The Democracy Initiative – a unique national coalition engaged in intersectional grassroots field strategies across labor, environmental, and civil rights groups – seeks an Executive Director to build on our successes and lead us towards bold new initiatives.
The DI unites social and economic justice organizations with traditional democracy reform groups to win structural democracy reforms at the local, state, and federal levels. Our fundamental approach is movement-building; we mobilize millions of activists around the intersection of democratic principles and social and economic justice.
Founded in 2013, the DI has evolved to lead message framing and mobilization around the most critical challenges of the moment. During our first phase, we focused on changing Senate rules, winning state voting rights reforms, and reducing the influence of big money in politics, Including conducting popular education training and developing leaders from the Black, Brown, and Indigenous People of color community. From 2016 to the present, the DI has mobilized thousands around winning local reforms, led resistance to attacks on fundamental democratic principles, and defended voting rights. As we move forward, the DI is uniquely positioned to take the democracy struggle to a new level by elevating a race/class perspective.
The DI believes that a race/class analysis can best guide strategies to achieve our member organizations' goals of reversing climate change, reforming immigration, winning the right to organize a union, securing LGBTQ rights, and fighting systemic racism. Opposition to people-powered movements comes from those who benefit from social and economic inequality. Because of the vast resources controlled by those who favor the status quo, winning progressive goals must encompass action and win the public's heart and minds to protect the basic principles of equal representation and civic participation in American democracy.
The DI embraces “Democracy 365,” meaning that our movement can not be confined to a traditional election cycle but must seek to rebuild civil society on a day-to-day basis. We provide direct field capacity and technical support to local legislative and ballot initiatives, including leveraging coordinated field actions, messaging, and canvass training. At the federal level, we are prioritizing structural changes that will enable us to win legislative battles. The DI identifies policy solutions and facilitates creative problem-solving that unifies our partners across sectors and silos. We prioritize communities of color and develop leaders of color from working-class, LGBTQ, and disability communities in all of our campaigns.
The Executive Director's role is to provide strategic direction, fundraise, and execute programmatic priorities. The ED will support federal, state, and local campaigns, national communications, relationship-building, and development.
The Executive Director will report to the Executive Board. The ED will lead a small but dynamic DI staff and key staff from partner organizations.
The position is based in the Washington, D.C. metro area with occasional travel within the United States.
- Provide strategic direction and organizational leadership: Monitor and understand the strategic goals and plans of the member organizations – unions, environmental groups, human rights organizations, etc. Link those campaigns to specific democracy interventions, including voting rights, fair elections, equal representation, National Popular Vote, and other emerging reforms.
- Lead and supervise staff: Recruit staff, develop work plans, evaluate staff performance.
- Lead and coordinate fundraising: Work with staff and the Board on overall funding strategies; communicate with current funders; identify new prospects for funding.
- Working with Deputy Director: Develop a comprehensive communications plan: Work with the comms staff to formulate messaging and deliver content through social and earned media.
- Experience with popular education as a foundation to mobilizing at the grassroots level.
- Cultivate relationships and deepen the DI network: Engage in meaningful and regular communications with current members; identify needs and opportunities to support member organizations' program(s); collaborate on mobilization tactics; recruit new organizational members.
- Represent the DI: In coordination with the President, attend conferences and meetings with coalition members and allies with occasional public speaking.
- Engage with the Board: Regularly update the Board members on DI activities, challenges, and opportunities.
- A proven commitment to the values of a vibrant and inclusive democracy, a strong labor movement, environmental protection, immigrant advocacy, LGBTQ, human and civil rights, and racial justice.
- Experience moving political will among top leaders and leading organizational change.
- Experience in fundraising for 501c(3) and c (4) organizations.
- One-on-one and collective action training and organizing experience (familiarity with Popular Education a plus)
- Confident in ability to drive controversial agendas
- Must have a minimum of 8 years of senior-level management experience, including staff supervision.
- Experience working with a coalition.
- Excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
- Knowledge of advocacy on government processes at the local, state, and federal levels a plus.
- Hold organizational and time management skills.
- Relationships with unions and other social justice organizations
- Ability to work with leaders, staff, and members at all levels of organizations
- Sense of humor, creativity, patience, and entrepreneurial drive.
- Experience in managing multiple tasks in a rapid-paced environment.
Compensation: Salary is commensurate with experience.
To apply, please email a copy of your resume, a cover letter, and three references to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be considered as they are received.
The Democracy Initiative is an equal opportunity employer that values equity, diversity, and inclusion. Women, people of color, LGBT, and differently-abled are encouraged to apply.