Deputy Director, Communications (San Francisco, Sacramento, or Fresno)

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ACLU of Northern CA

The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU NorCal) is hiring a Deputy Director to co- lead the Communications Department. The Deputy Director will help lead a team of motivated and mission-driven staff in the affiliate’s Communications Department. This is an exciting opportunity to employ an innovative vision and set priorities for the Communications Department to ensure top-notch strategic communications to advance the legal and policy advocacy goals of the ACLU of Northern California (ACLU NorCal).

The Approach

Our work is guided by the principles of freedom, equality, and justice enumerated in the Constitution. However, we know that because of historic and systemic racism and other forms of oppression, these principles are not equitably applied to all. In an ideal world, everyone would have equal access to justice and equal protection under the law. Unfortunately, neither our world nor our country is ideal. Our work involves hard subject matter that can be emotionally draining. Ideal candidates will understand that as a mission-driven organization, we strive to make the world a better place knowing that the road is long and hard. At the same time, we understand the importance of self-care and do our best to reflect that in our practices and values.

The Position

You are a leader who is a trusted team player with at least 10 years of experience in strategic communications, marketing, and/or journalism. Ideally, you have co-created and implemented communication strategies and goals, and planned and executed communication campaigns. You have supervised staff and mentored others in the communications field. You have a strong commitment to racial and social justice as well as to the mission and goals of the ACLU NorCal. As Deputy Director, you will supervise four Communications department staff members, and report to the Communications Director.

About the Organization

The ACLU of Northern California is an affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, a nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the defense and expansion of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU NorCal) is comprised of two distinct corporations, the ACLU Foundation of Northern California (501c3) and the ACLU of Northern California (501c4). The incumbent is a joint employee of both corporations. For most of the last century, the ACLU has been at the heart of many of the most major – and sometimes controversial – struggles for civil liberties and civil rights in our state.

Our mission is to ensure that Constitutional rights don’t just exist on paper but are protected in practice. We must use our decades of experience in impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and fearless organizing to advance and protect our most cherished rights and freedoms. We are committed to fostering a work culture that upholds the values we seek to protect. Join us.

Duties & Responsibilities


• Lead strategic communications with the communications team and across departments to ensure the organization achieves its top priorities and goals;
• Oversee and participate in planning and implementation of communications plans and strategies with a creative vision to advance organizational goals;
• Oversee framing and message development for projects worked on by those supervised;
• Ensure that staff adheres to branding and style guidelines and the consistent use of MOCHA and GAME planning tools;
• In partnership with the Director, plan, lead, and implement content-driven proactive projects;
• Cultivate strategic relationships with stakeholders, consultants, and internal staff from other departments to proactively further department objectives;
• Manage consultants and vendors as needed; and
• Act in Director’s absence as needed.


• Hire and supervise staff, as needed, to meet operational demands of the department;
• Administer performance management, disciplinary actions, and recommend personnel actions as needed;
• Provide ongoing professional development for staff members and other departmental responsibilities as assigned;
• Provide regular feedback to staff, including corrective feedback when needed, to help staff build on strengths, grow, or improve performance;
• Support staff in resolving interpersonal conflicts with colleagues, including identifying and escalating issues to HR when needed;
• Develop professional development plans in partnership with staff;
• Support staff with varying backgrounds and skill levels, fostering an inclusive and equitable environment;
• Delegate responsibilities and identify opportunities for staff to absorb new responsibilities; and
• Provide mentorship to staff to assist in their growth and professional development.

Written Content:

Edit and oversee compelling story-driven content including, but not limited to:
• blog posts
• op-eds
• press releases
• social media copy
• ACLU News articles


Education / Experience:
• B.A. degree in communications or a related field.

Required Skills / Competencies:
• At least 10 years of experience in strategic communications, marketing, and/or journalism;
• Demonstrated management experience in communications, including experience supervising and mentoring staff;
• Demonstrated experience in conceptualizing, planning, and implementing communication strategies and campaigns;
• Excellent writing skills;
• Demonstrated success with media relations;
• Knowledge of public policy with a demonstrated commitment to civil rights, civil liberties, racial and social justice; and
• Knowledge and understanding of the mission and goals of the ACLU NorCal.

Preferred Skills / Competencies:
• Experience in budget projections and resource management;
• Thorough understanding of the political process and civil rights advocacy;
• Knowledge of social media platforms and their use and value as marketing tactics; and
• Knowledge of website user experience and best practices.

Technical Skills:
• Highly proficient in Microsoft Office 365 Suite, especially Outlook, Word, and Excel, with an ability and willingness to learn new software tools;
• Proficient in Google Docs;
• Experience with Social Media advertising;
• Experience with issue-based campaigning, brand, or advertising strategy; and
• Strong writing and copy-editing skills.

Total Compensation
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 $115,726 - 135,014.

This position is unrepresented.

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 four weeks paid vacation in addition to 14 office holidays; fully employer-paid medical, vision and dental insurance for staff members, their dependents and spouse or domestic partner; life and long-term disability insurance; and, 401(k) plan with employer match. We have a robust Employee Assistance Program and emerging Employee Resource Groups.

To Apply
Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible as we will be evaluating applications on a rolling basis. Applications must include (1) resume, (2) cover letter, and (3) a list of three references. Applicants concurrently applying to any other position with the ACLU should state what other position they are applying for in the cover letter. Please submit your application online at:

The ACLU NorCal is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The ACLU of Northern California advances equity and inclusion in the workplace by providing equal employment opportunity to support a work environment free from discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (over 40), sexual orientation, military and veteran status, and any other basis prohibited by law. The organization also provides reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. This equal employment opportunity policy applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, selection, advancement, training, problem resolution, and separation from employment. Through this policy, the ACLU NorCal strives to establish and maintain an equitable and accessible work environment that is free from discrimination and supportive of a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our communities and the people we serve.

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