Executive Director
ACLU - United States

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American Civil Liberties Union
of San Diego & Imperial Counties
~ Job Announcement ~

The ACLU and ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties seek an Executive Director to lead the organization’s cutting edge programs, board support and development, fundraising, and financial management.

The ACLU fights for individual rights and fundamental freedoms for all, through education, litigation, policy advocacy, and organizing. The ACLU promotes and defends civil rights and civil liberties, including First Amendment rights, equal protection, privacy, and due process. The San Diego ACLU works collaboratively with the ACLU affiliates headquartered in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and with a lobbying office in Sacramento. Together, the three affiliates have more than 110,000 members and 130 staff in California.

Located in beautiful San Diego, the ACLU affiliate covers the length of California’s border with Mexico. It has 23 staff members, 21 board members, 9,000 members, and an annual budget of $3 million. San Diego is the eighth largest city in the United States and the second largest in California. San Diego County has the third largest number of registered voters in California. Imperial County is the poorest county in California.

The Executive Director will serve as the chief executive officer of the ACLU, facilitating the organization’s vision for improving civil liberties, managing the organization’s finances, raising funds, supervising staff, and serving as the primary spokesperson for the ACLU. Assisted by an Associate Director and reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will ensure that the organization is fiscally sound and that its internal and external communications, fund development, and programs are meeting the current and emergent needs and interests of its constituents.

The Executive Director will have a sophisticated understanding of civil liberties issues and policies and be a leader and manager who is adept at balancing internal management with external impact and visibility. The individual must be an outstanding communicator who is able to convey effectively the mission and activities of the ACLU to a variety of constituencies, as well as to the broader public.

The San Diego ACLU is a dynamic, diverse, relationship-focused, community-connected organization. It has grown from seven to twenty-three staff in the past five years, with an emphasis on immigrants’ rights, border justice, voting rights, criminal justice reform, educational equality, First Amendment, and civic participation. The San Diego ACLU has been a leader in many collaborations, including the ACLU of California and the ACLU’s Southwest border affiliates.


Leadership and Vision
  • Serve as an effective and visible spokesperson for the ACLU, articulating the organization’s’ history, programs, and mission. Represent the organization in the media, increase public awareness and broaden the organization’s reputation to strategic constituents.
  • Establish a clear vision for the continued growth and expansion of the ACLU. Provide direction to guide programs that align with the organization’s vision.
  • Lead the organization’s fund development efforts – utilize a staff-driven program model that focuses on increasing the number and capacity of major donors.
  • Initiate and strengthen relationships and collaborations with organizations and leaders who are connected to the ACLU’s mission and purpose.
  • Work in partnership with the board and staff to carry out policies approved by the Board of Directors.

General Management, Finance and Administration and Program
  • Ensure by effective management and leadership that the day-to-day operations are professionally and efficiently organized and administered.
  • Direct legal, legislative, communications, and organizing programs.
  • Oversee the organization’s financial operations; oversee the budgetary process and ensure that sound financial controls are in place.
  • Motivate and maintain a cohesive staff, ensuring that there is strong internal communication and coordination; recruit new staff when appropriate and evaluate performance.
  • Use technology to facilitate organizational management, fundraising, public education and lobbying.

Board Relations
  • Support the board in identifying the organization’s direction, policies, and goals.
  • Work with the board to identify and help recruit new board members who will add diversity to the board and whose talents, interests and commitment will help to further the ACLU’s mission.
  • Regularly brief the board on the status of the organization.
  • Engage the board in meaningful participation to further the organization’s goals.


The Executive Director should have the following experience and qualifications
  • Proven managerial, problem-solving, strategic planning, fund development and financial management experience in the private, not-for-profit, or public sectors.
  • Credibility and experience to connect the ACLU to resources and opportunities outside the organization; a successful track record of raising money from a variety of sources, major donor experience is preferred.
  • Proven and successful track record in creating and implementing programs; experience creating partnerships and collaborations.
  • A history of communicating effectively in writing and verbally, including excellent public speaking skills for both formal and extemporaneous presentations; ability to represent the ACLU to a broad public.
  • Ten years of professional experience and a Bachelor’s degree are minimum requirements.

Ideally, the successful candidate will be the following
  • Personally committed to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals and programs, with an understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications.
  • A dedicated leader and representative who can translate vision into action; someone who is passionate about networking and representing the organization to critical constituencies including ACLU members, the public, government, and the media.
  • A person who is intelligent and inspiring; able to conceptualize, express ideas and anticipate and act on events which may create opportunities for the ACLU.
  • An entrepreneur who is creative, strategic, resourceful and politically astute; someone who understands the value of creating partnerships with other organizations as a way of accomplishing the ACLU’s goals.
  • An energetic person who can handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities; a self-starter and finisher.
  • A team player who inspires collaboration and functions decisively; flexible and well-organized.
  • Outgoing and straightforward; one who shares information easily; listens as well as gives advice; respects the abilities of others.

Salary based on experience. Excellent benefits include paid vacation, medical and dental insurance, 401K, life and long-term disability insurance, and generous paid holidays.

Please send a substantive cover letter, resume, references, and writing sample by August 5, 2013 , to Phyllis Quan ACLU Search Consultant at phyllisq@san.rr.com .

The ACLU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, and veterans.

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The philosopher Socrates once said, "I am that gadfly which God has given the state." While the American Civil Liberties Union...