Job Description: Executive Director

The Valley Stewardship Network (VSN) seeks a dynamic and professional leader for our vibrant nonprofit organization. VSN works to protect the land and waters of the Kickapoo River and surrounding watersheds through research, education, and community empowerment. The VSN Executive Director will be responsible for overseeing the administration, programs, staffing and strategic plan of the organization. Other key duties include grant writing, fundraising, marketing, and community outreach. The position reports directly to the VSN Board of Directors.

Reports to:  VSN BOD                                                                  Department:   Executive

Employment Status:  Full Time Salaried – 40 Hours             FLSA Classification:   Exempt

Location: VSN Office & Remote                                                Revision Date:   03/21/2022

Duties/Responsibilities:

Strategic Organizational Development

  • Building professional relationships with funders, donors, and strategic partners
  • Implementing the organizational strategic plan
  • Working efficiently with the VSN Board of Directors to evaluate and refine the strategic plan, and to manage the annual VSN budget
  • Organizing strategic planning sessions with staff and board
  • Identifying and addressing strategic opportunities and challenges facing the organization

Program and Grant Development

  • Researching new grant opportunities
  • Ensuring grant deliverables and reporting
  • Gaining board support for specific grant proposals
  • Developing and writing new grant applications
  • Collaborating with partners for grant development
  • Organizing and attending annual meetings with grant funders
  • Completing funding agreements with grant partners
  • Relationship-building, communication, program collaboration, Letters of Support, etc. for 35 partner organizations
  • Maintaining and strengthening programs related partnerships
  • Maintaining and strengthening relationships with members and other key stakeholders
  • Cultivating new potential program partners

Program Coordination

  • Collaborating with program/funding partners including:  SARE, KBHI, WALLACE, Fishers and Farmers, NFWF/Trout Unlimited, UW Grasslands 2.0, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Organic Valley
  • Guiding, supporting and supervising program staff and consultants
  • Overseeing and monitoring program/grant deliverable implementation including:  Watershed Councils, Water Quality Research, Bird Friendly Farming and Habitat Enhancement, Regenerative Agriculture, Watershed Planning, Whole Farm Stewardship Planning, Grazing Planning, Tainter Creek Grazing and Water Quality Program, Farming with Prairies, Youth and Community Education, and GIS Mapping/Modeling
  • Engaging consultants and monitoring consultant performance
  • Facilitating and participating in program team meetings

Financial & Budgetary Oversight

  • Developing, tracking, and reporting on the annual organizational budget
  • Approving and tracking expenditures
  • Informing the VSN Board about financial performance

Supervision of VSN Staff

  • Hiring and retention of competent, qualified staff
  • Evaluating, coaching and training staff
  • Developing, refining, implementing and enforcing VSN policy and procedures
  • Directing staff activities and revising job duties and job descriptions as needed.

Membership Communication, Public Relations and Fundraising

  • Writing content for newsletters, letters, and social media outreach
  • Approving content for newsletters, letters and social media outreach
  • Providing content and design input on outreach events and materials
  • Communicating with Members  
  • Communicating with the public
  • Developing small fundraising campaigns and other strategies to increase revenue

Facility and Operations

  • Communicating with landlord re: lease renewals, maintenance
  • Securing and communicating with sublessors
  • Overseeing facility maintenance and repairs
  • Negotiating and maintaining 3rd party contracts
  • Managing tenant relationships in the office
  • Authorizing purchases and verifying funding codes
  • Managing physical and digital assets to ensure efficient business operations
  • Maintaining archival and administrative files
  • Maintaining insurance files and ensure policies are up to date and accurate

Development

  • Create, implement, and measure VSN’s annual fundraising activities
  • Develop lists of potential donors, track member relationships, and implement campaign plans
  • Direct spring and fall appeals
  • Developing partnerships with local businesses

Other Duties

  • Maintaining and updating VSN policy and procedures
  • Updating familiarity with current trends in the industry
  • Participating in Working Groups and/or ad hoc groups as needed
  • Undertaking any other tasks, special projects and responsibilities as required by the VSN BOD

Skills/Qualifications

Will consider applicants with a B.S with relevant leadership and programmatic development experience. Prefer M.S. or higher in Environmental, Agricultural or similar relevant science, but will consider applicants with other degrees and backgrounds if they have relevant organizational development and management experience.

Professional verbal and written communication skills

Proven supervisory and program management

Proven budgetary oversight and financial acumen

Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a consensus decision-making environment

Ability to produce professional quality, detailed work

Physical Requirements

Standard Office Expectations

Ability to perform computer work for long periods of time

VSN offers a competitive salary, a family-friendly and flexible work environment, challenging work, and a strong commitment to integrity.

VSN does not discriminate on the basis of disability, veteran status or any other basis protected under federal, state, or local laws.

Salary Range: $55,000 – $65,000 DOE

To Apply:  Please send a cover letter with resume/CV to boardchair@valleystewardshipnetwork.org.

About Valley Stewardship Network

Our Mission

Valley Stewardship Network works to protect our land and waters through research, education, and community empowerment.

Our Vision

We envision a rural landscape where people are actively engaged in achieving the ideals of healthy ecosystems, vital communities, responsible land use, and a dynamic, sustainable economy. Communities work cooperatively to protect and enhance the watershed for future generations.

Our History

Valley Stewardship Network was conceived in the 1990’s, when sportsmen and conservation groups established a “network” to share experience, best practices, and new ideas for the protection of land, water, and habitat. Much of the organization’s activity in the early years after establishing VSN as a nonprofit organization was focused on water quality monitoring.

After 15 years of data collection, it became clear that the streams and rivers in the Kickapoo and neighboring watersheds contain excess sediment and nutrients. This situation threatens much of what people value about our area, including health, economy, and recreation. Run-off into our streams and rivers is detrimental to trout and wildlife and it is known to cause toxic algal blooms. The presence of excessive sediment and nutrients in our waters also indicates the potential for farmland degradation and a decreasing recreational economy – two of the things our communities most rely upon.

Our Current Work

Water Quality Research

Today, in addition to baseline water quality monitoring, VSN’s water quality research is increasingly applied to understand and support land stewardship practices. We are now measuring water quality benefits from land use improvements.

Stewardship Assistance

VSN offers assistance and access to the many programs available that support good stewardship by farmers, landowners, and all who enjoy our area. We play a central organizing role by serving as a hub of access and collaboration with other conservation agencies and organizations in our area. This includes our shared offices at Conservation Connections on Viroqua’s Main Street.

Youth and Community Outreach & Education

We offer workshops and training to help all community members and visitors learn what’s unique about the Kickapoo and surrounding watersheds in our area. Our goal in doing this is to give participants knowledge and tools to enjoy and care for natural treasures and to support the health of our communities.

Our staff, volunteers, and board members work to provide year-round access to the information and services that help people to make the best decisions about caring for land and water.