Network Weaver at Narrative Initiative

Network Program Manager – Action Lead

Position: Network Program Manager – Action Lead

Reports to: Program Director, Network

Location: Remote, U.S. based only

Salary: $85,000 – $95,000, exempt

WHO WE ARE

Narratives shape who we are, what we value, and what we aspire to become. Our current dominant narratives sustain patterns of inequity and harm, and reflect the worldview of a few powerful actors. We believe better narratives can extend power to those with the most at stake, and nurture a shared vision for common good.

At Narrative Initiative (NI), we believe that narrative is a form of power. We equip social justice leaders with the knowledge, resources, and skills necessary to harness narrative power and create durable social change.

Our team is small, mighty, and multidisciplinary, and our approach to narrative change centers organizing. We build relationships among organizations and constituents to cultivate alignment and broaden their impact.

ABOUT THIS ROLE

We are looking for a social justice advocate with a background in both organizing and strategic communications to be our Network Program Manager – Action Lead.

The Action Lead will work with both internal and external clients, hold the day-to-day relationship during the Action phase of our engagements and partnerships, and be responsible for leading our narrative organizing work with them, including by:

  • Facilitating initial narrative alignment processes.
  • Working in partnerships with networks and coalitions to operationalize narrative organizing strategies on the ground.
  • Working to increase narrative capacity within and among the partner organizations in a long-term way, including by both providing direct technical assistance and helping partner organizations work together to fill capacity gaps.

Our goal is to always lay the groundwork for long-term capacity growth and narrative alignment. As such, it will be crucial for the Action Lead to approach this part of the work with a spirit of curiosity, collaboration and humility. This is not a role for someone who wants to parachute in as The Expert, tell the partner groups what to do and then leave.

In addition to the side-by-side support, this role will also involve some amount of work on project planning and proposals, as well as collaboration with others on our team to share learnings, ensure our support is grounded in good research, figure out how to do the work better, and engage in healthy network weaving practices.

We think this is a great opportunity for someone who has worked on campaigns but is looking for a more personally sustainable way to make an impact. The work with our partner organizations will require an understanding of how social justice campaigns work, and will involve working to operationalize narrative organizing strategies on the ground (including in campaign contexts). But this is not a campaign job. We neither expect nor want the Action Lead to work long days or on the weekends with any kind of regularity.

If so, please read on!

What you do

  • Lead our work in multiple narrative alignment partnerships – generally 2-3 at a time – at different geographical scales (local, state, national, international).
    • Provide strong facilitative support to help our partner (typically a formal coalition or informal network of organizations) identify and document a Narrative North Star that will help align the narrative work of all of the partner organizations.
    • Help the partner organizations figure out how to operationalize and integrate the Narrative North Star into all aspects of their work.
      • Provide ongoing technical assistance and coaching to organizational partners around narrative strategy and organizing.
      • Participate regularly in coalitional/network meetings, with the goal of working with our partners to set strategy and find opportunities for narrative integration,
      • Take the shared strategic framework (including long-term narrative power-building goals and values) and integrate that framework in a practical way into the day-to-day campaign, organizing, mobilizing, policy and communications work undertaken by the partner organizations.
      • Provide on-call consultations and dedicated communications support to individual organizations with capacity needs that cannot feasibly be met by other partner organizations. The need for this kind of support will be most pronounced at the beginning of a project and should decrease over the length of the engagement as the capacity of the partner organizations grows.
    • Work to increase narrative capacity within and among the partner organizations.
      • Identify needs for additional training, tools, or support.
      • Find ways to ensure stakeholders in the narrative change work are coordinating their efforts, building off each other’s work, learning together and from each other, leveraging existing resources to share maximum impact, and helping each other when it’s feasible.
      • Help to establish narrative governance systems (e.g. the formation of a narrative working group, the creation of a written style guide for the narrative organizing work, etc.).
  • Provide project management in the day-to-day to deliver on-time deliverables and results, often in collaboration with external partners.
  • Develop a vision for what side-by-side action support we’re going to deliver over the next 1-3 years (i.e. what kind of projects and engagements we’re going to seek out) and make a concrete plan to achieve it that includes milestones and goals. This will be a bigger vision for the overall area of activity that the Action Lead will head up at NI, not one focused on particular projects.
  • Help with the drafting and negotiation of proposals with an Action component.
  • Collaborate internally on programs through program design, planning, execution, and evaluation. Set shared goals and build shared accountability.

The above statements are not intended to encompass all functions and qualifications of the position; rather, they are intended to provide a general framework of the requirements of the position. Job incumbents may be required to perform other functions not specifically addressed in this description.

Success in the first 12 months of this role looks like:

  • You have a working familiarity with the basics of narrative organizing as practiced at NI. You understand narrative organizing as a concept; the relationship between stories, narratives, and deep narratives; and the systems, frameworks and methodologies we use.
  • You can develop a clear vision and plan for what the narrative action work looks like on the team.
  • You can plan and participate in scoping proposals related to your work.
  • You can independently create work plans with milestones/goals/metrics and execute on them in a way that’s accountable.
  • You have healthy communication patterns with colleagues.
  • You have built some reasonable amount of trust and accountability with external partners.

