The ACLU of Connecticut (ACLU-CT) defends, promotes, and expands the civil rights and civil liberties of all people in Connecticut through litigation; community organizing and legislative advocacy; and civic education and engagement. We are an inclusive, nonpartisan, and statewide organization within the nationwide American Civil Liberties Union network, powered by our supporters, partners, staff, interns, cooperating attorneys, and our board of directors.
This is a critical time to join the ACLU. With enormous threats to civil rights arising in nearly every area of the ACLU’s work, we’ve seen a phenomenal outpouring of support from new members, donors, and volunteers who view the ACLU as the nation’s principal defender of fundamental freedoms and liberties. The ACLU of Connecticut is doing its part in the nationwide struggle to defend the Constitution while working to protect and advance civil rights and liberties here in Connecticut.
The Communications Director is responsible for planning, supervising, and executing the ACLU of Connecticut’s communications strategies. Through their work and collaboration with staff, the Communications Director advocates for and helps to advance positive narrative change in public conversations about the ACLU of Connecticut’s priorities for civil rights and liberties in Connecticut and grows the ACLU of Connecticut’s political power to energize the effort for civil rights and liberties and protect hard-won progress.
Under the direction and supervision of the Executive Director, the Communications Director manages the work of the communications department and supervises the work of all other employees in the department, including the digital content strategist and, at times, interns, consultants, and volunteers. The Communications Director works closely with the leadership team, which includes all other department heads.
The ACLU of Connecticut has a hybrid work environment. The Communications Director will be required to work from our Hartford CT office at least once a week, and job responsibilities may require work in Hartford more frequently.
PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES/ESSENTIAL DUTIES
Communications Strategies – The Communications Director is in charge of developing, managing, and executing all communications strategies for the organization, and for measuring the effectiveness of those strategies. The Communications Director:
- Collaborates with other staff to develop messaging and communications strategies for legal cases, policy issues, campaigns, and programs that aid the organization’s legal, advocacy, and policy work.
- Designs, implements, and measures tactics that engage strategic audiences in our work, encouraging them to take specific positions or actions to support our work regarding civil rights and liberties. These audiences include, but may not be limited to, directly impacted people, members, policymakers, elected officials, public figures, or segments of the general public.
- Enhances the visibility of the organization in communities statewide.
- Responds rapidly to emerging, strategically important issues with appropriate and influential messaging and tactics.
- Works with ACLU-CT staff and, as appropriate, national colleagues or external allies, to maintain consistent framing of current issues and to align on tactics.
Integrated Advocacy – The Communications Department is one-third of a three-pronged approached to integrated advocacy at the ACLU-CT, with the legal and public policy and advocacy departments serving as the other two prongs. The Communications Director collaborates with the legal and public policy and advocacy departments to ensure communications strategies are aligned to advance the goals of all three departments individually and collectively.
The Communications Director:
- Collaborates with colleagues in the legal and public policy and advocacy departments, as well as with the development department, to ensure communications messages, content, and strategies support and serve the ACLU-CT’s specific goals and mission.
- As appropriate, works with national communications staff or external partners to develop and/or execute communications strategies to serve the ACLU-CT’s specific goals and mission.
- Works as primary producer of external communications, including email action alerts and email news updates to our supporter list, talking points, letters to the editor, press statements, op-eds, blogs, reports, press advisories.
- Works in partnership with relevant ACLU-CT staff to produce factsheets; toolkits; press conferences; webinars; legislative action alerts; and development publications including annual reports, newsletters, posters, and postcards.
- Works with digital content strategist and relevant ACLU-CT staff in other departments to produce videos, graphics, webinars, and social media content.
- Works in partnership with staff as part of leadership team to coordinate speaking requests and speaking events.
- Directly supervises the work of, and delegate tasks to, department staff and, at times, interns, volunteers, and consultants.
- Works in partnership with relevant ACLU-CT staff to identify appropriate spokespeople for specific topics and campaigns, and to, as appropriate, identify and engage external partners as amplifiers for strategic messages.
- Works in partnership with relevant ACLU-CT staff to create communications plans for campaigns or issues, including as the lead in public policy polling rollout and polling consultant management.
