Deputy Executive Director | External Affairs and Strategic Communications


Based in Washington, DC and founded almost 50 years ago, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit anti-poverty organization advancing federal, state, and local policy solutions for low-income people. We bring a racial equity lens to this work, seeking to identify and address the barriers people face because of race, ethnicity, and immigration status.

At a time when the threats to low-income people are greater than at any time in CLASP’s history, our work is more important, urgent, and in-demand than ever.

That's why CLASP is seeking a creative, high-energy, and highly strategic deputy executive director for external affairs and strategic communications to ramp up our communications and outreach capacity towards several key goals: reaching new audiences, translating our highly credible and deeply valued materials into shorter and more graphically appealing formats, improving our ability to target national and state/ local audiences strategically for greatest impact, and improving our ability to coordinate and plan strategically and across policy areas. 

This recruitment is part of a broader expansion at CLASP—including expanded capacity in policy as well as legislative, outreach, and communications—to meet the threats posed by the President and Congress to low-income people, including immigrants and people of color. It is also part of a broader strategic shift in how we work. Historically, CLASP has primarily reached out to external audiences through expert policy teams focused on child care and early education, public income and work support programs, job quality (for example, paid family leave and paid sick days), postsecondary education and workforce development, and youth policy. Each team typically conducted its own external-facing work with key national and state policymakers and advocates, and the agenda of the communications team was typically driven by the publications emerging from the separate policy teams, rather than by a coordinated CLASP-wide strategy of CLASP’s current staff of 38, 28 of whom are members of the policy teams.

Over the past several years, however, we have integrated our work more extensively to reach across these separate areas, encouraging audiences who know us from one area to engage in advocacy on another (for example, working to get children’s and anti-poverty advocates involved in immigration and health care battles). This new position reflects our aim to greatly accelerate this cross-cutting strategy in 2017 and beyond, building stronger capacity to support the policy teams’ work in a way that promotes CLASP-wide priorities, so that we can respond more effectively to the unprecedented threats. 

The right candidate will take CLASP to the next level of reach and impact while building on our considerable existing strengths, including an extensive program of publications—about 75 to 100 highly regarded reports, briefs, and testimonies and another 100 commentaries and blogs each year—and the credibility of CLASP experts who regularly communicate directly with key state and federal policymakers and advocates.  The new Deputy ED will report to CLASP’s Executive Director and will supervise a team to be expanded to about half a dozen staff members plus additional consultant support, including the current communications team (Director of Communications and two team members), and most likely at least one additional communications position and a new position for external outreach.

SUPERVISOR: Olivia Golden, Executive Director


  • Leading the development and implementation of the new Communications and External Affairs plan, team structure, and approach, in close collaboration with the Executive Director, Director of Communications, and Management Team, including:

- Designing the staffing and approach of the team, building on the planning done to date;
- Designing the staffing and approach of the team, building on the planning done to date; and
- Leading the recruitment of highly talented and diverse staff for the new roles.

  • Leading the design and implementation of a coordinated approach to external strategy, to improve substantially CLASP’s capacity to bring together communications and other external outreach (such as our extensive relationships with state advocates and decision-makers) to support our top priority goals and defend against threats.
  • Developing and implementing multiple strategies to reach broader and new audiences, working closely with the communications staff and policy teams. Likely strategies include more effective translation of our materials into short and graphically appealing formats tailored to different audiences, expanded use of social media, the development of improved and expanded lists, and effective use of the website upgrade that we expect to complete this summer, among others.
  • Providing overall guidance and support for the whole range of communications activities, including the development of publications and media relations, as well as participating actively in the communications agenda, through writing, editing, conducting media outreach, and/or taking on other hands-on roles as needed to move the work forward.
  • Providing overall guidance, and support for the external outreach function, as the staffing needs for that function are defined and filled.
  • Working in close collaboration with the legislative director and policy teams to ensure a CLASP-wide strategy for moving the core policy agenda.
    Participating in CLASP-wide leadership activities through the Management Team and other organization-wide activities (for example, the cross-CLASP committees on racial equity and state technical assistance).


  • At least 7 – 10 years of experience in a senior management role, including leadership in managing comprehensive strategic communications, media relations and external outreach to advance the organization’s mission and goals. 
  • Substantial experience working with a mission-driven nonprofit or public agency strongly preferred. Strong external affairs experience, particularly outreach to Governors and state leaders.  Experience advocating at both the state and federal levels is a plus but not required.
  • General familiarity with one or more of CLASP’s core policy areas is required; in-depth experience in at least one of these areas is strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness developing and implementing a communications/external strategy in partnership with colleagues; strong strategic planning and implementation skills.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness in translating complex policy materials and data into easily accessible formats and language for broader audiences.
  • Experience using social/digital media and other newer platforms as tools in policy and advocacy.
  • Skills in developing and nurturing relationships with reporters, columnists, and other journalists.
  • Very strong written and oral communications skills, highly effective writer and editor.
  • Demonstrated capacity to build strong partnerships internally and externally.  Experience working closely with policy experts is very helpful.
  • Strong relationships with key external partners that will help bring CLASP’s work to broader audiences are a plus – for example, relationships with media broadly and specifically outlets that reach African-American and Latino audiences.
  • Successful experience as a team leader, through direct supervision and/or project leadership.
  • Demonstrated commitment to CLASP’s anti-poverty and racial equity mission.

SALARY: Salary is commensurate with experience. CLASP offers exceptional benefits, including health insurance, dental insurance, life and long-term disability insurance, long term care insurance, a 403(b) retirement program, flexible spending accounts and generous vacation, sick leave, and holiday schedules.

APPLICATION: Please send a resume and thoughtful cover letter to with CLASP and title of job position for which you are applying in the subject line.  

CLASP is an equal opportunity employer. People of color and women are particularly encouraged to apply. Resumes will be accepted until position is filled.