SSDP Is Hiring a new Executive Director
Students for Sensible Drug Policy



Type:  Full-time permanent, exempt 

Location:  Washington, DC preferred, but can be flexible for exceptional candidates

Students for Sensible Drug Policy

SSDP is the only international network of students dedicated to ending the War on Drugs. At its heart, SSDP is a grassroots organization, led by a member-run Board of Directors. We create change by bringing young people together and creating safe spaces for students of all political and ideological stripes to have honest conversations about drugs and drug policy. Founded in 1998, SSDP comprises thousands of members at hundreds of campuses and communities in countries around the globe.


Mission Statement

SSDP is an international grassroots network of students and young people who are concerned about the impact drug misuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society. SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future, while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth.


Hiring and Compensation Policies

SSDP is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women or non-binary people, people of color, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply, particularly those who have been adversely affected by the War on Drugs. We understand that unraveling the harms of the War on Drugs requires us to engage in practices and adopt policies aligned with the values we seek to engender in the world. We leverage our opportunity to create a more just and equitable workplace through our Hiring and Compensation Policies. We do not conduct drug testing of candidates or employees. 

Organizational Management

SSDP uses Holacracy to define and organize domains, roles, and accountabilities for staff. Work is conducted using the Getting Things Done time management system, and all staff capture their work in Asana, promoting a very high degree of transparency. Responsibility is distributed throughout the entire team and successful team members are driven, accountable self-managers who are open to constructive feedback, enjoy iterative processes, and embrace well-managed risk.

Key Values

Shared power and authority

Youth-controlled agenda

Collaboration and partnership

Constituent-specific strategies


Diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism


The Position

The Executive Director will provide leadership, management and coordination of the organization’s overall mission and vision. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director manages the daily operations of the global organization, which presently includes the immediate supervision of 6 staff members and 4 major contractors based in 4 different countries. Pursuant to the organization’s objectives and strategic plan, the Executive Director devises and implements specific strategies, tactics and activities to accomplish the organization’s overall mission. The Executive Director must take ultimate responsibility for fundraising, programs, management and administration for the organization. 


Primary Roles & Accountabilities

Fundraising strategist

  • Ensuring our global fundraising objectives are met
  • Developing our fundraising strategy and setting annual fundraising goals
  • Staying up-to-date with local, state, and international compliance matters around fundraising
  • Directing Fundraising Event Planner in implementing fundraising events (once they are possible again), including date selection and approval of venue, food, and other variables
  • Updating strategic fundraising plan, including monitoring fundraising data to project income


Fundraiser for major donors over $10k per year

  • Initiating and cultivating relationships with donors
  • Closing gifts and communicating with Fundraising Steward regarding process
  • Supporting Grant Manager with foundation grant applications (writing, editing, reporting, in-person meetings)
  • Identifying fundraising opportunities and conceptualizing how we’ll capitalize on them (major donor prospects, events/conferences, Exit Endowment)
  • Representing SSDP favorably at events and conferences, cultivating supporters, and recognizing potential funding prospects
  • Writing compelling fundraising appeals for email blasts, physical mailings, and other development projects


Legislative Activator 

  • Overseeing and supporting the U.S. Policy Council in tracking current and future federal, state, and local legislation related to drug policy reform
  • Curating online Action Centers related to various legislation and campaigns related to drug policy
  • Overseeing and supporting global policy actions taken by  members of SSDP’s international network 
  • Identifying potentially problematic existing drug policies
  • Developing strategies for lobbying, advocacy and policy change, including but not limited to direct action



  • Communicating important information and opportunities to members and supporters
  • Drafting and delivering compelling, values-driven messages for external publications, digital assets, media, speaking engagements, and the SSDP network
  • Communicating with people from different backgrounds and countries in a culturally competent way
  • Reviewing draft content and providing critique and feedback on request from others who create content (blog, email blasts, publications)
  • Creating compelling messages that inspire action, gifts, and engagement
  • Representing our membership and sharing member stories in ways that reflect our values


Media Coordinator

  • Developing and maintaining relationships with journalists who cover drug policy news
  • Responding to interview requests or media requests directly or connecting requesting journalists with members or staff
  • Connecting members with journalists and other media when opportunities arise to highlight members’ voices


Finance Manager

  • Verifying expenses and income are accurately recorded
  • Working closely with accountants and audit firm to ensure SSDP’s finances are managed responsibly and in accordance with nonprofit and accounting laws and best practices 
  • Reporting to the Finance Committee and Board of Directors and participating in meetings
  • Collaborating with department and project leads to create and manage the budget
  • Processing and logging outgoing payments


Additional Roles & Accountabilities


  • Inclusivity Participant

  • Fundraising Coach

  • International Ambassador

  • Blog Author

  • Brand Manager

  • Connector




  • Human Resources Administrator

  • Lifelong Learner

  • Conference Vision Director

  • Conference Sponsorship Fundraiser




  • Executive, Finance, and Governance & Administration Committees Liaison

  • Compliance Officer



The successful candidate has demonstrated deep commitment to the principles of drug policy or adjacent reforms (particularly those which are driven by youth or other impacted communities), and  is likely to have been an SSDPer or had previous engagement with or awareness of SSDP’s work. They are committed to ethical and grassroots fundraising practices and dedicated to continual improvement rooted in experience, best practices, and effectiveness. Strong communication as well as transparent and reflected conflict resolution skills are essential and a solid sense of humor helps. 


Proficiency in at least one language other than English is preferred, but not required. Due to nonprofit laws, the successful candidate must be a resident of the United States, or otherwise permitted to work in the U.S. 


Necessary Skills and Experience:

  • Experience successfully leading or building power for systematically targeted communities including but not limited to people who are neuro-atypical, disabled, young, LGBTQI, immigrants, people of color 
  • Affinity to manage young people from diverse cultural (including national and/or religious) backgrounds
  • Proficiency in extensive donor engagement, including solicitation
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication and presentation skills; openness in interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, and workplace expression
  • Ability to drive processes, stay organized, and hold oneself and team members accountable
  • Experience managing a team of employees, ideally both in-person and remotely 
  • The equivalent of 5+ years relevant work experience with demonstrated success managing a nonprofit organization
  • Impeccable attention to detail



Once travel and events are permitted again, which we realize might not be for some time, the Executive Director will be expected to travel often, (approximately 25% or more of work hours).


Compensation and Benefits

SSDP offers a salary commensurate with experience and similar positions in the local market and ensures a living wage to all full-time employees. The salary range for this position is $75,000-$85,000 with team performance bonuses, fundraising bonuses, and annual salary adjustments available according to the Hiring and Compensation policies. The benefits package includes health, dental, vision and life insurance, a generous paid time off policy, and an Employee Assistance Program. SSDP offers flexible work scheduling and observes all federal holidays except Columbus Day, instead closing the office the day after Thanksgiving. 


Application Process

Applications will be reviewed immediately and accepted until the position is filled, however it is our strong preference that applications are submitted before September 30. Our ideal candidate will be able to start as soon as is reasonable, but no later than December 1.


Please submit your resume, list of references, and a cover letter that addresses your interest in the position through this form. Note: you must be logged into a Google account to submit the form. 


Note: Only those candidates under consideration will be contacted.


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