You might be a good fit for this role if:

  • You have at least 2-3 years of professional experience creating and running campaigns that involve engaging people and mobilizing them to take action.
  • You have a background in strategic communications, understand basic best practices, and have experience developing communications assets like narrative frameworks, messaging guides, talking points, press releases and advisories, social media content, fundraising or advocacy emails, etc.
  • You have a background in community organizing, labor or political organizing, and understand power-mapping and other ways to analyze power. Experience being organized or running a canvass is not sufficient – we’re looking for someone who had some strategic input into an organizing campaign (whether in a paid or volunteer capacity).
  • You are excited to take on ambitious projects. In addition, you are good at approaching obstacles with a spirit of curiosity and creativity.
  • You’re a skilled writer and all-around communicator who knows how to build a compelling narrative. You have a compelling, pithy communications style and a demonstrated ability to adapt to the voice and tone of an organization.
  • You are a good listener who is collaborative and highly relational. You know how to both give and receive feedback well, and you are curious about and able to empathize with other points of view.
  • You are self-directed, organized and capable of managing competing priorities without letting things fall through the cracks.
  • You possess an adaptable style that can drive progress even amid uncertainty and complexity.
  • You have experience managing internal and external stakeholders effectively to execute in both rapid response moments and long-term change.
  • You are interested in systems thinking and long-term thinking.
  • You can work well with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and you have a sensitivity to and respect for cultural differences.
  • You possess the cultural competency necessary to work well in diverse, majority-BIPOC spaces.
  • You have a track record of building trust and successfully working across lines of personal difference such as race, immigration status, ethnicity, language, socioeconomic class, gender, sexual orientation and other types of social identities and experiences.
  • You’re values-aligned. You share our unwavering commitments to social justice and equity as an organizational practice and culture.
  • You want the whole progressive field to win, not just your client or partner. You’re motivated by the power of working in alignments that cross issues, movements, and geographies – and know that’s what is needed to win in a long-term and durable way.

While not required, a strong candidate might have some of the following:

  • Experience working in a coalition setting, especially with a track record of building campaign coalitions with a diverse set of stakeholders and moving people to action.
  • Experience in training, popular education or facilitation.
  • Any kind of narrative experience, including work with narrative shift campaigns, narrative organizing or as a narrative practitioner.
  • Significant organizing experience, particularly at a national scale or at a similar level of size and sophistication.
  • Experience working on campaigns that center the most impacted communities.
  • A background that includes active involvement in progressive social movements, particularly those that work to support environmental justice, racial justice, economic justice, gender equity, and/or immigrant rights.
  • Significant experience working in a multicultural setting.

Benefits + Compensation

This is a full-time, exempt role with a salary of $85,000-95,000. In addition, we offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes 100% employer-paid health insurance (including HSA reimbursement for in-network deductibles), dental, and vision insurance for employees, their spouses and dependents, 3% employer match on 401k contributions, pre-tax transportation, $75/month fitness benefit, and paid time off including thirteen paid holidays, four weeks of vacation, two weeks of personal leave, and 20 hours volunteer time off.

How to Apply

Narrative Initiative values the perspectives and lived experiences of people from frontline communities, both in our partners and within our staff. As such, we especially encourage anyone from systematically marginalized communities to apply.

To apply, please email your application to: actionlead@narrativeinitiative.org with the subject line: “Action Lead Application — First Name Last Name.”

Applications should include:

  • A resume
  • Answers to the following questions in lieu of a cover letter:
    • Why are you interested in this role? (suggested word limit: 200)
    • Which of the bullet points under the heading that begins “While not required, a strong candidate might have some of the following…” (above) do you bring to the table? Please list the bullet points and add a few words of explanation for each bullet point. If there are different ways to meet the criteria in a single bullet point, please indicate which one(s) you bring to the table.
    • Many of the organizations we work with seek to organize frontline constituencies who are the most directly impacted by the various types of systemic injustice in our society (e.g. BIPOC folks, people of diverse genders, immigrants, people from low- or moderate-income communities, etc.). What is something you’ve done that demonstrates your commitment to serving or organizing one or more frontline communities? (suggest word limit: 200)
    • How did you hear about this role?
  • Optional: Professional work samples relevant to this role.

Hiring Process

While the hiring process may be subject to change, we are currently anticipating a hiring process that will consist of up to two rounds of interviews. The application process may also include one skills-based exercise that should take less than 3 hours to complete. If we ask you to take a skills test, you will be compensated for the time you spend on it.

Interviews will be offered on a rolling basis starting in early September. We are hoping to make an offer in mid-to-late October with a start date as soon as possible.

Hiring Statement

Narrative Initiative is a project of New Venture Fund (NVF), a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. NVF is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. NVF’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.

COVID-19 Policy

To center the safety and well-being of its employees, New Venture Fund requires that any employee who is required to conduct in-person activities for their job must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within four weeks of their start date. However at this time, Narrative Initiative does not require any staff to attend in-person events.

In order to ease the personal burdens on staff associated with COVID-19, and to do our part to proactively protect public health, effective January 1, 2022, NVF will provide up to 240 hours of fully paid leave. You may be asked to provide additional documentation from a medical provider or child’s place of care to HR.

Accommodations may be sought and approved in accordance with the law by contacting human resources at HR@newventurefund.org.