Research and Policy Senior Director, AdvocateNYC
Organization Summary: United Way of New York City (UWNYC) is a nonprofit mobilizing people and organizations to eradicate barriers and create opportunities that improve the lives of low-income New Yorkers. Part of the United Way Worldwide system, one of the world’s most recognized charitable brands, we envision caring communities in which all individuals and families have access to quality education and the opportunity to lead healthy and financially secure lives. We strive to model our values in all our relationships, both internal and external: Collaboration, Compassion, Integrity, Accountability, and Superior Performance.
Position Description: UWNYC’s Senior Director of AdvocateNYC works to advance the organization’s mission through policy and systems change efforts, using a variety of methods including coalition building, advocacy, thought leadership, research, and public awareness campaigns among our diverse network and partners. UWNYC’s central belief is that the number of New Yorkers living below the standard of self-sufficiency is unacceptable and it is the collective responsibility of government, nonprofits, philanthropy, and business to make meaningful changes to help the 40% households currently living below the standard achieve greater self-sufficiency. The main strategic objective of AdvocateNYC is to educate and mobilize networks of individuals and organizations to drive policy and systems change that will advance self-sufficiency for low-income New Yorkers.
AdvocateNYC is an emerging unit and UWNYC will look to the Senior Director to establish key strategies and objectives as well as metrics, impact goals, and organizational structures to enhance cross-functional collaboration around advocacy initiatives. This unit is essentially in “startup” mode and requires an entrepreneurial individual who is comfortable and inspired by building a new unit. The Senior Director will work closely with our network of corporate, philanthropic, community-based partners, and policymakers to identify systemic problems and solutions as well as influence policy and systems change that positively impact all New Yorkers. With support of another member of the AdvocateNYC team, the Senior Director is responsible for producing annual advocacy agendas, research reports, expert testimony, informational briefings, advocacy actions as well as leading and supporting coalition building to identify challenges, design solutions, deploy resources and data, and drive policy and systems change. The Senior Director will also lead and support advocacy networks and coalitions with the infrastructure, relationship building, resource sharing, collaboration and organizing that is crucial to developing a broad-based network of support and action. The Senior Director will align internal stakeholders around advocacy initiatives and contribute to grant proposals and reports to secure resources for the work.
Strategic Leadership & Teambuilding:
- Lead and develop the vision and goals for the unit, manage AdvocateNYC staff and external consultants.
- As a senior leader at the organization, help shape and contribute to strategic decision making.
- Set annual strategic objectives, track progress against goals and evaluate the impact of AdvocateNYC and provide solutions to areas that require improvement.
- Collaborate with Marketing & Communication department to develop and implement a communications strategy for policy and advocacy priorities and strategies.
- Work with Resource Development to increase corporate, donor and affinity group engagement as advocates for UWNYC policy and systems change efforts.
- Work with Resource Development to identify and support fundraising opportunities to sustain and grow AdvocateNYC, including drafting grant proposals.
Public Policy/Government Relations:
- Develop and implement an annual public policy agenda that supports UWNYC’s strategic plan.
- Present UWNYC’s public policy agenda to wide variety of audiences, including government officials at all levels, community-based organizations, funders, businesses and UWNYC staff, donors and volunteers.
- Consistently meet with and maintain communications with elected and appointed officials and develop feedback loops to engage UWNYC colleagues in these efforts.
- Position UWNYC as a credible, trusted, nonpartisan source of information for policy makers.
- Lead the AdvocateNYC team in the publishing of short policy reports, blog posts, presentations and outreach materials, and other materials related to UWNYC’s policy and systems changes efforts.
- Document UWNYC’s policy change successes and lessons learned to inform citywide practice.
- Identify and research key local, state and national policy issues and develop associated strategies.
- Encourage and initiate collaboration between UWNYC, CBO partners, businesses and other advocacy groups sharing similar advocacy goals and objectives including to convene stakeholders and working groups.
- Prepare position papers, conduct research, and provide public testimony for UWNYC’s priorities.
- Build understanding and comfort with UWNYC’s advocacy efforts among corporate partners.
- Build the capacity of UWNYC network partners and allies to advance UWNYC’s policy priorities through education and skills-building workshops.
- Collaborate with other stakeholders to support and publish research to advance policy priorities.
Skills, Knowledge and Experience:
- Position requires a master’s degree in political science, public policy or other related field preferable; five to seven years of related public policy experience or equivalent of education and experience.
- Research and applied subject matter expertise in one or more of the following required: birth – 12 improved education outcomes, economic stability and benefits access, hunger, workforce development and similar expertise in US-based public policy.
- Understanding of public policy framework, legislative and budget processes at the City level.
- Working knowledge reading, writing, and analyzing legislation and city budget preferable.
- Demonstrated experience in policy analysis, research and producing effective written communications.
- Experience with large, multi-organization coalitions and democratic consensus-building process preferable.
- Experience with corporate sector and comfort mobilizing business to action preferable.
- Strong verbal and written communications with exceptional attention to detail.
- Recognition of importance of interdepartmental coordination and communication.
- Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills and strong ability to build partnerships and establish a leading voice on coalitions.
- Staff and consultant management experience is a plus.
- Ability to both work independently and be a team player.
- Ability to handle multiple projects and quickly “change gears” as needed.
- Business Acumen & Strategic Direction
- Relationship Oriented
- Critical Thinking & Creative Problem Solving
- Effective & Engaging Communicator
- Embracing & Managing Change