Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.9 million members and supporters to defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. Our work focuses on championing solutions to the climate crisis; working for clean air, safe water, land protection, and a vibrant natural world; and getting people outside to enjoy the outdoors, all in the fight for environmental and social justice. Sierra Club’s employees are change makers whose work is rooted in our equity, inclusion, and justice values. We are guided by the Jemez Principles to build just relationships with our community partners to co-create a clean energy future for all.
Sierra Club is comprised of staff across the country and thousands of volunteers across a network of local chapters that power our grassroots engagement. We are also proud to be a unionized employer, with two labor unions representing more than half of our 800+ employees, who are located in field offices and chapters across the country. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
The Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) will join the Sierra Club during an exciting time of existential evolution and transformation. The CAO must have a deep personal commitment to, and understanding of, equity, inclusion, and justice, and use that as a frame for the work of integrating ongoing organization-wide change processes and innovative fundraising tools into our work, achieving the fundraising and membership goals of the organization, and ensuring careful stewardship of our donor and member relationships. The CAO must also have a track record of working across differences, siloes, and programs, exercising their power and privilege carefully.
Reporting directly to the Executive Director, the incoming CAO will lead an 80-person team that supports our National and Chapter activities, including directors responsible for various aspects of our major donor, foundation, planned giving, and direct response fundraising programs. Such funding include 501(c)3 charitable funds for the Sierra Club Foundation and 501(c)4 funds for the Sierra Club’s political and legislative activities. To lead this function, we are looking for a CAO who is an exceptional manager, leader, relationship builder, and communicator.
This is a full-time, exempt position, ideally based in our Oakland or LA, CA; Seattle, WA; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, IL; Austin, TX; Denver, CO; or New York, NY offices.
The Chief Advancement Officer’s essential duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
Fundraising, Membership Growth, and Departmental Leadership:
Plan and direct a comprehensive, complex fundraising operation that includes maintaining and growing annual revenues of $180M+, recognizing and taking advantage of new opportunities in conjunction with the organization’s capital campaign, while maximizing existing sources of funds.
Own, manage, and grow a select portfolio of principal gift donors and prospects, including some of the highest profile institutional donor relationships.
Collaborate with the Sierra Club Foundation to oversee the Department's development and implementation of 501( c)3 fundraising and charitable grant agreements between Sierra Club Foundation and Sierra Club.
Set and drive a clear vision for the advancement department that advances organization-wide strategies, goals, and change processes.
Build fundraising vision and practices that unite the best competencies of the Club’s national campaigns and local chapters, and include significant growth of the member base.
Lead the building, implementation, and adoption of systems and practices that support intra- and inter-departmental collaboration, integration, communication, and relationship building.
Instill a culture of philanthropy throughout Sierra Club, ensuring all individuals understand their role in the organization’s philanthropic success.
Leverage forecasting and data to inform goals and priorities.
In collaboration with the Board and the leaders of other departments, participate in strategy setting, and execute on the organization’s strategic goals and priorities.
Act as conduit of key insights from stakeholders to Board and senior leadership to inform organizational imperatives and priorities.
Support the development and implementation of org-wide practices for cross collaboration and communication. Promote a culture of trust, support, resource sharing, and transparency across functions, chapters, programs, and campaigns.
Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Leadership:
Actively cultivate a culture of collaboration, openness, trust, equity, inclusion, and support within the Advancement department, and in its work with other departments.
Lead department’s ongoing transformation of a broadly inclusive and equity-based culture.
Expand the diversity and inclusion of members and donors.
Facilitate practices and implement policies that reflect and support the ED’s cultural vision of equity, respect, kindness, and inclusivity for the organization.
The ideal candidate will have the following professional skills, qualities, and competencies:
Mission & Values Alignment: A passion for the Sierra Club’s commitment to environmental and social justice. Understanding of and commitment to progressive environmental politics, social justice, and the Sierra Club’s mission.
Expertise & Leadership in an Advancement/Development Function: Exemplary track record directing a large, comprehensive, complex advancement function, including demonstrated results across functions, siloes, geographies, and/or affiliates. Expertise in the full scope of fundraising activities at all levels of donation. Deep understanding of anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices in fundraising.
Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Leadership: Holds an analysis of power, racial, sexual, economic, and gender inequity and its intersection with climate justice. Has experience operationalizing equity within the advancement department, and setting an equity and justice rooted strategy for advancement for the organization. Understands white supremacist nature of capitalism and philanthropy, and how to shift away from those existing systems to do more expansive work.
Executive & Team Leadership: Substantial management experience and demonstrated ability to establish, lead, and drive objectives - particularly in a highly dynamic and evolving environment - at the enterprise level. Proven track record of meeting or exceeding budgeted goals by managing staff and volunteer performance. Proven ability to translate strategic thinking about complex challenges and organizational gaps into executable plans to deliver on strategic imperatives and solve problems large and small, and measure progress towards goals. Demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of how race and gender dynamics impact supervisory relationships, organizational culture, partnerships, campaigns and coalition work, and can demonstrate a history of successfully intervening in problematic dynamics and deepening a racial justice approach within an organization, team, or campaign.
Communication & Relationship Building: An emotionally intelligent, values- and results-driven leader who can inspire staff and collaborate across departments and at all levels of the organization, and provide feedback and coaching to support the achievement of complex goals. Adeptly drives transparent, timely internal communications. Highly skilled communicator, both individually and in large audience or public communications.
System & Process Building: Has built systems and processes to facilitate and strengthen intra- and inter-departmental collaboration and communication. Has improved data hygiene and built highly effective operational and data systems for fundraising to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of a fundraising function.
Compensation & Benefits:
The salary range for this role is $230,000 - $280,000.
Sierra Club employees enjoy a comprehensive benefits program including medical, dental, vision, life insurance, flexible spending accounts, employee assistance program, short- and long-term disability insurance. A 401(k) Plan is available to save for retirement with a match and a generous employer contribution that increases with service time. Vacation, holiday, and leave of absence policies prioritize work-life balance for Sierra Club staff.
This is a category 1 exempt position. Sierra Club is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization. Sierra Club employees are not eligible to participate in the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.
Sierra Club values the expertise and talents of foreign nationals. Sierra Club sponsors both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas when certain criteria are met, based on immigration laws and organizational needs. Such sponsorship is at the discretion of the Department Head and Sierra Club Human Resources in consultation with the employee’s manager. The Sierra Club cannot guarantee the approval of a visa petition.
The Sierra Club is an equal opportunity employer committed to workforce diversity.
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About Sierra Club
Axis Talent Partners is an executive search and talent strategy firm, founded and led by women of color. We partner with social impact organizations to provide talent solutions that are grounded in relationship building and centered in equity and inclusivity.