Director of Advocacy

Job Title:         Director of Advocacy
Unit Government Affairs
Reports to: Deputy Director
Origination Date April 14, 2023
Location Our offices are located in Alexandria, VA. All of our positions are currently  remote. We will continue to assess our operations as the pandemic evolves into an endemic.  

While NHSA is still operating as a remote organization and we are open to this position being anywhere in the US, there will be meetings, interactions, and efforts that will require extensive time spent in Washington DC.  You’ll need to work with us to help figure out that plan should you be interested in the role and are not in the DC area. 

FLSA Status Exempt



Please submit your cover letter indicating where you learned about this position, résumé, and an example of an advocacy campaign or project you helped lead (can be a link, a written document, a video, etc.) to with Director of Advocacy in the subject line.


The opportunity to succeed in school and in life, regardless of circumstances at birth, is a core American value. For the past six decades, the Head Start community has embraced the challenge of delivering on that value and changing life trajectories for the nation’s most vulnerable children and families. A strong and sustainable future for Head Start will mean the success of generations of children who may otherwise struggle throughout their lives. Their future success rests on the knowledge, commitment, and collaboration of families, programs, researchers, and policymakers.

NHSA is a unique organization looking to grow intentionally and to find the right person for the right opportunity on our team. If you are looking to be part of an organization that is static, where things are predictable, and challenges are hard to come by, you should not work with us. If you are interested in being a responsible contributor while flexing your curiosities and creativity, keep reading.

The Director of Advocacy will focus on lifting up and mobilizing the voices of Head Start parents/caregivers, staff, supporters, and leaders from every corner of the country. The position will be an integral part of NHSA’s Government Affairs team; assisting with and leading the development of the Head Start community’s strategy to ensure all eligible children and families have access to Head Start.

Our approach is a human-centered approach with Head Start children and families at the center of everything we do. Our network is vast (with programs almost in every Congressional district across the country) and the opportunity to expand our impact is great even in this political environment. There are millions of Head Start alumni, staff, volunteers, parents/caregivers, and supporters that would jump to help Head Start succeed. We just need you to help us figure out how to break through in this day and age of distraction and exhaustion.



  • Craft and help implement Head Start’s advocacy strategy including advocacy campaign efforts to influence the US Congress, White House, Department of Health and Human Services, and Statehouses (with a specific focus on federal appropriations).
  • Coordinate NHSA’s advocacy actions including grassroots and grasstops advocacy efforts.
  • Cultivate, train, and expand engagement with new and existing advocates across the nation.
  • Identify and help build relationships with the right partners to maximize our impact and influence.
  • Manage and grow an advocacy fundraising effort that is based on grassroots donations.
  • Represent NHSA and the Head Start community at various meetings with other early learning stakeholders, as appropriate.
  • Assist with the development and execution of a Head Start reauthorization strategy as well as strategies for various legislation.
  • Lead the expansion of our existing grassroots fundraising campaign to support federal advocacy on behalf of Head Start and Early Head Start.
  • Manage and coordinate fly-in’s at least twice annually at NHSA’s Fall and Winter Leadership Institutes.
  • Assist with the content curation of NHSA’s Fall and Winter Leadership Institutes as well as other NHSA conferences and trainings.
  • Other relevant duties as assigned or as you identify as needed (obviously).



  • Passion for Head Start’s commitment to ensuring every eligible child has the opportunity to succeed.
  • A track record of success in leading a team with an ability to learn quickly and in asking questions.
  • Demonstrated analytical abilities for synthesis of information, strategy development, and identifying themes and relationships.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Curiosity and continuous learning.
  • Desire to continuously improve in every facet of your work - your interpersonal relationships, your communication abilities, your impact, your team’s success, etc.
  • High tolerance for ambiguity.
  • Task-orientation with a demonstrated ability to establish, identify, and manage competing strategies and priorities.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and ability to be comfortable and assertive working with large and small groups.
  • Strong attention to detail, superior organizational skills, and computer literacy.
  • Minimum of 7 years relevant work experience in coordinating and managing advocacy strategies and campaigns, especially with a grassroots focus.
  • Excellent organizational skills, including ability to handle and prioritize multiple tasks and meet deadlines.
  • Must be able to work independently and proactively while being a dependable team-player.
  • Good judgment, flexibility, and problem-solving skills.

These are a plus, but not required:

  • Experience in media relations, policy development, and/or strategic communications.
  • Spanish-writing and speaking proficiency.
  • Experience with VoterVoice or similar advocacy software.
  • Experience working on grant-funded projects.
  • Experience with grassroots fundraising campaigns.
  • Background and experience in negotiation.

Salary is negotiable and is based on a variety of factors including prior experience, location, etc. NHSA offers a competitive benefit package which we’re happy to share with you as the process moves forward.


NHSA is a nonprofit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life. NHSA is the voice for more than 1 million children, 275,000 staff, and over 1,600 Head Start grantees in the United States. Since 1974, NHSA has worked diligently for policy changes that ensure all at-risk children have access to the Head Start model of support for the whole child, the family, and the community.


NHSA’s vision is for Head Start to lead—to be the untiring voice that will not be quiet until every vulnerable child is served with the Head Start model of support for the whole child, the family, and the community—and to advocate—to work diligently for policy and institutional changes that ensure all vulnerable children and families have what they need to succeed. NHSA’s mission is to coalesce, inspire, and support the Head Start field as a leader in early childhood development and education.


  • We are determined to play a valued and visible national leadership role in this country’s efforts to educate and serve its most vulnerable children and families.
  • We recognize change is constant and are building a flexible, nimble organization that values innovation and can respond effectively to change.
  • We are actively committed to being a high-impact organization that evaluates effort and measures outcomes; our commitment extends to helping the Head Start field value and uses measurements effectively.
  • We value partnerships and collaboration and at our core, we are relationship-based.
  • We celebrate Head Start alumni, both graduates and parents, and the lasting impact that they are having in this country.
  • We are accountable to our members and funders, seeking high standards of governance, carefully stewarding resources, operating transparently, and living up to the highest standards of quality.


NHSA is proud of our inclusive, collaborative, and professional culture. We value and reward teamwork, initiative, creativity, and intellectual and professional growth. We seek those qualities when considering people to join our team.

  • Collaboration: NHSA works in teams—we share ideas, brainstorm endlessly, and constantly seek innovative ideas that advance NHSA’s and Head Start’s missions.
  • Vision: NHSA values colleagues who see and seize opportunities, take risks, learn from failure, and bring a relentless passion for our mission.
  • Creativity: NHSA team members use data to form original insights. We find ways to incorporate innovative ideas and approaches that exist in the rich and vital Head Start community.
  • Mindfulness: NHSA has an organization-wide commitment to strive for excellence; we set clear objectives, achieve ambitious goals, ensure accountability for results, and focus on our impact.
  • Curiosity: NHSA values those who are curious and hungry for knowledge. Reflecting Head Start’s 55 years of commitment to continuous improvement, our staff is committed to personal and professional growth, understanding, and commitment to our mission.

NHSA IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, national origin, marital status, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, personal appearance, family responsibilities, political affiliation, or enrollment in a college, university, technical school, or adult education.

Take Part

Join NHSA to help advance a strong and innovative early childhood profession.

Take Action

We need powerful advocates to secure a bright future for Head Start children and families.

Take Care

Support our early childhood workforce as they shape the lives of the next generation.