The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (Campaign) leads efforts to implement just alternatives to the extreme sentencing of America’s youth, with a focus on abolishing life-without-parole sentences for all youth. Our vision is to create a society that respects the dignity and human rights of all children through a justice system that operates with consideration of a child’s age, provides youth with opportunities to return to the community, and bars the imposition of life-without-parole sentences for people under age 18. The Campaign collaborates with advocates across the United States and in Washington, D.C., that use public education, advocacy, and litigation as strategies to pursue this goal. The CFSY’s small team works closely in a friendly, fast-paced, collaborative work environment.
The Communications Director partners with executive, programmatic, and development staff to develop and implement the communications strategies required for the Campaign to influence its target audiences and achieve its policy goals. This is the only full-time Communications position as the Campaign. Although traditional PR or communications experience is welcome, we also are interested in candidates who demonstrate alternative qualifications and capabilities for achieving our organizational goals.
The ideal candidate will be a strategic thinker and team player versed in social justice advocacy, with a knack for persuasion, an awareness of the communications strategies required for effective issue-advocacy campaigns, and the ability to develop and implement those strategies. A commitment to the cause of ending juvenile life without parole is essential. The position is based in Washington, DC. The Campaign will consider changes to the job title, as appropriate.
Duties will include:
- Lead the development and implementation of the Campaign’s strategic communications plan in support of the Campaign’s advocacy, litigation, public education, and coalition-building goals
- Collaborate with Campaign staff and state-based advocates regarding communications strategy in support of state-level legislation. Work with these state-based advocates to strengthen their communications work, including tailoring national and state messages, developing talking points, interacting with reporters, and identifying new and unlikely spokespeople. Assist state campaign members in writing and placing op-eds, letters to the editor, and state-specific press advisories/releases and in identifying creative ways for achieving their communications goals.
- Manage press relations by liaising with reporters and media outlets to help shape, create, and respond to news coverage on behalf of the Campaign
- Draft digital communications for partners and stakeholders, including newsletters, blog posts, and emails to Campaign supporters
- Manage redesign, and update content ,of the Campaign website, including creating and revising materials, updating information, and defining ways for the site to become an even better resource to media, partners and others
- Brief Campaign staff regarding key messages, reporter background, potentially challenging topics and other issues in advance of media interviews
- Oversee social media strategy and messages to advance reform efforts
- Maintain press clippings and press lists of reporters covering criminal justice issues
- Develop design products and videos as necessary
- Collaborate with Development team on initiatives requiring strategic communications
- Manage vendors as appropriate
- Bachelor’s degree
- At least three years of communications and/or issue-based advocacy experience
- Excellent written communications skills and attention to detail
- Experience developing and implementing effective strategic communications plans to advance issue-based campaigns
- Demonstrated ability to coordinate public relations campaigns related to social justice issues is strongly preferred
- Commitment to criminal justice issues, particularly reform to harsh juvenile sentencing practices in the United States, and /or human rights in the United States is essential
- Innovative and strategic—Knows how to identify and reach target audiences in creative and persuasive ways
- Leads with vision—Able to think big picture and pay attention to detail, while adeptly handling sometimes conflicting communications strategies
- Self-motivated and committed to excellence—Able to take the initiative to develop and implement new ideas and work diligently with a minimum of supervision.
- Excellent communicator—Honest and straightforward in communicating among campaign members and effective at engaging external stakeholders
- Commitment to working as a team—Friendly and courteous, willing to work closely with the Campaign and as part of the larger community working to end JLWOP
The Campaign offers a competitive salary for this position, as well as a generous benefits package, including employer-paid premiums for a platinum individual health insurance plan, life and disability insurance, and a 403(b) retirement plan.
To apply: Send a cover letter, resume, and a brief, original, unedited writing sample and/or sample press release to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use “Campaign Communications Director” as the subject of your email. Only complete applications will be reviewed. Applications will be received on a rolling basis, and the position will remain open until filled. No phone calls please.
People of color, individuals with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, and those with personal experience in the juvenile or criminal justice systems are strongly encouraged to apply.