External Affairs Manager

The Nature Conservancy


Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA



Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable.  One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we strive for a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 74 countries, including all 50 United States, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond.


The External Affairs Manager will support the Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota Chapter of The Nature Conservancy’s conservation goals by working collaboratively with staff from the government relations, conservation, marketing, and philanthropy teams to engage and activate new and existing supporters through relationship management and strategic policy communications. Working closely with conservation and government relations staff, they will facilitate and implement tactics to manage relationships with external partners to help achieve the Conservancy’s state and federal lobbying goals. In coordination with our marketing department, they will provide strategic communications capacity for the External Affairs Departments in order to fully utilize communications, media, events, and tours to increase our organizational profile with elected officials, grass-tops, and grass-roots supporters. The range for this salaried role begins at $70,000 USD and is dependent on experience. It includes a generous benefits package. This position may be based in our Minneapolis office or elsewhere in Minnesota. We currently anticipate that the need and/or funding for this position will end December 2022, with the possibility of extending.


The External Affairs Manager will develop and lead the strategy for increasing engagement with partner organizations, community leaders, businesses and board members throughout Minnesota, lead outreach efforts to key political and community allies, and administer the External Affairs relationship management databases. Essential functions include:

Partner Engagement

  • Build and develop strategic relationships, either directly or indirectly through existing Conservancy relationships, with community leaders, businesses, local elected officials and board members to advance conservation policy priorities such as, but not limited to land protection, natural resource management and climate change.
  • Engage Conservancy members and partners through direct email, action alerts, events, tours and media opportunities.
  • Train, mentor and support conservation staff in leveraging existing relationships to help achieve public policy and funding goals.
  • Manage and improve database management system for tracking strategic relationships.

Strategic Policy Communications

  • Serve as External Affairs liaison with the Chapter Marketing and Communications Department developing policy content for Chapter communications materials.
  • Develop key messages, talking points and other materials as needed to advance partner engagement strategy.
  • Work collaboratively with Chapter Digital Marketing Strategist to identify ways social media can be used to elevate the Conservancy’s profile with elected officials at the local, state and federal level.
  • Develop engagement plan for grass-tops and grass-roots supporters.



  • May plan and director work of volunteers, interns, or temporary staff, but no direct staff supervision.
  • Develop strategic partnerships with relevant partners to influence legislation.
  • Communicate with various audiences including rural and urban constituencies, businesses leaders, organizational decision makers, and local community leaders in support of conservation outcomes – while enhancing our integration and relationships with local groups and black, indigenous and communities of color.
  • Ensure program compliance with internal policies and external requirements.
  • Serve as a team leader for assigned projects and coordinate the work of others across multiple departments including conservation, communications, and philanthropy.
  • Comply with state and federal lobbying laws and regulations.
  • May need to gain cooperation from individuals or groups (inside and outside the Conservancy) over whom there is no direct authority in order to accomplish program goals.


  • Bachelor’s degree and 4 years related experience or equivalent combination.
  • Fluency in English.
  • Experience in a field that developed familiarity with social, economic and/or political conditions and issues in Minnesota.
  • Experience in designing, implementing and directing multiple complex projects and ensuring program accountability.
  • Communications experience including preparing and presenting to a variety of audiences, developing written communications and/or implementing and evaluating communication and engagement plan/strategies.
  • Experience working with corporate or NGO partners, and government agencies.  


  • Experience coordinating complex projects across multiple teams and multiple office locations.
  • Familiarity with communication technologies and best practices.
  • Multi-cultural experience appreciated.
  • Self-starting, independent worker who can thrive in a decentralized organization, working across teams, operating units and functions to achieve optimal results.  
  • Outstanding written and oral communication, negotiating and organizational (database management) skills.
  • Experience presenting to and/or communicating with business, government or legislative staff and/or program leadership.
  • Consistently demonstrate professional, positive and approachable attitude/demeanor and discretion.
  • Good team-playing skills, including diligence, creativity, and a healthy sense of humor.


To apply to position number 49088, submit resume (required) and cover letter separately using the upload buttons on the website. All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, December 4, 2020.

Click “submit” to apply for the position or “save for later” to create a draft application for future submission. Once submitted, applications cannot be revised or edited. Failure to complete required fields may result in your application being disqualified from consideration.

If you experience technical issues, please refer to our applicant user guide or contact applyhelp@tnc.org.

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

The successful applicant must meet the requirements of The Nature Conservancy’s background screening process.