Feb 14, 2020

The Position

Americans United for Separation of Church and State seeks a Vice President of Strategic Communications. This position, which reports to the President and CEO and is part of senior leadership, will develop and lead the organization’s overall communications strategy to advance AU’s mission and visibility. They will provide leadership and management for all day-to-day communications operations and will be responsible for strategic message formation, earned and digital media, communications team leadership, coordination of a collaborative organization-wide communications strategy, and brand development for both the organization and AU’s President.

Building a Strategic Communications Program

Americans United seeks a proactive, innovative leader to take our communications program to the next level, matching the ambitious scale of AU’s robust new strategic plan and ensuring AU plays a prominent role in injecting church-state separation into the national conversation around democracy and related social justice issues. We seek to make our voice heard in fighting for religious freedom for all, and in fighting against (1) religion-based discrimination against women, LGBTQ people, religious minorities, the nonreligious and others; (2) coercive prayer in public schools; and (3) government support for and funding of religion, including private school vouchers.

AU has considerable strengths to draw on in building a robust communications program, including:

  • Tens of thousands of donors across the country, about 200K followers on Facebook, nearly 18,000 Twitter followers, and a growing following on Instagram.
  • Engaged, energized staff with a mixture of long-standing and new members. 
  • A new strategic plan that provides a goal-oriented roadmap with an emphasis on increasing the organization’s visibility and engagement.
  • A persuasive public message, rooted in public opinion research, and focused in an intelligent, non-partisan way on protecting a core part of our country’s DNA and democracy: separation of religion and government.

Americans United aims to combine these strengths with the abilities and experience of a skilled communications professional to create a new level of “noise” and visibility on our issue.

The Opportunity

The responsibilities of the Vice President of Strategic Communications include:

Strategy and Direction

  • Direct a robust, modern and comprehensive communications operation that is cutting edge and ensures church-state separation is prominent in the progressive movement and the national conversation about the core tenets of our democracy.
  • Align communications strategies and tactics with AU’s strategic plan, including email marketing; earned, paid and digital media; campaigns; and message and brand development.
  • Create cohesive and persuasive messaging and strategy to most effectively advance AU’s mission and goals and reach a range of audiences, including the general public (particularly the new generation of leaders and people of color), faith leaders, coalition partners, media, policymakers, supporters and funders.
  • Help lead public opinion research.
  • Modernize AU’s overall brand and integrate it into AU’s legal work, public policy work, advocacy campaigns, and grassroots education and engagement efforts.
  • Help create and elevate the brand and public profile of AU’s fairly new President.
  • Have a keen understanding of the relationship between policymakers, advocacy organizations, and grassroots members.

Leadership and Management

  • Provide visionary, strategic, and energetic leadership.
  • Shape and implement organization’s vision as a key member of AU’s senior team.
  • Manage a team of five people and department budget.
  • Project manage multiple communications initiatives including a soon-to-launch visibility campaign aimed at connecting to a younger audience.
  • Collaborate extensively and meet weekly with CEO and other department heads.
  • Cultivate strong working relationships with senior staff, consultants, and communications counterparts at allied organizations.
  • Define priorities and find balance in a hectic and bustling department while promoting a positive work environment.
  • Act as an effective ambassador to external supporters, partners, and donors.

The Candidate

Experience and Skills

A successful candidate will have earned a bachelor’s degree and should possess the following additional qualifications:

  • Eight to ten years of progressively more responsible leadership/management experience in communications.
  • Experience working in advocacy organizations.
  • Polished communication abilities, including excellent listening, writing, and speaking skills, and the ability to craft and articulate a persuasive case for support.
  • Demonstrated ability to design and implement a comprehensive set of communication strategies (including messaging and branding; campaigns; earned, paid and digital media; and email marketing) to measurably increase the profile of an organization.
  • Have finger on the pulse of relevant issues and culture, understand politics, and have a track record of responding rapidly to hot media moments.
  • A history of successfully working with senior staff in communications activities.
  • Experience motivating and managing a team of communications professionals.
  • Experience with public opinion research, while not required, is preferred.

Personal Characteristics

  • Visionary. Capable of visualizing what success looks like and how to take AU’s communications department there.
  • Advocate for church-state separation with a worldview that aligns with AU's mission, including fighting against the misuse of religious freedom to discriminate.
  • Inspirational, equitable, and effective as a manager and leader.
  • Ability to manage up and work effectively with President and CEO and other senior colleagues in the organization.
  • Capacity to manage multiple tasks and negotiate several priorities simultaneously – and calmly.
  • Ability and willingness to work a flexible schedule, including occasional weekends or evenings, in order to respond rapidly to current events as they unfold.
  • Ability to own where expertise is lacking and willingness to seek guidance in those situations.
  • Equal parts smart, savvy, and fun to work with. Culture and leadership both matter.

Competitive Salary and Generous Benefits: Salary is $ 125,000 - $ 150,000, commensurate with experience. Americans United offers a comprehensive benefit package including health care, dental, vision, life insurance, short-term disability, and long-term disability, 401(k) with match, and commuter subsidy.

About Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a nonpartisan educational and advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure freedom of religion, including the right to practice a faith or no faith, for all of us.

Founded in 1947, Americans United is a diverse and dynamic organization composed of people from all walks of life: lawyers and lobbyists, students and activists, religious leaders, and impassioned Americans.  AU includes people of faith and people who don’t profess any particular faith. It is a community that includes and welcomes people of all genders, races, ethnicities, religions or beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, ages, classes, and abilities.

Americans United use high-impact litigation, powerful lobbying, and grassroots advocacy to ensure that:

  • Religion does not dictate public policy.
  • The government does not tell Americans what to believe or how to practice their faith.
  • Discrimination is not justified under the guise of religious beliefs.

Through a strong, diverse national supporter network, both on the ground and online, AU defends the separation of religion and government and protects religious freedom for all in communities across the country. Americans United is a 501(c) 3 organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.

How to Apply

Please send cover letter, resume, and writing sample to hr@au.org. No calls, please.

Americans United is an equal-opportunity employer and places strong emphasis on a diverse environment in which individuals are valued regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, cultural background, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic.