Skip to content
Kansas City Skyline

Nonprofit Jobs

Find a job that you're passionate about. Nonprofit Connect is your career headquarters offering the premier nonprofit job board in the region.

Browse our list of nonprofit jobs.

Director of Policy and Research

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kansas is a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The ACLU of Kansas works in the state legislature, the courts, and local communities to protect the rights of all people living in Kansas. The organization’s work includes efforts to strengthen and defend First Amendment rights, voting rights, reproductive rights, racial justice, LGBT rights, immigrants’ rights, stopping government surveillance, and reforming the criminal justice system. The ACLU of Kansas often works in broad-based coalitions made up of individuals and organizations from across the political, partisan, and ideological spectrum. The ACLU of Kansas is an affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union, has an annual budget of approximately $2.1 million, and has more than 30,000 supporters across the state. The headquarters of the ACLU of Kansas is in Overland Park, Kansas.
The ACLU of Kansas comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and the ACLU Foundation of Kansas. Both entities have the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. The ACLU Foundation of Kansas is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that primarily engages in litigation and public education. The ACLU of Kansas is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation that primarily engages in lobbying and advocacy.  The ACLU of Kansas also provides operational and funding support for Kansans United for Civil Liberties, a Section 527 political action committee. More information about the ACLU of Kansas is available at
The ACLU of Kansas seeks a dynamic, creative, self-motivated team player to serve as its Director of Policy and Research.  This senior-level position will oversee the organization’s broad-based policy advocacy, development, and research program at the local and state levels. Reporting directly to the Executive Director, the position is based in Overland Park. During the Kansas legislative session, this staff person will be expected to regularly be in the state capitol in Topeka.  The ACLU of Kansas is also deeply engaged in policy work at the city and county level in jurisdictions across Kansas; as a result, this position involves some travel to communities around the state.  This is a management position; although the Policy Department currently does not have additional full-time employees, the ACLU of Kansas has a strategic plan that calls for significant growth in the department over the next four years.
The ACLU of Kansas has adopted a “campaign” approach for its work. Work is focused on pursuing specific integrated advocacy campaigns to achieve measurable goals that will expand civil liberties, while building the long-term power of the ACLU and the civil liberties movement.  The organization’s campaigns for the next four years are criminal legal reform and voting rights.  Both campaigns have policy objectives they seek to attain at the state level and at the local level. 


  • Provide leadership and oversight of the ACLU of Kansas’s policy program—including policy development, analysis, advocacy, and research—by creating and implementing policy campaigns consistent with organizational priorities.
  • Develop and implement the ACLU of Kansas’s state and local policy agenda utilizing appropriate strategies and tactics.
  • Analyze and track state- and local-level policy proposals.
  • Analyze policy issues from a constitutional/civil liberties perspective and prepare policy proposals, background materials, reports, and public-facing documents based on that analysis.
  • Draft legislation, amendments, policy proposals, and recommendations for policy-makers.
  • Develop and implement a research agenda focused on the organization’s priority civil liberties issues.  Lead research into civil liberties policy issues in Kansas, including through the collection and analysis of original data.
  • Prepare and deliver both written and oral testimony in policy-making contexts.
  • Build trusted relationships with lawmakers, agency decision-makers, legislative staff, executive branch officials, lobbyists, local elected officials, and other stakeholders by providing clear, fact-based analysis and resources; identify opportunities for bipartisan, cross-ideological support on ACLU issues.
  • Engage in direct advocacy with elected members of the legislature, legislative staff, executive branch staff, and local elected officials.
  • Develop strategies and work in partnership with allied organizations, individuals and diverse coalitions, including engaging in coalition management.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with other ACLU-KS staff to plan and implement effective multi-disciplinary and integrated advocacy policy initiatives, involving a combination of policy, legal, communication, public education, and especially organizing strategies.
  • Participate in legislative interim activity, legislative hearings, local-level policy-making meetings, and participate in policy- related workgroups, coalitions and meetings.
  • Respond to media requests on policy issues and represent the ACLU of Kansas at events, forums, and meetings.
  • Prepare written materials, including action alerts, talking points, issue briefs, reports, op-eds and website updates, in collaboration with other staff members.
  • Work collaboratively with the national ACLU and other ACLU affiliates to advance nationwide  policy priorities.
  • Attend national and regional ACLU training, staff conferences, and issue-oriented events.
  • Identify emerging civil liberties and racial justice issues.
  • Provide staff support to the ACLU-KS affiliated PAC, Kansans United for Civil Liberties.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Director.
  • BA required; MA in public policy-related discipline or JD preferred.
  • At least three years of local, state, and/or national-level legislative, political or policy advocacy work, with a strong preference for Kansas experience.  Experience working in policy development and policy research preferred.
  • Experience working on racial justice issues and using a racial justice lens.
  • Understanding of the policy-making process.
  • Ability to build respectful relationships across the political spectrum and in diverse communities.
  • Substantial knowledge of civil liberties and civil rights issues and a commitment to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission and goals.
  • Excellent analytical, communication (written and oral), and research skills, with the ability to articulate policy/legal concepts and complex issues tactfully and effectively to a variety of audiences.
  • Ability to develop allies and work collaboratively in coalitions; ability to navigate internal dynamics among partner groups.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and sustain relationships with diverse groups, work cooperatively with communities across the political spectrum and a personal approach that values and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstances.
  • Initiative, vision, and ability to develop and implement short and long-term policy strategies utilizing a broad range of advocacy, education, and organizing tactics.
  • Exceptional ability to work independently and keep organized in a fast-paced environment, manage several projects simultaneously, and adjust strategy to frequently changing demands.
  • Understanding of how to work collaboratively with colleagues across departments and functions; experience in integrated advocacy strongly preferred.
  • Commitment to the highest ethical standards of advocacy and professionalism.
  • Ability to work non-standard hours during legislative session and travel to meetings and events throughout the state, as needed.
  • Experience in ballot initiative/issue/candidate electoral campaigns a plus, but not required.
  • An unwavering passion for the mission and goals of the ACLU, including demonstrated interest in civil liberties, equity and racial justice is essential.
The salary for this position is $77,000. The ACLU of Kansas offers excellent benefits, including medical and disability insurance (fully paid by employer), a 401(k) match program, and generous vacation, holiday, and sick leave.
Please submit a letter of interest, a current resume, a relevant writing sample of no more than 5 pages, and three professional references (identifying each reference’s relationship to you and each reference’s email address and phone number). Email your application to:
Vanessa Phipps,
Sr. Human Resources Consultant
Please include “Director of Policy and Research” in the subject line. Applications accepted until the position is filled. No calls or in-person applications, please.
Applicants will be reviewed beginning immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. No phone calls or in-person applications, please.  The ACLU of Kansas strongly encourages formerly incarcerated individuals to apply.
This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU of Kansas reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.
The ACLU of Kansas is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Kansas encourages 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 of Kansas undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.

Job Type: Full Time

Salary Range: $75,000 - 99,999