About the Organization
At the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina (ACLU-SC), we envision a just South Carolina where We the People means all of us. To bring this vision to life, we advocate, litigate, educate, and mobilize to defend and advance the civil rights and civil liberties of all South Carolinians. Whether we’re defending free speech, enhancing voting rights, reforming the criminal legal system, advocating for housing justice, or protecting transgender kids—our employees engage in meaningful work.
The ACLU-SC is an affiliate of the ACLU, a federated organization. When people refer to the ACLU, that generally includes the national office as well as a nationwide network of autonomous and independent ACLU Affiliates, of which the ACLU South Carolina is one.
The ACLU-SC is headquartered in Columbia and has a distributed team with staff working in communities across South Carolina. The Advocacy Director must be based in Columbia, South Carolina due to the role’s engagement at the State House. All team members spend significant time traveling throughout South Carolina.
The ACLU-SC is a highly rewarding place to work for those interested in protecting our fundamental civil rights and civil liberties. To learn more about the work of the ACLU-SC and the ACLU, please visit www.aclusc.org and www.aclu.org.
About the Position
The Advocacy Director leads the ACLU-SC on the use of advocacy and political strategy, tools, and tactics to achieve public policy goals. The Advocacy Director is a member of the senior staff and manages issue-based advocates. Under the supervision of the Executive Director and in collaboration with the senior team, the Advocacy Director sets the vision for how ACLU-SC engages politically to advance and defend civil rights and civil liberties.
Advocacy Program Leadership
- Set policy priorities, in alignment with the organization’s strategic plan.
- Develop and oversee campaign plans and strategies to advance policy across advocacy venues, including at the State House, in state administrative offices, and in local governments.
- Ensure the effective execution of integrated policy initiatives, involving a combination of policy, legal, communications, public education, coalition building, and organizing strategies.
- Design and maintain clear, quantifiable systems and processes for the advocacy team, including those for tracking progress toward goals.
- Manage issue-based advocates, including hiring, promotions, performance evaluations, performance improvement plans, and professional development plans.
- Manage contract lobbyists.
- Establish fellowship and internship opportunities to build a pipeline of civil rights leaders.
- Challenge the advocacy team, including contract lobbyists, to understand racial and gender justice in policy and to drive toward equity.
- Build an effective and cohesive team.
- Mentor and identify leadership development opportunities for individual staff members.
Coalition Building and Organizing
- Set the vision for how ACLU-SC works in partnership with allied organizations and individuals.
- Develop equitable and reciprocal relationships with partner organizations, other advocates, and community coalitions and members.
- Guide team members through effective engagement in building, leading, and participating in diverse coalitions.
- Create an approach to organizing that centers the voices of those most impacted, mobilizes them as activists, and supports their leadership development.
- Coach team members on how to bridge the gap between policymaking and people.
- Direct the team’s lobbying and legislative advocacy efforts at the State House.
- Build long-term, trusted relationships with elected and appointed officials, staff, policymakers, and grasstops leaders at the federal, state, and county levels.
- Oversee the development of bill language, amendments, testimony, and other advocacy materials.
- Create processes for tracking, analyzing, and responding to harmful policy proposals at the state and local level.
- Serve as a media spokesperson for policy advocacy issues.
- Develop the organization’s political strategy in partnership with the Executive Director.
- Develop strategic assessments of the impact of state and local elections.
- Ensure that campaign strategy and resource allocation is informed by astute political analysis and opportunities.
- Develop and oversee the advocacy department budget in partnership with the Finance & Operations Director.
- Ensure coordination between advocacy and legal work plans, in collaboration with the Legal Director.
- Partner with the Communications Director to tell the story of our advocacy work, with a focus on moving people up the ladder of engagement.
- Work with the Development Director on fundraising opportunities, grant proposals, and donor cultivation to identify sources of financial support.
- Oversee the affiliate’s compliance with ethics and lobbying rules at the county, state, and federal levels in partnership with the Office Manager.
- Serve as a leader on the team in demonstrating awareness of one’s own cultural identity, views about differences, and the ability to learn and build on varying cultural and community norms.
- Bring a complex understanding of racial justice and the urgency of confronting institutional racism and inequity into our approach to the work.
- Commit to equity and inclusion as organizational practice and culture.
Qualifications and Skills
The Advocacy Director must demonstrate the following qualifications and skills:
- A commitment to and enthusiasm for civil rights and civil liberties.
- A drive for racial justice and the ability to cultivate that drive in others.
- Demonstrated commitment to diversity and to valuing differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance.
- At least ten years of substantial experience in advocacy, politics, community organizing, or public policy.
- Substantial experience in senior-management roles that required significant judgment, emotional intelligence, and management finesse.
- Significant experience managing staff.
- Understanding of the legislative process, political strategic planning, and the ability to build respectful relationships across the political spectrum.
- Exceptional initiative, vision, and ability to develop and implement short and long-term integrated advocacy plans.
- Strong analytical, research, writing, and oral advocacy skills, as well as the ability to articulate legal concepts and complex issues and communicate them tactfully and effectively to a variety of audiences.
- Ability to work effectively and collaboratively with diverse staff, coalitions, and community groups, motivate volunteers, and work across the political spectrum.
- Ability to work evenings as needed, including long hours during the legislative session and election season.
- Ability to travel locally, regionally, and nationally as needed.
- Knowledge of South Carolina’s political environment or the drive to learn it quickly.
- Commitment to the highest ethical standards of lobbying and professionalism.
The ACLU South Carolina offers a competitive compensation package. The starting salary for this position is expected to be between $85,000 and $95,000, dependent upon education and experience, with opportunities for significant growth.
In addition to an annual salary, full-time staff receive health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance as well as access to a 401K plan with employer matching. Time off benefits include 22 days of vacation time and 12 days of sick time.
To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Careers@aclusc.org. The resume and cover letter should be in one PDF titled with your name, and the email subject line should read: “Advocacy Director: Your Name.” Resumes or applications sent via other avenues will not be considered.
The ACLU South Carolina is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We strongly encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, disability, and veteran status.