Policy and Advocacy Strategist: Justice Involved

14 Nov, 2022


Policy and Advocacy Strategist: Justice Involved

American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU-IL)
Chicago, IL

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU-IL) has an open Policy and Advocacy Strategist position, centering on our Justice-Involved work. The Strategist will focus on our work related to policing, systems-involved youth, collateral consequences, and barriers to reentry. The Policy and Advocacy Strategist works collaboratively across departments to use integrated advocacy tools, including legislation, policy change, coalition building, and communications, to advance meaningful change.

Policy and Advocacy Strategists must have policy development and implementation experience, a curious and strategic mindset, and experience working on the core issues for their specific position. The successful applicant will have at least six years of hands-on experience successfully advocating for legislative or policy change, and five years of experience researching, collecting, and synthesizing large amounts of information from various sources and providing recommendations on next steps.

The Policy and Advocacy Strategist is part of the Advocacy Department and reports to the Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs Director. This is a full-time non-exempt union position that is part of a bargaining unit represented by the National Organization of Legal Services Workers/United Auto Workers Local 2320.


The Policy and Advocacy Strategist helps to develop and implement the ACLU-IL’s legislative, policy, and advocacy priorities by:

  1. Analyzing current and prospective priority local, state, and national ACLU issues.
  2. Conducting, analyzing, and presenting rigorous research that:
    • Identifies and evaluates best practices around model policies and programs (legislation, ordinances, directives, practices) and implementation strategies.
    • Includes a review of both quantitative and qualitative data related to policy goals.
  3. Building and maintaining trusted, respectful relationships with stakeholders, including but not limited to: people impacted by our work, community members and leaders, coalitions, allied organizations, issue experts, legislative staff, government officials, and elected officials.
  4. Drafting legislation, developing policy positions, and creating strategies that:
    • Increase public and impacted community awareness of and opportunities to engage on civil liberties issues.
    • Are mission-aligned and build on best practices when appropriate.
    • Will result in meaningful change and actively mitigate against the potential of unintentional disparate impact, and/or actively address potential disparate impact.
    • Include a plan for successful implementation and a process for monitoring impact.
  5. Developing and executing implementation of strategy through:
    • Developing partnerships that facilitate successful policy, legislative, and non-litigation advocacy implementation.
    • Engaging in public education activities that reach a wide variety of audiences.
    • Coordinating and participating in legislative and stakeholder meetings.
    • Writing and delivering compelling testimony.
  6. At each stage of the work, the Policy and Advocacy Strategist is expected to:
    • Draft clear and concise internal and external memos and develop advocacy tools, including fact sheets, talking points, public education materials, position letters, and policy briefs, in multiple formats for a range of audiences.
    • Work with the Advocacy Team and community stakeholders to include the voices, perspectives, and experiences of those directly impacted by the issues being addressed into the process.
    • Work collaboratively across Departments, as needed.


The successful candidate will have:

  • At least six years of hands-on experience successfully advocating for legislative or policy change.
  • At least five years of experience researching, collecting, and synthesizing large amounts of information from various sources and providing recommendations on next steps.
  • Proven ability to think critically and strategically about solving problems and coming up with solutions that drive results.
  • Proven ability to communicate clearly and effectively, explaining complex issues in accessible terms for various audiences, both verbally and in writing.
  • Proven ability to work independently and manage multiple projects with competing deadlines on a tight timeline, while maintaining strong attention to detail.
  • Proven ability to build and maintain effective relationships with a broad range of constituencies, including people who have been impacted by our work.
  • Ability to be resilient, understanding that working towards systemic change is a marathon and not a sprint.
  • Willingness and availability to travel throughout Illinois, and work beyond the typical workday and on weekends.


Benefits include four weeks of paid vacation (pro-rated the first year); 100% employer-paid medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff and eligible dependents; a 403(b) retirement benefits plan with employer match; life insurance; and long-term disability insurance. In accordance with the ACLU salary scale and commensurate with experience, the salary range is $55,000 to $75,000.


The ACLU of Illinois is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and encourage 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, or veteran status.

The ACLU is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you need assistance applying online, please email jobs@aclu-il.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


Applicants should prepare a resume and cover letter addressing the following questions:

  1. What is an example of when you have advocated for a policy change? What skills did you use in the process? What was most challenging for you? Please be specific. (You do not need to limit yourself to a formal legislative effort or organized campaign led by an organization. Examples of where you have advocated for policy change in a personal capacity would also be applicable.)
  2. What is a time in which you have worked with a diverse group of people to create change? What did you learn about yourself in the process?
  3. What is your experience working on justice-involved issues?

Email AdvocacyJobs@aclu-il.org and use the subject line “Policy and Advocacy Strategist: Justice-Involved.” No calls or outreach via social media or other platforms, please. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Job posted: 2022-11-14