Media Relations – The Communications Director oversees the development and execution of all media relations strategies and measures the effectiveness of those strategies.
The Communications Director:
- Develops and implements media relations strategies to reach specific legal, public policy and advocacy, and organization-wide goals regarding ACLU-CT priorities.
- Creates and implements all media relations tactics, including: press releases, advisories, and statements; pitching stories to specific reporters; fielding and managing all media requests; managing a media database and press release distribution system; writing talking points and message grids; arranging interviews with appropriate topic experts; speaking with press on background; connecting press with publications and external sources as appropriate and relevant; and crafting media guides, factsheets, or other relevant tools for press. Works in conjunction with public policy and advocacy and legal departments on press conference ideation, and as primary producer of press conferences.
- Using a teaching-based approach, trains and supports ACLU-CT staff and, as appropriate, volunteers, clients, and external partners, to prepare for press interviews, including practicing how to participate in an interview, potential questions, and messaging.
- As strategically appropriate, works with public policy and advocacy staff to support external partners in press engagement and press capacity-building in order to advance shared goals.
- Monitors media for opportunities to engage, including in rapid response and crisis scenarios
- Evaluates success of media outreach
- Ethically cultivates and supports directly impacted people, including clients, volunteers, and external partners, for work with press in order to center marginalized voices, while prioritizing people’s safety and empowerment above all other considerations.
Editor in Chief & Executive Producer - The Communications Director serves as the organization’s editor in chief for all external written communications, and as executive producer for all external visual/audio communications.
The Communications Director:
- Ensures brand consistency and messaging fidelity in: field leave-behind items such as flyers, t-shirts/swag items; factsheets; event invitations; additional external communications outlined above in the “integrated advocacy” roles; and, as appropriately determined by the public policy and advocacy department, legislative testimony.
- Coordinates, and produces as-needed, graphic design of materials with the digital content strategist and any outside contractors.
Digital & Visual – The Communications Director serves as editor in chief and executive producer for social media and audio/visual content, as editor in chief of the organization’s blog, and works in conjunction with the digital content strategist to maintain the organization’s website.
The Communications Director:
- Manages the digital content strategist’s work as the primary manager and executor of social media tactics by ensuring that social media content is accurate, compelling, on-message, and strategic, and by acting as a backup executor and manager as-needed.
- Manages the digital content strategist’s work as the primary photographer, videographer, and graphic designer for the organization by ensuring that audio and visual content are accurate, compelling, on-message, and strategic, and by acting as a backup executor and editor as-needed.
- Develops and manages the editorial calendar for the organization’s blog, writes blog posts, and solicits and edits blog posts from topic experts.
- Ensures digital and visual strategies are aligned and integrated with communications strategies overall.
- Collaborates with ACLU-CT staff to ensure email action alerts, online action centers, digital forms, and other web content are accurate, compelling, timely, and strategic, and shares responsibilities with the digital content strategist for executing those tactics. Assists public policy and advocacy department in ensuring brand consistency and message fidelity in text message/phone alerts.
Advertising and Internal Communication -
The Communications Director:
- Develops, manages, and executes all advertising strategies for the affiliate, in consultation with appropriate ACLU-CT staff, and manages advertising consultants and vendors
- Keeps ACLU-CT staff informed on current messaging on emerging issues, and shares press clips and new organizational assets with ACLU-CT staff
- Provides quarterly updates to the board of directors regarding communications department work
- Provides communications leadership, mentoring, and training to all staff, volunteers, and interns to ensure uniform understanding of basic communications concepts and procedures, as well as messaging
Community Leadership – In collaboration with the legal and public policy and advocacy departments, provide support to ACLU-CT allies, including, but not limited to, cross-promoting events and activities and providing general communications guidance, support, and consultation as time and strategy allow.
