Lead Organizer – Youth UpRising – Oakland, CA

Position Title: Lead Organizer

Reports To: Chief of Staff

Compensation: Full-time, Commensurate with experience. Full benefits.

About Youth Uprising

In just a few years since it’s opening in 2005, Youth Uprising (YU) has gone from a barebones operation to a bustling, 25,000-square-foot, high-tech youth leadership development center.

YU serves Alameda County residents between the ages of 13 and 24 – primarily youth of color from low-income neighborhoods in East Oakland where the center is located. Through innovative, culturally relevant programming in the areas of Media and Performing Arts, Education and Career Development, Social Enterprise, Peace Making, and Health and Wellness, YU attracts an astounding and ever-expanding membership of over 4000 youth.

YU envisions community transformation driven by investments in youth and young adults that result in the personal, social and economic transformation of all residents.

YU exists to build healthy, economically robust communities in East Oakland and the surrounding county, creating social change by harnessing the leadership of young people through consciousness raising, personal transformation, hard skill cultivation and leadership development.

For more information about Youth Uprising go to: www.youthuprising.org.

The Opportunity

Youth Uprising offers the successful Lead Organizer an opportunity to join a dynamic organization with a compelling mission and a successful track record of attracting, engaging and serving a high-risk population in strategies for personal, professional and community transformation.

Successful candidates have a deep commitment to social justice, cultural diversity and an unwavering enthusiasm for bold social change and transformation work. Candidates must be able to inspire, challenge and develop community residents into leaders, to lead teams and effectively communicate with others. Personal initiative, independent judgment, accountability, planning and organizational skills, and a willingness to embrace new technologies are required. Bilingual skills are a plus.

In joining YU’s staff, the Lead Organizer will become part of a high-performing, warm, diverse team that includes people indigenous to the community, those who are deeply committed to social change, and youth within our target population who help to keep the organization attuned to the current realities of youth culture.

The new Lead Organizer will be positioned for significant success and ongoing professional growth, as YU develops and strengthens the programs and practices that will position us to become a national leader in youth leadership development and urban community transformation.

Lead Organizer – Position Summary

Youth Uprising (YU) seeks a mature, high energy, professional to oversee implementation of effective, mission-driven, culturally relevant programming that serves our community and strategically positions Youth UpRising as a leader in the field of youth leadership development and urban community transformation.

The Lead Organizer will help build a community of activist and leaders for Youth UpRising; recruit and engage community residents to voice their wants, needs, and concerns; mobilize community residents around needs, politics, public policy, and other issues affecting their lives and communities; develop rank-and -file leadership among residents who identify with and support YU’s Community Transformation strategy; execute outreach & engagement plans to further the programmatic goals of the constellation of organizations in the Castlemont Community; and carry out all other programs of the organization in the field. Organizers will primarily be assigned to work as “external” organizers – working with and on behalf of community residents who are in the process of transforming the Castlemont Community.

Under the direction of YU’s Chief of Staff, the Lead Organizer is charged with developing and executing multi-faceted campaigns to carry out the vision, mission, goals and respective strategies of YU. The Lead Organizer is frequently expected to operate without day-to-day supervision, to develop their own work plans and goals, and to act with a great degree of discretion and independent judgment. Accordingly, they must be strong self-starters and have a commitment to fulfill the objectives of the organization.

Successful candidates will be self-motivated with experience and skills in organizing, mobilizing turn-out and project management. They will be able to work effectively within a context that requires flexibility, a sense of humor and the ability to flourish in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. This position requires someone whose passion for YU’s vision is matched with proven experience, creative leadership and the ability to motivate others to ensure the success of individual programs and the organization as a whole.

Primary Responsibilities

The Lead Organizer performs a wide range of duties, which may vary according to the needs of the organization to fulfill its mission or a specific campaign. Examples of those duties and responsibilities are listed below:

Base Building

Develop and implement organizing plans and campaigns to mobilize residents and develop community leaders
Coordinate and conduct 1-on-1s, house visits, leafleting, and phone banking
Maintain outreach contacts in the organizational database and utilize systems to track and evaluate progress toward our base building goals
Develop and execute plan for generating new contacts to reach out to and engage as supporters of the organization
Create and participate in opportunities to expand our reach, meet new potential supporters, and generate new contacts to add to our base
Ensure organizational base building goals are met

Campaign Development & Mobilization

Plan and run comprehensive organizing and mobilization campaigns
Develop and execute a plan for engaging the people on our list of supporters in opportunities to advance our organizational goals
Write action alerts and create other tools to outreach about our work to our base
Recruit participants and speakers for press conferences, hearings, and other events
Create and lead events, activities, and community projects to turn out supporters to ensure participation from our base
Coordinate member-to-member campaigns to tap into the networks of our supporters
Engage YU’s base of supporters in grassroots campaign activities (ex. Community meetings, survey collection, etc.)


