October 2018: STF looking for an Executive Director

October 23rd, 2018 by Heather Gordon

Executive Director Search

Are you a charismatic leader interested in maintaining the rich cultural landscape of one of the most historic cities in our country? Do you want to guide a small, impactful non-profit to be even more effective and engaging? Do you thrive off of making a difference in your community and working with local government and the public? You may be the right candidate for the Executive Director role at the Savannah Tree Foundation. Known for its majestic live oaks, Spanish moss-draped tree canopy, and a natural environment that includes 300-year old trees, miles of beaches, and endless tidal marshes, Savannah needs an advocate for trees.

Savannah Tree Foundation (STF) is seeking qualified candidates for the Executive Director position. Savannah Tree Foundation is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and planting trees across Chatham County, GA through education, advocacy, and action. STF’s volunteers have been planting and caring for trees in Savannah and across Chatham County, GA since 1982. The Savannah Tree Foundation works with local government, community partners, and the public to grow the tree canopy for a healthier, safer, economically-strong, and environmentally-sound community.

Governed by a Board of Directors, the work of the Savannah Tree Foundation is carried out by the Executive Director, Field Manager, two part-time staff, contracted professionals to help with specific projects, and a dedicated team of volunteers. STF is funded by supporters’ donations and grant funds. For more information, visit SavannahTree.com.

Position Summary

Under the direction of the STF Board of Directors, the Executive Director has the responsibility to identify and pursue funding, maintain positive working relationships with city and community partners, as well as manage programs and day-to-day operations. This position requires an excitement for continuously learning and educating about trees and the role they play in society. The STF Executive Director must be an energetic, experienced, and ardent leader who will continue to increase community support and organizational capacity for the organization’s tree planting and stewardship, advocacy outreach, and education programs and ensure the organization’s long-term viability and effectiveness.

The ideal candidate will have proven experience in:

  • Financial development including community fundraising,
  • Establishing and maintaining positive working relationships with government officials,
  • Building relationships with community partner organizations,
  • Independent leadership for organization and administrative soundness.

This full-time position is scheduled to begin in winter 2019.


Community Relations
· Advocate for trees and the urban forest throughout the community and in particular with government, special projects, and community organizations.
· Foster strong working relationships with elected officials, partner agencies, government representatives, and industry partners.
· Serve as a liaison with the community, other organizations, and the general public.
· Promote effective partnerships and cooperation with private, public, and non-profit entities to achieve programmatic goals.
· Serve as a spokesperson at public forums and events.
· Ensure the Savannah Tree Foundation website provides up-to-date information.
· Produce and send an e-newsletter to members and volunteers.
· Produce timely, appropriate social media content to further the mission.
· Promote the achievements of STF and its work with trees.

Fund Development
· Develop and implement fundraising techniques seeking financial commitments and contributions from individuals, businesses, foundations, and corporations.
· Identify and recruit earned income opportunities through STF providing project management and field services.
· Manage the membership program, maintain donor database and records, and provide donor recognition.

· Collaborate with the Board for ongoing development of the organization’s vision and strategic plan with short- and long-term goals to guide the work of Savannah Tree Foundation. Create a clear vision that works in line with the organization’s mission while also recognizing the current needs of the community and anticipating how those needs may change in the future.
· Work with the Board and staff to maintain and improve existing programs and to develop new programs and services which serve the mission, vision, and goals of the organization.
· Take a leadership role in local and regional efforts that affect the urban forest.

Program Management
· Oversee the development, coordination, implementation, evaluation, and ongoing improvement of all programs, including tree planting, tree maintenance, educational outreach, research, and advocacy.
· Maintain accurate records on program activities and participants to meet grant requirements and ensure ongoing organizational effectiveness.
· Envision and develop new programs in collaboration with the Board.

Fiscal & Financial Management
· Work with the Board to develop an annual budget.
· Collaborate with the Board to secure adequate funding for Savannah Tree Foundation programs.
· Identify funding sources, support development of grant proposals, develop fundraising plans, and solicit in-kind and financial donations.
· Ensure that accounting, billing, and payments are conducted in a timely and accurate manner. Invoice expenses for reimbursable grants and contracts and fulfill reporting requirements. Monitor cash flow and keep excellent financial records.
· Manage insurance policies, permits, licenses, and filing of local, state and federal taxes and reports as required. Assure that complete and accurate records are kept of such.
· Provide for the appropriate control and accountability of all funds, record-keeping, physical assets, and other property.
· Ensure compliance with all current federal, state, grantor, insurance, and human resource requirements and record keeping.

Board Relations
· Provide open, clear, and effective communication to maintain a strong collaborative relationship with the Board.
· Participate in Board meetings and appropriate committee meetings. Prepare Board meeting agendas in collaboration with the Board president and assist in the general administration of Board business.
· Provide timely, accurate and complete financial and management reports to keep the Board updated on the achievements, needs, and challenges of the organization.
· Prepare an annual report on the general operation, program and financial affairs of Savannah Tree Foundation.

Staff Supervision
· Ensure appropriate staff levels to carry out Savannah Tree Foundation programs.
· Recruit and train highly qualified staff members and contractors.
· Operate within budget levels.
· Provide staff with constructive feedback on an ongoing basis and ensure achievement in line with organizational goals.
· Hire and terminate staff as needed.

Core Qualifications

· Bachelor’s degree or equivalent skills and experience
· 5 or more years of relevant professional work experience
· Strong interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills
· Creativity and flexibility
· Commitment to trees and the environment
· Interest in the environmental issues and generally socially conscious individual
· Experience in fundraising and community development
· Experience working independently and leading a team
· Flexibility and willingness to work evenings and weekends as needed
· Self-starter with an entrepreneurial spirit
· Ability to work collaboratively with people of different backgrounds
· Basic computer and administrative skills (MS Office, record-keeping, etc.) and ability to learn new technologies quickly
· Possession of a valid driver’s license
· Willingness to step in and carry out operational or program activities as needed.
· Ability to work outdoors in inclement weather, stand for long periods of time, and to safely lift and move more than 50 lbs

Desired Qualifications

· Experience in a non-profit setting
· Experience with community outreach, volunteers, partnerships, and fundraising
· Experience hiring, managing, and supervising staff
· Communications experience including social media, press, and newsletters
· Knowledge of GiftWorks CRM, Quickbooks, Constant Contact, and/or Adobe products


Competitive salary based on experience.

How to Apply

Qualified applicants should submit the following items via email:
· Cover letter
· Resume
· Contact information for 3 references
· Salary Requirements

This position will be open until filled. Review of applications will begin on October 30, 2018. Submit application to Heather Gordon at heather@SavannahTree.com.

A background check, clean drug test, and references will be required.