Director (Public Engagement and Donor Initiatives)

Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology

Calgary, , CA

Are you a water specialist with a mastery of communications and marketing, and desire to motivate public action in Canada? CAWST is looking for someone with skills, experience, and interests in water and sanitation engineering, international development, communications and marketing; combined with a passion for engaging the public in CAWST and our cause.

The Director, Public Engagement and Donor Initiatives will be responsible for leading CAWST from being the best-kept secret in Canada to a household name amongst people who care about water and international development.

The Position: Director, Public Engagement and Donor Initiatives

Reports to: CEO

Type: Full time, permanent

Location: Calgary (Canada)

Position start date: As soon as possible

Position Summary

The Director, Public Engagement & Donor Initiatives is part of CAWST’s leadership team. This person is responsible for educating and motivating the public to take action to help the poor in developing countries get safe water and sanitation; and for educating and motivating the public to support CAWST.

The Public Engagement & Donor Initiatives team works closely with all CAWST departments and in particular CAWST’s International Partnerships team, responsible for communications and fund development targeting the international development, water and sanitation, and health sectors.

Specific Areas of Responsibilities

1. Public Engagement

  • Target, communicate with, and motivate individuals and organizations in support of CAWST’s cause and CAWST. This includes:
    • CAWST members
    • Philanthropic individuals and companies
    • Community groups: service clubs, church groups, youth organizations, immigrant communities
    • Volunteers
    • Professional associations
  • Develop and maintain a high public profile for CAWST as an innovative, competent Canadian organization making a significant impact on world poverty.
  • Coordinate with CAWST’s Director International Partnerships to leverage, maximize, and ensure consistency and clarity across public and international sector communications, including technical and non-technical content. Specific to public engagement:
    • Develop and manage renewal of communication content (eg., stories, videos, blogs, infographs), tools (eg. website, brochures), and channels (eg. traditional and social media).
    • Finalize writing and editing of communications materials.
    • Expand CAWST’s media presence, adapting to fast-changing communications environment.
    • Maintain a high standard of accuracy and evidence-based communications.
    • Prepare CAWST’s Annual Report for stakeholders.
    • Coordinate all CAWST events and speaking engagements in Canada.
  • Promote and sustain credibility with supporters and the public.
    • Ensure understanding of water and sanitation issues, CAWST’s model and approach, and our work with clients.
    • Translate technical and sector-specific language into messaging that appeals to the general public.
    • Deliver presentations on water and sanitation to promote CAWST’s approach, garner support, and develop new business relationships.
  • Expand CAWST’s Youth Wavemakers program to engage and empower youth to take action on global and local water and sanitation issues.
  • Recruit, retain, and recognize volunteers and their contribution to CAWST.

2. Donor Initiatives

  • Grow CAWST’s revenue stream from individuals and organizations.
  • Steward relationships and maintain a high retention of existing CAWST’s donors.
  • Assess, cultivate, solicit and steward a full “pipeline” of prospect donors.
  • Evaluate and monitor third party fundraising initiatives for suitability in terms of financial return and alignment with CAWST’s values and reputation.
  • Collaborate with the CEO to engage and involve members of the Board of Directors with CAWST’s philanthropic efforts.

3. Management

  • Participate in the development and execution of CAWST’s strategic plans, operation plans, and budgets.
  • Participate in CAWST Directors and Board of Directors meetings.
  • Implement CAWST policies and procedures.
  • Set and track departmental performance indicators.
  • Build the capability of the departmental team, recruit and train departmental staff as required, and create a high-performance work environment.
  • Manage performance of department staff, contractors, and volunteers. 

Specific Expectations of Role

1. Impact

  • Increased number of Canadians supporting water and sanitation for the poor in the developing world.
  • CAWST is increasingly well known and well understood, especially in Calgary.
  • Increased numbers of CAWST members and volunteers and increased action by these individuals in support of CAWST’s cause and CAWST.
  • 33% of the CAWST budget is funded by individuals

2. Management

  • Targets set out in the annual operating plan are achieved.
  • Clear strategies in terms of targeted audiences, progression of engagement and services are developed based on sound analysis of internal results and external scans.
  • Operating plan is realistic considering the human and financial resource limitations.
  • Effective and efficient delivery of activities listed above.
  • Competent and committed Public Engagement and Donor Initiatives Team.
  • A collaborative approach.

