Executive Director

San Diego Organizing Project
San Diego, California
Apr 09, 2019
May 09, 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Degree Level
Willingness to Travel
up to 25%
Experience Level

About SDOP

Seeing the truly desperate needs of families, local faith leaders and concerned residents came together in 1979 to ask one bold question: “How can we address the root inequalities that are causing suffering in our communities?” From there, the San Diego Organizing Project was born.

Today, we are a nonpartisan, multi-faith network of 28 congregations that represents more than 70,000 families across San Diego County. As one of the most diverse grassroots organizations in the region, we uniquely bridge racial, cultural, and economic divides, unlocking the power of people to bring justice, equality, and greater opportunity to fruition in their communities. SDOP’s process is based on a model of community organizing developed by Faith in Action (FIA), a national network of community-based organizations.

We celebrate our differences and remain united by our shared belief that faith should be put into action for the benefit of all.

Position Summary

SDOP's mission is the development of local neighborhood leaders who learn to build empowering community organizations in congregrations throughout San Diego. We believe that by coming together, ordinary people, as primary stakeholders in their communities, can bring about lasting institutional changes which improve the quality of life for families.

SDOP has a strong learning culture, including weekly staff development and coaching opportunities, and FIA regional and national trainings. We place a high priority on personal learning, relationship building, and creating a respectful multi-ethnic, multi- faith, and a multilingual organization.

The Executive Director is responsible for building and leading a congregations-and community-based organization that develops community volunteer leaders to create positive community and systems change.

This person needs to be an energetic and self-motivated leader capable of guiding strategic organizational growth, including staffing, new membership, relationships with allies, and funding goals.  S/he will be responsible for overseeing daily operations of the organization, and reports to the SDOP Board of Directors.

This role requires the capacity to work on the ground level of the organization as well as the capacity to develop a diverse staff, board, and leadership base. Above all, the ideal candidate will have a proven commitment to social justice, thrive in a team-based atmosphere, demonstrated ability to work in a multi-racial, multi-faith environment, and have a vision for a transformed society that honors the dignity of all people.

Areas of Responsibility

Organizational Vision

  • Assist grassroots leadership in defining organizational vision and goals. S/he will work effectively and provide ongoing training with staff, clergy/faith leaders, and local organizing teams to implement strategic campaigns that realize the vision and goals of SDOP.
  • Work with staff, clergy/faith leaders and grassroots leadership to create and implement plans to build power that can disrupt and transform institutions, policies, and actors that are driving inequity in the region, state, and country
  • Lead the organization to respond to this historical moment; prepare for the on-going change in the social justice field; be willing to take risks to achieve the bold vision for the historic transformation of the society as we move into the future.
  • Bring creative ideas and think outside the box.

Organizational Management

  • Ensure the financial stability and health of the organization by working with the board of directors, staff, especially the Director of Operations, to implement efficient and effective personnel and financial management policies and procedures
  • Oversee the SDOP budget to develop a strategic plan to continue its successful expansion including diversification of funds from individuals, special events, membership dues and earned revenue.
  • Establish and maintain a strong Board of Directors
  • Coordinate with other PICO California Federations on collaborative efforts and shared staff
  • Create innovative data and communications systems

Community Organizing 

  • Hire and ensure quality management of organizing staff; ensure quality training and professional development to build a highly qualified team of community organizing professionals that can execute their responsibilities effectively
  • Work with clergy to develop strong moral leadership in San Diego to transform political and economic systems and build multi-racial, multi-class, multi-faith community
  • Work with staff, grassroots leaders and clergy/faith leaders to develop a strong racial and economic analysis of the region that guides strategic campaign work
  • Provide support and challenge our clergy in their particular role within SDOP
  • Ensure the implementation of strategic voter engagement work to build power and win campaigns
  • Ensure volunteer leadership and staff participation in on-going FIA training, development, and technical assistance programs
  • Support participation in FIA National and State campaigns

Public Presence

  • Develop and maintain key relationships in the community, including funders, civic leaders, community partners, clergy and member congregations
  • Work with community organizers and communications staff to develop and execute a powerful communications strategy, utilizing available technologies, creative communications campaigns, and media
  • Work with staff, clergy and grassroots leaders to provide leadership in key spaces in the region


Required: The successful candidate will possess and/or demonstrate:

  • Minimum 5 years of proven organizational leadership, including 3 years of successful staff management, fundraising, and financial management
  • Personal qualities that include integrity, mission commitment, respect for diversity, ability to motivate and inspire, and an unwavering passion for and commitment to social justice
  • Familiarity with the principles and practices of congregation-based community organizing, including grassroots leadership development and coalition-building
  • Familiarity with the process for making policy changes at local, state, and federal levels
  • Demonstrated competence and leadership in a multi-lingual, multi-racial, and economic and gender inclusive context.
  • Demonstrated success effectively leading change and organizational growth
  • Strong writing, public speaking, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Track record of staff recruitment and supervision, especially of a multi-racial team
  • Knowledge of issues faced by underserved people in an urban context, such as education, jobs, public safety, immigration, housing, and healthcare
  • Experience using public relations to engage stakeholders including funders, allies, policymakers, and media and proven track record of strong staff development, supervision and recruitment
  • Ability to apply a systematic (political, economic, and race/oppression) analysis to work and to frame that analysis through the lens of faith

Desired Qualifications:

  • Prior training or experience in an Executive Director position or similar position
  • Demonstrated leadership in multi-faith setting and proven capacity to bridge across differences
  • Experience working within PICO-California or the FIA National Network
  • Knowledge of San Diego history, neighborhoods, politics, culture, and diversity
  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) fluency

Compensation and benefits:

SDOP offers a range of benefits including major medical, prescription, dental, long-term savings and paid time off. Some benefits do have service-length requirements. Salary is commensurate with experience and education.

Application Procedure: 

If interested in this position, please forward your resume (or CV), cover letter and three professional references via email, fax or postal mail to:

Recruitment Contact:

San Diego Organizing Project, Attn. Eric Wilson

4305 University Avenue, #530, San Diego, CA 92105

Fax: 619-924-6764 / Email: eric@sdop.net

Please, no phone calls. 

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