ACLU Northern California Website

The Opportunity

The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU NorCal) seeks an Organizer for the San Francisco, Sacramento, or Fresno offices. The Organizer is responsible for developing volunteer leaders and building the ACLU NorCal volunteer base to develop successful advocacy campaigns that advance the organization’s mission and policy priorities.

The Approach

Our work is guided by the principles of freedom, equality, and justice enumerated in the Constitution. However, we know that because of historic and systemic racism and other forms of oppression, these principles are not equitably applied to all. In an ideal world, everyone would have equal access to justice and equal protection under the law. Unfortunately, neither our world nor our country is ideal. Our work involves hard subject matters that can be emotionally draining for some people. Ideal candidates will understand that as a mission driven organization; we strive to make the world a better place knowing that the road is long and hard. At the same time, we understand the importance of self-care, and do our best to reflect that in our practices and values.

The Position

The organizing team develops volunteer leaders and builds the ACLU NorCal volunteer base and chapter program in order to develop successful campaigns that advance the organization’s mission and policy priorities. ACLU NorCal prioritizes the following issues areas: Criminal Justice; Democracy and Civic Engagement; Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Justice; Immigrants’ Rights; Technology and Privacy; and Racial and Economic Justice. Within the organizing team, our primary focus is on the fundamental tenets of organizing: base building, power building, and leadership development. Base building and leadership development ensure that we will have the power to successfully achieve impactful policy victories.

ACLU NorCal organizers collaborate with legal, legislative, communications, and policy staff, as well as partner organizations, and ACLU volunteer leaders and chapter members from northern CA and across the state to strategize on and implement campaigns that develop key leaders and advance policy goals. Some past campaigns and activities include: local implementation of a police use of force law, removing ICE from county jails, passing ordinances to limit the use of surveillance technology, and monitoring polling places to ensure that people are able to vote. As Organizers, we focus on involving people in building and exercising their power to make change.

Organizers develop volunteer leadership through a mix of training, carrying out campaign tactics, and individual and group coaching. Organizers support and help expand our Chapter program. We currently have 19 regionally-based volunteer chapters. Organizers also support team and organization-wide events, such as conferences, legislative actions, volunteer orientations, and general outreach activities such as text or phone banks. The organizing team works throughout northern California with a particular focus on 9-10 priority counties. Organizers are typically assigned one to three counties in which to focus their base building and leadership development efforts.

You will thrive in this role if you are excellent at managing your time, able to work backwards from a goal to identify and carry out the necessary steps, and self-motivated. You should be a person who likes to pick up the phone to call people, learn about them, and engage with people from a wide array of backgrounds and experiences. The ideal candidate cares about producing excellent team and individual work, leans in and enthusiastically contributes to group projects.

About the Organization

The ACLU of Northern California is an affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, a nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the defense and expansion of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU NorCal) is comprised of two distinct corporations, the ACLU Foundation of Northern California (the “Foundation”, a 501c3) and the ACLU of Northern California (the “Union”, a 501c4). The incumbent is a joint employee of both corporations. For most of the last century, ACLU Nor Cal has been part of many of the most major – and sometimes controversial – struggles for civil liberties and civil rights in our state.

Our mission is to ensure that Constitutional rights don’t just exist on paper but are protected in practice. As we move into a new era, we face dangerous policies that threaten our civil rights and civil liberties, we must use our decades of experience in impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and fearless organizing to fight these policies and protect our most cherished rights and freedoms. At the same time, ACLU NorCal is committed to advancing proactive and positive change to transform laws and institutions to advance our values. We are committed to fostering an anti-racist work culture and to anti-racist principles and learning.

