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Senior Development Writer

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. Among our core priorities, we fight to protect voting rights, end mass incarceration, strengthen checks and balances, and preserve Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting-edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them — in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion.


Position Overview

The Brennan Center for Justice seeks an exceptional writer and editor to help advance its mission. The Senior Development Writer will create high-quality copy that inspires donor audiences about the need for and impact of their support.

This position requires demonstrable talent for writing about public policy, legal advocacy, or social justice issues (e.g., nonprofit development, communications, journalism, or policy reform work). A successful candidate will possess excellent writing and editing skills – in particular, a talent for translating complex issues and legal/policy work into clear, compelling descriptions about fundamental democratic values. Versatility is critical: the Writer will produce content for a variety of communications. Candidates also must have a flair for juggling multiple deadlines and projects – we work in a fast-paced, eventful environment.

The Writer will serve a critical role in a high-performing Development Department of 14 charged with raising $35+ million annually from a diverse base of supporters. The Writer will be part of the four-person Major Donor team and report to the Director, Major Donor Relations. The Major Donor portfolio consists of individuals and family foundations who give $15,000+. The Writer also will regularly collaborate with the full Development team, who will often draw on the Writer’s work, as well as the Center’s President and program leaders.


Responsibilities and Qualifications

The Writer will conceptualize, gather information, and produce content for a range of written products for the Center’s donor audience. This will require a proactive, self-starting approach to stay abreast of the Center’s prolific programmatic developments and maintain current, accurate written materials.


Key responsibilities include:

  • Producing clear, compelling, and accurate long- and short-form narrative updates and reports, framed for individual major donors, family foundations, and other key stakeholders. Some products will be tailored for an individual major donor, while others will be intended for larger audiences. Specific products include, but are not limited to:
    • Short, succinct bulleted updates across the Center’s issue areas
    • Project descriptions
    • Grant proposals and reports
    • Promotional materials for events and meetings
    • Nuanced responses to queries from donors
  • Consulting with program staff to gain clear understanding of program goals, developments, and strategy to best frame the Center’s work in a persuasive, clear way
  • Serving as a resource to the Development team on programmatic developments, including by making work product accessible and available to the team


Key qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree, and at least 5 years of related, transferable work experience
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Impeccable editing eye for style, accuracy, and presentation
  • Comprehension of legal and policy work toward democracy and justice reforms
  • Ability to translate complex policy reform efforts and technical legal proceedings into compelling, persuasive, and clear written long- and short-form communications and products
  • Organized, strategic thinker with keen perception and versatility for reframing copy to fit various needs and target audiences
  • A “reporter’s” ability to gather, formulate, and communicate information using a variety of sources, including interviewing staff and analyzing voluminous written materials 
  • Inter-personal qualities suitable for collaborating with the Center’s leaders and staff
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment with tight and numerous deadlines
  • Proactive and self-starting approach
  • Ability to work independently as well as to generously serve as a team player on a highly collaborative team
  • Able to productively accept and apply direction and feedback
  • Sound judgment and discretion to maintain privacy and confidentiality
  • Demonstrable commitment to the Brennan Center’s mission and goals and to equity and inclusion

The Brennan Center is committed to advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace.  We continuously work with our staff to find new ways to increase diversity and to build and cultivate an inclusive and equitable work environment, where everyone can be their true-self and feel a strong sense of belonging.   As such, we seek to hire employees who have a commitment to and/or experience with diversity, equity, and inclusion.  In addition, we expect employees to participate/contribute with DEI initiatives or activities with recruitment, retention, and workplace culture.

Position Start Date: No sooner than October 4th, 2021

Salary:  The salary is highly competitive in the field and commensurate with experience. A generous benefits package is available as well. 


Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until a qualified candidate is identified. To apply, please visit and upload.  Please upload as one document (where it says “attach resume”) the following application materials: resume, cover letter, and contact information for three references. No phone calls or faxes. Please reference where you saw this posting in your cover letter.

If you have difficulty with the online system, you may send your application by e-mail to: with “Senior Development Writer" in the subject line, after registering in the online system. An online application, however, is strongly preferred to ensure your application is reviewed.

Note: The Brennan Center is committed to public health and to the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and visitors.  As such, we have adopted a policy requiring all employees working in the New York and Washington, DC offices to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to meet the legal guidelines for an exemption.

The Brennan Center for Justice is committed to a workplace based on equal opportunity and a strong belief in the increased effectiveness that comes from a diverse workforce. To this end, Brennan Center

  • Welcomes and hires applicants of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, socioeconomic identities and sexual orientations, including people who have been previously incarcerated;
  • Creates a workplace where true diversity is fostered and different perspectives are valued and freely exchanged;
  • Ensures that all members of the Brennan Center community feel welcome and respected, and have equal opportunities to thrive and advance within the institution; and 

  • Is committed to supporting low-income communities and communities of color particularly affected by social inequities.
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