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Executive Director of San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory

San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory
Milpitas, California
70,000 to 80,000 depending on experience
Closing date
Jun 29, 2021
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San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory

Executive Director

Milpitas, CA

Full Time (at last part time in office)

Start Date: July 2021

About the Organization

San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory’s (SFBBO) mission is to protect birds and their habitats through scientific research and educational outreach. This year marks our 40th anniversary, a milestone of our long-term engagement in high-value conservation work across the San Francisco Bay area and beyond. We have evolved from a small, volunteer driven organization to a professional environmental NGO with experienced and dedicated staff scientists and a robust volunteer team.

 We strive to engage volunteers and the general public through our outreach programs, while collaborating with a range of government, local businesses and other environmental non-profits to advance our mission. Our Science and Strategic plans ensure that we will be able to respond to and prepare for future conservation challenges, such as climate change and increasing urban growth and land development pressures. SFBBO operates with 15-20 staff, an active Board of Directors (Board), and a large community of dedicated volunteers. We are committed to the principles of justice, equity and inclusion. To learn more about us, please visit

About the Role                                                                                                                        

SFBBO is seeking a passionate, mission-driven, and creative Executive Director (ED) to guide the organization as it continues to expand its role in regional conservation efforts. The ED will work closely with the board to support our science and mission goals and expand fundraising efforts. The ED should be well versed in conservation science issues to effectively and clearly communicate with both scientists and the general public. This position is dynamic, with the need to balance shifting priorities and tasks that come with new challenges and opportunities. Below are the major duties you might be expected to undertake.

Leading Programs and Operations

  • Establish a clear vision of SFBBO’s role in conserving birds and habitats
  • Lead strategic planning and execution, conduct regular progress reviews of organizational goals, and communicate progress to staff, board members, and the public
  • Manage SFBBO finances, ensuring fiscal strength and accountability through grants and contract management, working with accountants (contract), bookkeeper and board finance committee, and developing savings or endowment funds as opportunities arise
  • Prepare, present, and manage a balanced budget, monthly financial statements and a yearly financial review with the support of the accounting staff and board
  • Coordinate staff hiring, review and termination processes

Leading Fundraising Efforts

  • Oversee the annual fundraising plan, strategize for specific fundraising needs (e.g., capital plan to update vehicles), and create long-term fundraising strategies in coordination with development staff and Board Fund Development Committee
  • Guide program staff in fundraising activities, including major donor relationships, grant applications and reporting, appeals, and in-person events
  • Devise strategies to increase legacy donations and engage with local foundations to identify new funding opportunities

Supporting the Board of Directors in Organizational Governance

  • Collaborate closely with the Board to implement our strategic and financial plans and accomplish annual Board goals
  • Partner with the Board Chair to facilitate board meetings, recruitment, and assessment and mediate staff/board interactions

Managing Staff and Volunteers

  • Manage Director level staff, who lead key SFBBO programs and manage junior staff
  • Promote an organizational culture that fosters justice, equity and inclusion, strong teamwork, effective communication, and commitment to our mission


  • Develop and implement, with all senior staff, a communications strategy to disseminate SFBBO conservation successes and challenges through social media, our website, and other publications (e.g., press releases, scientific publications,  or member meetings)
  • Maintain ongoing relationships with public and private partners, decision-makers, and stakeholders while working to establish new collaborative partnerships
  • Effectively present SFBBO mission, goals and accomplishments at public venues to raise awareness about our efforts and attract members/donations

About You

The ED job is multi-faceted; we recognize that no one person will be able to be uniformly strong in all aspects of the position. The ideal candidate could have skills and training from numerous backgrounds that may not include being a professional scientist or expert birder, but should meet many of the following essential skills, qualities and abilities:

  • Passion for birds, wildlife, and our natural environment
  • 5+ years of substantive, relevant work experience
  • Demonstrated project grant writing and/or fundraising success and a record of sound fiscal management of grants and projects
  • Strong motivation and enthusiasm for board development, fundraising, and relationship management
  • Ability to clearly and directly communicate priorities, provide feedback and guidance; ability to persuasively negotiate consensus amongst differing opinions
  • Excellent coalition building skills with an ability to communicate and work effectively with a variety of internal and external stakeholders
  • Detail-oriented and organized with strong time and task-management skills
  • Proven leadership style that supports collaboration and team efforts to motivate and inspire staff and colleagues
  • Embraces learning new ideas and skills, and enjoys problem solving while adapting to new challenges in a calm, thoughtful manner
  • Strong commitment to staff professional development; successful track record of recruiting and retaining a diverse team
  • Commitment to principles of justice, equity and inclusion and willingness to support and grow these efforts
  • Understand enough fundamental environmental science or ecology to allow effective grant and report reviews, communication with scientists, and sharing that science with the public
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Ability to work with many computer applications, including Microsoft Office and Google Docs; capable of quickly learning and adopting new technologies that support the mission        

Familiarity (or proficiency) in the following areas would be a plus:

  • Understanding of Bay Area conservation challenges and opportunities and familiarity with local organizations working on these issues
  • 2+ years in a senior managerial role, with prior nonprofit experience preferred
  • Advanced degree or equivalent professional experience
  • Social media management   
  • Experience using Quickbooks or other accounting software
  • Skills with data analysis and/or management (e.g., with programs like R, Microsoft Access, ArcGIS)
  • Fluency in a language other than English and commonly spoken in the Bay Area
  • Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts

Personal Attributes

We are a collaborative and enthusiastic group and are seeking a leader who is:

● Energetic, friendly and excited to engage with individuals from diverse backgrounds and locations

● Respectful, conscientious and diplomatic

● Self-starter and problem solver, willing to pitch in on big and small tasks alike

● Good at multi-tasking, delegating and big picture thinking

Compensation and Location

SFBBO offers a generous benefits package, 4 weeks PTO, 9 paid holidays, and a base salary range of $70,000-80,000 (depending on experience level). The expected location for this role (by September 2021), is Milpitas, California. Limited telecommuting may be considered.

To Apply

Please send CV or resume (2- page limit), cover letter, and names of 3 references to In your cover letter, please indicate your ability to begin employment by July and work on site by September 2021. Any questions should be sent to

Applications must be received by May 28th for full consideration. We expect to contact candidates for initial screening by mid-June. This position will remain open until filled.

SFBBO is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minorities encouraged to apply

We will strive to eliminate bias in our recruitment practices by removing identifying information (e.g., names) from application material. SFBBO is committed to helping staff balance work and life and to providing a flexible work environment to the best of its abilities.

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