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Associate Director, Development Communications, Media & Engagement

The California Academy of Sciences offers an outstanding opportunity for a highly motivated and experienced individual to work with an energetic Development team. The Associate Director of Development Media, Engagement & Communications is responsible for developing and implementing communications and media content, inclusive storytelling and strategy across the Development Division, working closely with Academy senior leadership and the Executive Director.
This is a full-time position reporting to the Director, Donor Events and Communications.

The California Academy of Sciences welcomes people of all backgrounds, identities, and beliefs to join us in achieving our mission to to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. We place diversity, equity, and inclusion at the heart of our recruiting efforts and strive to build a culture centered on mutual respect, equal treatment, and the opportunity to succeed.

Come join a team dedicated to the Academy’s mission, vision, and values! Currently, the Academy has a new strategic plan including three initiatives—Hope for Reefs, Thriving California, and Islands 2030—that leverage biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement to regenerate fragile ecosystems around the world. Learn more at

We hope you are inspired by what we do and are excited to contribute to our mission. The Academy is looking for candidates who do great work, and we know they may come from a number of different backgrounds and experiences. We encourage you to apply even if you do not believe you meet every ­one of the qualifications for the position.

The position is hybrid, consisting of both on-site and remote work, and can change as business needs warrant. The candidate must easily be able to work onsite in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco when needed. Candidates are required to have up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination, including receiving a booster shot, as a condition of employment, absent qualifying exemptions in accordance with applicable laws. Individuals receiving a conditional offer of employment from the California Academy of Sciences will be provided the full text of the vaccination policy.

  • Develop and deliver high-quality multi-media (print, digital, video, web, social) resources to be used in philanthropic communications across the Development division.
  • Craft compelling, persuasive communications about the Academy’s strategic initiatives, exhibits, research, and programs that motivate audiences to care deeply about the Academy’s mission and participate in our donor community at various giving levels.
  • Establish and implement short- and long-term communications strategies, goals, and objectives to support Development’s fundraising initiatives and campaigns.
  • Work with Development leadership and the Executive Director to ensure projects and priorities are aligned with strategic organizational and fundraising goals.
  • Develop and direct the production of print and online materials, such as annual reports, case statements, and brochures, coordinating with internal partners and external consultants as needed.
  • Produce, own and manage all development-related video, digital and online content
  • Identify specific communications needs and work to create relevant new assets and implement efficient processes to support the Development division’s work.
  • Advise Development staff about communications techniques and best practices, ensuring that consistent messaging is communicated to key audiences and partners.
  • Maintain and update a communications repository of assets and deliverables calendar.
  • Mentor and supervise a Communications Associate to bolster division-wide support
  • Represent the Development division professionally at all times and cultivate effective working relationships with colleagues and leadership across the Academy.
  • Contribute to building a thriving culture of philanthropy at the Academy.
  • Follow all Academy safety regulations.
  • Other duties as assigned.

The qualifications listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required or preferred.

A qualified candidate will possess a combination of the following education and/or equivalent experience:
  • Bachelor's degree required.
  • Minimum eight years progressive experience in professional writing and/or editing required.
  • Non-profit development and/or science writing experience strongly preferred.
  • Video development and production skills strongly preferred.
  • Managerial/supervisory experience desired.
  • Customer/client/donor service experience preferred.
  • Demonstrated interest in the Academy and enthusiasm for its mission and programs required.
  • Experience working within complex, multi-layered organizations is a plus.

  • Exceptional written and interpersonal communication skills, with the ability to work effectively with executives, colleagues, trustees, volunteers, and other stakeholders. 
  • Computer proficiency and ability to learn new software quickly are required.
  • Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is required.
  • G Suite (Google Apps) experience is preferred.
  • Demonstrated database experience, in particular, Raiser’s Edge or Tessitura, is preferred.
  • Expert knowledge of search engines and research tools required.
  • Design experience in InDesign desired.
  • Ability to work collegially in a team environment but also independently in an effective and productive manner.
  • Highly attentive to detail, strong analytical skills, proactive and solution-oriented approach to challenges, and ability to compose error-free, persuasive correspondence required.
  • Strong work ethic, good judgment, excellent organizational and time management skills, flexibility, sense of humor, and able to manage multiple tasks and projects.
  • Strong commitment to customer service excellence.
  • Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Excellent sense of diplomacy and tact; ability to maintain confidentiality.

Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to meet the job’s essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, sit, use a computer, and communicate on the phone, in person, and online meetings/calls. Must be able to perform repetitive motions 50% of the time.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Please submit a cover letter, resume, and complete the brief online application with the link provided.

The California Academy of Sciences will give full consideration for employment to all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensuring that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, place of birth, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, height or weight, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.