This job has expired

Executive Director for American Association for Public Opinion Research

American Association for Public Opinion Research
District of Columbia, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Start date
Jun 24, 2021

View more

Position Type
Executive, Executive Directors
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
You need to sign in or create an account to save a job.

The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) seeks an experienced and resourceful leader to partner with its Executive Council and members in its next phase of development. Our new Executive Director will be an innovative, experienced, mission-driven, culturally sensitive, and entrepreneurial leader excited about the opportunity to position AAPOR for the future and lead the transition to a new management structure.  


AAPOR is the leading professional organization of more than 2,000 public opinion and survey research professionals in the U.S., with members from academia, media, government, nonprofit, and private sectors. AAPOR members are highly interdisciplinary, and collectively embrace the principle that public opinion and survey research are essential to a healthy democracy, providing information crucial to informed policymaking and giving voice to the nation's beliefs, attitudes, and desires. The organization promotes a better public understanding of this role, as well as the sound and ethical conduct and use of public opinion and survey research data, which play a critical role in public planning. AAPOR holds an annual conference in May with over 1100 attendees (with the next conference scheduled for May 12-15, 2022 in Chicago, IL) and sponsors professional development opportunities throughout the year.  AAPOR is home to three journals: the ISI-ranked Public Opinion Quarterly and Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology, both of which are currently published by Oxford University Press; and the online Survey Practice.  

AAPOR seeks an Executive Director with comprehensive experience managing and growing an established association, nonprofit, small business, or other entity similar to a professional association. The Executive Director will be committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community and will appreciate public opinion and survey research and/or social science research. 

Working directly with the AAPOR Executive Council, an elected body that represents various committees and the membership as a whole, the Executive Director will provide the leadership and vision to grow the association.  AAPOR has been managed by an association management company, and the first task for the new Executive Director will be to lead AAPOR’s transition to self-management, hire additional staff, and lay out a management plan to incorporate all of AAPOR’s events, communications, and activities.


Duties of the Executive Director 

Working with the AAPOR Executive Council, the Executive Director administers and oversees events, projects, programs, and other initiatives supported by the association. The Executive Director reports directly to the president, working closely with the Executive Committee, comprising the current and past presidents, the vice president, and two secretary-treasurers. The Executive Director also works with the full AAPOR Council and staff to chart a direction for the association through robust strategic planning and assessment of activities and programs. Additionally, the Executive Director oversees promotion, branding, and marketing, represents the association as directed by the Council, attends other conferences to identify opportunities and best practices, serves as a liaison with other peer associations, looks for collaborative partnerships, and keeps abreast of best practices in association management through professional development. 

In addition to strategic planning and leadership, these duties include: 

Financial Oversight 

The Executive Director oversees all budgets and investments for AAPOR in consultation with the secretary-treasurer. As such, the Executive Director executes all financial decisions made by the Council and has final sign-off on spending authority, contracts, and other agreements after Council approval.

Staff Recruitment and Supervision 

The Executive Director will assist the Executive Council to conceptualize and implement a plan for staffing and contract work. The Executive Director will be responsible for the organization and management of staff duties and positions to most efficiently and effectively carry out the functions to support AAPOR. Staff supervision includes all hiring, performance reviews, compensation, and benefit analyses. The Executive Director will work in partnership with the staff to carry out Council directives. As the chief of staff, the Executive Director will establish clear priorities for the staff and work to build a collegial and highly functioning team. The Executive Director will ensure that all staff members have annual training, especially on compliance issues, and will work with individual staff members on opportunities for professional development.

Group, Volunteer, and Membership Coordination

Executive Council members and committee members are volunteers who rely on the staff to organize activities that allow them to be effective in their positions. The Executive Director works closely with the president, president-elect, and past president to help them define and realize initiatives.  The executive director and staff will assist the other Council members in carrying out their duties, including educational programs, financial oversight, member services, conference planning and management, and others.

Key among these functions is the annual meeting, which is central to AAPOR’s culture and success. The Executive Director and staff will play central roles in planning and convening this meeting and the adjunct educational sessions.

Opportunities for Our New Executive Director 

As AAPOR’s first executive director under direct self-management of the association, this individual plays a critical role in modernizing the association’s strategic vision and operating procedures, thus shaping the future of the organization. There is great potential to make a strong and lasting impact on the success of the organization through visionary leadership, building new coalitions, and identifying areas for membership growth.  

This is a full-time position based in the United States with a renewable three-year contract, subject to annual performance review. Occasional travel for programs and meetings and flexible hours will be required. Given electronic tools and cloud capacity for distanced operations, the decision about physical headquarters will be made in consultation with the Executive Director.


The ideal candidate has at least five successful years as an executive or senior manager at an academically oriented nonprofit organization of similar budget size with experience negotiating, planning, and implementing large conferences. Highly relevant and equivalent experience also will be considered. The successful candidate is a powerful connector who can align the staff, governing council, members, and contractors around the organization’s compelling mission, vision, and values. The candidate will be equipped to lead AAPOR in its next stage of organizational development, and will be skilled at framing issues, making strategic decisions, implementing programmatic innovation, and ensuring timely execution. The ideal candidate will demonstrate strong commitment to the mission and core values of AAPOR.  


Minimum Qualifications 

    Certification as an association executive (US CAE preferred) or equivalent experience; A bachelor’s degree with 10 or more years of relevant experience or a master’s with five years of relevant experience;  Experience in leading or managing a moderate to large-sized organization, preferably a nonprofit; Ability to understand the work of and collaborate with academics as well as researchers from various sectors of the public opinion industry;  General understanding of the social sciences; Ability to interact effectively with academia, government, industry, media, and other nonprofit leaders;  Excellent written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills;  Demonstrated leadership ability;  Strong organizational skills; Experience with the operational requirements of large conferences; and Experience hiring, evaluating and supervising staff.

Preferred Qualifications 

    Understanding of surveys and public opinion research; Experience managing a diverse membership; Experience working directly with academics and the social-science sector;  Experience leading in a nonprofit setting;  Experience executing contracts and agreements; and Experience working with and overseeing the activities of a variety of vendors. 

AAPOR is open to highly qualified candidates who bring cross-sector leadership experience; such candidates should use the list above to translate their relevant experience with specific examples in their cover letter and resume.  

Salary and Benefits

The salary for the position will be commensurate with the candidate’s experience and qualifications. Compensation will include a comprehensive employee benefits package.

Application Process 

Applicants should send their resumes and cover letters describing their interest in AAPOR, their qualifications, and how their professional experience addresses the qualifications required. Applications should be submitted to on or before July 23, 2021 for priority consideration. Review of the applications will begin immediately and continue until a successful candidate is identified. Resumes without cover letters will not be considered. Desired start date is around September 2021. AAPOR will maintain the confidentiality of the candidates until the finalists are selected. 


Submit, in a single PDF file: 

    A cover letter outlining employment history, achievements, and motivation for applying for the position of executive director of AAPOR.  A CV or resume, with contact information for three to five professional references. 

Screening of applicants will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. 

For more information, please contact Additional information about AAPOR:


Equal Opportunity Statement


AAPOR is an equal-opportunity employer and will consider qualified applicants without regard to age, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability or veteran status. AAPOR only employs individuals who are lawfully eligible and allowed to work in the United States.  All new employees must show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  The successful applicant can begin employment only after completing Form I-9 and presenting other documentation that establishes identity and work authorization. 

You need to sign in or create an account to save a job.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalised job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert