Associate Director of Donor Communications

11 Mar, 2021


Associate Director of Donor Communications

Remote/San Francisco, CA

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization.  We take on the biggest, most precedent-setting cases across the country. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change. We partner with thousands of groups, supporters, individuals, and communities to engage the critical environmental issues of our time and bring about positive change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Founded in 1971, Earthjustice has a distinguished track record of achieving significant, lasting environmental protections. We achieve this by hiring people who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment. Our headquarters are in San Francisco, with offices in Anchorage, Juneau, Los Angeles, Miami, Tallahassee, Honolulu, New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle, Bozeman, Chicago, and Washington, DC.

The Associate Director of Donor Communications leads a team of talented Development Writers who craft compelling written materials that inform and inspire Earthjustice’s donors and potential donors. The team is responsible for producing general and highly customized engagement, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship communications for individuals giving at the middle, major, and principal gift levels, including the Earthjustice annual report, and provides editing support for the organization’s direct mail and email communications.

The Associate Director of Donor Communications sets the overall direction and expectations for the team and ensures the team is structured and deployed in a manner that best supports the organization’s donor communications needs. They work closely with the president, vice presidents, program leadership, and Development directors and fundraisers to identify needs and create and implement a comprehensive donor communications strategy, and to develop impact metrics and other measures that demonstrate the value of donors’ investments in the work of the organization. The Associate Director will also work closely with Development, Marketing, and Communications staff to ensure alignment between donor communications and organizational messaging, and to develop a shared repository of photos, graphics, infographics, and writing to help streamline the production of collateral and other communications across the organization.

The Associate Director is responsible for managing the writing team budget and for developing an annual writing team plan that supports the donor marketing and engagement team strategic plan.

The Associate Director reports to the Director of Donor Marketing & Engagement.


Program Management and Strategic Direction: (40%)


  • Create and manage an annual writing team work plan that supports the Donor Marketing and Engagement team and the Development Department strategic plans.
  • Create qualitative and quantitative metrics by which to evaluate the performance of the writing team and program. Evaluate progress against metrics and make strategy changes as needed.
  • Build and manage an annual budget for the writing team.
  • Collaborate with Development staff on communications and collateral for donor cultivation activities, site visits, and special events; share program information with Development staff as needed.
  • Work with Development and Communications staff to identify writing and editing needs for the different donor audiences (public support, online, mid-level, major, and principal) and create an annual donor communications calendar.
  • Liaise with the Communications Department and the Foundations team in order to share information, maintain consistent messaging across the organization, and collaborate on cross-departmental initiatives.
  • Oversee the development and production of written content for the annual report, including scoping, assigning, writing, editing, and providing input on photos, graphics, and other design elements.
  • Develop resources and tools to enhance the writing team’s ability to produce high-quality materials within deadline constraints.


Program Knowledge: (20%)


  • Be fluent in the work of Earthjustice regional offices, programs, and campaigns, and develop a working knowledge of Earthjustice’s key past accomplishments and history.
  • Keep apprised of the top cases for each of Earthjustice’s program areas in order to keep written materials current and accurate; attend briefings and maintain ongoing conversations with VPs, managing attorneys, staff attorneys, Policy & Litigation and Communications staff.
  • Track daily environmental news reports provided by the Communications team to prioritize the cases and news of most importance to Earthjustice donors.


Team Management and Staff Development: (30%)


  • Supervise individual writing team members, establish clear direction and create annual work plans with goals and objectives.
  • Provide staff with performance feedback, and promote growth and learning through career development opportunities with appropriate training, mentorship, encouragement, and supervision.
  • Review writing and editing requests to assess and prioritize projects. Assign projects in consultation with the writing team members.
  • Assist writing team members with managing competing priorities under a very heavy workload and adjust the team’s workload under constantly changing conditions.
  • Work with Stewardship Officer and Donor Marketing and Engagement Associate to coordinate multiple stakeholders in the production and design of collateral for all Development teams, including proposals and stewardship reports, fact sheets, yearly calendar, brochures, mailers, collateral for events and donor trips, website text, and other stewardship materials.
  • Review, edit, and provide feedback on materials produced by writing team members; ensure that it is accurate, meets Earthjustice standards, and is consistent with the organization’s brand.


