Communications Strategist


The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties seeks a skilled, dynamic, and sophisticated full-time Communications Strategist. The ACLU fights for individual rights and fundamental freedoms for all, through education, litigation, policy advocacy, and organizing. The ACLU promotes and defends civil rights and civil liberties, including First Amendment rights, equal protection, privacy, and due process. In the past several years, our affiliate has led cutting-edge advocacy work to expand voting rights, immigrants’ rights, and criminal justice reform in our state.

The San Diego ACLU works closely with the national ACLU headquartered in New York, as well as with the ACLU affiliates headquartered in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Together, the three California affiliates have more than 100,000 members and 120 staff in California. Located in San Diego, our ACLU affiliate covers the length of California’s border with Mexico. It has 30 staff, 20 board members, and an annual budget of $4 million.

Position Overview and Functions:

The Communications Strategist develops and disseminates strategic messages for the San Diego ACLU to broaden our reach and influence, mobilize support for our mission, and increase the power and capacity of the organization. This individual is the San Diego ACLU’s primary liaison between local and national media outlets, ACLU staff, and the public. S/he creates value-based messages, employs new and traditional media platforms, and spearheads creative communications campaigns. S/he informs multiple and diverse audiences about ACLU issues and focus areas. S/he works cooperatively with ACLU colleagues (in this affiliate, other ACLU affiliates, and the national office) and external allies. The Communications Strategist reports to the Communications Director.

Specific duties and responsibilities include:

Media Relations

  • Manage the flow of news about the San Diego ACLU to the media.
  • Create and maintain strong, reliable press contacts, particularly within local and regional outlets, and also with state and national reporters on priority issues.
  • Respond rapidly to information and interview requests from the press, and delegate interviews to appropriate internal subject matter experts.
  • Arrange briefings with local reporters and editors to educate them about San Diego ACLU issues and to build mutually beneficial relationships.
  • Assemble press kits.
  • Track and analyze San Diego ACLU’s media engagement (quality and quantity).
  • Pitch story ideas to local, regional, state and national outlets (in collaboration with other ACLU affiliates and/or National).
  • Act as an ACLU spokesperson, when necessary.

Messaging & Messengers

  • Compose and edit press releases, talking points, letters to the editor, OpEds, articles, and web posts for internal and external use.
  • Create value-based messages and communication strategies for San Diego ACLU issue campaigns.
  • Acquire profound insight into diverse San Diego ACLU audiences and compose specialized messages when necessary.
  • Compose and edit SEO-rich content for website publications.
  • Work with staff to become (more) effective media messengers.
  • Work with allied community organizations to cultivate authentic messengers able to speak to our shared visions and values.

Issue Campaigns

  • Develop and implement long-term communications plans that support ACLU-SDIC issue campaigns that are well-branded, employ disciplined, culturally competent messaging over a variety of platforms, and provide quality news and information.
  • Use both traditional and cutting-edge tactics to garner media attention and build momentum for desired outcomes.
  • Assist colleagues in amplifying the communications and public education components of their work.


  • Bachelor’s degree and five years’ of relevant experience required. Relevant experience may include professional communications work, journalism, or media relations.
  • Strong commitment to the mission, vision and goals of the ACLU.
  • Bilingual English-Spanish preferred.
  • Excellent writing and oral skills in English (required) as well as Spanish (preferred).
  • Strong editing and research skills.
  • Strong proficiency with social media platforms and Creative Cloud applications.
  • Avid consumer of news and information with ability to analyze and synthesize quickly and cogently.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, time management skills, and ability to manage multiple projects on a daily basis.
  • Professional and personal credibility.
  • Ability to work independently and in teams.
  • Ability and availability to work evenings and weekends, and travel when necessary.

To print the job description, click here. To apply for this position, please email a letter of interest, current resume, and two writing samples to, by November 18, 2016.