The development and communications associate will be an important member of our three-person communications team. This position will work closely with our communications director and communications strategist to ensure that the organization speaks with one voice to our key audiences and the general public. They will take primary responsibility for the day-to-day operations of our fundraising efforts. They will also oversee much of the organization’s administrative work (such as processing mail) and help to identify new potential audiences for our work and develop strategies to reach them.

The person hired for this position will roughly divide their time as follows:

  • 40% fundraising and development: this will mostly consist of processing and responding to donations and ensuring we meet all foundation reporting and deliverable requirements
  • 10% administrative tasks and mailings: this will generally involve processing incoming mail and assisting other staff with their outgoing mailing needs
  • 50% communications: this will include developing and executing strategies to reach new audiences, overseeing our correspondence with incarcerated people, making updates and improvements to our website, and other activities based on the skills and interests of the person hired and the organization’s needs.

The ideal candidate for this position is someone who can manage the day-to-day fundraising and administrative needs of the organization while also embracing the creative opportunities afforded by the communications side of the job.

Primary responsibilities:

  • Manage the day-to-day fundraising activities of the office. This includes processing checks and producing reports for funders.
  • Take lead responsibility for communications to and from our individual donor and foundation supporters, including segmenting, record keeping, and calendars; and be able to do first — and when you have more experience, the final — drafts of all foundation reports. Eventually, this position may also draft new grant requests.
  • Take primary responsibility for development-related publications, including our annual report, periodic appeals, and monthly/quarterly donor updates.
  • Be deeply familiar with our work and comfortable talking and writing about it for different audiences.
  • Review and respond to incoming mail and assist other staff with outgoing mailings.
  • Take the lead on responding to relevant correspondence to and from incarcerated people and negotiations with commercial publishers about reprinting our material, and assist with other streams of communication from the public as assigned.
  • Understand and document concrete examples of the impact our work has. This position should eventually be the point person for telling the story of how our work is helping to end mass incarceration and improve the lives of incarcerated people and their families.
  • Work with the communications director to identify potential non-journalistic audiences for our work, and grow and leverage our database of key connectors.
  • Help to maintain and improve content on our website.

Qualifications and requirements:

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills. This position will be responsible for interacting with members of the public as well as internally across department boundaries.
  • At least two years of experience in fundraising or communications for a nonprofit or government organization
  • Absolutely meticulous reputation for accuracy, both in record-keeping and documentation, as well as written items for public distribution.
  • Familiarity with Prison Policy Initiative’s work is desired and will be helpful on the job.
  • Previous knowledge of HTML is helpful, but a willingness to learn is a must.
  • Experience with (or a willingness to learn about) the criminal legal system
  • Proficient in typical office software, including mail merge.
  • Because this is intended as a work-from-home position, you must have a suitable working area where you can work on a computer, process incoming mail, prepare outgoing mailings, and adequately maintain the confidentiality of paper and electronic records. (All necessary equipment — a Mac computer, external monitor, scanner, three printers of various sizes; plus mailing supplies — will be provided by the employer. Alternatively, you are welcome to work from our Western Massachusetts office where this equipment already exists.)
  • While this position is remote, applicants should live in either Massachusetts or New York. Being in these locations will make it easier for periodic in-person meetings or training sessions, should the need arise.

Success after six months will look like:

  • You will have mastered our fundraising processes and schedule, be able to draft regular updates and grant proposals/reports with few substantive edits, and will begin to develop a familiarity with our individual donors and funders and their priorities. You’ll be starting to use this knowledge to make our fundraising work more efficient and effective.
  • You will have a solid knowledge of the work of the organization — past, present, and where we’re heading next — and how it is helping to end mass incarceration in America. You’ll be able to use these insights to produce powerful text that inspires people to work for change.
  • You will feel comfortable managing the administrative aspects of the job, including assisting colleagues with mass mailings.
    As you gain mastery of the development and administrative aspects of the job, you will have begun to work with our communications director to identify potential non-journalistic audiences for our work. You will also have started to grow our database of connections and likely have a few examples of tangible outcomes from those connections.
  • You and our communications director will have worked together to identify opportunities for growth in the communications side of the job that best aligns with your skills and the organization’s needs, and you will have an achievable and personally rewarding professional development plan.

Salary and benefits:

Salary for this position will be $65,000 – $75,000 per year, dependent on experience. The generous benefit package for this position includes: a budget of at least $5,450 for health and dental insurance (more in certain high-cost areas), participation in a SIMPLE IRA retirement savings plan including a 3% employer match of employee contributions, all Massachusetts holidays, 15 days of vacation time per year, paid sick time, paid leave for visiting incarcerated loved ones and for supporting their successful return home from incarceration, and more.

How to apply:
Check out our FAQ and send, to: jobs [at] prisonpolicy.org:

  • Resume
  • At least two writing samples of your choice
  • Cover letter describing your relevant experience and interest in the position

Hiring process:
We will be reviewing applications and scheduling interviews on a weekly basis starting on September 1. We anticipate doing a phone screening, formal interviews, and potentially some paid simulated work. Please allow us to keep our daily focus on improving the criminal justice system by refraining from writing or calling the office to check on the status of your application. We’ll keep the job page at https://www.prisonpolicy.org/jobs.html up to date with the status of our candidate search.

About Prison Policy Initiative

The Prison Policy Initiative (https://www.prisonpolicy.org) is a leading organization in the fight against mass incarceration. We use data to explain the need for criminal justice reform, and we do so in a way that is designed to both bring in new allies and re-energize existing supporters. (For a high-level overview of our work, our history, and our impact, see our highly skimmable annual reports.)