Director, Grassroots Engagement

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 630 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.

Overall Function


The Director, Grassroots Engagement will report to the Senior Political Director to develop and implement a national grassroots field and organizing strategy for the 2020 election cycle and beyond. The Director, Grassroots Engagement will enhance our advocacy engagements by activating members, activists, and grasstops in politically important states, with a particular focus on the 2020 cycle. The Director will be a senior leader in a rapidly growing organization and responsible for maximizing EDF Action’s reach, influence and impact in key states across the country.


The Director, Grassroots Engagement will work in coordination with colleagues at EDF, help build a program to harness existing activist energy and develop new activists that can support political and policy objectives both in the short-term and over the long-term. This organizing will support EDF’s top environmental priorities, political and policy goals and to influence state and federal legislators and other key decision makers.  


Working closely with membership and other teams at EDF, the Director will help design and manage a targeted grassroots field strategy, strategically harnessing membership and activist lists throughout the organization to maximize political impact. This work includes identifying grassroots leaders in target states, building relationships with these leaders, providing content to support local organizing, coordinating local events and other on-the-ground engagement opportunities, and establishing benchmarks and goals for our grassroots organizing efforts.  


The Director, Grassroots Engagement will have a special focus on mobilizing activists to impact the policy dialogue around the 2020 elections, with a goal of ensuring that sound environmental policy carries appropriate weight in the discussions.  Beyond the current election cycle, the position will focus on building out and leveraging these field assets to target, influence local, state, and federal decision-makers, and coordinate closely with leadership development programs in the organizations.  


The Director, Grassroots Engagement will also work in partnership with field and grassroots organizers from other EDF initiatives as well as working closely with other environmental organizations. The Director will oversee project management that ensures cooperation across programs and departments.

Key Responsibilities 

  • Develop and implement plan to mobilize grassroots activists to influence candidates and policymakers to adopt and embrace sound environmental policies, with particular view on 2020 electoral cycle
  • Develop and oversee implementation of national grassroots strategy for achieving state and federal political and legislative priorities, working to coordinate across programs and brands to effectively harness all existing resources
  • Organize and develop materials for online and offline activism
  • Strategically manage member and activist data to set, meet and exceed benchmarks for voter contact, volunteer recruitment, grassroots engagement, civic engagement and GOTV
  • Establish a strong professional culture within the field organization focused on accountability, specific goals, innovation and sense of purpose
  • Ensure maintenance of records of EDF organizers and activists, including updating contact information and tracking communications and activities to ensure continuity and long-term relationship management
  • Maintain up-to-date overall activity calendar for engaging key audience targets, share and coordinate planning with other appropriate teams
  • Recruit new volunteer organizers and manage their development
  • Coordinate and work with allied organizations and partners, as well as ensuring collaboration and effective project management with other teams within the organization


  • Bachelor’s degree is required
  • At least 10+ years of experience in grassroots organizing on political campaigns at the statewide, Congressional or higher level (volunteer management experience a must).
  • Strong understanding of the political process; comfortable breaking complicated policies and procedures down for a lay audience.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Comfortable with public speaking in front of large groups.  Ability to inspire action in others, leading by example and instill purpose into daily campaign operations. 
  • Proficiency in data management software including SalesForce/Common Ground, and NGP/VAN.
  • Exceptional time management and prioritization skills; ability to multi-task and get work done under pressure. Strong personal organization skills and a relentless dedication to follow-up. 
  • Good judgement, initiative, and ability to anticipate problems and follow through with confidence
  • An understanding of and commitment to Environmental Defense Fund’s mission of protecting public health and the environment
  • Familiarity with online organizing tools and with how to leverage digital content to expand outreach and campaign engagements
  • Able to work flexible hours

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.