Director of Strategic Communications
- Job posted by Americans United for Separation of Church and State
1310 L Street NW
Americans United for Separation of Church and State seeks a Director of Strategic Communications who will report to the President and CEO, develop and lead the organization’s overall communications strategy and provide leadership and management for all day-to-day communications operations. Key responsibilities include strategic message formation (including traditional press and digital media), communications team leadership, and coordinating an office-wide communications strategy.
Advancing the Constitutional Principle of Church-State Separation
Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a nonpartisan educational and advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure freedom of religion, including the right to believe or not believe, for all Americans.
Founded in 1947, Americans United is a diverse and dynamic organization composed of people from all walks of life: lawyers and lobbyists, students and activists, religious leaders and impassioned Americans. Americans United includes people of faith and people who don’t profess any particular faith. It is a community that includes and welcomes people of all genders, races, ethnicities, religions or beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, ages, classes and abilities.
Americans United use high-impact litigation, powerful lobbying and grassroots advocacy to ensure that:
· Religion does not dictate public policy.
· The government does not tell Americans what to believe or how to practice their faith.
· Discrimination is not justified under the guise of religious beliefs.
Through a strong, diverse national supporter network, both on the ground and online, AU defends the separation of church and state and protects religious freedom for all in communities across the country.
Americans United has over tens of thousands of members, with a national network of independent state affiliates. It is a 501(c) 3 organization. Americans United is headquartered in Washington, DC.
Building a Strategic Communications Plan
Americans United welcomed current President and CEO, Rachel Laser, in spring 2018. With a new, dynamic leader, AU has embarked on a robust strategic planning process and is preparing for a more prominent role in light of the issues that have taken center stage in the national conversation: discrimination in the name of religion, LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, religious freedom, government support of religion, school prayer, and churches and elections. There is a need for a pro-active, dynamic communications leader to take AU’s communications efforts to the next level.
AU seeks to build a communications strategy to match the ambitious scale of its programs. It has considerable strengths to draw on in building this communications plan, including:
· Outreach to tens and thousands of donors, over 200K followers on Facebook and over 15,000 Twitter followers;
· Engaged, energized senior staff, with a mix of long-standing and new members;
· Strategic planning that will be completed in early 2019 to ensure a goal-oriented roadmap with which to increase engagement;
· Persuasive public message, focused in an intelligent, non-partisan way at one of the most compelling issues facing the nation today: church-state separation.
Americans United aims to combine these strengths with the abilities and experience of a skilled communications professional to create a strategic national reach, securing visibility and support far beyond the present levels.
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is seeking a Director of Communications to lead the creation of a forward-looking national communications plan and will lead a messaging, press and digital strategy that advance AU’s mission and brand.
Reporting to the President and Chief Executive Officer, the Director of Strategic Communications will manage all integrated communication strategies, including leading message testing and development, pitching stories to the press, conceptualizing and executing op-eds and blog placements, and conceptualizing and overseeing a digital strategy that helps AU connect with new target audiences around our core issues (involving civil rights, women’s health, birth control access and school prayer). The Director will help build the profile of AU’s new President/CEO as a part of a broader effort to help bring the separation of church and state back into the national dialogue. She/he will work closely with the senior staff team members to manage time- sensitive communications as events occur.
The responsibilities of the Director of Strategic Communications include:
Strategy and Direction
· Provide strong, energetic, strategic leadership by having a keen understanding of the relationship between policy makers, advocacy organizations and grassroots members and know how to create cohesive messaging and strategy to most effectively advance AU’s mission and goals;
· Determine vision, direction and execution of activities to implement a modern nation-wide communications and messaging plan to promote AU’s overall brand, legal work, legislative work, advocacy campaigns and grassroots education and engagement efforts to a range of audiences including the general public as well as the media, political decision makers and funders.
· Coordinate and integrate all communications strategies and tactics in such a manner that every component aligns with and advances AU’s Strategic Plan.
Leadership and Management
· Conduct public opinion research and enlist the senior staff and senior volunteers to help craft effective messages and build an effective system of message identification, press cultivation; and media outreach, including digital media.
· Conduct a weekly interdepartmental meeting to oversee and to the extent possible anticipate communication needs.
· Manage a team of three people - including personnel and budgets - to ensure high-performing department and budgets are met.
· Cultivate strong working relationships with senior staff, volunteer leaders and consultants
· Promote a collaborative and positive work environment aimed at elevating skills to meet and
· Act as an effective ambassador to external supporters, partners, and donors.
The ideal candidate for this position is a confident and creative communications professional with a big imagination of what’s possible and a strong interest in the constitutional principal of church-state separation; a communications professional who recognizes the value of education and advocacy organizations and relishes the opportunity to take on a major role in shaping the future of an organization in the national spotlight at a time when our foundational principle of church-state separation is under attack; a professional who is comfortable working with the President and CEO, staff and volunteer leaders to develop and implement strategies for AU to meet and exceed its goals; and an experienced manager to lead a team of three communication professionals.
A successful candidate will have earned a bachelor’s degree. An advanced degree, while not required, is preferred. The candidate should possess the following additional qualifications:
Experience and Skills
· Eight to ten years of progressively more responsible leadership/management experience; work experience with an advocacy organization, while not required, would be very useful;
· Demonstrated ability to design and implement a comprehensive set of communication strategies (messaging, press and digital) that lead measurably to increased focus on and visibility of an organizations mission, goals and achievements through both long-term and of-the-moment opportunities;
· Innovative communications strategist with finger on the pulse of relevant issues and culture, understand small “p” politics, and brings savvy media messaging in politically charges situations.
· A history of successfully working with senior staff and organization volunteers in communications activities;
· Demonstrated ability to motivate and manage a team of communication professionals; and
· Polished communication abilities, including excellent listening, writing, and speaking skills, including the ability to craft and articulate a persuasive case for support.
· Equal parts smart, savvy and fun to work with. Culture and leadership both matter.
· Advocate for church-state separation issues with a worldview that aligns with AU's mission.
· Understands the intersection between church-state separation and many other issues such as LGBTQ equality and women’s reproductive freedom.
· Inspirational, equitable, and effective as a manager and leader.
· Meets high personal standards while fostering a deep sense of employee engagement.
· Ability to manage up and work effectively with high-level principal as well as other senior colleagues in the organization.
· Tact and diplomacy in building strong working relationships with colleagues;
· Capacity to manage multiple tasks and negotiate several priorities simultaneously; and
· Ability and willingness to work a flexible schedule, including occasional weekends, or evenings in order to meet rapid response to events as they unfold.
Competitive Salary and Generous Benefits: Americans United offers a comprehensive benefit package including health care, dental, vision, life insurance, short-term disability, and long-term disability, 401(k) with match and commuter subsidy.
Minimum Education Required