of media, political, and stakeholder audiences. Proven ability to transform complex topics into exciting and useful messages, and disseminate information to targeted audiences through the most appropriate channels. Experience working with Vermont media outlets a plus.
  • Substantial experience in planning and executing media or advocacy campaigns strongly preferred, including experience creating earned media, developing and placing paid media, and using social media and other web-based communication in support of political or organizing campaigns. 
  • Creative aptitude and familiarity with interactive design, website and social media management, and email marketing strategy. Proficiency with computers, Microsoft Office software, database management, and various web platforms. Proficiency with digital content management systems a plus. Experience overseeing the design and production of print materials and publications. 
  • Ability to work irregular hours, including evening and weekend events as necessary.
  • Valid driver’s license or driver’s privilege card, reliable vehicle, and willingness to travel.

ABOUT ACLU OF VERMONT

The ACLU of Vermont integrates impact litigation, policy advocacy, organizing, public education, and strategic communications to defend and advance civil liberties for all people across a broad range of constitutionally protected rights and freedoms. Founded in 1967 and based in Montpelier, the ACLU of Vermont is the statewide affiliate of the national ACLU, a nationwide organization with a presence in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC. The ACLU fights tirelessly 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, or national origin.

To learn more about the ACLU of Vermont, visit our website.

COMMITMENT TO EQUITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION

The ACLU of Vermont is an equal opportunity employer.  We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive office culture. We believe that having a board, staff, and volunteer base with diverse personal and professional backgrounds enhances our ability to meet our mission and creates an environment where all members of our community can thrive.

The ACLU of Vermont strongly encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or prior involvement in the criminal justice system. The ACLU of Vermont undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS

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 $63,000-73,000.

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 benefits offering is vital in meeting that goal. Our benefits include fully employer-paid medical and dental insurance for staff members, their dependents and spouse or domestic partner; life insurance and disability; defined contribution plan with employer match; and generous vacation and sick leave, in addition to 14 paid holidays. This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

To apply, email a cover letter, resume, a traditional writing sample (i.e. a press release, blog post, op-ed, etc.), and a social media post sample to search@acluvt.org.  Include in the subject line of the email: your last name and Communications Director.  In your cover letter please indicate where you learned of the posting.

DEADLINE

We will begin reviewing applications on October 11, 2021.  Applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website at www.acluvt.org.

Sep 21, 2021
Montpelier with some travel around the state required
APPLICATION PROCEDURE To apply, email a cover letter, resume, a traditional writing sample (i.e. a press release, blog post, op-ed, etc.), and a social media post sample to search@acluvt.org. Include in the subject line of the email: your last name and