Program Director, Volunteer Relations

Location : Harpers Ferry, WV (HQ) or ATC Regional Office
Department : Conservation
Supervisor : Senior Director of Conservation
Type : Full-time

Our Mission

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come.

Position Summary

This position is key to the sustainability and longevity of the Appalachian Trail’s volunteer management tradition, currently engaging more than 6,000 volunteers in trail maintenance, education, outreach, corridor stewardship, natural resources protection, and other Appalachian Trail (A.T.) management programs. The Program Director, Volunteer Resources works collaboratively with 31 affiliated A.T. clubs, agency partners, board and committee members and Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) staff to support the overall volunteer program for the A.T.

The Program Director is ATC’s point person and organizational expert on National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) volunteer policies, standards and guidelines, and reporting. He/ She ensures that ATC and affiliated A.T. clubs meet obligations associated with the NPS and USFS under each agency’s respective Volunteer in Parks and Volunteer in Forests programs and fosters cooperative and collaborative communications among all A.T. management partners. This position works closely with NPS, as the lead agency for the A.T., through a Cooperative Agreement to administer the A.T. volunteer program and build volunteer capacity.

The Program Director fosters and supports an effective working partnership among all ATC staff, programs, and A.T. volunteer clubs. He/She ensures proactive communication and collaborative problem solving.

By instituting best practices in volunteer program support, the incumbent will ensure that ATC and agency partners realize an engaged and sustained network of volunteer partners to maintain and protect the Trail. The selected candidate will have demonstrated leadership experience as well as the ability to work both independently with minimal supervision and cooperatively as a team.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities
  • ●Define the overall volunteer program vision, with an eye towards growing and diversifying well trained A.T. volunteers that safely and actively participate in Trail management projects and programs.
  • ●Support and manage information for the overall volunteer program for the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) by assuring that standards of the volunteer service agreements with respective agency partners are regularly reviewed and met.
  • ●Facilitate club/ATC memorandum of understandings pertaining to responsibilities, coordinating the work of volunteer supervisors at both staff and club levels.
  • ●Ensure that ATC and A.T. club volunteers have current and complete agreements including defined standards and safety requirements.
  • ●Identify best management practices for volunteer engagement and consistently incorporate best practices into ATC and affiliated A.T. club operations through effective training and communication strategies.
  • ●Coordinate the work of contractors associated with volunteer database management and software development. Utilize system to: monitor volunteer engagement, training, recognition; analyze trends; track projects; and draw reports. Assure volunteer database is up-to-date and support alignment of projects and volunteers.
  • ●Prepare and coordinate annual budget, calendar, and workplan for the volunteer program management.
  • ●Work with ATC development staff on meeting fundraising goals for this program.
  • ●Work with NPS staff to identify and solicit federal funding for volunteer development.
  • ●Lead reporting on all funding and volunteer program work.
  • ●Evaluate program for effectiveness and establish special initiatives and strategies for program expansion or improvement.
  • ●Serve as the staff liaison to relevant Board of Directors committees and sub-committees, and lead relevant strategic planning teams.
  • ●Conduct research on current volunteer trends, share findings with colleagues and partners, and incorporate new and emerging best practices.


    Volunteer Training

  • ●Work with ATC staff, club leaders, and agency partners to identify needed skills as well as projects, programs and tasks to be accomplished by volunteers along the length of the Trail, and develop associated volunteer job descriptions as needed.
  • ●Develop and maintain a trail wide volunteer training plan in coordination with staff and partners that meets clubs’ fundamental responsibilities to the A.T. now and into the future, including curricula development, quality assurance, and training certification and tracking. Deliver trainings and orientation as appropriate.
  • ●Lead the development of manuals that address best management practices for volunteer engagement and work on the A.T.


    Volunteer Recruitment and Communications

  • ●Establish a volunteer recruitment strategy encompassing trail program and club needs, corporate volunteer initiatives, and community partner relationships. Critical success factors will be to solicit, cultivate, and recognize lasting relationships. 
  • ●Advise on volunteer opportunities with special considerations, such as international volunteers, positions requiring background checks, volunteers with need for special accommodation, and youth participation. Assist with completing required paperwork as needed.
  • ●Deliver communications that recruit, inform, and empower volunteers. Prepare written material, including recruitment material, media releases, articles for in-house and other publications and websites. This may include developing content for ATC’s website, blog, The Register, club newsletters, and media releases. It may also include presentations to civic organizations, businesses, or communities, to attract groups and individual volunteers.
  • ●Organize and administer volunteer recognition programs and activities. Collaborate with agency partners on special initiatives related to volunteers, such as “Volunteer-in-Parks” day or other events as appropriate.  

  • ●Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required. A degree or certificate in volunteer administration is preferred.
  • ●Minimum of three years of successful volunteer management experience.
  • ●Knowledge of service-learning.
  • ●Excellent persuasive writing skills.
  • ●Excellent interpersonal communication skills
  • ●Strong competence with word processing, spreadsheet and database skills.
  • ●Ability to problem-solve and meet multiple deadlines.
  • ●High degree of initiative and a team player.
  • ●Demonstrable familiarity with recreation resource management.

Physical Demands
  • ●Ability to communicate with individuals by phone, email and in person.
  • ●Some travel will be required.
  • ●Working on the phone or computer for prolonged periods.
  • ●Visits to high-profile volunteer project sites may entail hiking, but is not required.


Work Environment

Moderate noise level due to an office environment with a high level of activity on the phone, computers and printers.


To Apply
To Apply:  Submit cover letter and resume to [email protected]
Job Title should be included in the Subject line.

Please no phone calls.  Only responses by [email protected] will be considered.


ATC Equal Employment Opportunity Statement


The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness with all employees and volunteers to enable participation and contributions to their fullest potential.


We are committed to being a diverse and inclusive organization, and recognize that diversity contributes to an effective and successful organizational culture and mission.


The ATC prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and/or expression), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, political affiliation, union membership, or any other status protected by the laws and regulations in the locations where we operate.