The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU of Texas) is a non-profit, public interest organization devoted to protecting civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU advances its goals through legal and legislative advocacy, media and public awareness efforts, information and training, membership mobilization, and coalition work. Its staff of nearly 70 employees and more than 10,000 volunteers work in a fast-paced, friendly, and professional environment. Established in 1938, the ACLU of Texas is based in Houston but with offices in Austin, Brownsville, Dallas and El Paso. It is among the 10 largest affiliates of the nationwide ACLU.
The Field Engagement Director is a member of the leadership team and is responsible for building and effectively utilizing an activist base of ACLU members and allies. The director is responsible for enhancing the overall political capacity and effectiveness of the organization on high-impact campaigns on specific issues, involving a combination of legal, legislative, public education and organizing strategies. The successful candidate will work in concert with the Communications, Policy and Legal departments and support and inspire ACLU members, donors and volunteers and build bi-partisan alliances with other stakeholders.
Leading a team of 10 professionals, the Field Engagement Director works under the supervision of the Executive Director and in close collaboration with other staff, including the Policy, Legal, Communications, Development and Deputy Directors.
- Provide strategic vision and direction for building and sustaining the field advocacy department.
- Design and coordinate multi-faceted advocacy campaigns on key issues in collaboration with other senior staff; develop and direct grassroots strategies to mobilize supporters and allies to advance ACLU issues.
- Identify base-building targets.
- In coordination with the Communications Department, respond to media requests on campaign issues and represent the ACLU of Texas at events, forums and meetings.
- Contribute content for materials developed by the Communications Department including action alerts, talking points, issue briefs, reports, op-eds and website updates.
- Work collaboratively with the national ACLU and other ACLU affiliates to advance nationwide advocacy campaigns.
- Supervise a staff of professionals as a strong mentor who sets high standards and demands accountability. Provide leadership development and skills-building to ensure field team is integrating and executing the ACLU of Texas vision on a regular and consistent basis;
- Encourage the use of direct action, as necessary and appropriate, to advance goals;
- Integrate community engagement with long-term, sustainable policy change strategies across multiple cities that are consistent with ACLU of Texas strategic priorities.
- Work with the Legal, Policy & Communications departments to manage organizational partnerships and coalitions to advance shared issue goals and strategies;
- Support overall organizational goals, which includes close collaboration with the Development department by participating in donor meetings, donor events or other aspects of the fundraising process.
- Hold staff accountable to a culture of database (VAN) usage to enhance the effectiveness of community engagement;
- Prepare written reports, meetings summaries, and related materials as required.
- Inspire, support, and strengthen our volunteer activists throughout the state; provide information, guidance, technical assistance, and training.
- Help maintain a positive, respectful, welcoming, and professional work environment and a strong team spirit within the office.
- Attend national and regional ACLU training and staff conferences.
- Attend various ACLU functions and handle other projects, as assigned.
- At least eight years’ experience in developing and coordinating successful public interest, legislative, political or similar campaigns. Extensive knowledge of grassroots organizing strategies and advocacy techniques, including knowledge of on-line organizing and internet-based communications strategies.
- Substantial knowledge of civil liberties and civil rights issues and a commitment to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission and goals.
- Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, research and analytical skills and the ability to articulate legal concepts and complex issues tactfully and effectively to a variety of audiences.
- Ability to develop allies and work collaboratively in coalitions; ability to navigate internal political dynamics among partner groups.
- Experience supervising, conducting trainings for, and motivating staff and volunteers. An ability to inspire others; personal enthusiasm and a confident, positive, and professional presentation.
- Demonstrated ability to build and sustain relationships with diverse groups, work cooperatively with communities across the political spectrum and a personal approach that values and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstances.
- Initiative, vision and ability to develop and implement short and long-term advocacy strategies utilizing a broad range of political and lobbying tactics.
- An entrepreneurial approach to the position, working independently when necessary and keeping organized in a fast-paced environment, while managing several projects simultaneously and adjusting strategy to frequently changing demands.
- Understanding of how to work collaboratively with colleagues across departments and functions; experience in integrated advocacy strongly preferred.
- Help maintain a positive, respectful, welcoming, and professional work environment and a strong team spirit within the office with an optimistic attitude and sense of humor.
- Demonstrated commitment to the work.
- Ability to speak conversational Spanish a plus.
- Ability to be based in Houston and to travel frequently – possibly 30 percent of the time.
- A valid drivers’ license and reliable car is required.
Compensation and Benefits
Salary is commensurate with experience and within the parameters of ACLU of Texas’s salary scale. Excellent benefits include a generous Paid Time Off policy, medical, dental and vision insurance; 401(k) plan with an employer match; life and long-term disability insurance, and generous paid holidays.
To apply, email a letter of application, resume and an autobiographical essay no longer than two pages. The essay should cover something that is not apparent from a resume.
Attn: Director of Field Engagement
The ACLU of Texas is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Texas 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.