DPF launches search for next executive director

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Application Deadline: January 22, 2018

Death Penalty Focus (DPF), a national nonprofit organization founded in 1988 to abolish the death penalty, is seeking an Executive Director with excellent leadership, advocacy, organizing, management, fundraising, and public speaking skills. The successful candidate will have the vision and commitment to lead the fight to end to the death penalty in California and throughout the country.

Based in California, DPF is one of the largest, most respected advocacy organizations in the nation dedicated to the abolition of capital punishment through public education, grassroots and political organizing; media outreach; local, state, national and international coalition building; and the education of religious, legislative, law enforcement and civic leaders about the death penalty and its alternatives. DPF is recognized as one of the most innovative abolitionist organizations in the country.

DPF has an active Board of Directors composed of representatives from the legal, entertainment, educational, religious, medical, social justice and human rights fields, as well as five active volunteer chapters in California and more than 160,000 members and supporters nationwide.

DPF manages grassroots organizing projects in key California counties, and brings the voices of influential groups to the public debate including death penalty opponents who are law enforcement professionals, clergy members, victims’ family members and individuals who have been wrongly convicted.

DPF organizes public education and professional media campaigns, and sponsors opinion polls. It also publishes and distributes a variety of publications and manages a website (www.deathpenalty.org) and social media sites. DPF produces and aggressively disseminates editorials, letters to the editor, and press releases. In major court cases concerning the death penalty, DPF seeks to persuade the courts through the submission of amicus curiae briefs. Board members and staff participate in numerous radio, television, and print interviews each year.

DPF was a leading partner in two statewide ballot initiative campaigns that came close to abolishing California’s death penalty – Prop 34 in 2012 and Prop 62 in 2016. DPF supported each campaign by conducting public opinion research; providing spokespeople and surrogates; hosting earned media events and writing opinion pieces; organizing public educational events around the state; and by gathering the endorsements of high-profile public officials, entertainment icons, business and technology leaders, and civil rights and social justice activists. Unfortunately, a rival proposition promising to “fix” the death penalty narrowly won in 2016, creating a risk that executions could resume in California after a decade-long hiatus.

Finally, DPF mobilizes death penalty opposition by organizing educational events, rallies, vigils and other public demonstrations.

The Executive Director is the chief paid executive of the organization, responsible for all aspects of the organization’s functions and programs. The Executive Director is directly supervised by the DPF Board President and Executive Committee. In addition to the Executive Director, DPF has three full-time staff (Director of Administration and Finance, Director of Communications, and Director of Community Outreach and Education), and a number of consultants. DPF’s 2017 annual budget is $550,000.

DPF is currently located in San Francisco but applicants across California are welcome to apply.

Among the Executive Director’s responsibilities are:

• Work with Board of Directors to set long-range strategy, program goals and objectives, and create a fundraising plan for achieving them. Oversee the implementation of all organizational goals and objectives and supervise the day-to-day work of the organization.

• Develop DPF’s voice in the abolitionist community by building coalitions across California and the nation, ensure a strong voice at public events where the death penalty in California is an issue, maintain strong relationships with the news media, issue statements and press releases, make and take every opportunity to make speeches, testify before the legislature, write op-ed pieces and other publicity activities in major newspapers and journals develop DPF’s social media presence, and actively engage supporters and the public on social media.

• Serve as liaison between DPF and major leaders in the national and international abolition movement, and religious, social justice, human rights and political communities. Ensure effective and sensitive outreach to a broad range of racial, ethnic, economic, and community groups.

• Plan, lead, and help execute development efforts. In collaboration with the Board and the staff, meet and network with funders, cultivate and solicit prospective donors, and take primary responsibility for helping to enhance revenue streams.

• Engage and encourage a strong, active Board of Directors that assists the organization in fulfilling its mission. Ensure that the Board is actively involved in planning, fundraising, and outreach activities that help build relationships and resources beneficial to DPF.

• In conjunction with the DPF Treasurer and staff, develop the annual budget and ensure proper fiscal accounting and controls, in accordance with the guidelines of funding sources and with sound accounting practices. Maintain fiscal solvency of DPF. Work with the Treasurer and staff to ensure good financial management of the organization, including timely filing of government reports and payroll taxes.

• Travel within the state and nationally, as required.


The ideal candidate will demonstrate passion and vision for the mission of abolishing the death penalty and will possess a broad range of skills and experience such as:
• Substantial organizational leadership, including strategic planning, program development and management
• Demonstrated ability to work with people, being a team player, and maintaining a positive attitude
• Experience working for or with nonprofit human rights or social justice organizations
• Substantial fundraising, budgeting and financial management experience
• Advocacy, community organizing and coalition building
• Demonstrated strong public speaking skills
• Ability to listen and learn
• Skills to motivate and manage staff and volunteers
• Ability to convey a vision and work with an active Boards of Directors
• Maintain positive relations with other organizations and the community at large
• Demonstrated ability to use social media and communicate across digital platforms
• Demonstrated knowledge of the death penalty and familiarity with the legal and political system in California
• A Bachelor’s Degree or higher or comparable life experience

DPF is offering a competitive salary, appropriate for an organization of its size, along with a benefits package.

To apply: E-mail to: EDapplications@deathpenalty.org. Please send a resume and cover letter explaining qualifications and listing three professional references only. No inquiries or phone calls please.

Death Penalty Focus is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

All qualified applicants shall receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, ethnic group identification, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, political affiliation, condition of physical or mental disability, gender identity or sexual orientation, in accordance with requirements of Federal and State laws.

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