Job title: Communications Director
Location: Washington, D.C.
Organization: Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
Due: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled
Position Available: Available immediately but open to candidates who require a November start date
Background: 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.
Position Posting: Communications Director
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.
Email in a single attachment: a letter of interest, resume, names of and contact information for at least three references, and a brief, original, unedited writing sample and/or sample press release to email@example.com. PDF format preferred. Use “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.
Email a letter of interest, your resume, two references, and a transcript (unofficial is okay) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use “Intern” as the subject of your email, and include your availability and where you saw this posting. Only complete applications will be reviewed.
We will review all intern applications for both the general intern and the communications intern positions. We will offer interviews based on application strength, including demonstrated interest, extracurriculars, transcript/coursework, cover letter writing, and any work experience, and will clarify applicant preferences for general or communications at the time of the interview.
The intern(s) will become familiar with national and state efforts to end juvenile life without parole sentencing. The intern(s) will assist the CFSY staff by undertaking research projects of varied materials and complexities, attending local juvenile justice meetings, assisting with communications related activities, and performing program support and administrative tasks. College credit eligibility and letters of recommendation provided upon successful completion of the internship. Part-time.
- Perform administrative tasks such as filing, data entry, working within Salesforce, Microsoft Word & Excel, Constant Contact, and WordPress
- Assist with event planning
- Research, collect, and compile data on relevant legislation and individuals serving juvenile life without parole around the country
- Respond to mail from individuals in prison
- Represent the Campaign at various juvenile and criminal justice meetings in the DC area
- Participate in team meetings and state advocacy calls
- Assist with the collection and distribution of relevant news stories
- Assist in the implementation of new media strategy
- Assist in the maintenance of organization’s social networking sites
- Perform other duties as assigned
- Commitment to criminal and juvenile justice issues, particularly reform to harsh juvenile sentencing practices in the United States, racial discrimination in juvenile justice, and /or human rights in the United States.
- Some experience working with Microsoft Office applications. Salesforce and WordPress experience a plus.
- Well developed organization skills with attention to detail.
- Mature and reliable.
- Strong communication, interpersonal, and listening skills.
- Willingness to take direction and work as a team – friendly and courteous, willing to work as part of the larger community efforts to end juvenile life without parole.
- Excellent writing abilities.
- Prefer upperclass standing, graduate students welcome to apply.
The CFSY is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Here are general guidelines:
Summer internship (late May/early June through August): April 15
Fall internship (early September through mid-December): August 15
Spring internship (mid-January through May): November 15
Email a letter of interest, your resume, two references, and a transcript (unofficial is sufficient) to email@example.com. Use “Legal Intern” as the subject of your email, and include your availability and where you saw this posting. Only complete applications will be reviewed.
The legal internships at the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (“CFSY”) give law students an opportunity to work on the cutting edge of constitutional and human rights law. The Campaign works to support litigation and legislative efforts to end the practice of sentencing children to life in prison so that all children have a meaningful opportunity to be released.
The legal intern’s work will include a mixture of work that supports both policy advocacy and litigation efforts. Policy work may include researching and writing legal memos analyzing potential priority states for the future legislative sessions, aiding in the drafting of state level legislation, anticipating and researching implementation challenges of proposed legislation, and exploring potential partnerships with state-based community groups. During the legislative session, this work will be dynamic based on the advocacy team’s needs. Litigation work may include drafting legal memos for the litigation team, including analysis of state laws relating to extreme sentences for youth, parole and review eligibility for youth, and mitigating sentencing factors for courts to consider once a juvenile has been tried and convicted in adult court. The work of the legal intern will be integral toward our broader strategy of eliminating life without parole as a sentencing option for juveniles.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Here are general guidelines:
Summer internship (late May/early June through August): January 31
Fall internship (early September through mid-December): August 31
Spring internship (mid-January through May): November 30
*** The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.