Advocacy Director - Waterkeeper Alliance - Waterkeeper

Advocacy Director – Waterkeeper Alliance

Job Title: Advocacy Director 

Location: New York City 

Position Type: Hybrid (currently 2 days in the office, up to 3 days working from home)

Organizational overview: Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting more than 325 Waterkeeper groups around the world, focusing community action on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. Waterkeeper groups patrol and protect more than 2.8 million square miles of rivers, lakes and coastlines in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Americas, and Europe.  

Position Description: The Advocacy Director leads the organization’s Advocacy team and reports to the Deputy Director. They will work with Waterkeeper Alliance staff from various departments to support Waterkeeper groups in their fights for drinkable, fishable and swimmable waters and to hold polluters and industry accountable for their pollution. 

The Advocacy Director is responsible for all non-legal advocacy, including legislative and regulatory policymaking, will report to and work closely with the Deputy Director, and will also regularly collaborate with the Communications, Development, Legal, and Waterkeeper Support teams to advance Waterkeeper Alliance’s core programmatic functions and collaborate on advocacy strategies, advance campaign goals, and achieve desired outcomes. The Advocacy Director will ensure alignment of Waterkeeper Alliance’s key advocacy campaigns with the organization’s strategic plan, and will represent Waterkeeper Alliance’s advocacy positions to elected representatives and other government officials, the media, partners, funders, and the public.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Play a leadership role in setting the organization’s strategic advocacy goals, and building and directing programs that will achieve those goals; 
  • Work with Waterkeeper Alliance’s board and staff leadership and other key staff to ensure that they are briefed and deployed effectively as advocacy spokespeople;
  • Liaise with Waterkeeper groups and other partners on advocacy campaign activities, and build and participate in coalitions around issues of mutual concern; 
  • Lead Waterkeeper Alliance’s policymaking efforts, including direct and grassroots lobbying and testifying before state and federal legislative and administrative bodies;
  • Track and analyze developments in the environmental advocacy field, utilizing them to enhance and modify Waterkeeper campaign strategies; 
  • Develop tools for assessing the impact of our work, determine which of our strategies are most effective, and raise the visibility of the best practices we have developed;
  • Engage in fundraising for the organization’s programs and campaign activities;
  • Represent the organization to key stakeholders and the general public;
  • Interpret complex scientific and policy information for consumption by target audiences;
  • Engage in community outreach and public speaking; 
  • Perform other campaign projects and administrative duties;
  • Leverage Waterkeeper Alliance’s recruiting,support, advocacy, communications/media, development, and legal staff and expertise to support implementation of cohesive, integrated campaigns;
  • Execute additional projects as may be assigned by management.


Minimum Qualifications: The position requires a broad skill set and the successful candidate must be driven by a strong desire for justice. The Advocacy Director candidate must have: 

  • A firm belief that everyone has a right to a safe and stable climate and to clean water for drinking, fishing and swimming, and the skills and will to effectively fight for those rights;
  • Excellent written and oral presentation skills;
  • Ten or more years of global advocacy and relevant experience, preferably working directly in the environmental advocacy field with focus on water policy (e.g., quality, quantity, equity); 
  • Significant experience in the planning and implementation of advocacy campaigns and strategic initiatives. Experience should include at least some of the following activities: planning, strategy development and implementation, project management, organizing, lobbying, policy drafting or review, media relations, and working with community, political, and business leaders;
  • Demonstrated familiarity with, commitment to working with, and being guided by, impacted communities, and incorporating principles of equity, inclusion, and justice into campaign processes, objectives, and outcomes;
  • Ability to effectively assist Waterkeeper Alliance Development department staff to support fundraising efforts; 
  • Ability to effectively craft and magnify campaign messaging in coordination with Communications department staff; 
  • Familiarity with, or the ability to readily adapt to, the Waterkeeper culture and model;
  • Ability to work well independently; and
  • A charismatic and likable personality and a good sense of humor.


Other Relevant Qualifications: While not required for this position, the ideal Advocacy Director candidate will also have some or all of the following qualifications:

  • Significant experience with international, national, state and regional environmental advocacy work, including developing strategy, investigations, case development, organizing, legislative advocacy, media relations, fundraising, campaign coordination, budget planning, and management;
  • Expert knowledge of environmental impacts, especially to waterways and climate;
  • Strong doctrinal and practical knowledge of relevant environmental and administrative law (e.g., Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Administrative Procedure Act), including enforcement, permitting, rulemaking, and grassroots advocacy;
  • Ability to travel as needed; 
  • Excellent computer skills, and with GIS and/or Google Earth experience
  • Experience with Salesforce,, and Slack


Culture & Benefits: Our staff and Waterkeepers are the heart of our mission, and we are committed to pursuing the principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) as we move forward to a more equal and just future as an organization. We aim to create and sustain a workforce that reflects the hundreds of global communities we strive to protect in our fight for clean water, and welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply to join our team!

We offer a competitive industry salary, excellent benefits including 15 vacation days to start and paid parental leave, work from home opportunities, and a healthy work-life balance to all members of our team.

Hiring Salary Range: $95k – $140k annually. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and is commensurate with skills and experience. Internal equity will be reviewed and considered to determine a final offer. 

Start Date: ASAP. This position will remain open until filled.

Applications: Send resume, one original writing sample, and a cover letter to [email protected] with the subject line “2023 Advocacy Director.”  Please note that applications must be emailed to [email protected] to be considered for this position. No phone calls, please.


Waterkeeper Alliance is dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment and is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification document form upon hire.

Waterkeeper is a registered trademark of Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc.