Communications Manager

Job Location

Portland, OR


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About the job

Title: Communications Manager

Status: Regular, exempt position

Reports to: Execurive Director

Hours: Full-time




Water is one of the major issues of our time. As WaterWatch’s Communications Manager, you will be part of the core team managing and implementing a unique mission critical to Oregon’s water future and the long term health of iconic rivers, Oregon’s lakes and aquifers, iconic species like salmon and waterfowl and communities and economies that depend on healthy waters across the state. WaterWatch’s mission is to protect and restore streamflows for the native fish, wildlife and people who depend on healthy rivers in Oregon. WaterWatch also protects the free flowing character of Oregon’s rivers and streams, in part by removing obsolete dams and secures the balanced water policies Oregon needs in a time of recurring drought and a changing climate. Much of what we do provides a measure of water justice – for rivers, species and people.


At WaterWatch, you’ll work with the team to design and implement strategic communications and outreach efforts that engage the public key audiences and decision makers to increase understanding of Oregon’s water challenges and advocate for effective, ecologically appropriate and equitable reforms and solutions. You will also work closely with development staff and the executive director to drive and support many aspects of WaterWatch’s fundraising and development efforts.


The Communications Manager will be housed in WaterWatch’s Portland office but will largely work remotely until it’s safe to return regularly to the office. You will report directly to WaterWatch’s executive director but also work closely with the development director and program staff to develop and to implement the organization’s communications strategies. Ideally, you are a highly motivated and mission driven individual who understands advocacy and has some prior experience in communications and/or public relations tied to the political process, campaigns and/or development communications. You believe in the need for conservation and have knowledge of or a curiosity about rivers, aquatic species, water policy and the political process.




Working with the executive director, program and development staff, you will:


1. Develop and manage WaterWatch’s organizational communications and outreach strategies -


• Annually, revise/create/implement WaterWatch’s Communications and Outreach Plan that includes strategy, tactics, content and measurable outcomes on water-related communications and outreach. The outreach component should engage partners, allies and others to build public demand for water policy reforms. Elements of the Plan include the following-

• An outreach component that engages partners, allies and others to build public demand for water policy reforms.

• Development of strategic messages that contribute to achieving WaterWatch’s water policy and conservation reforms and projects and that resonate with the public and decision-makers, creating a sense of urgency to do more to protect rivers and water in Oregon, address the effects of climate change on freshwater habitat and secure a healthy and equitable water future for Oregon.

• Strategies to advance specific issues and matters being addressed by WaterWatch staff.

• Ensure all communications materials are culturally appropriate and reach and engage diverse audiences and communities.

• Manage list building efforts relevant to communications and outreach and track contacts as part of expanding support for WaterWatch and its mission.


2. Website, newsletter, action alerts, and social media –


• Manage and provide content for WaterWatch’s website using WordPress.

• Work with staff to produce action alerts using Salsa, social media posts and website content.

• Edit and manage the production of Instream, WaterWatch’s printed and electronic newsletter (three issues annually).

• Manage WaterWatch’s social media accounts. Identify and post appropriate content.


3. Earned media –


• Develop and implement an earned and paid media strategy. Produce press releases and advisories as needed. Pitch content to multiple press and other news outlets.

• Assist and train core staff on research-tested and other messaging, respond to or assist staff in responding to media inquiries to staff.

• Consider past polling and oversee new polling, as needed, to inform messaging.

• Work with staff and, where relevant, the board, to identify, cultivate and recruit diverse and effective messengers.


4. Communications in support of development –


• Work with the Development Director and Executive Director on development related communications – including mailings, alerts, reports and appeals. Incorporate program messaging as appropriate into development communications.


5. Design and production -


• Work with a contractor on graphic design functions relevant to these efforts.




We are looking for someone who is outgoing – a social entrepreneur who enjoys working with diverse people and organizations to get things done. The right candidate will be a team player and also a self-starter and good listener with excellent judgment. Experience and understanding of the public policy process and political campaigns is helpful. Must have the desire to build the capacity and power behind the movement to secure ecologically appropriate and equitable water policy reforms and implement the WaterWatch mission. This position requires someone who will be active, engaged and invested in our mission and objectives. The ideal candidate will be willing to learn and willing to teach.




• Strong communications skills, both written and verbal. Powerful writer for public audiences in multiple formats.

• Knowledge and/or an active curiosity in water, rivers, conservation, equity and policy reform.

• Experience developing and executing a comprehensive Communications and Outreach Plan, curating social media and website communications for an organization or a campaign.

• Track record of identifying and developing earned media opportunities and developing press/media relationships.

• Experience developing compelling written and digital content.

• Skilled at using technology and software to expand traditional media and

• communications. Experience with WordPress necessary to curate website. Computer

proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, presentation software (Powerpoint) and a willingness to develop additional skills as needed.

• Experience with social media as an organizing tool.

• Experience with development of culturally appropriate outreach materials for target audiences.

• Respect for economic and cultural diversity and experience working with diverse groups of people.

• Ability to be flexible in managing work load and respond quickly when conditions require.

• Outstanding interpersonal skills with an ability to mobilize people toward positive ends.

• Strong time and task management skills; ability to manage multiple projects; works well under pressure and takes deadlines seriously.

• Demonstrated self-motivation and initiative.

• Ability to work cooperatively in a team environment.

• Willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends.

• Ability to work hard with the rest of the WaterWatch staff, but have fun doing it.




• Minimum three years of professional experience in communications, journalism, public relations, marketing, political campaigning or a related position.

• Experience working in a non-profit setting with a mission-driven staff and board, preferably in conservation, ideally in water or river conservation.




Salary is commensurate with experience. The starting salary range is $53,000 - $60,000 (depending on experience).


Excellent benefits include 20 days of Paid Time Off (PTO) in the first year of employment in addition to most regular holidays. PTO increases on a set schedule. Comp time is provided for hours in excess of 40 per week and in other circumstances. Other benefits include a set employer contribution to the cost of a medical insurance plan with various plan options. If the plan chosen is less than the employer contribution, the employee retains the difference. If the plan chosen is more than the employer contribution, the employee pays the difference between the employer contribution and the monthly plan cost. Dental insurance and an employer contribution to a 401K retirement plan (if the employee participates in the plan) are other benefits. WaterWatch also has a sabbatical program.




No calls please. Please send a cover letter and resume via email to WaterWatch’s executive director John DeVoe at by close of business on February 1, 2021.




Founded in 1985, WaterWatch is Oregon’s leading advocate for streamflows and balanced water policies. Our mission is to protect and restore streamflows for the fish, wildlife and people who depend on healthy rivers in Oregon. WaterWatch also protects the free flowing character of Oregon’s rivers and streams, removes obsolete dams and secures the balanced water policies Oregon needs in to adapt to recurring drought and a changing climate. WaterWatch is the key reason Oregon is well ahead of other western states in streamflow protection and restoration.


WaterWatch offers the opportunity to perform challenging, important and rewarding work on one of the major issues of our time, an opportunity to represent iconic rivers and species and a great place to work. Turnover is very low for our staff.

WaterWatch provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender assignment, gender identity or expression, national origin, (dis)ability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.