Executive Director

Wild Whatcom Published: January 10, 2019
Bellingham, Washington
Second Location
Bellingham, Washington 98227, United States
Job Type
CEO/ Senior Mgmt/ Exec Director /

When you apply for this position, please say you saw this job on Green Dream Jobs!!


~ Wild Whatcom is a flourishing non-profit organization dedicated to connecting youth to nature and developing positive character traits through outdoor exploration and discovery. We provide experiential learning opportunities that inspire participants to build healthy relationships with nature, community, and self.

We serve more than 2,000 individuals each year through our schools programs, Explorers Clubs, summer trips/camps, community programs, and after-school adventures. With a talented staff of 24, we provide more than 50,000 nature hours to children in western Whatcom County each year.  ~

Wild Whatcom board and staff are united in a vision of organizational growth that increases opportunities for diverse populations to (re)connect with nature; allows us to attract, retain, and nurture talented staff from all parts of our community; and expand our programs. We seek an Executive Director with excellent fundraising and organizational skills, a collaborative, heart-centered approach, and the entrepreneurial spirit to achieve this vision.

Equity and access are at the center of our organizational goals. We’re reducing barriers by creating a robust school-based program to connect kids to the outdoors, prioritizing ongoing staff and board training and personal development work, and revising organizational policies and practices. We are committed to advancing social and economic equity and are looking for a capable Executive Director to help continue this important journey.  

Position Overview

Leadership Opportunity

The Board of Directors is looking for a dynamic leader to further the mission of Wild Whatcom. We are a strong organization with a healthy internal culture and solid financial footing. Seventy-five percent of our annual income (~$375,000) is generated through fee-based revenue, our reserve fund holds several months of operating expenses, and we have a track record of strong financial management and performance. The high quality of our programming and staff draw participants to our organization. We have deep roots in distributed leadership, prioritizing shared decision-making and stakeholder engagement. We seek someone to cultivate these strengths and bring new capacities, vision, and perspectives to the work.

The Executive Director reports to a dedicated Board of Directors and holds responsibility for the daily operations of the organization as well as the strategic implementation of its vision and mission.  


The priorities for the first 12-36 months will be to lead Wild Whatcom to make significant progress on the following goals:

  • Take stock of the opportunities to evolve and develop in ways that increase access to the outdoors for all populations in western Whatcom County.
  • Increase our fundraising capacity so that we are able to provide more non fee-based programming and provide traditional benefits and wage increases to our outstanding staff.
  • Refine our current staffing model to increase our capacity to attract, retain, and nurture talented staff.
  • Promote Wild Whatcom to individuals and businesses in our community, encouraging them to become donors and partners in connecting kids to nature.
  • Nurture our positive community reputation and our organizational culture of collaborative leadership.
  • Continue and augment our strong financial footing through exemplary fiscal management.


The ideal candidate will have excellent people and communication skills to develop, build, and maintain strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Proven non-profit management and fundraising skills are essential, as is the ability to build teamwork in a collaborative manner so that board members and staff are supported and empowered to use their collective skills and experiences to advance the mission. Wild Whatcom is also seeking a leader with a background and commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity.

While no one can be an expert at everything, candidates who meet most of the following qualifications will receive strong consideration:

Non-profit organizational management and leadership

  • Experience in non-profit business management, preferably in youth, environment, sustainable communities, educational activities, and/or public programming.
  • Understanding of, experience with, and commitment to social and economic equity at an organizational level; ability to lead organization-wide efforts (staff, board, and participants) to better reflect the diversity of our community and address systemic inequity.
  • Strong financial management skills, including experience developing and managing a budget, generating and interpreting financial reports, and performing business and program analysis within an organization.
  • Professional work habits: punctual, responsive, organized, ability to manage multiple projects, attention to detail, and the executive function to see projects to completion.
  • Advocates for professional and personal growth of board and staff.
  • Experience developing and successfully implementing a strategic plan and annual operating plans.
  • Experience working with and supporting a board of directors.
  • Knowledge of nonprofit compliance, laws, and regulations.
  • Knowledge of human resources best practices and regulations.
  • Competency with Google systems, Quickbooks, Microsoft Office Suite, Dropbox, social media apps, and email marketing (e.g., Mailchimp), among others.

Fundraising and donor cultivation

  • Philanthropic non-profit fundraising expertise, including demonstrated success soliciting major donors, corporate partners, and private foundations. Experience with effective annual fund (individual giving) programs.
  • Successful grant writing experience as well as other income-generating strategies, and the ability to lead a team (staff and board) in support of fundraising goals.

Communications, marketing and outreach

  • Effective communicator with strong listening skills; excellent written, oral, and social media skills and engaging public speaker.
  • Ability to represent the organization to funders, participant families, program partners, and the broader community.
  • Experience developing and implementing communication/outreach plans for internal and external stakeholders. Ability to direct marketing efforts (online and through other media) to promote the organization.

Collaboration, engagement, interpersonal skills

  • Prioritizes collaboration and shared leadership; values open communication, constructive feedback, and transparent decision-making. Ability to delineate decisions and workload to staff with experience/expertise.
  • Confident and creative problem-solver; open-minded, innovative, and willing to embrace the unknown.
  • Brings energy, optimism, and a sense of humor.
  • Willingness to pitch in at any level of the organization when appropriate and necessary.

Outdoor experience and understanding

  • Environmental/outdoor education experience is strongly preferred, with risk management experience in the front and back country.
  • Deep appreciation for the natural world and a regular personal practice of connection with the outdoors.


This is a permanent, full-time, exempt position with a salary range of $57,000 to $62,000. Benefits include paid time off, holidays, a flexible work schedule, and a potential for health benefits.

Working Environment

We expect that the Executive Director will live in western Whatcom County with easy access to the Bellingham office. The position will involve a mix of computer-based work, staff meetings, in-person stakeholder meetings, and community outreach. We offer a flexible work environment that includes a regular presence in our open floor-plan office.

When you apply for this position, please say you saw this job on Green Dream Jobs!!

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