Managing Director, Communications

New York City or Washington, DC.
Competitive salary
Oct 23, 2019
Metro Area
New York
Full Time

Drug Policy Alliance

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the leading organization in the U.S. promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. We envision a just society in which the use and regulation of drugs are grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights; in which people are no longer punished for what they put into their own bodies; and in which the fears, prejudices, and punitive prohibitions of today are no more. 

DPA has more than 50 staff in New York, California, New Mexico, and Washington, DC; an annual operating budget of approximately $11 million, 25,000 dues-paying members and more than 250,000 online subscribers.  It has a solid track record of success at the local, state, and federal levels and consistent visibility in prominent media and policy circles. For more information, please visit our website at

The Position

The Managing Director of Communications will have a significant role in shaping the organization’s public voice and overall strategic direction. They lead a comprehensive communications, marketing, media relations, and brand-management program to further both DPA’s drug policy reform agenda and its reputation as the leading drug policy reform organization in the United States. 

At this juncture, the Managing Director of Communications will focus on how to develop new audiences for our work, as well as how to bring our existing base of supporters along with the changes, particularly as DPA expands beyond simply fighting to end the drug war to building the systems that come next. 

The Managing Director of Communications serves on DPA’s senior management team, reports to the Executive Director, provides leadership to a talented staff of 7 professionals with expertise in media relations, web-based advocacy, social media, multimedia work (audio and video), and public education, and oversees a $1.2 million communications budget.

Primary Responsibilities

• Develop and unite DPA behind a strong strategic communications plan designed to promote DPA’s vision, mission, and values

• In close collaboration with the organization’s policy experts, design and manage issue-based campaigns, framing DPA’s agenda for multiple and diverse audiences

• Cultivate and support DPA spokespeople, training staff on communications strategies, key messages, and use of materials

• Ensure the use of effective, well-researched messages throughout the organization

• Create and oversee DPA’s marketing and brand management strategy, ensuring consistency of messages, images, and materials

• Manage online communications and ensure that DPA utilizes a cutting-edge approach to social media and other emerging media channels and technologies

• Oversee media relations to maximize exposure in print, broadcast, and online media channels

• Manage the writing, design, production, and sale/distribution of all print and electronic publications and merchandise

• Coordinate DPA’s representation at regional, national, and international conferences, symposia, and other events

• Serve as a spokesperson for the organization

• Manage and mentor communications staff and oversee budgets for all DPA communications functions

• Coordinate closely with the Executive Director, the Development Director, and other staff to support DPA’s fundraising efforts

• Contribute to DPA’s overall management by serving on the senior management team

Ideal Candidate Personal Characteristics and Values:

• Passion for the complex issues related to drug policy work and an understanding of how drug policy is inextricably intertwined with a host of connected issues

• A demonstrated commitment to accuracy, rigor, and journalistic integrity

• Comfort partnering with a range of stakeholders across the political spectrum

• Outstanding interpersonal skills, flexibility, creativity, curiosity, and a good sense of humor

• Comfortable giving and receiving critical feedback and having difficult conversations


• Minimum of 7 years’ management experience in communications, public relations, or marketing with an effective, visible advocacy organization or public policy campaign

• Experience with digital journalism, audience development, and public opinion research, and a strong vision for how to develop DPA’s presence and voice across multiple platforms and media

• Track record of success in creating effective strategies and messages across multiple platforms and media; demonstrated experience planning and executing major issue-based campaigns utilizing offline and online media channels, including social networks

• Experience generating media coverage for policy issues and a proven track record of packaging ideas and pitching and placing stories in local and national media outlets, including online venues

• Strong leadership abilities; experience managing a multiracial, multigenerational, and geographically dispersed staff, including senior staff and consultants

• Strong budget management skills

• Exceptional writing, speaking, and analytic skills

• Bachelor’s degree or equivalent educational attainment preferred

Terms of Employment

Preference is given to NYC candidates. However, this position could be located in Washington, DC. Some travel required.


DPA offers a competitive salary and benefits package including health, dental, long-term disability, and life insurance; a generous 403(b) plan; and 25 days paid time off.


Applications will be reviewed immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled.

Application Process

Please submit your application with a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements.

Applications will be reviewed immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled.

No phone calls, please. We will only contact candidates who are under consideration.

The Drug Policy Alliance is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, personal appearance, family responsibility, political affiliation, or any other status protected by applicable law. Women, people of color, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. We are particularly interested in hiring people who have been adversely affected by the war on drugs.


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