Coordinate teams of staff/volunteers in developing and implementing plans and campaigns
Coordinate outreach & organizing plans with existing organizational outreach and engagement efforts
Coordinate with the Communications on use of social networking tools and to ensure action alerts and outreach materials are on message
Coordinate with the Development and Marketing Manager to ensure synergy with donor and fundraising goals
Align organizing efforts with YU’s organizational goals objectives and that our members are engaged in organizing activities
Align integration of politics, community relationships and organizing support into the daily work of staff/volunteers

Leadership Development

Train and assist in identifying, recruiting, developing, and partnering with community leaders to successfully implement the mission, goals and work of the organization
Train, develop and hold staff/volunteers accountable to goals and outcomes
Create leadership and volunteer opportunities to plug people into that create opportunities for responsibility, skills development, and ownership of the work
Identify contacts to prioritize for relationship building and leadership development
Develop and execute a plan for deepening the engagement of strong supporters
Develop deeper relationships with key leaders (through one on one meetings, etc) in order to deepen their involvement with the organization and cultivate their leadership


Maintain accountability to administrative systems and procedures, including submitting expense reimbursements, credit card reconciliations, invoices, lobbying reports, and so on by the deadlines assigned, as well as submitting content for the organizational calendar and informing other staff of activities and whereabouts
Participate actively in staff meetings and retreats and additional meetings when requested
Actively participate in other Organizational activities
Plan, track, and report on individual and departmental work in support of organizational coordination and synergy
Represent the organization positively in public at all times by acting as a professional representative and ambassador
Ensure data is kept current in the organizational database by ensuring new contacts are immediately added, contact records are maintained and results are tracked

Other duties as needed and assigned

Positional Competencies – required for our Lead Organizer

COMMUNITY ORGANIZING– At least 4 years of experience in union or community organizing and representation leading a team of at least two or more staff.

ADVOCACY – Experience with issue advocacy campaigns and working with a contact database strongly preferred.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE – Demonstrated experience organizing and managing events, campaigns and/or productions.

LEADERSHIP & MOTIVATION- Ability to lead in a way that motivates and inspire members to develop into leaders and participate in key organizational efforts/programs (i.e. politics, organizing, bargaining, etc.)
COMPUTER LITERACY – Demonstrated proficiency in Microsoft Office/Word, Power Point, Excel, databases and Internet.

STRONG COMMUNICATION SKILLS – Exceptional oral and written communication skills including the demonstrated ability to research, assimilate and analyze information, compose documents, and present data in a clear and concise manner to appropriate personnel, including the ability to effectively present information to top management, program staff and/or Board of Directors.

MOBILITY – Must possess a valid California driver’s license, vehicle, and auto insurance

AVAILABILITY for occasional evening and weekend work.
BILINGUAL is a plus.

Managerial Competencies – required at YU for those who manage others

LEADERSHIP – Visionary • Articulates goals and objectives and their value • Acts as a positive catalyst for change • Models desired behaviors • Able to inspire and organize others • Builds on strengths and facilitates growth in areas of weakness • Seeks input, assesses risks and makes decisions • Problem-solving approach to challenges •
PATIENCE – Able to maintain composure and endure under difficult circumstances • Compassionate, especially regarding long-term challenges • Able to withhold judgment/conclusion and take time to inquire into the causes of a situation • Able to manage expectations and measure success over the long-haul •
INSIGHT/DISCERNMENT – Able to acutely observe and insightfully perceive a situation and/or character • Emotionally intelligent and able to reflect on feelings, motives and needs • Demonstrates good instincts regarding long-term impact and implications •
PROFESSIONALISM – Adheres to the highest ethical and organizational standards • Best-practice approach to work • Dependability, rooted in a reliable continuity of presence, principles and actions • Continuously seeks excellence in what we do and how we do it•
SENSE OF HUMOR – Able to be real • Able to see the lighter side of difficult situations • Ready to laugh •
MOTIVATIONAL POWER – Able to articulate goals, build excitement and motivate others to do their best • Able to move people beyond their comfort zone and inspire them to take strategic risks • Elicits other people’s realization of their maximum potential • Motivates people to be phenomenal team members • Instills a sense of ownership and investment in the larger vision • Delegates and builds the leadership of others • Inspires others to go ‘over and above’ and feel good about it •

Core Competencies – required of all staff for successful performance at YU.

HIGH PERFORMANCE – Strong work ethic • Results oriented • High energy • High integrity • Reliability • Committed to Excellence • Takes initiative and gets things done • Demonstrated success in an entrepreneurial setting, with the ability to think strategically while executing tactically within a resource-constrained environment.
ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS – Detail oriented • Tracks results • Demonstrates good work habits • Effectively uses their and other people’s time • Comes to tasks/meetings well prepared • Has basic computer skills • Develops efficient systems, processes and tools•
FLEXIBILITY – Adapts to new information or circumstances • Willing to wear many ‘hats’ to get the job done • Creative in troubleshooting and finding solutions • Able to flourish in a fluid environment •
POSTITIVE ATTITUDE – Able to maintain composure, hope and a sense of humor amid challenges • Able to remain positive and see solutions among difficult issues • Stamina • Able to manage and diffuse stress •
SOCIAL SKILLS – Able to work with a wide variety of people • Able to communicate with respect and clarity • Open to different viewpoints • Able to disagree without animosity • Self-aware • Compassionate • Collaborative • Able to give and receive candid feedback • A role model •
CRITICAL THINKING – Thinks interdependently, framing the goals of one department/project within the entire vision • Sees current issues and challenges within a broad framework • Makes decisions that have the greatest long and short term positive impact • Thinks ‘outside the box’ – beyond given paradigms • Able to access resources (money, people) to advance solutions • Able to reflect on and improve both content and delivery • Open to developing awareness of the structural factors (socioeconomic context) impacting our communities •

Start Date: Applications accepted until position is filled.

Compensation: Competitive, commensurate with experience. Full benefits.

How to Apply: Email resume and cover letter with recent salaries and four professional references to talent@youthuprising.org. Include “Lead Organizer – [Your Name]” in the subject line.