Executive Director

 (via Idealist)
Deschutes River Alliance (DRA)
Portland, OR, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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Deschutes River Alliance

The Deschutes River Alliance(DRA) is a science-based advocacy organization seeking solutions to basin-wide threats to the ecological integrity of the lower Deschutes River and its tributaries. The DRA advocates for improved water quality, a healthy river ecosystem, and the establishment and protection of resident and anadramous fish populations throughout the Deschutes watershed. Please visit our website (deschutesriveralliance.org) and blog (deschutesriveralliance.wordpress.com) for more information.

Position Summary

Title: Executive Director

Location: Primary work location is Portland, OR, with periodic travel within the state.

Description:The Deschutes River Alliance is seeking an Executive Director who is passionate about our mission and will promote the organization through positive leadership. The ED works independently, as well as in collaboration with the Director of Operations and Development, and reports directly to the Board of Directors. The ED is responsible for overseeing programs and executing the strategic plan of the organization. Communications and public relations, advocacy, and fundraising are dominant activities of the ED.

Job Requirements:


  • Proven leadership skills developed through management experience, preferably in the areas of natural resources or conservation.
  • Experience planning, managing and/or participating in public campaigns aimed at shaping policy and public opinion.
  • Experience developing relationships with, and reporting to, a Board of Directors.

Desired Qualifications

  • Passion for the DRA’s mission.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including ability to communicate professionally and effectively with a wide variety of stakeholder groups, and the general public, on complex environmental issues.
  • Experience in conservation campaigns featuring public and corporate outreach and citizen engagement.
  • Ability to convey a vision of DRA’s strategic future to staff, Board, the community, and donors.
  • Experience planning, managing, and tracking budgets. 
  • Excellent writing skills.
  • Experience in public speaking.
  • Knowledge and experience related to fundraising strategies and donor relations.
  • Proficiency in word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software and the ability to learn NeonCRM software.
  • A valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle to regularly attend activities away from the office (mileage reimbursement provided).
  • Willingness and ability to participate in evening and weekend activities, and occasional field work, which may involve navigating difficult, uneven backcountry terrain.
  • May require occasional lifting of up to 40 pounds.
  • Although not a mandatory requirement, some preference will be given to individuals with fly- fishing experience.


  • Bachelor’s degree with preferred emphasis in either Public Policy, Environmental Science, Communications, Public Relations or related field. Master’s degree in management or business and/or a law degree preferred, but not mandatory. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities 

1. Communications and Public Relations

  • Educates and influences the public by representing DRA at public meetings, fundraising events, presentations at local fly-fishing clubs, and conferences, and with public officials, the general public, media contacts, DRA supporters, and through other forms of communication.
  • Enhances the visibility of DRA and its mission, and furthers organization goals, through communications on our website, social media, newsletters, press releases, and public events.

2. Advocacy and Legal

  • Acts as a liaison to the DRA’s Legal Team regarding current and future litigation and all other legal matters.
  • Engages with and builds relationships with representatives of other NGOs.
  • Drafts and submits comments on relevant agency actions; writes and submits letters to agencies and other authorities on relevant issues.
  • Keeps apprised of legislative actions relevant to DRA’s mission.

3. Fundraising and Partnerships

  • Assists Director of Operations and Development and program staff in the identification of grant funding opportunities and helps prepare and review applications and reports, making sure they align with DRA’s mission and plans, are submitted on time, and are of high quality.
  • Develops and manages relationships with major donors, and leads regular advisory meetings in order to communicate program developments.
  • Attends and participates in fundraising events and assists Director of Operations and Development with annual auction.
  • Directly seeks financial contributions from existing supporters and seeks out and solicits new donors and supporters.

4. Finance and Board Support

  • Assists Board President with administration of the Board of Directors, Board committees, and organization workplan.
  • Helps recruit new Board members with valuable skill sets.
  • Leads coordination for annual audit and develops annual budget in cooperation with Director of Operations and Development.

To Apply

Please submit a personal cover letter, current resume, and list of three references (list only – do not provide letters of reference), each in pdf format to Krista Isaksen, Director of Operations and Development:  . Please put your name and the job title in the subject of the email and in the pdf file. 

Deadline for applications for this position is May 1, 2019. Candidates should be available for a start date in early June, 2019.

Questions? Email Krista Isaksen: 


This position is full-time. Starting salary is commensurate with experience and skills. Benefits include medical insurance and generous paid time off, sick leave and family medical leave. DRA is committed to diversity, equality, and inclusion and is an equal opportunity employer.

How To Apply


Please submit a personal cover letter, current resume, and list of three references (list only – do not provide letters of reference), each in pdf format to Krista Isaksen, Director of Operations and Development:  . Please put your name and the job title in the subject of the email and in the pdf file.