Policy and Advocacy Strategist
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU-IL) has two open Policy and Advocacy Strategist positions. The Policy and Advocacy Strategist works collaboratively across Departments to use integrated advocacy tools, including legislation, policy change, coalition building, and communications, to advance meaningful change. Each position has a different subject matter focus:
- Justice-Involved: includes a focus on our work related to policing, systems-involved youth, collateral consequences, and barriers to reentry.
- Bodily Autonomy: includes a focus on our work related to reproductive health and access, sexual health education, and healthcare, access, and decision-making that affirms and supports youth, LGBTQIA communities, and individuals at the end of their lives.
All Policy and Advocacy Strategists must have policy development and implementation experience, a curious and strategic mindset, and experience working on the core issues for their specific position.
The Policy and Advocacy Strategist is part of the Advocacy Department and reports to the Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs Director.
CORE JOB RESPONSIBILITIES
The Policy and Advocacy Strategist helps to develop and implement the ACLU-IL’s legislative, policy, and advocacy priorities by:
- Analyzing current and prospective local, state, and national ACLU issues.
- Conducting, analyzing, and presenting rigorous research which:
- Identifies and evaluates best practices around model policies and programs (legislation, ordinances, directives, practices), as well as implementation strategies.
- Includes a review of both quantitative and qualitative data as it relates to policy goals.
- Building and maintaining trusted, respectful relationships with stakeholders, including but not limited to people impacted by our work, community members and leaders, coalitions, allied organizations, issue experts, legislative staff, government officials, and elected officials.
- Drafting legislation, developing policy positions, and creating strategies which:
- Increase public and impacted community awareness of, and opportunities to engage on, civil liberties issues.
- Are mission-aligned and build on best practices, when appropriate.
- Will result in meaningful change, and actively mitigate the potential of unintentional disparate impact and/or actively address potential disparate impact.
- Include a plan for successful implementation and a process for monitoring impact.
- Developing and executing implementation of strategy through:
- Developing partnerships that facilitate successful policy, legislative, and non-litigation advocacy implementation.
- Engaging in public education activities that reach a wide variety of audiences.
- Coordinating and participating in legislative and stakeholder meetings.
- Writing and delivering compelling testimony.
At each stage of the work, the Policy and Advocacy Strategist is expected to:
- Draft clear, concise internal and external memos and develop advocacy tools – including fact sheets, talking points, public education materials, position letters, and policy briefs – in multiple formats for a range of audiences.
- Work with the Advocacy Team and community stakeholders to include the voices, perspectives, and experiences of those directly impacted by the issues being addressed into the process.
- Work collaboratively across internal departments.
- At least 6 years of hands-on experience successfully advocating for legislative or policy change.
- At least 5 years of experience researching, collecting, and synthesizing large amounts of information from a range of sources and providing recommendations on next steps.
- Proven ability to think critically and strategically about solving problems and coming up with solutions that will drive results.
- Proven ability to communicate clearly and effectively, explaining complex issues in accessible terms for a range of audiences, both verbally and in writing.
- Proven ability to work independently and manage multiple projects with competing deadlines on a tight timeline, while maintaining a strong attention to detail.
- Proven ability to build and maintain effective relationships with a broad range of constituencies, including people who have been impacted by our work.
- Ability to be resilient, and understanding that working towards systemic change is a marathon and not a sprint.
- Willingness and availability to travel throughout Illinois and work beyond the normal workday and on weekends.
SALARY AND BENEFITS
In accordance with the ACLU salary scale and commensurate with experience, the salary range is $55,000 to $75,000. Benefits include four weeks paid vacation; 100% employer-paid medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff and eligible dependents; a 403(b) retirement benefits plan with employer match; life insurance; and long-term disability insurance.
ACLU of Illinois staff are based in Chicago, IL, but are currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When conditions are safe to return to the office space, staff members will be expected to work out of our Chicago office.
Applicants should prepare a resume and cover letter addressing the following:
- Share an example of a time you advocated for a policy change. What skills did you use in the process? What was most challenging for you? Please be specific. You do not need to limit yourself to a formal legislative effort or organized campaign led by an organization; an example of a time you advocated for policy change in a personal capacity would also be applicable.
- Share an example of a time when you worked with a diverse group of people to create change. What did you learn about yourself in the process?
- Which of the two issue areas – justice-involved or bodily autonomy – would you want to be responsible for, and what is your past experience working on the issue(s)?
HOW TO APPLY
Please fill out the fields below. Then, email your application materials to email@example.com and use the subject line: “Policy and Advocacy Strategist." No calls or outreach via social media or other platforms please. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
The ACLU of Illinois is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and encourage 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, criminal record, or veteran status.