Community Organizer

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties (ACLU) seeks a dynamic Community Organizer with at least three years of experience in immigrants’ rights, labor, and/or political organizing. The Organizer will work on a range of community engagement projects, with particular focus in immigrant communities and on a range of local, state, and national policy change campaigns.

Located in San Diego, our affiliate encompasses California’s border with Mexico and shares the busiest border crossing in the world. It has twenty-three staff members, twenty board members, 9,000 members, and an annual budget of $3 million.  San Diego is the eighth largest city in the United States and second largest in California. San Diego County has the third largest number of registered voters in California. Imperial County is the poorest county in California.

The ACLU fights for individual rights and fundamental freedoms for all, through education, litigation, and policy advocacy. The ACLU promotes and defends civil rights and civil liberties, including First Amendment rights, Equal Protection, Privacy, and Due Process. The San Diego ACLU works collaboratively with the ACLU affiliates headquartered in Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as a lobbying office in Sacramento. Together, the three affiliates have more than 110,000 members and 120 staff people in California. 

Position Overview and Functions:

The Organizer will be responsible for developing close relationships with a variety of individuals and organizations representative of local communities, with particular emphasis in immigrant communities.  The Organizer will develop and execute an annual work plan designed to promote participation in local, state, and federal campaigns; build an active base of community members who can be mobilized to participate in meetings, rallies, hearings, and delegations; build relationships with community organizations, faith leaders, business leaders, donors, and new and diverse communities throughout our region to advance our civil rights and civil liberties campaigns. The Organizer will work as part of the ACLU’s Advancing Immigrant Rights Team and across the policy, communications, and legal affiliate and statewide teams. 

Specifically, the Organizer will:

  • Develop organizing campaigns around key civil liberties and/or civil rights issues that are generated through community interest and vision and align with affiliate’s priority issue areas.
  • Represent ACLU in coalition meetings and develop strategic partnerships with community-based organizations working in diverse communities of the region.
  • Develop, conduct, and publicize widely Know Your Rights trainings that promote grassroots leadership, strategic issue campaigns, organizing, and coalition building on priority issue areas.
  • Galvanize support of community organizations, public officials, law enforcement officers, faith leaders, business leaders, donors, and new and diverse communities for organizing campaigns.
  • Work collaboratively with grassroots leaders, allies, and ACLU staff to execute large and effective community actions (hearings, rallies, etc.).
  • Work collaboratively with and provide leadership to the ACLU’s internal immigrant rights working team.
  • Identify, cultivate, and develop strong community leaders who will lead campaigns that pursue our civil rights priorities.
  • Complete and execute work plans.
  • Analyze, assess and make recommendations on direction of organizing campaigns.
  • Monitor and analyze local, state and national trends and issues related to civil rights and civil liberties as these impact our constituents.
  • Identify, recruit, and train ACLU members to participate in civil liberties campaigns and programs.


  • Three years or more experience in base building, membership recruitment, and leadership and strategy development.
  • Deep understanding of this country’s civil rights and civil liberties, particularly in the area of immigrants’ rights; three years direct experience in this area strongly preferred.
  • Ability to and strong passion for working in and raising the profile of the ACLU in immigrant, refugee and low-income communities.
  • Strong interpersonal, facilitation, organizing, and communication skills.
  • Proficiency in Spanish language strongly preferred.
  • Valid automobile driver’s license and working vehicle required; this position will involve extensive travel through San Diego County and occasional travel to Imperial County.  Must be able to accommodate a variable work schedule.

Salary & Benefits:  Competitive salary commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits. 

Application Procedure:  Interested individuals should submit a cover letter, resume, list of three professional references, and a writing sample (no more than 5 pages) by March 7, 2014.  Application materials can be e-mailed to (please combine all materials into a single PDF file) or by mail to: 

ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties
ATTN:  Community Organizer Position

PO Box 87131
San Diego, CA 92138-7131

The ACLU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, and veterans.