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Director, Policy Advocacy Department

Application Deadline: November 15, 2023


The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU-WA) seeks an experienced leader and policy advocate for the role of Director, Policy Advocacy Department (Director, PAD). Reporting to the Integrated Advocacy Director, the Director, PAD has two primary roles: management of the Policy Advocacy Department (approximately 60% of the work), and substantive policy advocacy as a generalist (approximately 40%). Our work centers on four major issue areas: racial and economic justice, criminal legal system reform, democracy (including the right to vote and protecting the First Amendment), and individual and personal rights and autonomy (including health care, education, technology and privacy, and freedom from discrimination).



The ACLU-WA is one of the largest affiliates of the nationwide ACLU. We work in courts, legislatures, and communities to protect and extend American rights to freedom, fairness, and equality. We envision a future where everyone in Washington, particularly those who have been historically and systematically denied full enjoyment of their promised civil liberties and rights, lives with dignity and equity, enjoying freedoms unimpeded by racial and economic injustice and other forms of oppression. The ACLU is both nonprofit and nonpartisan. We have a staff of 50+ and nearly 60,000 supporters statewide.


Within the ACLU-WA, the Policy Advocacy Department works to effectuate change through state and local legislation, rulemaking, institutional policy change, community-driven advocacy, public education, coalition building and media work. Through our engagement with community stakeholders, we strive to center and amplify the voices, perspectives, and experiences of directly impacted communities and individuals. PAD uses an integrated advocacy approach, working collaboratively with the Legal, Political Strategies, and Communications teams to further its goals. PAD currently has 6 policy program directors specializing in substantive policy areas (criminal legal system, youth/education, technology and privacy, and health care), 1 policy analyst, and 1 associate.


The ACLU of Washington is committed to ending racism in Washington State and throughout the country. This includes how we work with each other, and with our partners and allies in the communities we serve. We are committed to bringing anti-racism to all aspects of ACLU-WA's internal and external functions, including but not limited to recruitment; hiring and human resources; strategic planning; ally, donor, and volunteer relations; Board and committee processes; and deciding what cases to litigate and what legislation to support and oppose. We are looking for candidates who share this commitment to advancing racial justice, both internally in our organization and externally in the communities that we serve.



Race Equity

· Actively participate in ACLU-WA’s race equity work. This may include utilizing ACLU-WA race equity tools, adopting ACLU-WA race equity practices, etc.

· Ensure that PAD centers race equity as an overarching value in advocacy work, develops and implements plans in a manner that increases the power and voice of impacted communities to effectuate sustained change, and centers the ACLU-WA's community agreements in internal operations.

Leadership and Supervision

· Hire, support and supervise staff in the Policy Advocacy Department. Develop and mentor PAD staff to grow their advocacy skills, including substantive knowledge of issue areas, policy and political acumen, communications skills, and ability to develop and sustain strong networks of collaborators.

· Work with PAD staff to identify opportunities and provide leadership to set organizational policy goals, priorities, and positions within specific issue area(s).

· Ensure that PAD staff are accountable to achieving organizational priorities and to building and sustaining an organizational culture that promotes collaboration, professional growth, accountability, and the ACLU-WA’s racial equity and justice goals.

· Work with PAD staff to identify and effectively resolve work challenges internally and externally.

· Actively collaborates, facilitates, and develops structures for cross departmental work and strategies. Supports and assists in the development of integrated advocacy policies, tools, and best practices.

· Serve as a member of the organization’s senior advocacy leadership team. Work with IAD Leadership team to help shepherd cross-team development of multiyear strategies to advance advocacy goals. Help ensure strategic sequencing and sufficient capacity to execute strategies. Support pivots in strategy and resolution of conflicts in the work.

· In collaboration with Integrated Advocacy Director, regularly evaluate alignment between program needs and resources to support effective advancement of ACLU-WA's mission, vision, values, and programmatic goals.

· Set and manage the annual budget for PAD work; work with the Integrated Advocacy Director to evaluate alignment between program needs and resources to support effective advancement of the ACLU-WA’s mission, vision, values and programmatic goals.

· Oversee recruitment and mentoring of PAD interns and volunteers.

Policy Advocacy

· Develop and maintain general familiarity with the work of each PAD member. Develop and maintain policy expertise in areas that are consistent with the organization’s mission, vision, values and programmatic plan, but not staffed by a specific PAD lead (for example, First Amendment, voting rights, or economic justice).

