External Affairs Associate

Organization icon

The Nature Conservancy

Location icon

Chicago, IL, United States

Apply now
Clock icon

29 days ago


Chicago, Illinois, USA

IL 201


The mission of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is to conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we develop innovative, on-the-ground solutions to the world’s toughest environmental challenges so that people and nature can thrive. Our work is guided by our values, which include a commitment to diversity and respect for people, communities, and cultures. From a rewarding mission to career development and flexible schedules, there are many reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want to know more? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube to hear stories from staff or visit Glassdoor.

One of TNC’s primary goals is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that employees around the globe have a sense of belonging and feel that their unique contributions are valued. We know we’ll only achieve our mission by hiring and engaging a diverse staff that reflects the communities in which we work. Recognizing that people bring talent and skills that have been developed outside the scope of a job, we take a holistic approach to recruitment that considers life experience in addition to the professional requirements listed in our postings. Please apply – we’d love to hear from you. To quote a popular saying at TNC, “you’ll join for the mission, and you’ll stay for the people.”


The External Affairs Associate supports the Nature Conservancy's conservation and advocacy goals by serving as a liaison and informational contact between the organization and external partners/stakeholders. They will support the Illinois Government Relations team in amplifying conservation and climate policies that support TNC’s national and state chapter advocacy platform and will be primarily responsible for tracking statewide climate issues. The External Affairs Associate coordinates and implements internal initiatives such as organizational knowledge management, administrative procedures, internal networks, and project coordination. The External Affairs Associate serves as the main point of contact for City of Chicago conservation policy issues; therefore, the ideal candidate will be in the Chicago metro region.


The External Affairs Associate serves as a representative to inform Conservancy partners and elected and appointed officials of Conservancy policy positions. They help to develop strategic partnerships with relevant agencies, conservation organizations, and industry to advance The Nature Conservancy’s conservation agenda. They may organize grass roots efforts to mobilize constituents on legislative priorities. The External Affairs Associate also builds and facilitates internal networks, coordinates meetings, agendas, and presentations, and conducts other activities in support of the Illinois Government Relations program. This includes additional responsibilities related to federal and state legislative issues based on team needs.


  • Advocates for statewide conservation and climate issues through engagement with stakeholders including conservation organizations such as the Illinois Environmental Council, community-based organizations, and elected officials.
  • Supports state climate advocacy goals by actively participating in coalitions such as the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition.
  • Builds relationships with key partners and policymakers who are involved in efforts to tackle climate change, promote public health and equity, protect natural and working lands, and augment sustainable transportation.
  • Collaborates with national, regional, and Illinois Chapter colleagues on shared projects, identifying cross cutting connections with legislative priorities with a particular focus on the city of Chicago and Cook County region.
  • Under direction of supervisor, drafts action alerts, sign on letters, support letters and other materials as needed to support the advocacy goals of the Illinois Chapter.
  • Provides research and policy analysis and assists with outreach in support of legislative, corporate and/or policy priorities at the state and federal level.
  • Aids with preparation of program materials including presentations, memos, and other communications.
  • Provides administrative, research, organizing and general office support to the Illinois Government Relations team.
  • Works independently, working with supervisor on complex matters as needed.
  • Makes independent decisions within the scope of work assignments.
  • Financial responsibility which may include developing and working within a budget, processing check requests, and completing travel expense reports.

Are you looking for a career to help people and nature? Guided by science, TNC creates innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that people and nature can thrive together. We’re looking for someone who is passionate, motivated problem-solver. Come join TNC and apply today!


  • Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 2 years related work experience or equivalent combination of education and work experience.
  • Experience researching information from divergent sources and compiling it into a cohesive reporting structure.
  • Experience writing and editing promotional and informational material.
  • Experience presenting to and communicating with internal and external audiences.
  • Experience working with partners/government agencies.
  • Experience interacting with senior leadership in a professional manner.
  • Experience with integrating justice and equity concepts into projects and interactions.
  • Regular and consistent travel to Chicago office is required.


  • Understanding of State of Illinois and/or federal legislative process.
  • Knowledge of Cook County and City of Chicago governing process.
  • Awareness of conservation and climate change issues impacting the State of Illinois and the United States.
  • Knowledge of State of Illinois and federal lobbying laws and regulations, and the ability to monitor changes in county and local lobbying requirements.
  • Experience coordinating complex projects in a decentralized organization, working across teams, operating units, and functions to achieve optimal results.
  • Experience building networks, facilitating informational sessions, increasing internal knowledge and capacity, and identifying key stakeholders.
  • Experience, coursework, or other training in public policy, government relations, business, or sustainability.
  • Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural experience appreciated.
  • Self-starting, independent worker who can thrive in a decentralized organization with minimal oversight.
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail.


Since 1951, TNC has been doing work you can believe in. Through grassroots action, we have grown from a small non-profit into one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than 1 million members, over 400 scientists, and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff and partners, we impact conservation around the world!

TNC offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits package including health care benefits, flexible spending accounts, a 401(k) plan with an 8% employer match, parental leave, accrued paid time off, life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, other life and work well-being benefits. Learn more about our benefits on our Culture Tab on nature.org/careers.

We’re proud to offer a flexible work environment that supports of the health and well-being of the people we employ.


This position requires a valid driver's license and compliance with TNC’s Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered "high risk drivers." To learn more about the Auto Safety Program, visit https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/careers/recruitment/ under the FAQ section.

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee's motor vehicle record.


To apply for job ID 52645, submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at https://careers.nature.org/. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page 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.

Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to applyhelp@tnc.org with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

Where legally permissible, TNC requires all new employees to be fully vaccinated and willing to keep up to date with vaccines that protect against COVID-19. By accepting an offer of employment, you agree to comply with this requirement, unless you are entitled to a legally mandated exemption.

An attractive salary and benefits package is part of TNC’s value proposition to our employees. TNC strives to provide competitive pay and bases salaries on the geographic location of the role committing to being equitable across groups and providing hiring salary ranges when possible.

Since we support flexible and remote work for our employees, many positions have a flexible location within countries where we’re registered as a Non-government Organization and established as an employer. This may mean we’re unable to provide a hiring salary range in the posting for some of our positions. However, candidates invited to be part of our interview process will be provided their location specific range upon request.

Salary range for this position is $57,840.00 - $61,455.00 based on background and experience.