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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Executive Director, Water for Waslala, Philadelphia, PA

Executive Director

Posted on: September 3, 2013
Posted by: Water for Waslala


Water for Waslala (WfW) is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the water crisis in Waslala, a municipality in central Nicaragua where over 60,000 residents live in 85 rural communities. Due to a lack of potable water systems, nearly all Waslalans are forced to drink from polluted local rivers, causing severe illness and inhibiting personal and regional development. Water for Waslala seeks to permanently end this crisis by working together with the Waslalan people to provide every Waslalan man, woman, and child with access to safe drinking water within a generation.

Since its inception in 2004, WfW has provided a daily supply of clean water to over 2,500 Waslalans. On the ground in Waslala, WfW supports several full-time staff to deliver its program objectives. In the US, Water for Waslala consists of a volunteer Board of Directors, which oversees the organization's fundraising and programmatic activities.

Learn more at


After nine years of refining our drinking water programs, Water for Waslala has recently begun to scale the pace of its work and its impacts in Waslala. Over the last twelve months, we have doubled our Waslala staff from three to six, and plan to gradually increase the number of projects we complete each year as well, with an ultimate goal of providing all 60,000 Waslalans with clean drinking water by 2030.

To enable this growth in Waslala, Water for Waslala is seeking to hire its first full-time US employee, an Executive Director, to build the capabilities of our US side of the organization. The Executive Director will be expected to develop our organization in three areas:

1. Fundraising capacity: To scale our work in Waslala, we need to grow from being a $100K organization to a $200-$250K organization within the next 1-2 years. Our Executive Director will be expected to create and execute a new fundraising strategy that will enable us to double our fundraising revenues through new partnerships, major gifts, and foundation support.

2. Strategic partnerships: given that we are still a young and relatively unknown organization, one of our biggest needs is to develop partnerships with organizations that will:
  • Significantly increase awareness of Water for Waslala
  • Provide access to potential board members or strategic advisors
  • Provide access to new sources of revenue
Such partnerships could include (but not be limited to) industry partnerships with peer water and sanitation (WASH) nonprofits, Latin America or Nicaragua-focused associations, and academic professors or institutions that specialize in WASH. Partnerships could also be formed with PR or media firms that could get our name out in the press, or with SEO organizations that could help improve our presence on the web.

3. US operations: the day-to-day operations of our US organization have been carried out by our Board of Directors for the last ten years. However, as our organization enters into a new growth phase, we recognize that our Board of Directors needs to evolve to focus more on strategy and fundraising. As a result, many of the day-to-day operational activities and processes need to be formalized and delegated to other volunteers. Our Executive Director will be expected to create a strategy to improve our US governance and operations activities, including developing a road map for evolving our Board of Directors, recruiting new Board members, creating a strategy to delegate key operational processes (e.g. accounting, HR, website maintenance) to other individuals, and managing those individuals.


The successful candidate will be our only US employee, so the position is suited for an entrepreneurial self-starter who has experience and is excited by working independently in a startup-like atmosphere, with few resources to leverage that are common at larger organizations. Our future Executive Director must also be passionate about our organization and eager to build a lasting legacy that tangibly improves the lives of the poor in our world.

Because we are a virtual organization in the US, the location of the Executive Development position is flexible, though frequent travel to Philadelphia, where most of our donors and Board of Directors live, would be required.


The right professional will have the following attributes and qualifications:
  • Ability to be both a high-level strategic thinker and a doer – must be equally comfortable developing blue-sky strategic plans and driving the day-to-day execution of those plans
  • Proven track record of leading similar organizations through their own growth phases
  • Proven ability to work independently with little day-today oversight or support
  • Creative, out of the box problem solver
  • Tenacity – must be resourceful enough to overcome the inevitable challenges and setbacks that will naturally occur over time
  • Experience leading and managing teams
  • Sales/fundraising background and Executive Director or related experience
  • Proven track record in designing and managing fundraising campaigns, developing relationships with donors and prospects, securing major gifts, and meeting fundraising targets
  • Experience identifying and cultivating relationships with strategic partners
  • Experience with organizational design, process improvement, and Board management
  • Experience in the water and sanitation sector, or a proven track record of becoming expert in various industries quickly
  • International development experience, as well as experience in a developing country context, preferred
  • Entrepreneurial attitude and a willingness to work as sole US employee in a startup-like environment
  • Exceptional attention to detail and organizational skills
  • Drive and a passion to grow Water for Waslala to new levels of success
  • Bachelor's degree required; 10+ years of professional experience preferred
  • Ability to communicate confidently and effectively with Board of Directors, donors, prospects, and high-net-worth individuals; strong written, oral, and listening skills a must
  • Create a detailed fundraising strategy and action plan to meet our fundraising goals and close our projected fundraising gap
  • Research and prospect potential individual donors through existing and new networks
  • Create high-quality marketing materials and pitches to articulate our achievements, vision, and needs to potential donors
  • Build and cultivate relationships with new and existing donors and strategic partners through personal meetings or phone calls, emails, or mailings
  • Create a Board evolution strategy and a plan to recruit new Board members
  • Formalize key US operational processes, and manage group of volunteers to oversee the execution of those processes
  • Travel to Waslala, Nicaragua several times per year to gain a first-hand perspective on our work and its human impacts

Please send a resume and cover letter to:

Justin Knabb
Water for Waslala

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