American Horticultural Society logo

Director of Membership and Communications
Full-Time, Salaried, Exempt

Position Summary
The American Horticultural Society (AHS) seeks a dynamic, impact-driven Director of Membership and Communications responsible for increasing membership through an effective acquisition, retention, and communications strategy. Our new Director of Membership and Communications will be joining our team at a critical juncture in the organization’s history. Due to the pandemic, interest in gardening has never been higher. We see opportunities to increase our membership with serious gardeners, beginning gardeners, and companies working in the horticultural industry.

The individual chosen to be our new Director of Membership and Communications will set membership strategy, establish annual membership goals, and work across departments to ensure goals are met. The Director will evaluate existing procedures and make adjustments to ensure maximum efficiency, serve existing members, and manage two Membership Associates and one Communications Associate. The Director of Membership and Communications will help to anticipate member needs and ensure excellent customer service and a strong value proposition for AHS members.

About The American Horticultural Society
Founded in 1922, the AHS is a national organization with 22,000 members. AHS members receive The American Gardener, the Society’s bi-monthly print magazine, along with free admission at more than 360 gardens via the AHS Reciprocal Garden Network. Our national programs include Lifelong Learning educational sessions, the Great American Gardeners Awards, the National Children & Youth Garden Symposium, and a Travel Study program. The AHS website (, which will be re-launched in the summer of 2024, offers resources to horticulturists, gardeners, and other constituents. AHS maintains an active presence across multiple social media platforms.

The Society is headquartered at River Farm, a 26-acre garden property overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria, VA. By joining AHS’ outstanding team of professionals, the Director of Membership and Communications will support AHS’ mission of inspiring a culture of gardening and horticultural practices that sustains healthy, beautiful communities and a livable planet.

While there may be other job-related responsibilities and tasks, this job description is intended to identify the essential functions and requirements of the position.

  • Evaluate all membership acquisition and retention activities, identifying opportunities to expand the membership base and improve the membership experience.
  • Oversee all membership processes for acquiring new members, retaining existing members, and engaging lapsed members.
  • Develop and execute a comprehensive strategy that will result in a sustainable net gain in individual membership.
  • Create a communications strategy to ensure a broader awareness of the American Horticultural Society that will positively impact AHS’ brand, membership levels, and fundraising.
  • Create new initiative focused on retaining first-year members.
  • Ensure effective membership materials and communications across multiple communications channels: digital communications, website, SEO, social media, social media advertising, Google ads, direct mail, e-newsletters, press releases, advertising, and promotional materials
  • Work closely with external direct mail and digital campaign marketing company.
  • Work across teams to leverage existing programs and activities for member acquisition and retention.
  • Research and implement the latest features of Blackbaud NXT and Online Express to streamline and enhance membership engagement.
  • Evaluate cutting-edge membership technology, such as membership apps and digital membership cards, to provide seamless digital experiences.
  • Create and execute a corporate membership strategy. Develop criteria to measure and regularly report on the effectiveness of membership activities and existing member demographics. Work with relevant staff on collecting membership satisfaction and future needs data.
  • Manage two Membership Associates whose responsibilities include processing new member applications, managing the membership renewal process, and coordination of membership marketing campaigns among other projects.
  • Manage a Communications Associate to ensure all organization-wide communications provide the best picture of AHS.
  • Collaborate with Finance to develop and monitor the department budget.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • 7-10 years of membership or member service experience within a membership association.
  • Demonstrated past success in developing and executing comprehensive membership strategies that have resulted in significant growth.
  • Experience with direct mail, list acquisition, list testing, and data analysis.
  • Understanding of communications including digital media (including SEO), social media, and emerging digital platforms.
  • Experience with content creation, a plus.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work well with different personality types.
  • Experience with member databases, association management software, and/or customer relationship management software.
  • Capacity and motivation to develop an in-depth understanding of AHS’ target audiences, programs, resources, and services.
  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal, written, and verbal skills. High attention to detail.
  • Proven ability to manage and supervise on-site, hybrid, and remote employees.
  • Resourceful, with the ability to make decisions in an evolving environment and anticipate future needs.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively manage short and long-term projects with multiple deadlines.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office products and aptitude to develop a high level of proficiency with AHS’ database, NXT.
  • Commitment to customer service excellence.
  • Interest in gardening, a plus.

The Director of Membership and Communications is a full-time salaried position. AHS offers generous vacation, holidays, individual health, dental, vision, and 403b benefits. Salary will range from $110,000 to $120,000, commensurate with years of experience. The position is typically based in Alexandria, VA, but has the possibility for a remote or hybrid option.

To Apply
Qualified candidates should submit a resume and cover letter that describes your experience and interest in the Director of Membership and Communications position directly to Suzanne Laporte, AHS President & CEO at with the subject line: Membership Director. Please submit materials in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word only. Deadline for submitting materials is June 30, 2024. Applicants will be considered on a rolling basis and are encouraged to apply early.

AHS is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We value a diverse workforce and strongly encourage applicants of all backgrounds to apply, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or disability.

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification form upon hire.