Direct Reports:

The following positions report to the Director, Public Engagement and Donor Initiatives:

  • Media and Communications Officer
  • Donor Initiatives Manager
  • Youth Wavemakers Coordinator 


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline; preferably in an engineering or technical discipline.


  • Minimum ten years’ work experience in:
    • A related discipline.
    • Developing countries, preferably in Water & Sanitation and/or Health sectors.
    • Business and/or fund development, marketing, communications.

Skills and Attributes

  • Understands CAWST’s cause: A strong understanding of the global water challenge and solutions is key to designing the right messaging and strategies to engage a broader public audience to support CAWST and our cause.
  • Direct experience with international development, and a strong understanding of CAWST’s approach: On-the-ground experience in international development (and, ideally, with CAWST services) is key to ensuring departmental strategies are aligned with CAWST and our brand.
  • Committed and passionate: A deep conviction in CAWST and our cause –what CAWST does and how we do it— is essential for leading this team, and engaging and motivating the public.
  • Social activist / Action-oriented: Arising from feeling strongly about this cause, intentionally taking action toward a goal of social change.
  • Entrepreneurial and creative thinker: Our public engagement needs to stand out, and amplify CAWST’s brand. We examine the tried and true, make new and different connections, and are prepared to take risks and try new ideas.
  • Adept at navigating a fast-changing communications environment: Success in CAWST’s public engagement and fundraising relies on agile strategies that adapt to the changing communications environment.
  • Professional and credible: Represent CAWST in the public sphere and in the fundraising realm in a manner that is consistent CAWST’s vision, mission, values and reputation.


Will be discussed in a personal interview. Please include salary expectations in your cover letter.


You must be legally able to work in Canada.

To Apply

Please send your cover letter, resume, and answers to the questionnaire below to [email protected] The position will be open until filled. No phone calls, please. Only those candidates able to work in Canada will be reviewed; only those granted an interview will be contacted.

CAWST values equitable opportunities, sustainable solutions and collaborative and inclusive processes. We recognise and accept differences in cultural, religious, and political processes.


Please answer all questions and keep each answer to less than half a page.

  1. What has motivated you to consider this position? (Please be specific to the responsibilities of the job.)
  2. What is your philosophy on international development? Please support with an example from your own experience.
  3. What is your approach to each of the key responsibilities of this role – Public Engagement and Donor Initiatives? (I.e., How do you engage people in a cause you care about and motivate action?) Please support with examples from personal experience.
  4. How do you navigate the fast-changing communications environment? Please support with specific examples from personal experience.
  5. What are your long-term career goals and aspirations? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Organizational Background

CAWST’s Vision is a world where people have the opportunity to succeed because their basic water and sanitation needs have been met. Our Mission is to provide technical training and consulting, and to act as a centre of expertise in water and sanitation for the poor in developing countries. Our Theory of Change is that education can catalyze action at the scale needed.

Founded in 2001 in Calgary, CAWST is both a licensed professional engineering firm and a registered Canadian charity. CAWST is unique in the world for our business model, services, and results.

In only 15 years, CAWST has become a global centre of expertise with 5,000 clients in 190 countries, reaching 13.1 million people with safe water and sanitation. In the past five years, we have tripled our results from our first ten years. We plan to exceed our target to reach 20 million people by 2020.

Context for the Director, Public Engagement and Donor Initiatives Job Posting

In support of CAWST’s Vision and Mission, CAWST is increasing our profile and credibility to create demand for our services by clients, collaborators, influencers and funders.

We are successfully increasing our profile internationally and plan to do so at home as well. In this way, we can secure the broad-base of support needed to help millions more people get safe drinking water. This saves lives and improves health, gives the ability to learn and go to school, and to earn a living and be contributing members of society.

In 2017, we are embarking on a multi-year public engagement and fundraising initiative to create a step-change in awareness and engagement in CAWST and our cause. Success will be measured by the increase in number of CAWST members and volunteers, and philanthropists and total dollars donated.

Our revenue strategy is focused on developing diversity across the following funder segments: individuals, community groups, companies, governments, foundations, inter-governmental agencies, and clients. CAWST distributes responsibility across various departments, with the Public Engagement and Donor Initiatives department directly responsible for individuals, community groups, and Canadian companies.

CAWST views our public engagement and fundraising as a long-term, ongoing activity that needs to be adaptive to changes in our social, economic, political, and philanthropic environment; and to evolve quickly to fast-changing communication tools and channels. We have strong in-house capability and are further building it in order to successfully take our public engagement and fundraising to a new level.