Digital Engagement Director, Communications & External Affairs

28 Dec, 2021


Digital Engagement Director, Communications & External Affairs

Vera Institute of Justice
Brooklyn, NY

Who we are:

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grassroots, and grassroots organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.

Vera has a staff of almost 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.

Who you are:

The Digital Engagement Director is a seasoned and enthusiastic leader who will work with the VP of Communications and External Affairs to develop and execute strategies to advance our issues, test messages, execute campaigns, grow audiences, reach influencers, and elevate Vera’s brand. Candidates must be known for being excellent communicators, on the cutting edge of digital technology, expert project managers, caring mentors, adept in racial equity, and have high EQ (thoughtfulness, empathy, and self-awareness). You will join a team of communications professionals including content creators (editorial, design, blog, website), and media and messaging, social media, and government and public affairs experts. The team works closely across all units at Vera. The Digital Engagement Director reports to the Vice President for Communications and will work closely with the development team on fundraising and marketing efforts.

In this role, you will:

Lead a comprehensive and strategic digital engagement program across all digital channels, from paid advertising to social media to web to digital design, to serve Vera’s mission and help achieve the goals in our strategic plan.

  • Supervise and mentor a team of digital strategists and content creators, including web developers, designers, and digital writers, to conceptualize, build, and implement successful digital strategies and campaigns.
  • Lead major digital and communications projects, from website designs to major announcements and campaign launches

Develop and implement a clear and coherent digital engagement strategy that marries Vera’s communications and programmatic goals, including establishing metrics for success, building a robust content team and process, and helps deliver meaningful change for Vera’s mission.

Serve as Vera’s lead strategist for digital marketing and campaigning, working with Vera’s programs and initiatives to develop digital strategies, and resource and support them appropriately and strategically.

  • Build relationships with collaborators throughout Vera, including the Development, program, and initiative teams, partnering with them to translate their goals into actionable and strategic digital engagement campaigns

Lead special projects as needed, which cut across teams and functions within Communications, with digital strategy playing a central role in our work

What qualifications do you need?


  • 7+ years of progressive digital communications experience, including as a director or in a similar team leadership role.
  • An experienced manager. You like leading a team and have demonstrated skills mentoring and managing digital staff. You can make tough but fair calls, and look forward to nurturing and managing a team of digital communicators using a supportive and collaborative approach.
  • Scrupulous project management skills, that shape day-to-day tactics that align with bigger goals.
  • Track record of building successful digital campaigns – both issue-based and fundraising – that recruit influencers and maximize social impact.
  • Strong experience and proven success using paid advertising.
  • Experience managing digital strategies around crisis communications.
  • Ability to develop and test messaging identifying and deploying tools and software to track quantitative and qualitative metrics and key milestones that demonstrate the performance and effectiveness of digital strategies
  • Excellent writer and communicator who can adeptly distill research into a tweet, develop digital marketing strategies, and take digital storytelling to the next level.
  • Fluency with design and video software


  • Knowledge and interest in social justice. You don’t have to be an expert in the criminal legal system, but you need to be paying attention and to have worked in some area of social justice communications.
  • Expertise and passion. You see ahead of the curve about the potential for audience engagement, love to be on the cutting edge, and to evangelize others around it.
  • A strategic and tactical tilt. You’re an expert in targeting and analyzing audiences, building strategic campaigns, and increasing engagement. You set goals, measure the efficacy of your tactics, and adjust accordingly.
  • Diplomacy. You know that creating a good product that reflects Vera’s mission takes negotiation. Cuts need to happen, tears may be shed. You are able to provide a shoulder for colleagues, be a champion—and still cross the finish line on time and shine.
  • A deep commitment to racial equity. In a system built on racism and inequity, we are working to ensure equity both in our workplace and in the world. You incorporate this value and share it with others.
  • A collaborator. Collaboration is a Vera value—we thrive when we learn and build on each other’s ideas and are open to giving and receiving feedback—in our team and across the Institute.

List of Required Software applications:

  • Asana, social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, twitter), design and video software (photoshop and other video creation and editing platforms)

How to Apply

Please apply through our career portal:

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: Human Resources / Digital Engagement Director, Communications & External Affairs

Vera Institute of Justice

34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232

Fax: (212) 941-9407

Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.

No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

As a federal contractor, and in order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability/medical contraindication or sincerely-held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.

Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status. 

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.

For more information about Vera, please visit

Job posted: 2021-12-28