Executive Director, South Dakota Chapter of the ACLU [SD-01]
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation - East Sioux Falls, SD

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Executive Director, South Dakota Chapter of the ACLU [SD-01]

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

Affiliate Support and Advocacy Department, NY

For more than 93 years, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLUF) has been at the forefront of virtually every major battle for civil liberties and equal justice in this country. Principled and nonpartisan, the ACLU has offices in all 50 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico, and brings together the country’s largest team of public interest lawyers, lobbyists, communication strategists, and members and activists in the advancement of equality, fairness, and freedom, especially for the most vulnerable in our society. The organization seeks a dynamic and seasoned chief executive to lead a strategic and effective civil liberties agenda throughout North and South Dakota.


Reporting to the national organization and working collaboratively with a group of dedicated professionals at the national office as well as outside consultants, we seek an experienced professional who can assume the chief executive functions and responsibilities in South Dakota, along with expanding our presence in North Dakota, and who can strategically direct the expansion of the organization’s visibility and impact.

The Executive Director of South Dakota oversees the substantive programmatic and advocacy efforts of the ACLU of SD that are designed to defend and provide advancement for the benefit of South Dakota’s citizens and residents, the civil rights and civil liberties protections contained in The Bill of Rights. The Executive Director serves as the primary spokesperson for the ACLU of SD, with responsibility for articulating the organization’s goals and vision and initiating and strengthening relationships and coalitions with organizations and leaders whose activities are aligned with these goals and vision.

The Executive Director of SD will supervise a staff of four. S/he should be a visionary leader, team builder, confident and competent, with strong skills in management, leadership and advocacy. The ideal candidate will understand the subtleties of collaborating with, motivating and engaging diverse constituencies throughout the state.

  • Direct the legal, legislative and advocacy programs in North and South Dakota
  • Oversee the administration of the offices to include the maintenance of a small office, supervision of staff and volunteers, and management and operations.
  • Expand the ACLU brand and visibility throughout North and South Dakota.
  • Serve as the ACLU's principal spokesperson in North and South Dakota.
  • Develop and recruit an Advisory Group comprised of lay leaders to serve as the chapter’s think tank.
  • Work in collaboration with national office staff to design legal, legislative and public education and advocacy initiatives to accomplish the Chapter’s goals and objectives.
  • Manage the chapter budget and implement local fund development programs.


The ideal candidate will be entrepreneurial, ambitious, creative, and should have the following experience and qualifications:
  • Direct the legal, legislative and advocacy programs in North and South Dakota
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree and/or law degree highly preferred.
  • Must have minimum of five years professional experience in a national organization with an affiliate or chapter structure preferred.
  • Proven problem-solving, strategic planning and financial management experience.
  • Credibility and experience to connect the ACLU to resources and opportunities outside the organization, particularly with Native American communities.
  • Major donor experience is desirable.
  • Demonstrated track record as an effective communicator; highly skilled in writing and speaking; adept at crafting proposals, donor correspondence and other kinds of materials.
  • Ability to share information readily; ability to listen as well as advise, collaborate, empower and demonstrate diplomacy.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently within the chapter jurisdiction, as well as work effectively with and quickly gain the respect and support of various constituencies, including national staff members, consultants, potential donors, and other community leaders.
  • Must be driven and willing to work hands-on in developing and executing the Chapter objectives ranging from the day-to-day to the highly strategic and be adept at planning, prioritizing, organizing and following through, while working under pressure and tight deadlines.
  • 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;
  • An intelligent and inspiring 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;
  • A self- starter with the ability to handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities and see projects/task thoroughly to completion.
  • Must be willing to undertake frequent travel; occasionally outside of normal business hours.
  • Outgoing and straightforward; one who shares information easily; listens as well as gives advice; respects the abilities of others.
  • A commitment to diversity; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Commitment to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals and programs, with a broad appreciation for and a sensitivity to the culture and traditions of the organization and an understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications; willing to publicly take unpopular positions.


The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.


Please send a cover letter (with salary requirements), resume, names and phone numbers of three professional references and a writing sample by email to: hrjobsSD@aclu.org, Reference [SD-01/LDJ] in subject line. Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address. This email address is specific to the South Dakota posting. In order to ensure your application is received, please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address. You can expect to receive an automatic response that acknowledges the submission of application materials.

Alternatively, applications can be mailed to:

Human Resources

RE: [SD-01/LDJ]

American Civil Liberties Union

125 Broad Street, 18th Floor

New York, NY 10004

Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this career opportunity.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU 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, and veteran status.

We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact: HRJobsINCLReq@aclu.org. Correspondence sent to this address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed. Applicants should follow the instructions above regarding how to apply.

The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”