Director of External Relations

back to job postings

Job: Director of External Relations
Organization: Groundswell
City: Washington DC
Job Posting Link:
Field: Community Development
Position Type: Full-time Job
Minimum Experience: 4-5 years
Deadline: N/A/N/A/N/A

Post Date: July 12th, 2012
Start Date: Rolling
Reports to: Executive Director
Function: Business Development

Organization Description

Communities have a powerful tool for creating social benefits, one that requires no sacrifice but instead aligns with their own interests as consumers: collective purchasing power.

Groundswell helps communities leverage their collective market power for good by pooling their demand for needed services and linking them with businesses that drive local economic opportunity and sustainability. Through this process, Groundswell helps families and community institutions reduce their energy costs, builds more resilient social impact organizations, and creates economic opportunity by growing inclusive clean energy sectors.

Groundswell has driven nearly $7 million in community-based clean energy projects and has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, GOOD Magazine and FastCompany. In 2011, Groundswell was selected as a Clinton Global Initiative America commitment maker for its model to grow clean energy economic opportunity in communities across the U.S.

For more information visit

Position Description

Groundswell seeks a Director of External Relations, an entrepreneurial leader to oversee its revenue growth, communications, and strategic partnerships. This executive-level position’s primary responsibility will be to develop new opportunities for growing revenue and public awareness for Groundswell’s work. The Director will supervise Groundswell’s Director of Development and Director of Communications. As an integral member of the Executive Management Team, s/he will work closely with the Executive Director, the Managing Director and the Director of Finance and Operations. The position is based at Groundswell’s office in Washington, D.C.

A successful candidate will have a bold vision for coordinating new strategic partnerships and business development, fundraising and increasing earned revenue, powerful branding and effectively integrating the organization’s communications and fund development efforts.

The Director will also need strong entrepreneurial and creative instincts to craft compelling messages and communicate Groundswell’s impact.

S/he will be a results-oriented motivator with high standards for excellence. S/he will be a clear, consistent and empathetic communicator, someone who excels at relationship building, who is constantly innovating and has entrepreneurial instincts, who naturally absorbs new information, and who has a contagious drive for excellence and accountability.


 Manage all external facing communications for the organization across a variety of audiences
 Execute blended-revenue strategy that balances philanthropic and public sector resources with social investment and earned revenue
 Lead the oversight and refinement of a comprehensive growth strategy for organization at the intersection of clean energy and community development
 Develop and sustain revenue-bearing partnerships with businesses and social sector organizations
 Play a significant role in organizational leadership as a key member of the Executive Management Team
 Supervise and collaborate with the Director of Development to craft an ambitious strategic vision for Groundswell’s fundraising efforts
 Supervise and collaborate with the Director of Communications to build a powerful narrative for Groundswell and its brand


Qualified Applicants
An ideal candidate will have the following experience, skills and qualities:

 Proven success with direct external donor/investor cultivation and solicitation, including major gifts and philanthropic grants
 Proven success in raising enterprise-based capital, including angel, venture or equity capital
 Leadership within blended-revenue, social enterprise organizations
 Demonstrated success building private sector partnerships
 Editorial and grant writing fluency

 Staff Management (minimum three years)
 Organizational Strategy Development (short term and multi-year)
 Investor/donor/partner solicitation and cultivation of investment
 Comfort navigating the intersection of development and organizational finance
 Exceptional, persuasive verbal and written communications skills
 Traditional and social marketing experience preferred

 Creative, entrepreneurial approach
 Effective collaborator and empathetic communicator
 Self-directed and resourceful leader
 Candid and assertive contributor
 Comfortable “managing up” to Executive Director, Board of Directors, and Advisors
 Has connections to donors/investors in related sectors, including community development, energy, sustainability, civic engagement
 Comfortable working in the field of social enterprise
 Proactive about personal leadership development and growth
 Passionate about transforming communities for the better

Application Instructions
Apply online at:

Salary is commensurate with experience and competitive with senior management positions at early stage not-for-profits. Benefits include 403(b) retirement and matching, health, dental, and vision insurance, and 15 paid vacation days per year (starting).

Groundswell averages 14-16 paid company holidays (including all federal holidays and a week during winter holidays), adheres to a 37.5 hour work week with a compensatory time policy for over-time work, and, when job responsibilities allow, periodic flexibility in work schedule and location.


Will Byrne


Previous posting: Grants Manager

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License