Now hiring: LOCUS National Deputy Director

Smart Growth America (SGA) is a national nonprofit that empowers communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to create livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity. Formed in 2008, LOCUS, Latin for “place,” is Smart Growth America’s national coalition of real estate developers and investors who advocate for sustainable, equitable, walkable development in America’s metropolitan areas.

LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors

SGA seeks a dynamic and passionate individual to support its national LOCUS coalition of responsible real estate developers and investors in Washington, DC.

Job description

LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors seeks a passionate and experienced Deputy Director to expand and support our network of influential real estate developers and investors that support equitable walkable urban development in America’s metropolitan areas. Our LOCUS coalition also works within the larger industry to ensure that the voice of forward-thinking, triple-bottom line real estate developers and investors is heard at the federal, state and local level.

The Deputy Director will manage the day-to-day operations of the coalition, execute a communications and membership strategy, as well as convene technical experts, all of which will facilitate knowledge sharing, and coordinate sector-wide advocacy.

The ideal candidate will have a combination of experience managing a multi-year, member-driven advocacy and education campaign, managing staff, developing communications and membership programs, event planning and fundraising.

This position reports to Smart Growth America’s Vice President of Land Use and Development and is based in Washington, DC. Although the position is based in Washington, DC, SGA staff are currently working remotely on an indefinite basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are likely to continue teleworking through at least the end of 2020. The employee filling this position can live anywhere in the United States during the remote working period.


The Deputy Director’s top priorities are membership support and new member outreach, communications, fundraising, staff supervision and development and relationship building with LOCUS members and partners. The general duties of the Deputy Director include but are not limited to, the following:

Membership recruitment and services (40%): Working with Vice President and staff, manage recruitment and retention of LOCUS members (organizations and individuals). Communicate with members, non-members and others in a relationship-building role.

  • Develop and oversee the implementation of a plan for identifying membership needs for support and service by LOCUS, including needs assessments, site visits, and surveys.
  • Assist in the general planning and implementation of programs designed to cultivate, maintain, and strengthen member ties to each other and to the coalition. Create impactful programs that enhance member engagement.
  • Participate in promotion of coalition membership, member benefits and coalition programs and services.
  • Solicit new and renewing membership.
  • Provide a high level of service including building strong relationships with members, non-members, donors and others. Responds to inquiries and requests.
  • Assist LOCUS in engaging in effective collaborative relationships with member programs.
  • Responsible for timely entry and acknowledgement of all memberships.
  • Work with Smart Growth America’s Director of Operations to ensure timely completion of administrative tasks related to membership and payment processing, coordination of membership renewals, production of membership reports, updating membership data on website and in other functional systems.
  • Write and update membership communications.
  • Serve as staff liaison to LOCUS chapters and affiliates, specifically in Massachusetts and Oregon.

Communications (40%): Responsible for internal and external communication strategies, media relations, social media presence and the development of communications collateral.

Communication with members:

  • Develop and implement overall membership communications strategy.
  • Create framework/talking points for member programs around a wide array of LOCUS issues.
  • Support organizational communications with written information for newsletters, annual reports, website, social media, etc.
  • Promote member programs’ innovative and best practices.
  • Provide technical assistance to member programs on public relations, communications, media advocacy and media relations. Facilitate statewide and local approaches to communications by working with the member agencies.

Online communications:

  • Manage the structure and content of LOCUS website; Develop and execute all communications on the Coalition website and social media outlets. Expand LOCUS social media presence through existing and new social media outlets. Manage LOCUS website member log-in accounts, ensuring that registrations are kept updated and new registrations are implemented in a timely manner.
  • Analyze data pertaining to website and social media use and effectiveness as related to fundraising and awareness activities.
  • Produce the monthly e-newsletter, annual report, and other special reports as needed.

Communication with public: Develop, implement and monitor communications’ initiatives that further LOCUS strategic goals and are in the best interest of responsible real estate developers and investors and LOCUS members.

  • Assist coalition with the development and implementation of a communication plan that furthers LOCUS strategic initiatives and increases public awareness of LOCUS, member programs, and the issue of domestic violence.
    • Develop, direct and coordinate LOCUS awareness campaigns and internet marketing programs.
    • Produce and distribute public awareness materials for use by member programs and the public.
  • Create communications and media materials and archive.
  • Utilize research to develop communications around how to talk about walkable urban development and financing issues.
  • Direct and oversee media relations for LOCUS
  • Support LOCUS in management of all media inquiries.
  • Serve as a LOCUS point of contact for media, including initiating and responding to media contacts, following up with, building rapport with and providing relevant information to media.
  • With the Vice President to determine LOCUS response to media inquiries and initiation of public statement
  • Write and disseminate news releases as requested.
  • Serve as point of contact for member organizations to respond to and initiate media activities.
  • Work in conjunction with Vice President on legislative and public policy issues as necessary.

