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Position: Chief Advancement Officer
Organization: Sierra Club
Location: San Francisco, CA

Someday historians will look back and note that at the very moment when the climate crisis looked most daunting, an organization founded in the 19th century stepped forward to make the 21st Century an era of clean air, clear water, beautiful landscapes, and lasting prosperity. That organization, the Sierra Club, seeks an exceptional leader to help build the new environmental movement that is rallying around clean energy innovation as the antidote to climate disruption.

Legendary conservationist John Muir founded the Sierra Club in 1892. Strengthened by decades of success in the fight to protect America from the pollution and encroachment that was destroying wild places and injuring public health, the Club is now the country’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with a $100 million budget, a staff of 600, and more than two million members and supporters nationwide. The Club’s countless successes to date range from a key role in establishing the 250 million acre National Park System -- “America’s Best Idea” as the Ken Burns documentary called it -- to helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.

More recently, the Club has made history by helping to guide the nation away from the dirty, 19th Century fossil fuels that caused earth’s potentially catastrophic climate crisis. By defeating the construction of over 160 proposed coal-fired plants and forcing the retirement of more than 150 others, the Club has already helped slow climate disruption. A clean energy economy is rapidly taking root. Now the Club has an obligation and opportunity to help people build on this momentum to create a world that is cleaner, healthier, more secure, more prosperous and rich with natural beauty.

The Chief Advancement Officer will drive the fundraising program that allows the Sierra Club to achieve its critically important mission. Working closely with the Executive Director, Board of Directors, and other internal and external stakeholders, the person chosen for this position will create a strategic fundraising vision and lead a team of more than 60 staff members who are dedicated to winning conservation victories by building the Sierra Club’s economic strength.

The Sierra Club is a 501c(4) non-profit organization, which raises most of its operating funds in cooperation with the independent 501c(3) Sierra Club Foundation. The Chief Advancement Officer works for the Sierra Club and has primary responsibility for raising funds for Sierra Club programs funded by the Sierra Club Foundation.

The Sierra Club raises funds through multiple channels, including foundations, major donors, membership, planned giving, on-line donations, telemarketing, direct mail, and business partnerships. All these funding channels are overseen by the Chief Advancement Officer.
This is a full-time position based in San Francisco, CA.


  • The Chief Advancement Officer is the key leader for all fundraising strategies and initiatives, partnering with the Executive Director, colleagues on the Executive Team, volunteer leaders, and the Board of Directors to strengthen and expand a strategic, integrated, and visionary fundraising program for the Sierra Club.
  • In 2014 the Advancement Department is slated to raise $85 million, with aggressive revenue growth planned for 2015-2020 designed to match the emerging urgency of the climate and clean energy opportunity.
  • Core areas of responsibility include:
  • Providing a clear vision and plan of action for continued expansion of the Sierra Club’s fundraising activities and results
  • Serving as a strategic thought partner to the Executive Director, Board of Directors, and other key stakeholders by providing guidance and leadership for all fundraising strategies
  • Leading the Advancement Department, including six direct reports and more than 60 staff members engaged in raising both c3 and c4 funds from major donors, membership and direct marketing, planned giving, foundations, and business partnerships
  • Serving as a critical member of the Executive Management team (Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director, Director of Conservation, Director of Communications, Director of Digital Strategies, Director of Human Resources, Chief Financial Executive, Chief of Staff), playing a key role in setting overall organizational goals and priorities
  • Collaborating with colleagues to ensure deep cross-departmental integration and collaboration, in particular with the National Programs, Online Strategies, and Communications Departments
The ideal candidate will be a bold thinker as well as a strategic executor. S/He will bring a genuine passion for the Sierra Club mission coupled with deep experience driving fundraising success in a complex, multi-channel environment.

Desired skills and experiences include:
  • A measurable track record of increasing revenue through strategic planning and the effective integration of multiple revenue channels
  • Particular expertise in major donor fundraising, online giving, and/or increasing unrestricted funds strongly preferred
  • Demonstrated expertise with a wide range of fundraising experience (major gifts, foundations, marketing, planned giving, political fundraising, online giving) and the ability to continually evaluate and strengthen overall departmental operations and outcomes
  • An entrepreneurial approach to expanding and deepening donor support and identifying and pursuing new markets and partnerships
  • Exceptional team leadership skills, including the ability to develop and coach individuals, enhance collaboration, promote accountability, and inspire team members to new levels of performance
  • Highly developed interpersonal skills; the ability to quickly establish genuine and productive relationships with a wide range of stakeholders
  • Experience partnering with senior programmatic leaders to collaboratively develop fundraising strategies and initiatives
  • Extraordinary communications skills; an inspirational approach to building collaboration and buy-in and generating support from internal and external stakeholders
  • Strong data and analysis orientation, a proven ability to use data to drive development decisions and planning
  • An understanding of how to strengthen and deepen a culture of philanthropy across a complex organization by building buy-in and leading change
Strong candidates will also offer the following personal characteristics:
  • A tendency for big thinking coupled with the strategic execution skills required to achieve ambitious goals
  • An understanding of and respect for the power of grassroots organizing and movement building
  • The ability to drive change and effectively lead in a complex organizational environment
  • A collaborative, team-based work style
  • A commitment to being part of a diverse, inclusive, and equitable organizational culture
  • Previous experience in the environmental sector is not a requirement for the Chief Advancement Officer role; but candidates must demonstrate a genuine belief and interest in the Sierra Club's mission and vision

Compensation and Benefits:

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.

To Apply:
Sierra Club has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Molly Brennan at

Sierra Club is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Sierra Club:
The Sierra Club is the oldest, the most successful, and the largest grassroots environmental organization in the U.S. Its motto of exploring, enjoying, and protecting the planet has its roots in the conservation work of John Muir and the Club’s efforts to pass landmark legislation like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Today, the Sierra Club is focused on climate recovery and moving the entire country beyond dirty energy.

How strong is the Sierra Club?
The Sierra Club has 2.4 million members and supporters. With 65 Sierra Club chapters and 400 local groups across the nation, we are present in every state, operating with unparalleled power at both the federal and state level.

Who’s with us?
Our funders include philanthropic opinion makers like Michael Bloomberg, Jeremy Grantham, and Tom Steyer, national and local foundations, including The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and hundreds of thousands of Americans who believe in our proven grassroots model. To reach the diverse groups of people necessary to achieve our ambitious goals, we partner with thousands of organizations, from and Greenpeace, to the NAACP and National Council of La Raza, to the National Council of Churches, the American Lung Association, and the U.S. military.

Who leads the charge?
In 2010, the Sierra Club hired Michael Brune, an energetic leader with a proven record of success and a bold vision. The former executive director of Rainforest Action Network, Brune made his reputation convincing some of America’s top corporations to stop using products from old growth forests. As executive director of the Sierra Club, he is as comfortable negotiating in a corporate boardroom as he is leading a rally in front of the White House. A media-savvy public figure who never shies from debate, Brune shares our message through a media presence unparalleled by anyone in the environmental world. Through him, the Club’s policies and ideas are amplified in social media posts, interviews, op-eds and features appearing in outlets ranging from the The Huffington Post to Fox Business Network and “60 Minutes.”

Employees of the Sierra Club live our motto of exploring, enjoying, and protecting the planet.
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About Koya Leadership Partners:
Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained search and consulting firm that works exclusively with non-profits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit