Deputy Director/Chief Operations Officer

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) seeks a Deputy Director/Chief Operations Officer (COO). This is a new role, designed for a professional looking for a meaningful, senior level leadership opportunity in a proven, growing, and vibrant organization that makes profound differences in the lives of people across New Jersey. The ACLU-NJ takes pride in our reputation of over 60 years of fighting for the rights of all New Jerseyans. And now – with ongoing challenges to civil liberties at the national level, the increased need to develop good policy at the local level, the still-evolving impacts of the COVID crisis on civil rights, and the 400-years overdue increased awareness of the impacts of systemic racism on every American institution — is a vital time to join us and make a meaningful, positive, long-term impact on the future of New Jersey and the United States.

The Deputy Director/COO will partner with the Executive Director to lead the organization, will assist the Executive Director with the day-to-day management of the organization, and will create robust, systems and operations that will undergird and facilitate their vision. In addition to leadership, the Deputy Director/COO will serve as a trusted adviser to the Executive Director, and will be responsible for supervising the human resources, finance, administrative, technology, and operations functions of the organization, ensuring effective collaboration, systems management, and workflow. This position will report to the Executive Director and will be based in Newark but will work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic with an expectation of returning to the office in some capacity in early 2022.

What you’ll do

  • Serve as a trusted partner and adviser to the executive director for financial, organizational, personnel, and strategic decisions and anticipating organizational needs over time.
  • Serve as a key member of the Management Team and participate in organization-wide decision-making.
  • Provide leadership and help manage organizational systems and processes.
  • Help build and sustain a culture of belonging in the organization, and with key staff, lead the ACLU-NJ’s equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) work.
  • Supervise the human resources, people and culture, finance, technology, and operations functions of the organization, including staff managing those functions.
  • Improve and enhance core parts of the organization, including but not limited to EDIB, human resources, people and culture, finance, cross-departmental collaboration, and governance.
  • Help further develop and oversee the finance infrastructure of the organization, including overseeing 501 c(3) and c(4) best practices and compliance, the annual budget process, the audit process, and other finance responsibilities.
  • Improve internal meeting culture, by refining meeting structures, frequency, communications, and decision-making processes, and holding staff accountable for meeting norms.
  • Work with the Management Team and key staff to ensure that the work of the ACLU-NJ is well-supported, coordinated across departments, and aligned with the strategic plan.
  • Maintain current knowledge of workplace trends, particularly in HR, people and culture, non-profit finance, management, equity, technology and operations.
  • Foster a sense of learning across the organization, and ensure regular management, equity, and other trainings for staff.
  • Help develop existing managers, ensuring they are operating at their best and continuing to improve their management skills.
  • Partner with the Executive Director to manage the relationship with the Board of Trustees.
  • In partnership with consultants and key staff, navigate and lead ongoing strategic planning processes.
  • Manage annual performance review process, including improving evaluation instruments, providing support for staff, and ensuring accountability for staff performance.
  • Assist with resource development opportunities and fundraising activities.
  • Collaborate and maintain working relationships with staff at ACLU National, particularly colleagues on the Affiliate Support and Nationwide Initiatives team on operations, HR, EDIB, finance, and related topics.
  • Occasionally represent the organization at external events and meetings, speaking engagements, and to the media as needed.
  • Other duties as needed.

What you’ll need

  • Combination of relevant advanced degree (e.g. MBA, JD, masters or certification in related field) and significant experience in nonprofit management, finance, EDIB, HR, employment law, executive coaching, or other related experience strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated commitment to civil rights and liberties, social justice, and racial justice, and a willingness to engage in transformative work in partnership with the Executive Director and other key staff.
  • Demonstrated experience serving at a senior level at an organization or company, in partnership with executive management, and advising a principal on organizational issues.
  • Significant management experience, particularly supervising professional staff in a fast-paced environment, in areas including but not limited to EDIB, operations, human resources, strategic planning, nonprofit financial management, and/or nonprofit governance.
  • Strong familiarity with and significant previous experience in nonprofit financial management and human resources processes and best practices.
  • Proven ability and a vision for building an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace, where all staff feel a sense of belonging.
  • Experience implementing management best practices, including caring for and getting the best out of people.
  • Tact, diplomacy, and a collaborative spirit in interacting with staff, board members, and external partners.
  • Strong communication skills, including when delivering complex or challenging messages.
  • A good listener, who inspires trust and confidence, remains open to the ideas of others and can receive and implement input and feedback from others.
  • Strong sense of professional discretion and ability to hold sensitive information confidential.
  • Strong self-motivation with a creative and resilient mindset focused on creating solutions to identified problems.
  • High level of organizational ability to work independently, attention to detail and drive to set results-oriented, highly effective standards.
  • Ability to plan strategically: analyze information, evaluate options, and think and coach others on planning, and provide meaningful and critical, effective feedback.
  • Experience implementing transformative change in workplaces.


The salary range for this position starts $110,000 and is negotiable, commensurate with experience. We offer a comprehensive compensation and benefits package which currently includes 16 days paid time off, 11 office holidays and 12 health care leave days; medical, vision, and dental insurance; life and long-term disability insurance; pre-tax transit benefits; and a 401(k) plan with employer match. This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

About our Culture

We are a diverse workforce and take pride in our ability to attract and retain employees with a huge array of backgrounds and experiences. We work hard, but also like to celebrate our successes.

Our organization is currently a team of 28 who care deeply about the work of the ACLU. We view our work as advancing our goals of liberty and justice for all and we work to achieve these through our approach and practices. We enjoy working together and remain inspired by the remarkable work of our amazing local and national colleagues.

Are You Ready to Help Lead Us into the Future?


If you’re excited about bringing your talents and skills to the ACLU-NJ, complete the application below and upload a resume and detailed letter of interest. Your letter should explain ways in which you satisfy the skills and qualifications specified above. We also invite applicants to include in their letter information about how their background and/or experiences could contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and advocacy work.

Application materials will also be accepted via postal mail (P.O. Box 32159, Newark, NJ 07102), but electronic filing is strongly preferred. Applications will be reviewed beginning immediately. We will accept applications until the position is filled, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website. We hope that one of those applications is yours.

The ACLU makes every effort to assure that its recruitment and employment provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions.

The ACLU is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The ACLU-NJ is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest organization, dedicated to defending and enhancing civil rights and civil liberties through litigation, legislative advocacy, organizing, and community education. 

The ACLU-NJ is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture of belonging. It is our policy to employ qualified people without regard to race; color; religion; sex; national origin; age; ancestry; disability; sexual orientation; veteran’s status; marital status; civil union status; arrest or court record; citizenship; credit history; genetic information; gender identity or expression; status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking; or any other characteristic protected under federal or state law. The more inclusive we are, the better we are.

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