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Policy Manager, Civic Engagement and Strategy

Drug Policy Alliance
Oakland, CA
  • Posted: over a month ago
  • $65,000 to $75,000 Yearly
  • Full-Time
Job Description
Salary: $65,000 - $75,000 annual salary

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the leading organization in the U.S. promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. We envision a just society in which the use and regulation of drugs are grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights; in which people are no longer punished for what they put into their own bodies; and in which the fears, prejudices, and punitive prohibitions of today are no more.


We have played a pivotal role in transforming the national conversation about drug policy. We heightened conversations at the federal and state level around the role of race in shaping drug policy and moved vital issues – like legalizing cannabis, ending mass incarceration, and prioritizing health and harm reduction responses to the overdose crisis – from the fringes of U.S. politics to the mainstream.


We are ambitious risk takers and unrelenting advocates with radical imaginations, fighting to change hearts and minds and build a world that centers justice, communities, and dignity. With more than 35 staff in New York, California, New Mexico, and Washington, DC, we have an annual operating budget of approximately $12 million, 12,000 dues-paying members and 170,000 active online subscribers.

The Position

The Policy Manager, Civic Engagement and Strategy implements and operationalizes political, electoral, and civic engagement strategy in California to advance an all-drug decriminalization and other drug policy reform agenda. Their role is simultaneously strategy and project coordinator. Working with the California State Director, Senior Director, Criminal Legal and Policing Reform, and Managing Director of Policy, the Policy Manager will drive, manage, and execute advocacy campaigns with a substantial Drug Policy Action component and will coordinate and assist with legislative work in support of all-drug decriminalization reform.  


Primary Responsibilities Include:

  • Project manage advocacy campaigns that have a major Drug Policy Action component, including, primarily, a ballot initiative campaign to decriminalize all drugs.
    • Oversee development and implementation of civil engagement and electoral strategy;
    • Develop and implement stakeholder outreach plan to inform policy proposal and campaign development;
    • Conduct research and data tracking in support of campaign;
    • Lead and mange diverse coalition in support of campaign;
    • Represent DPA/Drug Policy Action in key tables, coalitions, and meetings with allies and partners;
    • Liaise  with outside vendors for Drug Policy Action work, such as general consultants, pollsters, paid canvassers, communications firms, data analytics, etc.;
    • Provide briefings to media, lawmakers, partner organizations, DPA supporters, and others about DPA/Drug Policy Action campaign;
    • Draft and edit non-partisan education and partisan communications to voters;
    • Cultivate and maintain robust relationships with elected and appointed officials and educate state and local policy makers on campaign;
    • Assist with developing messaging and communications in support of campaign;
    • Coordinate civic participation efforts.
  • Collaborate with other nonprofit advocates to facilitate coordinated policy efforts and enhance the value we provide to communities.
    • Evaluate allied organization electoral campaigns in California and make recommendations for DPA/Drug Policy Action involvement;
    • Manage DPA involvement in other electoral campaigns.
  • Support California policy office legislative priorities in the state capital as needed, particularly efforts with direct implications for potential electoral campaigns.


  • At least five years of experience in voter education and engagement or electoral campaigns, either issue-based or for a candidate;
  • Proven ability to successfully manage all aspects of large scale or statewide issue campaigns;
  • Understanding of laws governing lobbying and campaigning for 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations;
  • Deep understanding of the California ballot initiative, legislative, and budget processes and an understanding of the effective tools, tactics, and strategies to move policy ideas through the processes;
  • Experience building broad-based and diverse coalitions and working with grassroots organizations;
  • Independent and strong leader that is able to drive projects and programs to completion in a fast-paced participatory environment as well as work autonomously;
  • Ability to multitask and shift priorities and aptitude for working under tight deadlines amidst competing priorities;
  • Excellent organizational skills, results focused, and well organized;
  • Strong analytic ability and superior communication skills, including writing and public speaking to diverse audiences;
  • Views culture shift, organizing, and movement building as key components of issue campaigns;
  • Strong commitment to racial and social justice and centering people of color and people directly impacted by the drug war;
  • Advanced degree in public policy/administration, public health, law or related field preferred;
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills, flexibility, creativity, curiosity and a good sense of humor;
  • Spanish/English bilingual preferred but not required.

Terms of Employment

Applicants must reside in Northern California (San Francisco Bay Area or Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto); availability to work evenings and weekends and to travel periodically throughout the state (COVID-permitting) is required including Central Valley, Central Coast, and other surrounding areas.


The salary range for this role is $65,000 - $75,000 annually.  DPA's benefits package includes health, dental, long-term disability and life insurance; a generous 403(b) plan; and 25 days paid time off.


Application Process

Applicants must send a cover letter and resume to 


Applications will be reviewed immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled.


No phone calls, please. We will only contact candidates who are under consideration.

The Drug Policy Alliance is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, personal appearance, family responsibility, political affiliation, or any other status protected by applicable law. Women, people of color, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. We are particularly interested in hiring people who have been adversely affected by the war on drugs.


Drug Policy Alliance


Oakland, CA
94612 USA



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