Advocacy Director

  • Washington D.C., DC, USA
  • Jul 16, 2019
Full time Advocacy Director / VP / Pres. Government Affairs / Relations

Job Description

Position Summary:

The Advocacy Director will lead DWN’s advocacy and policy activities, develop campaign strategy, facilitate coalition building, act as a go-to source for media and oversee research and legal work in order to advance DWN’s mission to end immigration detention. The Advocacy Director will manage DWN’s Advocacy Team and serve on the Leadership Team, playing a critical role in guiding DWN’s vision and strategy in order to maximize our impact. They will also be responsible for strengthening DWN’s engagement with decision-makers and allies in DC as well as engaging with members across the country to incorporate their perspectives into DC-based advocacy.

This position reports to DWN’s Executive Director. Some travel required.

DWN is committed to the recruitment and retention of staff that is reflective of the communities we work with. We strongly encourage applications from people of color, Indigenous people, immigrants, women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, and other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.

What you’ll do:

Oversee DWN’s Advocacy Strategy

  • In collaboration with DWN’s staff and members, develop the vision, strategy and plan for DWN’s federal advocacy work.
  • Represent DWN in meetings with Congress and other decision-makers at senior levels of government.
  • Manage DWN’s advocacy team.
  • Ensure that each person on the team has ambitious goals and plans in place to meet them.
  • Support, coach and develop the skills of team members. Provide course-correcting guidance and address performance issues, as needed.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with allies and constituencies to develop creative and collaborative advocacy strategies to advance DWN’s mission.
  • Oversee DWN’s lobbying time to ensure 501(c)3 compliance and serve as a resource to staff about lobbying guidelines.

Provide Expertise on Detention

  • Provide rapid policy analysis to Congress and the Network through policy briefs, one-pagers, conference calls and one-on-one meetings.
  • Engage in public speaking and presentations to educate members and allies about detention and enforcement.
  • Engage with the media as a spokesperson for the organization and support the Network’s communications work with analysis, messaging and development of press materials.
  • Oversee DWN’s involvement and support and engagement with detention-related litigation as well as FOIA and state-level research on detention.

Build Coalition Power

  • Develop and implement national campaign strategies including overseeing DWN’s role in the Defund Hate campaign and being a thought partner in developing strategy for DWN’s Communities Not Cages campaign. Work closely with the Organizing Team to ensure the campaigns are coordinated and complementary.
  • Keep DWN members, leadership, and staff informed of policy opportunities and developments and enlist people in collaborative activities with a focus on developing member leadership and capacity.
  • Support DWN members in their local and state advocacy efforts and offer technical assistance as needed.
  • Facilitate the work of DWN members through member committees and designated projects.

You’ll thrive in this role if this sounds like you:

*While no candidate will possess every quality, the successful candidate will possess many of the following qualifications and attributes. Even if you aren’t sure but are excited about the position, we encourage you to apply!*

  • Demonstrated commitment to DWN’s values
  • At least six years of experience working on policy, advocacy, and/or organizing
  • Strong communicator including across long distances and via various platforms
  • Experience writing and editing reports and other written materials
  • Demonstrated ability to build deep expertise on an issue and research, synthesize and cite complex policy and legal information
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to handle the shifting contexts and nuances coalition building entails
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively, work well under pressure and adhere to deadlines while balancing multiple projects
  • Strong attention to detail

We’re hoping you bring 1-2 (or more) of these bonus skills:

  • Fluent in English and Spanish
  • Demonstrated success in devising strategies that bring together organizing and advocacy approaches and deliver wins
  • Experience conducting legislative analysis and policy advocacy, familiarity with litigation and/or political research
  • Experience supervising staff
  • Experience with public speaking and facilitation
  • Experience working against immigration enforcement and/or detention
  • Familiarity with social justice issues, particularly related to migrant justice, racial justice and ending mass incarceration
  • Experience working alongside and honoring the leadership of frontline communitie

Why work for DWN?

  • Paid Time Off: Staff are eligible for 15 vacation days their first year of employment; 20 vacation days during years two through seven; and 25 vacation days after eight years of employment; plus we are closed between December 25 and January 1.
  • Commitment to our staff: DWN invests in staff growth and professional development opportunities and is committed to providing regular feedback and opportunities for advancement.
  • Crystal clear focus: Our team gets to work with dedicated and growing membership committed to the abolition of immigration detention.
  • Wellness Fund: We know that this work can be physically and emotionally taxing, so DWN offers a wellness fund to all staff: a stipend of $500 per year to go towards personal health and self-care (yoga classes, therapy co-pays, massages, workout gear—whatever works for you!)
  • Our team is awesome: You’ll be working with a group of smart, dedicated, and caring people who know how to have fun while getting a lot done in a low-ego environment!
  • Added perks: we offer generous benefits and salaries, a monthly cell phone stipend, flexible work from home options, annual 3% Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs), plus staff are entitled to a sabbatical after eight years on staff.

To Apply:

In lieu of a cover letter, please respond to these short-answer questions:

  • Why are you excited about working at Detention Watch Network?
  • What experience do you have with developing the vision, strategy, and implementation plan for advocacy work (for an organization or within a movement)?
  • What is your approach to managing a team of diverse staff with varying levels of advocacy experience?
  • What experience do you have with providing rapid policy analysis (through policy briefs, one-pagers, conference calls, and one-on-one meetings) to Congress, stakeholders, and coalition members?
  • Is there anything else you'd like to share with us? (optional)

Please send your responses, your resume, and writing sample to with your first and last name followed by "Advocacy Director" in the subject line. Priority will be given to applications received by August 15, 2019. *Please note: Submissions received without the required submission format will not be reviewed.

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Detention Watch Network, a project of Tides Center, is an “at-will” and equal opportunity employer. Applicants and employees shall not be discriminated against because of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender (including pregnancy and gender expression) identity, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, or any other protected classification.

Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application. While performing the responsibilities of the job, reasonable accommodations may be made to enable people with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.


Detention Watch Network