Advocacy Director

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Minneapolis, MN, US

Organization Description

Through education and advocacy, the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness works to protect, preserve and restore the wilderness character of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Quetico-Superior ecosystem.

Over the last 40 years, our work has focused on defending the BWCAW against activities that erode its wilderness character and working to ensure that the BWCAW, Superior National Forest, and Quetico-Superior ecosystem are managed according to sound ecological principles. Our core programs are designed to serve as the lead advocacy voice in protecting the BWCAW from environmental and development threats, engage communities, facilitate the collection of scientific information, and promote the development of wilderness ethics in youth.


The Advocacy Director provides overall leadership for and management of the advocacy strategy of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. The Advocacy Director is responsible for the development, implementation, and monitoring of plans and strategies to advance the mission of the Friends primarily through public advocacy and ecosystem preservation initiatives.

Primary Relationships:

  • Works closely with the Executive Director, staff and board on the development and implementation of the organization’s strategic advocacy plans
  • Works closely with Friends staff to ensure communications campaigns and outreach/education programs are effective and consistent with the organization’s strategic advocacy
  • Serves as staff liaison to the Policy Committee of the Board of Directors
  • Establishes and grows relationships with local, regional and national land managers, the scientific community, and elected officials and their staff members
  • Establishes and grows relationships with peer local and national partner organizations


  • Develops and drives the organization’s advocacy strategy and tactics
  • Develops and implements issue campaigns, consistent with the strategic plan and budget
  • Builds a national network of conservation activists, including members, potential members, volunteers, conservation decision-makers, coalition partners, educators, and the community at large
  • Manages legal strategy for the organization
  • Serves as a strong and vocal advocate for wilderness values in a variety of situations
  • Represents the organization as a lobbyist at the Minnesota Legislature and/or U.S. Congress
  • Oversees development of advocacy training for volunteers, members, activists, and partners
  • Oversees intern projects relating to policy issues or policy campaigns
  • Maintains a network of professional contacts within the Legislature, agencies, and local governments to better inform work and assist advocacy efforts
  • Attends professional development opportunities to stay current in natural resource and wilderness-related matters and disseminate promising new approaches


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in political science, environmental studies, public policy, or related fields
  • Three or more years’ experience managing advocacy efforts for an organization
  • Strong and efficient technical writing skills
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks and meet deadlines while remaining detail oriented
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • An excellent, tactful listener with a willingness to seek solutions and an ability to recognize when others need to be involved in activities or decisions
  • Strong initiative
  • Proficiency in the computer software, programs and applications needed to effectively meet the job responsibilities
  • Ability to handle confidential information
  • Willing to be a flexible member of a small but effective and passionate team that creates impact above its size, including some evening and weekend work
  • Passion for preserving the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and its ecosystem

Preferred Attributes:

  • Master’s degree in an appropriate field or J.D.
  • Five or more years’ experience managing the advocacy efforts of a conservation organization or nonprofit
  • Lobbying experience at Minnesota Legislature and/or the U.S. Congress
  • Experience managing organizers
  • Experience working in a policy oriented organization, preferably 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4)
  • Strong familiarity with legal writing and procedures
  • Sense of humor


Salaried position at $55,000-$60,000 per year, based on experience. Benefits include health insurance, paid vacation time, sick time, and holidays. Employee is also eligible for wilderness travel benefits, including up to 5 paid days and $300 in expenses for a wilderness canoe/camping trip.