Director of Advocacy
Posted: December 15, 2020
Position Location: Remote work from home
FLSA overtime classification: Exempt
Deadline suggestion: We are getting a lot of strong applicants, so we suggest applying before January 4, 2021.
About the Prison Policy Initiative
The Prison Policy Initiative (https://www.prisonpolicy.org ) is a leading organization in the fight against mass incarceration. We use data to explain the need for criminal justice reform, in ways designed to both bring in new allies and re-energize existing supporters. (For a high-level overview of our work, our history, and our impact, see our highly skimmable annual reports.)
About the position
We are seeking a Director of Advocacy to build a new department focused on growing, supporting, and sustaining the larger criminal justice reform movement by leveraging the power of our research strategies and publications.
The Prison Policy Initiative leads in developing projects that anticipate and respond to the needs of local, state, and national advocates. Until this year, however, we were a staff of 5 people with limited capacity for follow-up advocacy based on our work. Now, we have the exciting opportunity to maximize the impact of our work by developing a dedicated advocacy team, who will focus on helping other advocates use data to push for social change. We also envision a training component of this advocacy work, to be developed once the department is fully staffed and operational.
The Advocacy Department will engage in outreach to ensure our data and messaging reach more people who can use it in their advocacy and will offer technical assistance to make our persuasive research even more useful to policymakers and allies.
- In the first few months, develop, begin to execute, and routinely refine a strategy to engage in sustained affirmative outreach to a variety of audiences — such as allied advocacy organizations and activists (including local, state-based, grassroots, and under-resourced organizations), policymakers, and journalists — about our work and areas of expertise, and to respond to requests for technical assistance. This will involve strategic decisions about what issues to focus on, which groups to target for the greatest impact, which methods and communications are most efficient and effective, and the best ways to deploy staff.
- Engage in outreach based on our work, build relationships with allies and other audiences, follow up on requests for data or other technical assistance (delegating as appropriate).
- Identify needs from the field that might make appropriate topics for new research projects.
- Develop systems and metrics to track and measure the impact of outreach, technical assistance, and training efforts, recognizing that impacts will often be indirect (through allies) or take time to demonstrate (given the pace of policy change and data collection and reporting).
- Build a diverse, efficient, and self-reliant department budgeted to grow to a total staff of about 5 in the next year (including future trainers). (In the short run, support staff from other departments may be assigned to help with your early initiatives.) Provide excellent supervision/management of the team including coaching, staff engagement, team coordination, and staff development practices.
- Once you’ve established a successful outreach and technical assistance program and identified common capacity gaps among our allies, we’ll ask you to help recruit a Director of Training who will lead a small advocate training team, which will sit within your Advocacy Department. The training program will focus on creating written material and webinars for non-data-expert allies to help fill capacity gaps, particularly skills we are well equipped to teach: locating and understanding relevant criminal justice data, creating compelling data visualizations, working with the media, and more.
The ideal candidate would bring with them a combination of the following experiences, skills, and mindsets:
- Experience building and managing teams;
- Experience running and winning social change campaigns;
- Experience turning research into action, and demonstrated ability to synthesize academic and policy research for various audiences;
- Existing expertise about local, state, and federal criminal justice systems, and relationships within the criminal justice advocacy space, are strongly preferred, but may not be required if you are a particularly quick study and have deep experience working in a similarly structured field;
- Understanding that different communities have different resources and different needs, and experience adapting your original plan to better meet the needs of partners and the larger campaign;
- Enthusiasm for ensuring that racial justice is appropriately centered in our campaigns;
- Ability to work effectively in a fast-moving environment with staff from diverse backgrounds, with varied types of expertise, and spread across the country;
- Vision, creativity, and enthusiasm for this program’s goals and the organization’s broader strategy; and
- Direct personal experience with the criminal justice system or from a community that is overrepresented in the criminal justice system preferred.
What success looks like after 6 months
After 6 months, we expect that some of your hiring will be complete (and others will be underway); you’ll have identified and established relationships with advocacy groups and networks that would benefit from this work; and ideally, your department will have helped win some victories that would not have occurred on their own.
Salary and benefits
Salary for this position will be determined by your experience, but is expected to be in the range of $115,000 to $140,000. The generous benefit package for this position includes: health and dental insurance, an IRA match, all Massachusetts holidays, 15 days of vacation time per year, paid sick time, paid leave for visiting incarcerated loved ones and for supporting their successful return home from incarceration, and more.
How to apply
Applications closed, January 14, 2021.
We will be reviewing applications and scheduling interviews on a weekly basis. We anticipate doing a phone screen, a round of Skype interviews with another staff member, and then a final round of (paid) working interviews. Please allow us to keep our daily focus on improving the criminal justice system by refraining from writing or calling the office to check on the status of your application. We’ll keep the job page at https://www.prisonpolicy.org/jobs.html up-to-date with the status of our candidate search.