Chief Operating Officer

Chief Operating Officer

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)

CSPI is seeking a Chief Operating Officer (COO) to lead and oversee the organization’s business operations, which includes 14 employees working in the following areas:

  • Nutrition Action Healthletter (NAH) – Business aspects, including direct marketing, production, customer service and fulfillment, and NAH-related digital and print products
  • Direct Mail Fundraising
  • Development
  • Finance
  • Information Systems
  • Human Resources

Reporting to the President, and in collaboration with senior staff, the COO will play a critical role in shaping and implementing CSPI’s overall strategic marketing and advocacy communications, digital, revenue-generating and brand-building strategies.  Leading through a shared vision, the COO will foster a culture of revenue accountability within the organization, and will ensure that sound planning and execution allows the organization to effectively secure resources to support its mission, today and in the future.  We are seeking a leader to evolve our organization to address future needs by wielding a powerful vision and executing it with grace.

CSPI is a non-profit 501(c)(3), science-based consumer advocacy group with about 45 staff who are deeply invested in CSPI’s mission.  Currently, our annual operating budget is approximately $14 million, and is largely supported by subscribers to Nutrition Action Healthletter, individual donors, and foundation grants.  CSPI accepts no funding from government or corporations.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Using a hands-on and collaborative style, the COO will directly supervise CSPI directors who oversee: Business Operations (Marketing of publications, Direct Mail Fundraising, Customer Service/Fulfillment, and Information Systems), Development, Finance, and Human Resources.  A major task of the COO will be to use his/her creativity to generate new revenue-generating initiatives and to balance opportunity, leadership and risk for the organization in developing these initiatives and measuring their success.


  • Work with the President to develop and execute an annual strategic plan.
  • In coordination with the President, manage all aspects of CSPI’s business operations including decisions regarding: strategic direction; budgeting; and supervising, leading, motivating and evaluating a high-caliber team. Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach.
  • Serve as member of the organization’s senior staff, participating in setting organizational priorities and fostering the organization’s values.
  • Prioritize program and organizational funding needs by working closely with the President and senior staff.
  • Stay informed of developments in philanthropy, fund development and marketing as well as the general fields of management in the nonprofit sector, bringing insights that are applicable to CSPI.
  • Work collaboratively with the communications team and other departments to ensure that CSPI has an effective online presence that strengthens CSPI’s brand and financial stability and that the use of print and digital fundraising and marketing materials are consistent with CSPI’s brand.
  • Foster inter-department collaboration both within the Business Operations staff and with senior Program staff, share knowledge, have transparent communication, and be accountable and committed to the highest ethical standards.

Business Operations & Development

  • Develop, manage and deliver clearly defined direct marketing and fundraising strategies, including short- and long-term measurable goals, with an eye to maximizing efficiency.
  • Be a thought-leader with the vision and experience to strengthen current NAH subscriber acquisition and renewal programs, and to seek new revenue-generating avenues, including bequests, to address the challenges of declining interest in print publications.
  • Help expand and strengthen CSPI’s pipeline of donors (low-dollar, mid-level, and major donors) and network of foundation relationships to further drive impactful and effective organizational funding growth.
  • Build and strengthen the community of supporters for CSPI’s work and develop platforms that enhance collaboration and identification with CSPI’s brand and offerings.
  • Working with the Business Operations Director and Information Systems Director, oversee CSPI’s technology infrastructure (network, computers, information systems) to ensure that resources provided meet the organization’s needs.
  • In collaboration with marketing, fundraising, and communications staff, help create and coordinate compelling cross-platform communications (e-communications, direct email marketing messages, online experiences and other content, including an annual report).
  • Leverage new marketing practices via video, web and email programs, demonstrating effective storytelling, and leverage social media and new technology to drive CSPI’s marketing and fundraising strategies.

Finance & Human Resources/Administration

  • Working with the Human Resources Director, oversee human resources functions including recruitment, hiring, onboarding, compensation, and benefits administration and oversight, ensuring that HR policies reflect best practices.
  • Working with relevant CSPI staff and external counsel and advisors, oversee risk management and legal issues, including reviewing contracts, leases, and other legal documents and agreements, as well as ensuring appropriate levels of business insurance and compliance with all relevant federal and local laws.
  • Working with Finance Director, oversee preparation and monitoring of annual and interim budgets and develop financial business plans and forecasts.
  • Stay up-to-date on state and federal laws regulating nonprofit organizations, and on non-profit audit best practices.
  • Ensure maintenance of appropriate internal controls and financial procedures.
  • Ensure legal and regulatory compliance regarding all financial functions.
  • Manage state funding registrations, lobbying registrations, IRS and tax audits, state tax collection legislation, postal rate and reclassification issues, trademarks, and institutional legal and tax issues.

Qualifications and Experience Required

While no one candidate will embody every qualification, the successful candidate will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal qualities to the position:

  • Master’s degree in a relevant field of study preferred. Law degree a plus.
  • Impeccable integrity.
  • Commitment to CSPI’s mission and ability to speak persuasively to stakeholders about CSPI’s program achievements.
  • Minimum of 10 years of professional executive leadership experience with strong operational experience, including organizational and resource development, fundraising and marketing, budgeting and finance, information systems, and human resources.
  • Proven ability to manage a comprehensive direct marketing and fundraising strategy that aligns with all aspects of revenue development, including foundation and major donor giving; online giving; and new business development.
  • Ability to drive innovations, change and growth, and be a detail-oriented implementer who can mobilize small teams to translate strategy into results. Demonstrated record of innovative leadership within the non-profit or philanthropic sectors.
  • A forward-looking strategist with the ability to assess, analyze and advise the President on important financial and operational issues that could impact pursuit of CSPI’s strategic goals.
  • Thorough substantive knowledge and understanding of financial management and accounting oversight, especially for nonprofit entities, including sophisticated fund and grant accounting, internal control systems, and regulatory compliance and reporting issues.
  • Demonstrated experience in effectively managing, mentoring, and motivating teams across a variety of operations functions. Commitment to a diverse, inclusive, and collegial workplace.
  • Ability to inspire trust, to organize people working as part of a team, and to motivate team members to work well together to reach common goals and objectives. Uses diplomacy and tact when there are disagreements.
  • Ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas; humility, grace and flexibility; ability to give credit and recognition to others.
  • Superb relationship management, interpersonal, and communication (written and oral) skills, with ability to make complex information relatable to a variety of audiences.
  • Strong understanding of technology and information systems pertinent to the role, including digital and social media best practices.
  • Demonstrated capacity for thought leadership, including leadership on how to evolve nonprofit approaches to adapt to emerging trends in the field.

To Apply

Please send a cover letter indicating relevant experience and interest, and résumé, to  Please include “CSPI — COO” in the email subject line.