Data Director

City: Washington
State: DC
Job Code: 11-17
# of Openings: 1



Title: Data Director

Department: National Programs

Reports To: Senior Director of Research and Analysis

Supervises: VAN Administrator and CRM Support Staff

Context: Ensures field staff and volunteers are trained and have access to Sierra Club’s suite of technical resources (VAN, CRM, etc.) and that underlying data is maintained and reported out with highest degree of accuracy.

Scope: Sierra Club is seeking to hire a Data Director, located in Washington D.C. The Data Director is responsible for supporting the work of Sierra Club’s movement building staff and activists through building and maintaining technical tools and reports with focus on making it as easy as possible for staff to run efficient, effective programs. Sierra Club aspires to be a data-driven organization as such the Data Director is an agent of change. The Data Director will support the implementation of sophisticated, data-driven organizing and electoral programs by providing vision, strategic analytic resources, training and support. The Sierra Club is currently using Smart VAN in twelve states, as well as transitioning its CRM from a custom platform to Salesforce. In this role, you will advise and support senior Conservation staff by using data, organizing tools, and analysis to ensure our programs are as effective and efficient as possible. You will support staff in the field through actionable reporting, analysis, training and tool development.

Job Responsibilities:

  1. Technology: Ensure the integration of VAN and Salesforce, identifying key fields to import/export based on staff/field need, and Sierra Club’s reporting attributes. Serve as primary liaison with Smart VAN, State Voices, America Votes to explore most cost effective access to SmartVAN and voter file data. Collaborate with Digital Strategies team, relying on them for platform development, guidance, and advice, and at the same time assisting with their work by ensuring Conservation’s data processes are flawless. Oversee SalesForce, VAN usage and data architecture to guarantee compliance with internal and external reporting needs. Facilitate synchronization of digital and field data platforms
  2. Training: Ensure all staff use data and technical tools to manage effective programming by offering orientation and continuing training, coaching, and support on data and technical tools, both to organizers or data leads within each field office, as well as to management staff and leadership. Trainings will be offered in person and online, both live and in the form of videos and written documentation. Develop and support Chapter data practitioners able to administer aspects of the VAN and Salesforce within their committees
  3. Reporting: Produce actionable reports to help staff and volunteers understand the work happening on the ground and identify intervention points to ensure the work is of the highest quality and producing necessary output. Consult regularly with movement-building programs on data and reporting needs.  Many reports will likely be produced in Salesforce using SQL and Tableau, though reporting in VAN, Excel, and GOOGLE can also be expected.
  4. Analysis: Analyze data to provide feedback and guidance to inform both targeting and strategy. This role will rarely be responsible for developing predictive models or designing treatments, this will be handled by the Movement Building analyst; however, the successful candidate will be able to offer feedback and guidance to optimize the programs SC runs, and suggest modifications needed.
  5. Tool Development & Support: identify, implement, and maintain technical tools to support the field and administrative work of the organization. Monitor and respond to support requests so that every employee in the field can use the tools to make their work successful.  Identify additional needs, and develop technical tools to meet those needs.
  6. Supervision: Supervise the VAN Administrator and CRM Support staff and be prepared to step in when necessary including creating and provisioning new accounts for staff, creating and correctly coding scripts, cutting lists, and supporting staff as needed on tools like predictive dialer, virtual phonebanks, and MiniVAN. 
  7. Data: Drive regular, organized data hygiene processes.
  8. Other: Proactively stay current on data management and organizing best practices through partners and vendors, including the Analyst Institute, Catalist, the Atlas Project, and Wellstone.

Knowledge & Skills:

  1. Minimum 5-7 years of progressively responsible professional experience in development of data systems for decentralized organization;
  2. Knowledge with field and field data, especially in the context of large-scale canvass operations and organizing for advocacy or electoral campaigns;
  3. 1 or more cycles of experience on a political (electoral) campaign
  4. Comprehensive knowledge of political research and data management systems, including VAN and voter file data
  5. Strong project management skills including the ability to take large projects, divide them into steps, plot them into a work plan, and keep yourself/team on task to meet goals;
  6. Demonstrated success in building and managing a diverse team.
  7. Have used VAN extensively as a manager; preference for having administered VAN (creating usernames, managing positions, creating coding structures, etc.);
  8. Knowledge of database structure and relationships;
  9. An aptitude and enthusiasm for learning new technologies quickly;
  10. Experience and comfort using Google docs and other collaborative communication software;
  11. Experience with training others on utilizing technology and the VAN (large group sessions, small group sessions, 1 on 1, online, and through producing documentation);
  12. Expert-level understanding of Excel, including advanced formulas, conditionals, pivot tables, and error messages, and Access fluency.
  13. Outstanding data analysis and statistical skills
  14. A basic understanding of web technology, how websites talk to users, and how data can be accessed and saved from different web properties.
  15. Ability to travel about 10-20% of time and willingness to work on campaign(s) as needed for short 1-2 week stints as needed.

Preferred skills:

  • Understanding of or familiarity with organizing;
  • Understanding and/or experience with Salesforce CRM;
  • Strong preference for candidates with a working knowledge of SQL;
  • Automation tools: Python and basic shell scripting;
  • JS, HTML, CSS experience (i.e. you have built a web application before);



This position is represented by a collective bargaining unit and is subject to the terms and conditions of the contract between Sierra Club and John Muir Local.

The Sierra Club offers competitive salary package commensurate with skills and experience plus excellent benefits that include medical, dental, and vision coverage, and a retirement savings 401(k) plan. This is a category 3 exempt position.

Sierra Club is a 501(c)(4) organization. Sierra Club does not sponsor H1B visas.

The Sierra Club is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse workforce.

Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.

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