Senior Manager, Advocacy in Chicago, IL

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Education, Government & Non-Profit   •  

5 - 7 years

Posted 8 weeks ago

Position Summary

This role includes outreach and engagement, federal, state and local advocacy efforts, and analyzing and responding to policy issues. This position is expected to develop foundational relationships with key stakeholders such as District Activist Leaders, Government Relations Advisory Committee members, coalition partners and legislatures to support key initiatives and strategies to advance policy priorities for effective impact. This position cultivates and promotes appropriate advocacy communications which are targeted to various audiences including public officials, partner organizations, activists, and the general community. This role requires the ability to understand complex legislative issues, articulate positions, and develop and maintain relationships with diverse stakeholders, internally and externally. This includes relationships with legislative and regulatory officials throughout assigned states.

This position is responsible for overseeing the advocacy work in two states, representing both Illinois and Missouri. This position will also support and provide guidance to advocacy peers.

Essential Function/Responsibility

1. Advocacy & Policy Responsibilities

  • Provide strategy and insight to lead the operationalization of the Society's strategic plan; effectively promote and implement plan vision and tactics to ensure goals and objectives are met
  • Design legislative strategies for Illinois and Missouri based on knowledge and monitoring of state and local priorities
  • Create and execute on opportunities to advance policies that impact the lives of people living with MS; identify, share, and implement effective strategies
  • Responsible for monitoring and tracking policy interests across assigned states; elevate issues to priority status as deemed necessary
  • Identify, develop and maintain strong relationships with key decision makers that produce legislative champions on behalf of the Society
  • Communicate the Society's priorities to all necessary audiences; offer recommendations and suggestions for messages to ensure the they are on-point, unified, and reflect applicable research and engaging stories to enhance impact
  • Participate in (and, if applicable, lead) coalitions that support policy agenda; keep activists informed of relevant local, state, and national legislation and public policies
  • Create work plans and ensure contract obligations when engaging with contract lobbyist

2. Activist Engagement Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership and active participation in community coalitions to broaden support; identify, recruit and engage activists to promote the goals and objectives of the strategic plan
  • Manage a relationship portfolio of 60 + relationships that advises state advocacy strategy, advances legislation and influences policymakers to act on the Society's behalf
  • Understand and implement best practices for grassroots communication
  • Leverage Society communications, programs and events to promote advocacy engagement opportunities
  • Recruit MS Activists to increase the Society's activism capacity: demographically, political relationships and/or by issue expertise
  • Actively engage MS Activists in appropriate activism role(s) (e.g. grassroots, Government Relations Advisory Committee, District Activist Leader, etc.)
  • Provide leadership and direction to the Government Relations Advisory Committee to meet the goals of the committee charter
  • Provide policy updates to Society market area volunteer committees and provide opportunities for these volunteers to engage in Society activism
  • Ensure MS Activists have opportunities to participate in the National MS Society Public Policy Conference, Congressional In-District and/or MS State Action Day, and that their extraordinary experience generates year-round engagement
  • Ensure that all activists receive regular communication about progress and impact of advocacy work at state level

3. Team Responsibility

  • Participate in work groups and contribute to functional work, including but not limited to policy development and volunteer engagement
  • Contribute in team meetings; provide support and feedback to colleagues
  • Utilize matrix management techniques to foster relationships with local market leaders
  • Ensure that relevant state-level policy information is on the Society's website
  • Ensure all volunteer engagement information is accurate in all Society technology resources
  • Identify and use best practices and centrally developed materials to communicate with MS activists on state/s policy and advocacy progress and engagement


Requisition Number



Minimum Education:

  • Bachelors degree preferably in public policy, public administration, social science or related field

MInimum Experience:

  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in the field
  • Understanding of the legislative system and how to influence outcomes
  • Excellent communication skills both written and verbal
  • Ability to work internally and externally effectively
  • Ability to solve diverse problems
  • Ability to interpret and effectively articulate policies to influence action
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse audiences with varying agendas, including volunteers
  • This position requires knowledge and demonstrated experience in government relations, public policy, effective coalition leadership and community mobilization.


  • Proficient with MS Office computer software including Word, Excel, Outlook, and Power Point
  • Commitment to the mission, vision, cultural values, and expectations of the National MS Society
  • (IF APPLICABLE) This position will be required to drive/travel on Society business. Candidate must possess a valid driver's license, proof of insurance and reliable transportation. The Society does run motor vehicle checks for all positions which require driving and the applicant must meet the Society guidelines.
  • (IF APPLICABLE) Availability to work occasional nights and weekends to support events, committee meetings, etc