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CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good

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The Center for Biological Diversity is a 501(c)3 nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. We have more than 60 staff in offices in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, D.C. It is the policy of the Center for Biological Diversity to provide equal employment opportunity to all individuals without regard to race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, disability, political affiliation, family responsibility, matriculation, personal appearance or economic background, or any other legally protected status. Candidates with diverse backgrounds encouraged to apply.

We are accepting applications for the following positions:

Media Specialist — Oceans
Major Gifts Officer

Public Lands Campaigner — Public Lands Program
Staff Attorney — Oceans Program




Media Specialist — Oceans
Full Time
San Francisco Bay Area

General position overview:
The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a dynamic, experienced, creative and media-savvy communicator for our work to protect oceans and sea life. The Center is a leading voice in ocean protection and is responsible for the majority of protections for marine mammals and their habitats under the Endangered Species Act in the past 15 years. Our highly motivated Oceans team uses cutting-edge legal and advocacy strategies to tackle the key threats to our oceans, from climate change and plastic pollution to offshore drilling and habitat destruction. The Media Specialist will produce high-impact communications on every platform aimed at addressing the issues facing our oceans; generate positive media stories, op-eds, editorials and creative media products that drive the national discussion about ocean protection; and play an integral role in maintaining the Center’s national profile and work on this critical issue. This position reports directly to the Communications Director and works closely with our Oceans program, communications program and the leadership team.

Main duties:

  • Produce compelling press releases, white papers, story pitches, blog posts, factsheets, op-eds and other written material.
  • Heighten public knowledge of the threats facing our oceans and solutions.
  • Work closely with Communications and Oceans staff to develop and execute long-term and near-term strategic communications plans.
  • Organize and execute editorial drives.
  • Track national and international news on oceans and seek out strategic new ways to become part of the news cycle.
  • Cultivate media relationships, pitch stories to reporters and editorial writers, and continually seek out new media opportunities.
  • Act as a public spokesperson as needed.
  • Integrate oceans-related materials into other Center communications.
  • Periodically read, research and synthesize ocean-related science for lay audience materials.
  • Expand and refine the Center’s existing communications materials, including the website and regular publications.
  • Provide educational and persuasive outreach to members of Congress and other decision makers.
  • Assist with outreach to the Center’s 775,000-plus supporters and activists.
  • Identify and act on political opportunities, especially regarding the media, to shift the national debate in our favor.

Essential qualities, qualifications and skills:

  • The ability to produce clear, concise, persuasive and powerful writing on tight deadlines.
  • Exceptional writing, editing and verbal skills.
  • A deep working knowledge of environmental issues and politics.
  • An understanding of media cycles and the ability to consistently work with them.
  • The ability to thrive in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
  • The ability to juggle multiple projects and multiple deadlines.
  • The ability to communicate in different styles, depending on the forum, product and audience.
  • A strategic mindset that grasps short-term and long-term media opportunities and an ability to execute those opportunities.
  • Ability to research, synthesize and translate complex scientific concepts for a lay audience.
  • A penchant for innovative approaches to reaching new audiences.
  • A confident self-starter who also works well in a team environment.
  • A passion for oceans, sea life and saving all wildlife from extinction.


  • A bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, public relations or a related field.
  • A minimum of five years of demonstrated success as a professional communicator, including journalism or nonprofit advocacy.
  • A proven track record in strategic communications work.

Application process: To apply, please send a thoughtful cover letter and résumé via email to mediaspecialist@biologicaldiversity.org, “Attn: Oceans.” The position will remain open until filled. The desired start date is as soon as possible. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted. No telephone calls, please.


Major Gifts Officer
Full Time
San Francisco, California

General position overview:
This is an outstanding career opportunity with the Center for Biological Diversity for a creative, savvy, self-motivated, fearless, articulate, energetic and effective Major Gifts Officer (MGO). The ideal candidate will have three to five years of fundraising experience in the environmental movement and close ties to funders in the San Francisco Bay Area and along the West Coast. The position will be based at the Center’s San Francisco office and report to the Director of Development. The MGO will be a key player on the Center’s Development team and significantly contribute to the organization’s revenue goals.

Responsibilities include:

  • Build up and maintain a portfolio of 100–150 donors and prospective donors. Plan and maintain an aggressive schedule of face-to-face visits with some current and mainly prospective donors.
  • Create a prospect list of new potential major donors to support Center’s work.
  • Manage necessary research, qualification and cultivation of prospective donors.
  • Establish new relationships; draft individualized prospect strategies, letters and proposals leading to asks and closes for new gifts of $100K and greater.
  • Develop philanthropic affinity groups to segment by demographics, geographic location and program interests.  
  • Work with and leverage Executive Director, Director of Development, key program staff and select volunteers to develop solicitation strategies and include in direct solicitations, as appropriate.
  • Collaborate with donor relations team to identify and upgrade high-capacity and recurring annual mid-level $1K-$25K donors to major gift level.
  • Work as part of team with senior leadership to develop plan, set and meet seven-figure annual revenue targets for Major Gifts program that include both restricted and unrestricted annual, multi-year and integrated multi-tiered gifts.
  • Attend and, with support of Development team, organize occasional small “friendraiser/fundraiser” gatherings with donors and prospects.
  • Actively utilize ability and willingness to work independently and productively in separate location from Development team. Position will be located in Center’s downtown SF office.
  • Record and track progress in existing databases in a timely fashion.