Management (Essential Functions):


  • Percentage of time assumes dedication of approximately 10% of time for each direct report.
  • Recruits and hires qualified candidates who fit position requirements and the work environment.
  • Promotes change in terms of the expected benefits, as well as removing or lowering the impact of potential obstacles.
  • Sets clear team direction that aligns with Earthjustice strategy, mission, and vision.
  • Develops staff by identifying and encouraging training and professional development opportunities appropriate to role and creating development plans for all staff.
  • Provides staff with consistent performance feedback – both positive and constructive — and acts as a coach and mentor.
  • Creates a learning culture, by encouraging debriefing after completion of significant stages of projects.
  • Ensures that any direct reports who have supervisory responsibility are properly executing those functions.
  • Creates a respectful and inclusive work environment for team and models respectful and inclusive behavior.
  • Promptly addresses micro-aggressions and other concerns brought to their attention.
  • Resolves interpersonal conflict among team members and brings in outside facilitators as needed.
  • Communicates regularly with existing employees and encourages staff to raise concerns and to provide ongoing feedback.
  • Creates or identifies strategic opportunities for team building and individual and overall staff engagement with one another in order to strengthen teamwork, interaction and collaboration.
  • Values and uses individual differences and talents to improve employee satisfaction and the quality of collective work.
  • Celebrates successes and helps team members to understand and manage setbacks.


*Supervisory Responsibilities: Three Direct Reports

Continued Learning: (10%)


  • Participate in organization-wide initiatives and trainings that contribute to the creation of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work culture that encourages and celebrates differences.
  • Utilize internal and external resources to support a personal and professional development journey that increases awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.
  • Attend departmental and organizational retreats for shared planning, team building, and professional development.




  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Seven years successful experience as a writer and editor.
  • Experience writing for a high-volume nonprofit development department.
  • Experience supervising staff.
  • Experience with project management systems, including a variety of tools to facilitate project scheduling and collaboration.
  • Legal, environmental, and/or scientific background preferred.
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated understanding of current trends in fundraising and communications.
  • Ability to prioritize work and to perform effectively under the pressure of multiple deadlines. Experience managing multiple projects at once.
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively with a wide range of people, including the public and in-house staff.
  • Ability to distill complex legal text and translate it into simple and compelling messaging.
  • Ability to develop successful reports, proposals, and other materials creatively.
  • Interest in environmental and public health concerns.
  • Demonstrates an awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.
  • Contributes to recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.


Management (Essential Skills):


  • Ability to effectively manage and lead a diverse team with emotional intelligence (self-awareness and understating of the impact of their behavior) and cultural humility (an understanding of the need for additional learning about different cultures, backgrounds and orientation and implementation of that learning daily management practices).
  • Ability to give and receive regular formal and informal feedback in a timely, constructive, respectful, and consistent manner and to incorporate debriefing into the team’s operations.
  • Strong team mentorship and communication skills.
  • Understands the individual and team strengths and areas for development and develops plans accordingly.
  • Commitment to and experience in developing team skills and talents to meet the evolving needs of an organization.


We offer a competitive salary and excellent benefits that are comprehensive and competitive. We also offer an extremely congenial work environment and a casual dress code.

Salary is dependent on experience and location.

Salary range in San Francisco, CA and New York, NY: $98,400 to $109,300

Salary range in other locations: $83,700 to $103,900


Earthjustice has retained the services of ThinkingAhead Executive Search. Please submit your resume and expression of interest to Chris Spagnola at and Jessica Martinez at

No phone calls, drop-ins, or hard copies.

Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership, and excellence. Our core values lead us to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve our mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected. As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to employment practices that ensure that employees and applicants for employment are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or any other factor that is not related to the position.

For positions located within the City and County of San Francisco Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment-qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

For positions located within the City of Los Angeles:We will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.


Job posted: 2021-03-11