Duties & Responsibilities


Simultaneously implement 2-3 programs or campaigns to advance organizational policy priorities that include significant base-building and/or leadership development components.
Effectively mobilize volunteers to action to leverage power over decisionmakers.
Create toolkits, trainings, fact sheets, and talking points for campaigns and other organizing programs
Evaluate progress and adapt as needed, demonstrating a solution-oriented approach
Base Building

Consistently recruit and build the base of active volunteers, especially those who are BIPOC and/or directly impacted by civil liberties issues.
Regularly plan and implement a variety of outreach tactics including but not limited to text banks, phone banks, trainings, organizing meetings, and community events beginning to end, including recruitment, confirmation, follow-up, and ongoing engagement of participants.
Leadership Development

Identify, recruit, develop, and retain high-level volunteer leaders, particularly those who are BIPOC and/or directly impacted by civil liberties issues, to lead work in their communities and take on increasing responsibility.
Work with volunteer leaders to plan campaigns, programs, events, and organizing tactics, delegating responsibility, and ensuring volunteers are effective.
Coach volunteer leaders to successfully develop new and emerging volunteers as leaders and to have collaborative and respectful relationships with partners and other volunteers.

Education / Experience:

At least three years of full-time organizing experience that is directly related to the primary responsibilities and qualifications of this role. Please ensure that your resume indicates which experience is directly related to this role. Part-time experience, paid or volunteer, is pro-rated; please indicate on your resume which roles are part-time and/or volunteer.
We welcome you to include any lived experience you are comfortable sharing in your cover letter or an additional attachment.
Required Skills / Competencies:

Commitment to the mission and values of the ACLU and demonstrated understanding of structural, institutional, and interpersonal racism.
Willingness to adapt goals and workplans to meet shifting needs of a program or campaign.
Ability to manage working on multiple campaigns, issue area, and/or regions
Demonstrates sound strategic judgement when selecting and escalating campaign tactics.
Understands state and local legislative processes and able to effectively train volunteers to participate.
Excellent emotional intelligence and facilitation skills, including the ability to address any inappropriate behavior that arises in small and large group settings. Facilitates trainings and other organizing spaces that enable people with different backgrounds, knowledge, and experience to learn and take action.
Ability to give actionable constructive or corrective feedback to volunteer leaders about work product and equity and inclusion practices.
Maintains positive relationships with colleagues, volunteers, and partner organizations and can successfully navigate through interpersonal conflict or tension, with the support of a supervisor, if needed.
Demonstrates ability to hold and foster necessary conversations about race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ability, and other identity-based issues.
Extremely strong project and time management skills and ability to set and meet deadlines, including demonstrated capacity to manage and prioritize competing projects and achieve ambitious goals that align with department and campaign goals.
Preferred Skills:

Fluency in Spanish or other non-English language widely spoken in California
Direct personal or professional experience with impacted communities
Technical Skills:

Computer technology skills sufficient to use Microsoft Suite, GSuite, and databases and other technologies as needed; learn new digital organizing and computer programs when adopted; save files in designated locations on the shared drive and; keep files organized; navigate file systems efficiently.
Valid driver’s license and ability to travel throughout the northern California region frequently, with occasional travel to southern California and out of state.
Total Compensation

We are committed to creating and maintaining a diverse workforce through equity initiatives, which includes equitable pay practices. Competitive compensation is commensurate with experience. Starting salary range for this position is $74,132 – $86,487 annually.

We understand how vital our work is and at the same time understand the toll engaged activism can take. Our goal is to retain staff and we believe that having a robust benefit offering is vital in meeting that goal. Our benefits include four weeks paid vacation in addition to 14 office holidays; fully employer-paid medical, vision and dental insurance for staff members, their dependents and spouse or domestic partner; life and long-term disability insurance; and 401(k) plan with employer match. We have a robust Employee Assistance Program and emerging Employee Resource Groups.

This position is represented by IFTPE Local 20.

To Apply

Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible as we will be evaluating applications on a rolling basis. Applications must include (1) a resume, (2) a cover letter, and (3) a list of three references. Applicants concurrently applying to any other position with the ACLU should state what other position they are applying for in the cover letter. Please submit your application online at:

The ACLU NorCal is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The ACLU of Northern California advances equity and inclusion in the workplace by providing equal employment opportunity to support a work environment free from discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (over 40), sexual orientation, military and veteran status, and any other basis prohibited by law. The organization also provides reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. This equal employment opportunity policy applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, selection, advancement, training, problem resolution, and separation from employment. Through this policy, the ACLU NorCal strives to establish and maintain an equitable and accessible work environment that is free from discrimination and supportive of a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our communities and the people we serve. ACLU NorCal will consider for employment all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

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