Executive Director

Posted 1 month ago

Scope of Authority and Responsibilities

The Executive Director is the management leader of the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA) and as such is the primary staff person responsible for the administration, personnel management, external partnerships, programs, finances, fundraising, and strategic planning of the organization.

The Executive Director serves as the primary face and voice of ECWA, connecting ECWA to individual community members, to community and government organizations, and to the media through written communications, public appearances, and private meetings. Using an anti-racist lens across all of their responsibilities, the Executive Director ensures that ECWA lives up to its strong commitments to equity and inclusion.

The Executive Director oversees and has full authority over all ECWA staff and all staff activities, including staff size and composition, hiring, termination, performance review, and compensation.

The Executive Director reports immediately to the ECWA President but ultimately to the entire ECWA Board of Directors, with the full board having authority over hiring, termination, performance review, and compensation. The Executive Director is required to follow all directives issued by the board as a whole; but no individual board member or group of board members is entitled to give directives to the Executive Director, unless explicitly authorized to do so by the full board.

The Executive Director proposes policies and budgets to the board for approval or alteration. Within the scope of the approved policies and budgets, the Executive Director has full authority over all ECWA operations, including authority to submit proposals and grant applications; sign contracts and other agreements with individuals, other organizations, and government entities; create and organize ECWA activities and programs; and spend money, within the confines of the budget, to carry out those activities and programs.

The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring that ECWA has sufficient resources to carry out its plans and activities, for ensuring that those plans and activities are manageable within the available resources, and for increasing those resources as necessary to match the plans and activities deemed essential and vital to ECWA’s mission and goals.

Specific Responsibilities

  1. Organizational Leadership and Communication. The Executive Director serves as ECWA’s leader in representing ECWA to government officials and government bodies, community organizations, and individuals in the watershed. Though often that representation must be delegated, the delegates are in all cases meant to convey messages shaped by the Executive Director, in accordance with ECWA’s mission, goals, and values, and to bring information and concerns back to the Executive Director.
    • Ensure that individuals and community institutions are connected with the physical watershed, enabling stakeholders to understand the variety of water and land resources that are intimately related to the creek, to participate in creek-related volunteer activities, and to support a variety of other activities that enhance the watershed.
    • Advocate for both government and private initiatives that are important to the health and vitality of the creek and its watershed.
    • Support an organizational culture that is reflective of ECWA’s expectations and aspirations: resourceful, thoughtful, equitable, and appreciative of the contributions of staff, board members, and other volunteers. Ensure that both internal and external stakeholders are aware of ECWA’s commitments to equity and to active inclusion of all of the watershed’s residents.
    • Ensure that the written and online information of ECWA meets a high standard and is consistent with the goals of the organization.
  1. Partnership and Connection. The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring that the organization creates strong partnerships with existing community groups that lead to a high level of trust between community groups and ECWA, in particular with respect to communities traditionally not served by the mainstream environmental movement.
    • Build and/or maintain partnerships with community groups and institutions, with a focus on maintaining transparent, equitable, and genuine relationships. Network within the environmental, business, government, educational, neighborhood, religious, and civic communities in Durham and its surroundings to promote policies and practices that support the health and vitality of the creek and its watershed.
  1. Planning and Budgeting. The Executive Director is responsible for leading long-term strategic planning, proposing the pace of ECWA’s growth, and proposing annual operating budgets.
    • Propose an annual set of goals for the ECWA staff to accomplish by the end of each year, in conjunction with the combined set of program goals formulated by ECWA’s committees along with their staff liaisons.
    • Work with the board to establish clear goals and benchmarks for growth in organizational capacity.
    • Working in collaboration with ECWA’s staff and with ECWA’s Treasurer, Finance Committee, and Fundraising Committee, prepare an annual operating budget that clearly states fundraising plans and provides a prudent financial plan for supporting on-going operating needs.
    • Propose this budget to the board for adoption or amendment; then implement the approved budget. Along with the Treasurer, report quarterly on performance against budget.
  1. Fundraising and Development. Ensure that ECWA’s revenues are adequate to meet its operating needs, plus whatever cushion is deemed necessary by the board. Take overall responsibility for obtaining contributions, contracts, grants, and in-kind donations sufficient to support ECWA’s current projects and services, plus its goals and plans for future growth and development.
    • Develop an annual fundraising plan, in close collaboration with staff and the Fundraising Committee, that informs and comports with the annual budget. Ensure that the communications strategy is aligned with and implemented to support ECWA goals and the annual fundraising plan.
    • Cultivate and maintain relationships with members, donors, and grantors, including provision of appropriate reporting, messages of thanks, and other follow-up that complies with the expectations of funders.
    • Cultivate partnerships and collaborations with other organizations that meet the goals of both organizations, allowing stronger approaches to donors and grantors and more effective use of their resources.
    • Cultivate relationships with existing and potential corporate partners.
  1. Board and Committee Relations. Ensure that the board and the several ECWA committees receive the information they need in order to perform their roles. Stay abreast of current trends in watershed and preserve management, land trust best practices, nonprofit management, organizational development, and related topics, and keep the board members informed about these matters.
    • Attend all board meetings. Participate actively in the setting of the agenda for each board meeting, and review the minutes for each board meeting.
    • Provide before each meeting a set of Programs, Development, and Operations reports for inclusion with the agenda and board packet when the Secretary sends these materials to the board, a week prior to each meeting.
    • Serve as a member of all board committees that are not connected to particular programs, such as the Nominating Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Fundraising Committee. Serve as the staff liaison for the Nominating Committee.
    • Ensure that each ECWA program committee has an appropriate staff member as its staff liaison. Support the staff liaisons in helping their committees set clear and achievable program goals and propose manageable program budgets. Guide the staff liaisons on how best to provide and collect information about what the staff needs from the committees, in order to accomplish the staff’s goals; and what the committees need from the staff, in order to accomplish the committee’s goals.
  1. Staff Oversight. Determine ECWA’s staffing structure: how many positions, how many hours, and how compensated. Ensure that clear lines of reporting are in place for all ECWA staff members and contractors, including clear job descriptions and frequent opportunities for informal feedback as well as formal evaluation processes. Create and maintain written staff policies, procedures, and Establish and maintain a productive organizational culture that is guided by ECWAs stated organizational values and includes a high level of trust between employees and leadership and a culture of appropriate accountability.
    • Present to the board plans and proposals for a sustainable staff size and structure that will support the continuity and growth of the organization. Prepare staff, intern, contractor, and volunteer job descriptions as needed, ensuring that all regulations are met in establishing and recruiting for ECWA positions.
    • Ensure that annual performance reviews are conducted for all ECWA staff. Ensure that they include discussion of opportunities for training and development, as well as review of past performance.
    • Ensure that the various staff members are working together in collaborative, informed, and mutually supportive ways. Address conflict in a direct and proactive manner.
    • Facilitate efficient and effective staff meetings. Encourage staff to speak openly about concerns without fear of retaliation.
  1. Operations Management. Provide oversight for overall operation of the organization.
  • Work with the appropriate staff members to ensure that all important ECWA records and legal documents are archived safely.
  • Ensure that any member, donor, volunteer, collaborating organization, or staff concerns and complaints are handled in a thorough and professional manner.

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