Organizing Director

Job Description: Organizing Director

Citizen Action seeks applicants hungry for the opportunity to build the power to achieve the sweeping changes Wisconsin needs to become a just, equitable, and sustainable multiracial democracy.

The person in this position leads Citizen Action’s base building, issue, and electoral campaigns, and supervises organizers beyond Wisconsin’s two largest metro areas, in the state’s pivotal Northwestern, Southwestern, North Central, and North Eastern regions. The person in this position also develops training, leadership development, and campaign models that are available to all of Citizen Action’s organizers, and works to break down the urban/rural divide by bridging the gap between regional organizing with our campaigns in Milwaukee.

Citizen Action has regional organizers centered in the geographic areas surrounding Eau Claire, Green Bay/Appleton, La Crosse, and Wausau. The organizers are the leads for our regional member chapters (called organizing co-ops). We also hire temporary political field staff in these regions during major election years. The four regions the Organizing Director oversees determine the political and legislative balance of power. Due to Wisconsin’s battleground status, they have a pivotal influence on the outcomes of national elections, and in 2024 may play a decisive role in determining the future of multiracial democracy.

The Badger State, which is dotted by small metro areas surrounded by exurbs and large rural regions, has an unusually even distribution of population. Consequently, the urban/rural divide is a central feature of Wisconsin politics that must be bridged to reverse the rightward drift in rural and exurban areas and achieve progressive governing power.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin works to advance a long-term agenda for racial, economic and gender justice through state and local organizing campaigns that win real change in people’s lives. Through strategic issue campaigns, electoral campaigns in support of progressive candidates, grassroots action and base building, we engage the leadership of everyday people to build an economy and a democracy that puts people and the planet first.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is an affiliate of two national organizing networks, People’s Action and Power Switch Action. Citizen Action WI is working with both networks on an Organizing Revival which seeks to extend the reach and effectiveness of community organizing as an antidote to authoritarianism.

Primary Job Responsibilities:

This position is best suited for creative and effective out-of-the-box thinkers deeply committed not only to being on the “right side”, but successfully building the grassroots power to make tangible progress on the big challenges confronting the multiracial working class. A successful candidate will have a passion for organizing in small cities, towns, and rural regions traditionally underemphasized by community organizing.

The person holding this position will lead our efforts to build a strong cadre of organizers and a strong growing membership base in four regions (Eau Claire, Green Bay/Appleton, La Crosse, and Wausau) to build the power to make tangible progress towards radical climate, health care, and economic, and racial equity.

The Organizing Director is a member of our Senior Staff Team, and contributes directly to major programmatic decisions on strategy and tactics. The person in this position is also expected to contribute to building a positive and high performing organizational culture that makes Citizen Action an exciting and joyous place to work and organize.

The Organizing Director is expected to work within the strategic framework of Citizen Action’s theory of change and issue platform, and appreciate the role of board governance.

The successful Organizing Director will work to achieve the following objectives within the regions they oversee.

  • Supervise, develop, & lead high performing community organizers who understand & articulate Citizen Action’s theory of change and are effective in developing leaders.
  • Provide strong professional supervision of organizers, and enforce accountability to Citizen Action policies and standards, within the framework of Citizen Action’s collective bargaining agreement.
  • Play the lead role in implementing Citizen Action’s health care and climate issue campaigns within each region where there is a dedicated organizer.
  • Serve as the connect in the regions they direct to Citizen Action’s Movement Politics Program, and supervise and train organizers and top member leaders to play a role in mobilization and implementation of electoral campaigns.
  • Lead organizers in the further development of Citizen Action’s chapter system, our Organizing Co-ops, deepening and expanding of our current membership base.
  • Integrate systems to collect and record organizing data for the purpose of growing our collective organizational knowledge over time and therefore to grow our power over time. Become proficient in using our current database, EveryAction, and support organizers in learning to use it effectively.
  • Make progress towards making Citizen Action organizing-coops into political and legislative forces in their regions.
  • Working collaboratively with other senior staff, train and supervise organizers in the basics of base building, instill a radically pragmatic mindset, and ground all issue and electoral campaigns in solid power analysis.
  • Co-lead with Executive Director adaptation and implementation of emerging Organizing Revival concepts in Citizen Action’s regional organizing.
  • Play a generative role in developing and testing revised organizing models which are applicable to all of Citizen Action’s programs and to other power building groups.
  • Work with organizers and member leaders to cut Citizen Action’s issues and localize them in a way that gains traction and achieves tangible advances in influence.
  • Become a leader in the revitalization of progressive rural organizing, and represent Citizen Action in rural coalitions and in national spaces focused on rural organizing.
  • Effectively share decision making with other managers when tactics and strategies involve organizers they supervise or programs other managers lead are implemented through organizers who report to you.
  • With the support of the Executive Director, lead rural organizing fund development, and manage existing relationships and grants with rural organizing funders such as People’s Action and the Rural Democracy Initiative.

