Executive Director USA

About SurfAid

SurfAid is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) based out of Sydney, Australia, with Australian, New Zealand and U.S. affiliates. Founded in 1999 by New Zealand surfers, SurfAid has grown into a highly successful international behavioral health and developmental economics-based organization, focused on the alleviation of poverty in remote and isolated surf communities. SurfAid currently funds programs in Indonesia, Solomon Islands and Baja California, Mexico. From a start in malaria prevention, clean water, sanitation, and maternal and child health, SurfAid now runs targeted programs focused on empowering remote communities to develop their way out of poverty. All SurfAid programs utilize exclusively local, in-country staff and are closely coordinated with local, regional, and national governmental agencies and services. SurfAid has government-accredited in Australian and New Zealand.

All programs are designed to lead to community empowerment, independence, and sustainability. Success to SurfAid is to leave communities safe, healthy, food and water secure, and economically independent and move our staff onto the next project. SurfAid is also well respected in disaster relief, having been a key player in earthquake and tsunami disaster recovery in remote islands in Indonesia and winning the Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2007 from The World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO).
The U.S., Australian, and New Zealand affiliates and their Boards of Directors are focused on fundraising, country-specific events, support for private foundation (U.S.) and governmental grants from the Australian (DFAT) and New Zealand (MFAT) governments. SurfAid International, headquartered in Sydney, Australia, administers programs, marketing, finance, and Australian and international events, including Make A Wave.

SurfAid USA

SurfAid USA runs fundraising events annually at Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz, Malibu in Los Angeles, Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in the California Central Valley and will be a key player in SurfAid’s 2022 Make A Wave campaign. SurfAid USA is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our organizational culture has a strong family feel whereby team members care for and mentor one another and are supported by highly capable U.S., New Zealand, and Australian Boards of Directors. Along with our management and team colleagues in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, and Baja California.


The Executive Director U.S. (International Fundraising and Development) reports directly to SurfAid International’s CEO, Doug Lees, with oversight from SurfAid’s U.S. Board of Directors, and SurfAid’s International Board of Directors. This position offers a unique opportunity for an experienced and dynamic leader to play a key role in SurfAid’s global efforts.

Priority responsibilities for this position include:

  • Assist in coordinating support for day-to-day operations for SurfAid USA, in coordination with SurfAid International’s CEO and as part of the management team at SurfAid International as the lead U.S. based representative of the organization.
  • Work integrally with SurfAid International and SurfAid International’s CEO on the integration of all U.S., Australia and New Zealand events and activities into an overarching SurfAid International global marketing and fundraising strategy.
  • This includes the development and execution of a recurring annual and long-term philanthropic approach, to become part of the current draft SurfAid International Fundraising Strategy, 2022-2025, including cultivation and support of large and small donors, special events, annual fundraising campaigns, corporate partnerships and grants.
  • Support cultivation, management, and expansion of large, high net worth U.S., Australia and New Zealand donors and to include a broader international reach.
  • Coordinate and support the involvement of U.S., Australia and New Zealand Boards of Directors in cultivating, soliciting and stewarding donors.
  • Maintain in-depth knowledge of SurfAid’s programs to articulate our impact and case for support.
  • Work closely with the marketing and communications team at SurfAid International, on all donor solicitations and stewardship materials.
  • Have a clear voice in policies, systems, and procedures, with a special emphasis on professionalism and ethical standards, for soliciting, acknowledging, tracking, and reporting gifts.
  • Build awareness about SurfAid’s history and impact through effective storytelling.

Internal Management

  • Serve as a thought partner and strategic advisor for SurfAid’s global fundraising and marketing activities to the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and International Boards and teams.
  • Partner closely with the SurfAid International CEO to ensure SurfAid USA based efforts are leveraged consistently across all mediums.
  • Work with the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and International Board Chairs in meeting strategic goals and serve as liaison to the Boards of Directors and committees.
  • Assist SurfAid International and the SurfAid International CEO in coaching, mentoring, developing, and managing SurfAid staff and volunteer team members.
  • Manage one direct report.
  • Provide oversight and accountability for fiscal goals and responsibilities.

Attributes & Work Style

  • Passionate: A committed advocate of long-term sustainable solutions to communities facing poverty, maternal and child health disparities, a lack of access clean water and sanitation, and environmental threats.
  • Engaging: An expert storyteller who can channel personal connection to SurfAid’s mission.
  • Visionary: A strategic thinker who can drive the vision for all fundraising efforts.
  • Collaborative: Fosters a respectful, transparent, and collaborative work environment; someone who always seeks to share credit.
  • International Takes a global approach to understanding problems and finding solutions.
  • Community-minded: Skilled at connecting with individuals across all socio-economic, ethnic, cultural, and professional backgrounds in the community.
  • Proactive & Perseverant: A self-starter who demonstrates strong personal initiative and the ability to drive projects through to completion.
  • Positive: Charismatic, warm, and welcoming; a true “people-person.”
  • Growth Mindset: Says “yes” to new opportunities, challenges, risks and ideas.
  • Analytical: Ability to carefully study issues, identify trends and formulate new ideas.
  • Adaptive: Comfortable with multi-tasking; able to work both independently and in teams.
  • Reflective: Skilled at receiving and giving feedback and performance critiques.
  • Tact and diplomacy: Patient, willing and able to have difficult conversations as required.
  • Communicative: Strong written and oral communication skills. An effective public speaker and representative of the organization.
  • Flexible: Ability to work evenings and weekends as required.


Requisite Experience

  • Professional experience in fundraising, donor services, or marketing capacity within a non-profit environment.
  • Bachelors or higher degree in an appropriately related discipline.
  • Experienced in constructing, articulating, and implementing strategic annual and long-term fund development plans.
  • Prior direct responsibility for cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding gifts of $25,000 to $100,000 or more.
  • Complete end-to-end understanding of fundraising strategies, systems, and processes.
  • Grant writing experience with non-profits, private foundations and/or governmental entities.
  • Special event management, including soliciting corporate support and event sponsorships.
  • A history of working directly with board members in support of fundraising efforts.
  • Strong analytical skills and use of data to drive fundraising, partnership decisions and forecasting.
  • Excellent communication skills: using both written and oral skills to influence and engage constituents.
  • Proven ability to effectively coach and mentor employees and teams.
  • Salesforce or similar CRM experience.
  • Impressive time management skills: a self-starter, adept at multi-tasking, and able to work both independently and in teams.
  • Knowledge of surf community and culture paired with a passion and deep understanding of the needs of global health and the environment in developing communities.
  • Bilingual/multilingual helpful.
  • Ability to travel as needed to perform job duties (domestic and international).
  • A valid U.S. Passport or Green Card, state-issued driver’s license and car insurance.
  • Proof of vaccination, including boosters to COVID-19 will be required upon hire.

SurfAid provides an inclusive and diverse workplace where all are valued. We actively encourage applications of people from diverse backgrounds who share our values to apply. SurfAid is committed to safeguarding and promoting a safe environment for all, including a do-no-harm approach. This includes a criminal record check for the successful applicant.


Remote – Anywhere in the U.S. with a preference for West Coast.
SurfAid USA is currently based out of Southern California.
SurfAid International is based in Sydney, Australia.

To Apply
Please apply in writing by submitting your cover letter detailing your suitability for the role with your CV to usa@surfaid.org by April 24th.

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