Director of Development and Communications

Full Time


About Acterra
Acterra is driven by the opportunity to learn and grow together, while achieving high impact through fighting climate change and reducing carbon emissions. We harness the individual strengths within our staff and our network to foster a leader-full organization. Our team members are high performers and high collaborators. We encourage creativity and failing forward.


Acterra strives to ensure that the organization is welcoming and inclusive. Acterra is an equal opportunity employer that supports and lives diversity in our staffing and values. Acterra does not discriminate as to gender, race, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, social background, disability, pregnancy, marital status, political affiliation, or age. Acterra strives to include persons from traditionally under-represented groups and complies with all applicable national and local laws pertaining to non- discrimination and equal opportunity.


We strongly encourage and seek applications from women; people of color; immigrant, bilingual, and bicultural individuals; and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender non-conforming communities. Acterra complies with all applicable federal, state, and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment.


Acterra’s Climate Action Programs
Acterra is a Bay Area environmental organization based in Palo Alto that brings people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet. The organization’s roots go back to 1970 with a history of inspiring and motivating action for change. Our programs include:

  • Beneficial Electrification for All: helps accelerate an equitable shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy by prioritizing and accelerating the adoption of all-electric appliances, buildings, and vehicles.
  • Healthy Plate, Healthy Planet: promotes plant-rich eating and food waste reduction by residents, institutions, and local communities for better personal health and a lower carbon footprint.
  • Education: includes our Public Lecture Series, which invites leading voices from academia, business, and policy to discuss global change issues; the You(th) Be the Change climate-based education and leadership program; Acterra’s Student Ambassador Program, which encourages student-led change in local communities.
  • Advocacy: elevates equity issues across our program areas and includes EV Charging Access Coalition, focused on accessibility of charging in multi family housing, and Acterra’s Student Ambassador Program, which encourages student-led change in local communities.


The Director of Development and Communications is responsible for planning, organizing, and implementing all aspects of the Acterra’s fundraising, communications, and marketing programs to achieve the organization’s annual and long-term financial and relationship goals. They develop, oversee, and implement Acterra’s major gift program, foundation support, planned giving, special events, capital campaigns, marketing and communications. 

The Director supervises a small department of talented development and communications professionals in identifying and cultivating donors and funding sources to achieve our roughly $3 million annual operating budget and works closely with the Executive Director, Programs Teams, the Board, and the Development Committee to grow the Acterra’s funding base for its mission driven work. They work closely with the finance staff on budgeting, grant management with the Grants Manager and reporting processes and with the Digital Media Manager to ensure compelling fundraising messaging. This position reports to the Executive Director and is a valued member of Acterra’s senior leadership team. As a seasoned supervisor, they will lead and mentor our talented development and communications team members. Currently, this position has two direct reports.

The purpose of this role is to create a thriving and sustainable financial structure for Acterra that includes grants, appeals, campaigns, events, and donor cultivation and stewardship while incorporating aligned messaging across the organization that supports growth and equity for ourselves and others. This role will oversee all the fundraising mechanics (including planning and implementation) for Acterra with a keen eye towards cultural sensitivity, an interest in resourcing and partnering with underserved populations, awareness of environmental justice priorities, and desire to expand access to environmental knowledge to promote climate-smart programs.

To be successful, at a minimum, the Director of Development and Communications must 1) develop stable and authentic relationships with partners, investors, staff and other stakeholders to the financial benefit of the mission of Acterra; 2) efficiently and effectively manage fundraising and communications tactics both through solo and collaborative work; 3) understand and can effectively communicate our equity focus and its application for our programs within our communities of service and beyond.


Roles and Responsibilities

Development 60%

  • Manage a development team including a Grants Manager and possible contractors
  • Build the major gift and legacy donor pipeline by fostering current relationships (managing a portfolio of ~100 donors) and engage in strategic planning to identify new prospective donors
  • Develop and implement Acterra’s annual fundraising program
  • Facilitating a multi-year major giving campaign, leveraging our 55th year anniversary, inclusive of a gala type event
  • Work with the Grants and Program staff to identify new funding opportunities
  • Build and maintain ongoing communications with foundation and corporate donors, fulfilling the needs of each grantmaker’s unique deliverables
  • Ensure timely and accurate revenue and donor reports to Acterra’s Executive Director and stakeholders
  • Collaborate with Acterra’s Executive Director and staff on the planning of fundraising events, donor receptions, and donor meetings
  • Work with Acterra’s Communications team and vendors to develop digital and print marketing collateral to support fundraising efforts and increase the organization’s visibility
  • Create an annual budget for the development department and ensure compliance.


Communications 40%

  • Manage a communications team including a Digital Media Manager and possible contractors
  • Establish and drive a multi-channel communications strategy together with the Digital Media Manager
  • Review all communications material.
  • Develop brand voice and work with Digital Media Manager to maintain brand integrity across all platforms.
  • Manage media relations and develop contacts with media members, influencers, and community leaders on behalf of the organization
  • Assist in the creation of digital, video, audio and print content, particularly the Annual Report and other external facing materials.
  • Analyze engagement across various platforms and make data-driven decisions.
  • Maintain presence at donor and industry events, and conferences.
  • Create an annual budget for the communications department and ensure compliance.



  • You have a proven track record of securing major gifts and meeting fundraising targets. You have demonstrated experience in bringing in grants in the six- and seven-figure range.
  • You have the ability to cultivate and maintain positive relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders, including donors, board members, volunteers, and staff.
  • You are highly organized, detail-oriented, and capable of managing multiple projects and priorities effectively while maintaining a results-driven focus.
  • You have a deep understanding of nonprofit finance, budgeting, and financial management, as well as experience in optimizing resource allocation for fundraising initiatives.
  • Knowledge of and expertise in marketing and public relations campaigns.


“NICE TO HAVE” QUALIFICATIONS –  If you have any of these be sure to include it in your application!

  • You have a strong network of relationships with major donors and/or philanthropic organizations.
  • You have experience doing development work in the clean energy/utility sector, education, or food space.
  • You have a strong proficiency in fundraising technologies, including donor management systems, online fundraising platforms, and data analytics tools, to optimize fundraising efforts and donor engagement.
  • You have experience hiring, training, and managing staff and contractors.
  • Event planning experience.


Physical Requirements
Employee is required to speak and hear, drive a car, and be able to lift at least 25 pounds.


Compensation, Hours, Location
This is a full time, exempt position. Your schedule may vary based on need and may include evening and weekend hours on a regular basis. This is a Bay Area wide position so being able to get to multiple locations is a requirement. 

The annual rate for this Director level role will be $110,000-$120,000. Acterra strives to provide equitable and competitive compensation for all of its employees, including health, vision, dental insurance for full-time staff and dependents, generous PTO and a retirement match. Acterra offers a highly collegial work environment. This role offers the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on climate change. Professional growth opportunities available. Acterra offers a flexible work from home policy, however this position requires frequent work from our Palo Alto office, as well as other locations around the SF Bay Area. This is not a fully-remote work opportunity.


Please submit, as separate pdfs, 1) a one-page cover letter that addresses how your background and experiences align to our Must Have requirements, and 2) a resume.

Applications missing a cover letter or resume will not be considered. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. If selected for the process, expect a phone screen, a one- on-one, and a group interview and another one-on-one.

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