Organizational administration and development (20%)

  • Assist the Vice President in researching funding opportunities for LOCUS.
  • Investigate and recommend revenue-generating and/or value-added partnerships between members and the coalition for the benefit of both.
  • Provide assistance with grants management. Facilitate the development, writing, submission, administration and monitoring of some grants.
  • Establish relationships with potential donors and participate in fundraising as assigned.
  • Maintain a process for tracking and acknowledging all gifts to LOCUS. Business Manager to manage donations and reconciliation of records.
  • Assist with communications for other revenue generating options for LOCUS, including the writing of direct mail campaigns, solicitation of sponsorships for the annual conference and other activities, and online fund generation.
  • Ensures ongoing programmatic excellence and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, communications, and systems; recommends timelines and resources needed to achieve the strategic goal.
  • Serve as key management staff; Structure and lead staff to deliver program and project outcomes
  • Direct supervision and mentorship to a team of staff. Provide individual and group supervision to staff
  • Support and provide team leadership for staff through resource planning, work assignment, information exchange, and setting program and project goals
  • Assist the Vice President and Director in the strategic and long-range planning for LOCUS
  • Work with Vice President and Director in recruitment and supervision of staff to include developing staff leadership activities (human resources, administration, and organizational planning)
  • Ensures effective systems to track scaling progress, and regularly evaluates program components, so as to measure successes that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders, and other constituents
  • Develops a strategic plan with the guidance of the Vice President of Land Use and Development and LOCUS members and with the support of the staff;
  • Assists in the development of team-wide budget of more than $1M to ensure financial stability and growth of the organization, and develops staff capacity to assist in building and managing program budgets; and
  • Other duties as assigned to support the Vice President and Director of LOCUS.


The ideal candidate for this position is a self-motivated and detail-oriented person with excellent communication, writing, research and organizing skills, and will possess many, if not all, of the following professional qualifications, competencies and personal qualities:

  • Master’s degree or four years equivalent experience
  • Minimum of 6-8 years of leadership experience with manager and/or director level experience, ideally working in the non profit, real estate, community development or related fields is strongly desired.
  • National organizing and/or campaign experience is highly desirable
  • Ability to understand and manage complex political situations and navigate high-stakes competing interests
  • Commitment to racial justice and demonstrated ability to interact effectively with people from different cultures and experiences; ability to lead and work with cross-cultural environments and occasionally regionally diverse environments including rural communities
  • Demonstrated abilities in planning meetings and large events, writing, organizing and training skills; and
  • A history of growing revenues in the areas of events, partnership/sponsorship, membership, grant development and other related programs and services.
  • Organized; effective in handling multiple tasks in a high intensity, time-sensitive work environment
  • Ability to work autonomously within established precedents
  • Ability to proactively engage high level executives in the real estate industry
  • Experience developing and managing budgets of at least $1,000,000
  • Excellent verbal, written, and digital communication skills; ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of audiences
  • Comfortable with community outreach with an intent to engage in the broader community as the face and ambassador of the organization
  • Strong management skills, including managing a team environment and willingness to make difficult disciplinary and personnel decisions
  • Clarity of values that are critical to organizational culture, along with the ability to communicate those values to the organizational community
  • Willingness to work a flexible schedule to meet the needs of the organization, including evenings and weekends


Starting salary is $65,000-$75,000 depending on experience. Benefits include health insurance, 401k, and paid vacation and paid sick time.

How to apply

Please send a resume, cover letter summarizing your relevant skills and experience, and any supporting documentation that demonstrate your strategic approach and management of membership and communication operations to [email protected] with “LOCUS Deputy Director” in the subject line. Questions may also be directed to the same e-mail address. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled and early submissions are strongly encouraged. In your cover letter, please indicate how you learned of this job opportunity.

Please reference “LOCUS Deputy Director” in the email subject. Short listed candidates will be contacted. No calls please.


This position is located in Washington, DC. Although the position is based in Washington, DC, SGA staff are currently working remotely on an indefinite basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are likely to continue teleworking through at least the end of 2020. The employee filling this position can live anywhere in the United States during the remote working period.

Equal Opportunity Employment

Equal opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at Smart Growth America. Employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/ preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law.

Smart Growth America is committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourages applications from candidates of color.