Essential qualities, qualifications and skills:

  • Ideally three to five years of fundraising and direct-solicitation experience.
  • Proven track record of personally closing high five-, six-, and seven-plus-figure gifts, utilizing moves management.
  • Familiarity, ties and contacts with Bay Area, California and national environmental movement funders.
  • Experience including in working with foundations, philanthropic individuals, local political scene and peer organizations.
  • Knowledge of endangered species issues and top environmental threats is strongly preferred.
  • Planned giving/endowment experience a plus, though not required.
  • Availability for significant West Coast travel.
  • Superior interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills.
  • Fewer years of experience acceptable if candidate possesses proven abilities as outlined, necessary knowledge of environmental movement and track record as a rainmaker.

Salary is commensurate with experience and comparable to that of other nonprofits. The Center offers an excellent benefits package, including employer-paid medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance, as well as a 403(b) retirement savings plan with employer match.

Application process: 
To apply please send a résumé and thoughtful cover letter outlining your interest in the position to MGO@biologicaldiversity.org; include “Major Gifts Officer” in the subject line. Due to the volume of applicants, only those considered for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please. The position will remain open until filled.


Public Lands Campaigner — Public Lands Program
Full Time
Nevada (various locations acceptable)

General position overview:
The Center for Biological Diversity, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of imperiled animals, plants and wild places, seeks an experienced organizer to defend and protect Nevada’s public lands and waters. The magnificent deserts, sagebrush steppe, rugged canyon lands and the wildlife that depend on these ecosystems face threats from oil and gas development, livestock grazing, urbanization and climate change. We are looking for a skilled advocate to stand up for these wildlands and wildlife.

Main duties:

  • Track, analyze and comment on a range of land-use plans and projects on federally owned public lands throughout Nevada.
  • Identify, develop and advocate for proposals to protect species and their habitats.
  • Organize and turn out people for town hall meetings, agency hearings and comment periods. Create events at which constituents have an opportunity to make their voices heard and hold politicians accountable.
  • Conduct field visits to assess projects throughout the region.
  • Create news events to get the word out about Center’s work in Nevada. Meet with editorial boards, and get op-eds published.
  • Develop materials for the Public Lands website highlighting threats to Nevada’s deserts, forests and waters and make the case for protecting and restoring public-lands values.
  • Engage the public through action alerts and other tools to ensure that political leaders hear constituent voices in support of protecting forests and species on public lands in Nevada.
  • Engage with and recruit other environmental groups, and a broad range of constituents, including religious organizations, hunting and fishing groups, youth organizations, local and outdoor recreation businesses, and others to join the campaign.

Essential qualities, qualifications and skills desired:

  • A passion for and knowledge of the natural world, biodiversity, wildlife and waters. 
  • Demonstrated leadership and organizing skills.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Experience with media outreach and interviews preferred.
  • Demonstrated analytical abilities.
  • Familiarity Nevada public lands issues and regional politics preferred.
  • Experience with National Environmental Policy Act, National Forest Management Act and Endangered Species Act.
  • Successful track record for organizing, educating and motivating others.
  • Minimum bachelor’s degree in relevant fields.  Master or doctoral degree preferred.
  • Ability and willingness to travel.

Salary is commensurate with experience. The Center offers an excellent benefits package, including employer-paid medical, dental, vision and disability insurance, as well as a 403(b) retirement savings plan with employer match. In the cover letter, please address your perspective on public lands management. Location in Nevada is flexible.

Application process:
Please send a cover letter, a résumé, references, and a writing sample via email (no paper) to NVpubliclandscampaigner@biologicaldiversity.org, “Attn: NV Organizer.” The position will remain open until filled. No telephone calls, please. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.


Staff Attorney — Oceans Program
Full time
San Francisco, California

General position overview:
The Center for Biological Diversity, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of imperiled plants, animals and wild places, seeks a full-time experienced attorney for our Oceans program. The emphasis of the position will be to advocate for the protection of marine life from threats including climate change, ocean acidification, plastic pollution, offshore oil drilling and overfishing. The staff attorney will work as part of a team using law and advocacy toward reforming destructive practices that are imperiling our oceans. The staff attorney will be supervised by the Oceans Program Director and will work closely with oceans program, conservation and communications staff.

Main duties:

  • Litigate cases to gain results that will protect marine species and habitats throughout the United States.
  • Develop cases and campaigns aimed to further the goals of the Center’s Oceans program.
  • Advocate for administrative and legislative policies for marine conservation through scientific and legal comments, oral testimony, policy analysis, petitions for rulemaking, and effective communications.
  • Conduct media advocacy, including writing press releases, media strategy and outreach, and delivering effective statements to reporters.
  • Engage Center supporters, the public and opinion leaders to protect the oceans through campaign activities such as public speaking, rallies, action alerts, opinion editorials and direct outreach.

Essential qualities, qualifications and skills:

  • Minimum five years civil litigation experience, environmental law preferred.
  • Familiarity with environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Magnuson-Stevens Act.
  • Excellent writing, communication, research, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Proven ability to develop cases and manage a docket of several matters.
  • Experience consistently meeting internal and external deadlines and producing finished products in a timely manner.
  • Experience planning and implementing environmental or advocacy campaigns.
  • Strong work ethic and time management skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as a part of an effective team.
  • Scientific literacy and background in marine or environmental science is preferred.
  • A demonstrated commitment to environmental protection.

Salary is commensurate with experience and comparable to other nonprofits. The Center offers an excellent benefits package, including vacation time; employer-paid medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance; as well as a 403(b) retirement savings plan with employer match.

Application process:
To apply please send a cover letter, a résumé, references, and a writing sample to oceans@biologicaldiversity.org, with “Oceans Staff Attorney” in the subject line. The position will remain open until filled. Desired start date is March 2014. No telephone calls, please. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted. Learn more about the Center’s Oceans Program.

Photo © Robin Silver