External Affairs Associate

Organization icon

The Nature Conservancy

Location icon

Phoenix, AZ, United States

Apply now
Clock icon

30+ days ago


Phoenix, Arizona, USA



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 goals by leading project teams, designing and delivering project objectives, and serving as liaison and informational contact between The Nature Conservancy and country, sub-national, and local agencies, multilateral institutions/ agencies, business and/or private groups.


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!

Based in Phoenix, Arizona (3+ days/week remote from home office; may be required to occassionally work in the Phoenix office): The External Affairs Associate works with government and business entities to further the Conservancy’s mission for the Arizona chapter and in support of the seven-state, two-country Colorado River program and the Conservancy’s North American Government Relations program.

  • Lobbying and Government Relations (approximately 50%)
  • Cultivating relationships with federal, state, tribal, and/or local government decision-makers, with emphasis on state, local and tribal relationship building/relationship management.
  • Advancing conservation policy priorities through regular contact with TNC contract lobbyists and with federal, state, local, and tribal government officials.
  • Track, analyze and prepare recommendations on state and federal legislation in partnership with chapter External Affairs Director.

  • Collaborating with Program Teams (approximately 20%)
  • Works closely with land and water conservation programs to advise and support land and water conservation strategies and also works with Development and Marketing building support and capacity for the Conservancy.
  • Work with conservation staff to develop high level strategies to build influence and improve partnerships.
  • Work with External Affairs Director and contract lobbyists to develop multi-faceted legislative campaigns to increase our impact and achieve specific policy goals.

  • Stakeholder Engagement & Coalition Participation (approximately 20%)
  • Represent chapter at a range of policy and coalition tables to develop policy and maintain working relationships with a broad range of community, government and industry stakeholders.
  • Form multi-organization working groups to develop policy as needed.

  • Other (approximately 10%)
    • Administration: Completes in a timely and accurate manner items such as timecards, expense reports and performance reviews.
    • Participates in department, AZ Business Unit, Division, Regional and TNC-wide meetings.
    • Other duties as required.


  • May supervise administrative staff and/or volunteers, interns, or temporary staff.
  • Financial responsibility may include working within/managing a budget to complete projects, negotiating and contracting with vendors, assisting with budget development, and meeting fundraising targets.
  • Maintains regular contact with local, sub-national, country and multilateral officials, and/or corporate representatives on matters pertaining to administrative, legislative, and/or corporate actions and internationally negotiated agreements.
  • Develops strategic partnerships with relevant groups to influence legislation and/or, international negotiations and agreements.
  • Ensures program compliance with internal policies and external requirements.
  • Serves as a team leader for assigned projects and coordinate the work of others.
  • Ensures that the program complies with country lobbying laws and regulations.
  • May need to gain cooperation from individuals or groups (inside and outside the Conservancy) over whom there is no direct authority in order to accomplish program goals.
  • Occasional travel within Arizona (including overnight at least once annually) and occasional overnight travel to other U.S. locations for training, workshops, conferences, etc.
  • Occasionally work overtime, evenings, or weekends.
  • Work environment involves only infrequent exposure to disagreeable elements and minor physical exertion and/or strain.


  • Bachelor’s degree (preferably in political science, environmental policy, management or other relevant field) and 4 years of related experience (such as government relations, policy, lobbying, or advocacy experience), or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience presenting to and/or communicating with business, government or legislative staff and/or program leadership.
  • Experience in designing, implementing and directing multiple complex projects and ensuring program accountability.
  • Communications experience including preparing and presenting project proposals and developing written communications.
  • Experience working with corporate or NGO partners, and government agencies.
  • Experience working and communicating effectively with a wide range of people.
  • Experience with Microsoft software (Word, Excel, Power Point).
  • Valid Driver's license.


The Nature Conservancy offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits package including; health care benefits, flexible spending accounts, 401(k) plan including employer match, accrued paid time off (including annual, personal, and sick leave), life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, other life and work wellness benefits. Benefits may be subject to generally applicable eligibility, waiting period, contribution, and other requirements and conditions. Learn more about our benefits at nature.org/careers. We’re proud to offer a work-environment that is supportive of the health, wellness, and flexibility needs 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 53293, submit your current resume and cover letter 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.

The successful applicant must meet the requirements of The Nature Conservancy's background screening process.

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.