· Work with PAD staff and the Integrated Advocacy Director to promote cohesion among various ACLU-WA campaigns and priorities; prevent or resolve potential conflict in the work.

· In collaboration with the Political Strategies Department, lobby public officials. Prepare and deliver testimony; draft and review legal and policy advocacy letters and regulatory comments. Sit on government task forces.

· Analyze proposed and prospective legislation and regulations; provide policy and legal feedback to internal and external stakeholders.

· Collaborate with the Communications Department to identify and advance opportunities to increase support for ACLU-WA policy proposals through public education. Provide legal and policy expertise to support effective message development and ensure ACLU-WA communications about policy are accurate, comprehensive, and consistent with ACLU-WA goals.

· With other staff in the office, maintain strong relationships with external community partners to ensure that the ACLU-WA’s advocacy work is responsive to community needs and increases the power of impacted communities to effectuate sustained change.

· Serve as an organizational spokesperson on policy issues consistent with the organization’s mission vision, values, and programmatic plan that are not staffed by a specific PAD lead.



· Awareness of, and willingness to engage in, the difficult and transformative work of challenging systems of oppression, institutional and structural racism, and implicit bias. A recognition of how race and other identities impact personal, organizational, and systemic work.

· Must have ability to work with and have work driven by communities impacted by systems of oppression. Established relationships with Washington communities preferred.

· JD required, with a minimum of 8 years of advocacy experience. Experience working in a senior policy position that required significant political acumen and management finesse required. Demonstrated ability to plan and implement effective strategies based on realistic objectives, maintain momentum, and evaluate progress. Civil rights advocacy experience preferred.

· Demonstrated commitment to civil rights, civil liberties, and racial justice. The ability to quickly develop understanding of different civil rights and civil liberties issues and to advocate effectively in multiple issue areas.

· Minimum 3-years’ experience managing staff. A track record of successful leadership that includes strong collaboration, relationship building, and development of staff.

· Excellent delegation, project management, and organizational skills to manage one’s own work as well as the work of others and to achieve long term strategic objectives.

· Excellent problem solving and conflict management skills, especially as it relates to facilitating effective collaboration among people from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. A high degree of emotional intelligence and ability to exercise judgment in complex situations.

· Strong public speaking, writing, and editing skills. The ability to communicate complex information to a wide variety of audiences and communicate strategically on controversial issues.

· Competence in the use of office computer applications, electronic databases, and electronic legal research.



This position will supervise 7 staff. The number of direct reports is subject to change as the team expands/contracts.



The ACLU-WA observes a hybrid workstyle, with some staff working primarily remotely while others work in the office several days a week. This position is required to work in the office a minimum of 2 days per week.


Our office is generally open between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and is located in downtown Seattle. The physical demands and work environment described below represent those required and encountered by an employee to perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

· Able to input information into a computer for long periods of time.

· Able to assess information communicated through a computer.

· Able to work some evenings, weekends, and holidays.

· Able to periodically work long and extended hours.

· Able to travel locally/regionally/across the state occasionally.

This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. The ACLU-WA reserves the right to change the content of this posting at any time without advance notice. This position is exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.



The ACLU of WA is dedicated to centering equity in all aspects of the organization and, as such, has adopted a salary scale for measuring how to best compensate its employees. The salary for this position is $160,982-$192,814. A range indicates the intention to accommodate those with varying years of relevant experience, as determined by the salary scale.


Benefits include three weeks of vacation, thirteen sick days, fifteen holidays, employer-paid professional development, fully paid employee medical, dental, vision, and disability insurance, an employer contributed retirement plan, student loan reimbursement, family care and adoption assistance, life insurance, and an ORCA card, the regional transportation pass.


ACLU-WA provides laptops, home office supplies, certain equipment, and technology support. You will need an effective WiFi connection and a way to reach you by phone. This position is eligible for either a work phone or phone stipend, as well as an additional $150 stipend each month to help cover any additional costs while working from home.



To apply, please submit a cover letter, writing sample demonstrating legal or policy advocacy, and résumé on our online job portal. In your cover letter, please explain the ways in which you satisfy the skills and qualifications specified above. We also invite applicants to include how their background and/or experience could contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and advocacy work in their letter.


Applications will be accepted until noon on ­­­­November 15, 2023, at which time the job announcement will be displayed as closed on our website at



We will schedule interviews with qualified candidates after the application deadline and hope to have the selected candidate start in February or March.


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 identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, socio-economic circumstance, or record of arrest or conviction. We do not conduct criminal background checks on our candidates. People of color, women, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.

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