Executive Director - Environmental Volunteers

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Palo Alto, CA
United States

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The Environmental Volunteers (EV) promotes the understanding of and responsibility for the environment through hands-on science education. We train volunteers to teach natural science in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Each year, our volunteers teach over 10,000 children in 400+ classroom programs, 125 field trips and EcoCenter programs. Classroom programs are offered to grades K-6 and meet State of California science education requirements. Our strong and committed volunteer force inspires a lifelong love and respect for the natural world.

Primary Roles of the Executive Director Position

The Executive Director is the Chief Executive Officer of the Environmental Volunteers. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the organization's consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives. In conjunction with staff and the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for the following.

Programs and Administration

  • Ensure all EV programs maintain high-quality delivery.
  • Manage and monitor overall operations and program metrics.
  • Proactively communicate any issues with meeting established annual goals and objectives with the Board of Directors.
  • Assure that the organization has a long-range strategy that achieves its mission and strategic plan, and makes consistent and timely progress.
  • Promote active recruitment of and participation by volunteers.
  • Maintain official records and documents, and ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations.
  • Maintain a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in the field.

Fund Development

  • Be accountable (along with the Development Director) for the strategy, implementation and results for all of EV’s contributed income programs including the annual fund; major gifts program; grant writing; corporate sponsorships; direct mail; legacy giving; donor database management; fundraising events; board giving; and online giving.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with individual, foundation, and corporate funders.
  • Support the EV’s board development committee in recruiting, motivating and training Board solicitors.
  • Ensure the organization maintains a robust grant application process.
  • Monitor progress against revenue objectives and proactively communicate issues to the Board and bookkeeper.
  • Pursue new fundraising leads.


  • See that the board is kept fully informed on the condition of the organization and all important factors influencing it.
  • Publicize the activities of the organization, its programs, and goals.
  • Establish sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with community groups and organizations.
  • Represent the programs and point of view of the organization to peer agencies, organizations and the general public.
  • Be an active and visible spokesperson for the Environmental Volunteers.

Relations with Staff

  • Provide strong leadership and develop outstanding relationships with team members.
  • Communicate with transparency and build trust with staff, board, volunteers, schools, donors, funders and all other key stakeholders.
  • Manage communications within the organization to ensure focused effort, prioritized initiatives, and well-coordinated activities
  • Foster a climate of supportive collaboration, problem-solving and high performance, encouraging strong team cohesion within the organization.
  • Be responsible for the recruitment, employment, and release of all personnel, both paid staff, and volunteers.
  • Ensure that job descriptions are developed, that regular performance evaluations are held and that sound human resource practices are in place.
  • Ensure appropriate provisions for succession are in place.
  • Maintain a climate that attracts, keeps and motivates a diverse, top-notch staff.
  • Develop and provide a positive work climate for all employees and volunteers.
  • Coach and mentor staff as appropriate for optimal performance.

Budget and Finance

  • Be responsible for developing and maintaining sound financial practices that ensure the financial health of the organization.
  • Be accountable for all earned revenue streams including school programs, community programs and site rentals.
  • Work with the staff, Finance Committee and the board in preparing an annual budget.
  • See that the organization operates within budget guidelines.
  • Support the annual audit and prepare monthly/quarterly financial reports for the Board.
  • Communicate cash flow or other important financial issues to the CFO proactively.
  • Ensure that adequate funds are available to permit the organization to carry out its work.


The ideal candidate is a seasoned professional who has done considerable work for the public and/or non-profit sector and has a passion for serving kids and the environment. Progressively increasing career leadership experience is required, including experience in nonprofit management, fund development, and revenue generation. The organization’s leadership will consider candidates who have served in senior leadership roles in for-profit organizations who also have extensive volunteer and non-profit board experience.

Education and Experience

  • BA or BS degree (or higher) from an accredited college, university or equivalent.
  • At least 10 years of work experience with five or more years as an executive director or the equivalent. Must have demonstrated leadership and management success.
  • Experience working with local government agencies, educators, businesses and community-based organizations.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of financial budgeting, planning and managing organizations.
  • Fundraising experience and knowledge of non-profit best practices.
  • Human resource and management skills, including hiring, development and performance management.
  • Able to reach and work well with diverse groups and individuals providing a venue for discussions of divergent ideas and opinions.
  • Able to establish, articulate and maintain effective organizational priorities.
  • Demonstrated ability to negotiate, resolve conflicts and solve problems.
  • A proactive, passionate and continuous learner who knows how to respond to change.
  • Previous experience as an Executive Director.
  • Demonstrated ability to work creatively and effectively with a volunteer Board of Directors and a variety of committees and individuals.
  • Experience managing a team the size of the EV.
  • Experience with non-profit fiscal administration and financial management.
  • Experience with grant writing, fundraising and non-profit revenue generation.
  • Excellent communication, oral and written, and public speaking skills.

Preferred Qualifications

We are looking for:

  • A warm leader who exudes confidence and care for others, who builds enduring relationships and who has a high degree of emotional intelligence.
  • A person oriented toward the greater good of the organization and the natural environment.
  • Someone with a respectful and accessible leadership style, self-assured and comfortable with situations of ambiguity and able to easily relate to a wide range of constituencies.
  • Someone comfortable asking others for money, and helping others who are not as comfortable do the same.
  • An entrepreneurial and resourceful leader who is able to recognize and act on new and potential opportunities.


Equal Opportunity Employer

EV provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran, in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. EV complies with all applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

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Salary is commensurate with skills and experience and starts at $110,000. Excellent benefits package includes health, dental, 401K match and life insurance.