Work for Democracy

Director of Programs & Strategy

Ballot Initiative Strategy Center

Ballot Initiative Strategy Center

Posted on Friday, February 2, 2024

This job description is intended to convey information essential to understand the scope of the position. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list of skills, efforts, duties, or responsibilities associated with the position.

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The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC) seeks a strategic, collaborative, and innovative leader who will develop and implement BISC’s programmatic vision. The person in this position will set the strategic direction for the program team, overseeing the successful planning and execution of programs while creating a collaborative, unified approach to help staff in successfully reaching program and organizational goals. BISC seeks an individual with significant management experience that has led dynamic and growing teams through large-scale systems change. The ideal candidate will have extensive knowledge of progressive policy, research, and ballot measures with a demonstrated commitment to building equitable and durable state-based, people-centered power.

This position supervises program directors and reports to BISC’s Executive Director. This individual is a member of the organization’s executive leadership team which includes department heads, Chief of Staff, and Executive Director.

Location: BISC HQ is located in Washington, DC, but the location for this position is flexible. This position may require frequent and/or extended travel.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Articulating and driving a healthy, results driven team culture across BISC’s programmatic work, modeling organizational values, and translating a compelling vision into action;
  • Supervise program directors and guide them towards solutions and decision-making to effectively lead high performing and impactful teams;
  • Manage and help grow the program team skills to implement policy, research, campaign, legal, and advocacy work so they effectively support BISC’s partners;
  • Lead the organizational electoral strategy and ensure integration across programmatic areas and organizational departments;
  • Work to maintain and build relationships with BISC’s partners and grow strategic partnerships across the social justice movement and progressive ecosystem, especially at the national level;
  • Represent BISC at conferences, national strategy meetings, funder gatherings, and other programmatic convenings;
  • Work with the Chief of Staff, to ensure program team members have the tools, support, and resources to grow professionally;
  • Support the Executive Director to ensure the BISC Inc. and BISC Foundation boards understand programmatic strategy and develop ways for board members to engage and support BISC’s programmatic work;
  • Work with the Director of Finance and Operations and Executive Director to ensure that program budgets and project expenditures are in line with organizational priorities to help build sustainability and growth;
  • Work with the Development Director to ensure communications to funders tell the story and impact of the programmatic work, help with fundraising strategy, and maintain relationships with funders;
  • Work with the Director of Communications to ensure that the communications department has the narrative, program, and policy information needed to reflect the impact of BISC’s programmatic work;
  • Work with the Senior Convenings Manager and program team to develop the Road Ahead agenda and other duties related to BISC’s annual conference; and
  • Support other BISC and BISC Foundation projects and activities as needed

Additionally, the person in this position serves as a member of the executive leadership team which advises and supports the Executive Director in organizational decision-making. Executive team members are expected to:

  • Stay abreast of global and domestic trends impacting their departments and raise critical issues internally and externally that could impact the organization;
  • Help set the tone and culture of the organization;
  • Work with organizational leaders to deepen BISC’s racial equity work, both internally and in the field;
  • Own the programmatic strategies of BISC’s five-year strategic plan focused on changing culture, centering directly impacted communities, capacity building, convening, and internal continuity and growth;
  • Provide leadership and mentorship to other staff when appropriate; and
  • Represent the organization externally when necessary


  • At least ten years of work experience in advocacy, grassroots, or electoral organizing at the state or national level
  • Expertise in statewide or municipal ballot initiatives for at least 3-4 cycles
  • Background in running large-scale programs, coalitions, and teams with long-term planning and impact
  • Experience developing research and public policy
  • Prior experience managing a large team and working across departments
  • Demonstrated experience in national partnerships and managing stakeholder relationships
  • Comfort representing the organization to media, funders, and stakeholders
  • Curiosity mindset and attention to detail
  • Able to balance competing priorities, complex situations, and tight deadlines
  • Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communications skills

We seek candidates who are:

  • Collaborative: You know that building true partnerships takes time, trust, and transparency. You understand the complexities of movement work, including the inherent race, power, and privilege dynamics often present, and can address them. You also are collaborative with your co-workers: willingly sharing information and tasks to get a job done.
  • Results and evaluation driven: You show relentless commitment to meeting a high bar and a history of getting things done even in the face of obstacles. You are receptive to feedback and know that evaluating and re-adjusting is critical to long term learning.
  • Organized and flexible: You have a plan, but you can quickly adapt when needed. You understand the plan is better when you collaborate with those around you.
  • Effective interpersonal skills: You have a proven ability to communicate effectively with different personalities to move projects forward.
  • Strong time management skills: You can balance many projects at once and prioritize accordingly.
  • Movement Focused: You have a demonstrated commitment to social, economic, gender, and racial justice.