- Provide support, supervision, and growth opportunities for the digital content strategist
- In collaboration with the operations department, develop and manage an annual department budget
Other Duties as Assigned
- Critical Thinking: Ability to represent the communications program in any matter of complex planning and coordination, including organizational strategic planning and formation of cross-departmental project teams
- Decision Making: A member of the leadership team that assumes significant leadership responsibility to develop and execute organizational strategy, mission, and vision with organization-wide impact
- Leadership: Management experience, ideally in positions of increased responsibility; manages the communications program
- Equity: Deep understanding of power dynamics on systemic and interpersonal levels, demonstrated experience in and dedication to centering marginalized voices without exploitation, and proven commitment to anti-racism in programmatic work and internal work culture
- Performance Feedback: Able to provide critical and effective feedback to both staff and executive team
- Training: Organizational and staff development expertise, including demonstrated success building strong teams and cultures defined by excellence, professionalism, trust, anti-racism, and respect
- Communication Skills: Exceptional analytical, research, writing, and oral advocacy skills, as well as the ability to articulate complex issues and communicate them tactfully and effectively to a variety of audiences
- Organization: Excellent organization and administrative skills: a strong, consistent attention to detail, an organized work style, and the ability to follow through on work assignments with a minimum of direct supervision
- A demonstrated ability to write clearly and precisely. Strength in editing and proofreading.
- Ability to work long hours, especially during legislative session, as needed.
- Ability to interact confidently and successfully with the media, donors, politicians, and community leaders.
The Communications Director must have extraordinary leadership skills and demonstrate a commitment to civil rights and civil liberties consistent with the mission and goals of the ACLU with the following qualifications:
- Management experience and experience effectively handling multiple priorities and projects
- Five years’ demonstrated ability to manage and work with professional staff and to motivate and interact with stakeholders from a diverse range of backgrounds spanning race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, class, history of involvement in the criminal legal system, and more
- At least five years’ experience in nonprofit or community-based organizing communications, advocacy communications, political campaign communications, public relations, or equivalent
- Graphic design experience is valuable
- Fluency in a second language (especially Spanish) is valuable
- Demonstrated commitment to equity, including anti-racism work, and ability to articulate a clear vision for ethical communications that center directly impacted people without exploitation
- Able to work from our Hartford, CT office at least one day a week.
Studies have shown that many people, particularly people of color and women, are hesitant to apply for jobs unless they believe they check all the boxes listed in a job description. We encourage you to apply, even if you don't believe you meet every one of our qualifications as described.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
The Communications Director will receive a salary of between $100,000 - $110,000 annually. The ACLU of Connecticut also offers a generous and comprehensive benefits package starting with four weeks paid vacation; 100%-employer premium paid medical, dental, and vision insurance, a supplemental wellness benefit; 401(k) Plan including up to 5.5% employer contribution; and 13 paid holidays. (The ACLU of Connecticut reserves the right to alter or eliminate its current employee benefit plans and programs). This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act and applicable Connecticut law.
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and three professional references, including their email, phone number, and relationship to you. (We will not contact your references until the final stage of the interview process). Send electronic materials to: firstname.lastname@example.org and please include your last name and “Communications Director” in the email subject line. You may submit hard copies to ACLU of Connecticut, Re: Communications Director, 765 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105. No phone calls or walk-ins, please.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and we expect to begin the interview process the week of October 30th. The position will remain posted until filled, at which time this announcement will be removed from our website.
The ACLU of Connecticut is proud to be an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages immigrants, people of color, indigenous people, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, women, and formerly incarcerated and justice-impacted people to apply. We accept all applicants regardless of race, sex, gender identity, age, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status, or record of arrest or conviction.
The ACLU of Connecticut undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that all persons – including but not limited to 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 include this information in your cover letter, or to call 860-523-9146 to discuss your needs.
About the ACLU
With affiliate offices in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam, the ACLU fights tirelessly in the courts, legislatures, and through community engagement to ensure that all individuals’ rights are protected.
The ACLU of Connecticut is comprised of three nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations: the ACLU of Connecticut, a 501(c)(4) organization which does legislative and organizing advocacy work; the ACLU Foundation of Connecticut, a 501(c)(3) which does litigation and public education work; and the ACLU of Connecticut Rise PAC, a 527 organization which builds the necessary relationships, public awareness, public narratives, and pressure felt by politicians in order to build the political power of people directly impacted by civil rights and liberties issues.