Career Opportunity – Chief Policy & Advocacy Officer

American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota

Compensation: $90,000 to $110,000

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Be Part of a Pivotal Moment in History.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) is looking for a passionate and dedicated strategic leader to serve as the Chief Policy & Advocacy Officer! Specifically, we are seeking a person to lead the ACLU-MN’s legislative, policy, advocacy, and community organizing efforts at a critical time for civil liberties.

The Chief Policy & Advocacy Officer (CPAO) will work alongside the Executive Director to develop and communicate a clear strategic direction that aligns with the organization’s mission, vision, and values. The CPAO is responsible for collaboratively designing and directing the ACLU-MN’s policy and advocacy work with a focus on strategic issue campaigns to advance our priorities. The CPAO will develop and lead lobbying, community engagement, organizing, and political advocacy strategies to achieve the organization’s short- and long-term goals. The CPAO reports to the Executive Director and is a member of the organization’s senior leadership team. The CPAO supervises and empowers the policy and organizing staff. They also build, support, and inspire new and existing networks of activists and volunteers to grow the power and influence of the ACLU-MN and its community partners.

This leader will be a creative problem solver and self-starter experienced in building strong teams and developing the infrastructure needed to strengthen organizational capacity. They will be excited by the entrepreneurial opportunity to help build a fast-growing, mission-driven organization. The ideal candidate is an equity-centered team player, flexible, and data-driven.

Key Responsibilities

  • Work closely with the Executive Director and the senior management team to craft and implement strategies to achieve victories that advance the ACLU-MN’s advocacy and policy agenda and it’s legislative, policy, electoral, and political goals.   
  • Work with leadership team to develop comprehensive strategies to implement the organization’s policy and advocacy vision and achieve organizational goals in accordance with the strategic plan.
  • Develop and lead effective multi-disciplinary, innovative, high-impact campaigns using an integrated advocacy approach cross departmental collaboration with legal and communications staff. This will include advocacy of the state legislature, state agencies, local governments, candidate elections, and ballot initiatives.
  • Lead and supervise staff to design and execute innovative advocacy tactics including field organizing, political communications, lobbying, and identifying legal opportunities that advance strategic campaigns.
  • Supervise and ensure that staff, consultants, and volunteers comply with state and federal campaign and lobbying regulations.
  • Recruit talent, develop staff leadership, and build high-functioning teams that can design and execute ambitious agendas.
  • Build and maintain working relationships with key federal and state legislators and legislative staff, employees, decision makers, ACLU members, affinity organizations, and key stakeholders; work with external counsel on as-needed basis. Build, lead, and participate in strategic alliances and coalitions.
  • Collaborate with the ACLU National office and other ACLU affiliates on national, regional, and statewide issues as appropriate.
  • Publicly represent advocacy and campaign work on behalf of the ACLU-MN at national, state, and local forums, conferences, and meetings. Represent the organization to the media, stakeholders, task forces, and others.
  • Leverage critical thinking skills and bring a big-picture approach to leadership that centers on creative problem-solving and innovation that is actualized through the creation of detailed action plans and clear deliverables.
  • Identifies opportunities and directs the development of communication pieces on topics related to the ACLU-MN priority areas.
  • Work closely with many of the other senior leaders in developing and maintaining a healthy and thriving organizational culture that values the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging and making sure that we make progress toward our goals of fighting for systemic change and racial justice internally and externally.

Core Competencies

Strategic Agility

  • Leans into ambiguity – runs toward the challenge with confidence.
  • Thinks big and creates a bold agenda that inspires people.
  • Demonstrates learning with accountability, curiosity, and humility.
  • Strong analysis and critical thinking skills with a proven ability to see the big picture, recognize trends, analyze data, and make strategic recommendations.

Problem-Solving/Decision Making

  • Expects and requires innovation and efficiency from diverse teams.
  • Bias for action and calculated risk-taking.
  • Benchmarks against the best; knows what problems they are solving.
  • Solutions-oriented with a proven track record of identifying gaps and opportunities to recommend impactful improvements.

Operational Excellence

  • Moves up and down in altitude, stays connected to the details.
  • Mobilizes people and teams to confront tough new realities and does the necessary learning, seeks feedback, and iterates to accelerate success.
  • Seeks and applies workforce analytics as a lens for capacity and resource planning.

Talent Management

  • Focuses on hiring the best and developing exceptional talent for the ACLU-MN team.
  • Builds own capacity and that of their organization to lean in and learn from differences as a source of strength.


  • Exceptional presentation and public speaking skills are essential, as this key position will represent the ACLU-MN on issues to internal and external audiences.
  • Exceptional problem-solving skills and demonstrated solution-based leadership.
  • Proven leadership and management experience in advocacy and policy work, preferably within the civil liberties or civil rights sphere.
  • Extensive background in grassroots advocacy and education work.
  • Strong understanding of legislative and regulatory frameworks.
  • Subject area familiarity with some of the ACLU-MN key issue areas, such as criminal justice reform, free speech, LGBTQ+ rights, systemic racism, immigrant rights, and election and voting rights.
  • Leadership role working on political or advocacy campaigns.
  • Lobbying experience.
  • Excellent communication and relationship-building abilities.
  • Ability to manage a staff of advocacy and community engagement professionals.
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in, Law, Public Policy, Political Science, or a related field. Master’s degree preferred.


Submit a letter of interest, a resume or C.V., a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement and three professional references, identifying their relationship to you and including their email addresses and phone numbers. References will not be contacted until you are considered a finalist for one of our positions. Also, please let us know how you learned of this career opportunity!


All attachments must be in Word or PDF format.

Applications will be accepted only until May 30, 2024. If this job sounds interesting, please apply immediately!

ACLU-MN is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. ACLU-MN encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or record of arrest or conviction.

ACLU-MN undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions. We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact: (Correspondence sent to this email address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed.)