Notice of Exempt Position:

This is a full-time position and in accordance with the provisions of Federal and DC wage and hour laws, this position is classified as Exempt, which means that you will not be eligible for overtime for hours worked in excess of forty (40) during a work week.

Salary & Benefits:

  • $130,000 – $150,000 per year
  • 100% Medical insurance for family paid for by employer
  • Dental Insurance
  • Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage
  • Paid vacation
  • Sick leave
  • Generous 401(k) plan with employer contribution

To apply:

Submit a resume and cover letter through BambooHR. Your cover letter should speak to your experience leading teams toward impact and work on ballot measures. Applicants will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

About BISC:

BISC’s mission is to strengthen democracy by implementing a national progressive strategy for ballot measures rooted in building state-based power.

The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC), a 501(c)(4) organization, is the only progressive organization that works across many policy, organizing, and political organizations, with local, state, and national leaders to analyze and support the ballot measure landscape.

We believe direct democracy can be a tool for liberation. We leverage ballot measures across the United States as part of a larger movement to strengthen democracy, center people of color, queer, low-income, immigrant, indigenous and other marginalized communities, move towards racial equity, build and transform power, and galvanize a new progressive base. In February 2020, we launched our strategic framework to help move towards our vision of building a world where all people are fully liberated, live with dignity and thrive so that equity and justice prevail.

We lead by supporting the use of ballot measures as a tool for transformational impact, not just in a measure’s outcomes, but at every stage of the ballot measure process—from policy development, signature gathering, civic engagement, the campaign itself, implementation and beyond. We believe in movement building and empowerment, bringing communities into the work and leaving lasting infrastructure for continued social change.

We know that success isn’t just defined by getting 50% + 1 of the vote. If we’re serious about building a more equitable world, we also must consider who’s driving the change and whether it will have a transformational impact on the people and communities who have been pushed to the margins for too long.

We achieve impact through training the field and developing leaders, convening state and national leaders and funders in a co-created strategy that results in transformative wins, leading innovative research and providing assistance to support ballot measures as a tool to build long term power.

BISC’s Racial Equity Stance:

At the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, we work to transform our country into one that is equitable and just. In our work, we strive to challenge structural racism, and center the people most impacted. BISC works with commitment to racial equity inside our organization in our operations and management processes, and externally through our research, training and organizing work with ballot-measure campaigns, partners and funders.

BISC’s Compensation Philosophy:

The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center seeks to recruit, retain, and develop high-talent individuals in order to achieve our mission. In 2022, BISC created a compensation philosophy that provides a framework for compensation decisions and shows how those decisions are a reflection of our organizational values. Salaries are benchmarked to the most expensive geographic markets in the U.S. Incoming staff have the opportunity to negotiate within the published salary range but final offers will preserve relative salary parity with similarly experienced staff who have similar roles at BISC. Annual raises (budget permitting and after one year of tenure) are flat rate rather than percentages of salary and are not connected to annual performance reviews. We have chosen to structure salary bands so salaries can continue to grow even without a promotion (BISC is a small organization and upward mobility may be more limited than in larger entities). We offer above-market benefits to support employee medical, retirement, and other needs and strive to create opportunities for continued learning and investment in staff professional development.

EEO Policy:

BISC follows an Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and employs personnel without regard to race, ethnic or religious background, descent or nationality, sexual orientation, gender (including pregnancy), gender identification, disability, marital status, age, height, weight, or military service. This policy applies to employment, internships, internal promotions, training, opportunities for advancement, terminations, relationships with vendors, use of contractors and consultants and in dealing with the general public.