Desired Experience and Qualifications:

The best fit for this position is an experienced organizer with a track record of success committed to building a strong base of grassroots leaders in small cities, towns, and rural areas. A record of effectively supervising and developing organizers is also a plus. We are also open to successful mid-career organizers without significant supervisory experience but ready to step into a director role.

  • Experience leading a fast-paced and effective organizing program for progressive organizing and/or advocacy organizations, labor unions, or political or issue campaigns.
  • Demonstrated commitment to working on racial justice issues, working with communities of color, and with a multicultural base of individuals.
  • Experience getting beyond the base of current progressive activists to engage the multiracial working class which does not speak in the nomenclature of the movement left.
  • Experience with large and/or small dollar fundraising, grant writing, and grant management.
  • Experience in rural and small town organizing is a major plus.
  • Ability to be a leader in further developing a positive and authentic multiracial staff culture which strives to meet rigorous standards of performance.
  • Philosophical commitment to progressive values of economic, gender, racial, anti-oppressive, and environmental justice.
  • Commitment to unwinding the structural racism and other structural inequalities built into local, state, and national policies and governance structures.
  • Ability to understand public policy issues and translate them into organizing issues that motivate average people to act.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral.
  • Ability to work with diverse people and organizations.
  • Excellent relationship-building skills with ability to influence others to move toward a common vision or goal.
  • A proven ability to perform under pressure while juggling multiple tasks; and sound judgment.
  • Strong creative and strategic thinking skills and willingness to innovate in fast moving issue campaigns and meet deadlines.
  • Public speaking and networking skills
  • Bilingual/multilingual a plus, especially Spanish and Hmong speakers.

Organizational Background: Citizen Action of Wisconsin is an issue focused non-profit membership organization committed to achieving racial, gender, economic, and environmental justice. We bring together thousands of members, activists and allied groups across Wisconsin to deepen democratic participation that advances a strongly progressive public policy agenda. More on Citizen Action’s cutting edge progressive structural reform agenda, which is the basis for all our candidate endorsements, can be found here. For Citizen Action’s positioning in Wisconsin and national politics read here

Position Details: The position reports directly to Citizen Action’s Executive Director and is a member of the senior staff team. This is a full-time management position which includes comprehensive gold-plan health care and dental, generous reimbursements for out-of-pocket medical costs, 401K (both direct organizational contributions and match of employee contributions), life insurance, disability insurance, mobile phone allowance, computer allowance, substantial paid time off, and other benefits. Some weekend and evening hours are required.

Given the wide range of experience levels we are inviting to apply, the salary range is large. The base salary range is $58,000 to $75,000, based on experience and demonstrated accomplishment. Automatic Cost of Living increases, and seniority bonuses annually. Eligibility for merit raises annually based on demonstrated performance. For highly qualified candidates who are not ready to commit to a permanent position, Citizen Action is open to temporary consulting relationships that run through the November 2024 election..

This position is ideally located in one of Citizen Action’s membership centers, Eau Claire, Green Bay/Appleton, La Crosse, Milwaukee, and Wausau, elsewhere in Wisconsin, or willing to move. We are open to highly qualified applicants from bordering states in the upper Midwest, especially Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.

Women, people of color, formerly incarcerated individuals, individuals from the LGBTQ+ community, and individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Application Process: Email cover letter explaining your interest in the position and résumé to Robert Kraig (Executive Director) [email protected]

Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Citizen Action of Wisconsin is an equal opportunity employer, and does not discriminate based on age, gender, gender identity, sex, sexual preference, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, pregnancy, veteran status, or former incarceration status.

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