*If you’re worried you might not qualify for this position but it’s something you’re interested in, please apply!

Pay: $27 to $29.92/hour, plus health care reimbursement, a cellphone stipend, retirement benefits, five weeks per year of paid company holiday plus paid flexible time off.

Schedule: The position is 40 hours per week. You’ll have the flexibility to create your own schedule. 

Location: This role is based in Santa Cruz County and involves in-person events and meetings. You can work from our office in Downtown Santa Cruz or remotely from within the Santa Cruz County area. 

A bit about us: Santa Cruz Local is a local news organization that serves residents of Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley. Santa Cruz Local was founded in 2019 by local journalists who wanted to give residents an unbiased, fair and accurate source of local news and information. In 2023, we launched Noticias Watsonville, Spanish-language audio news on WhatsApp.

Our team of six is a small but mighty group with experience in journalism, product development and community listening. We’re collaborative, thoughtful and passionate about giving residents useful local news and information. 

We’re building a company culture that aims for work-life balance, experimentation, inclusivity and idea-sharing. 

The challenge: Santa Cruz Local is different from other local newsrooms. Our journalism responds to what residents tell us they need. By answering residents’ questions and digging into their story ideas, our work becomes more useful. We strive to produce deep, fair and accurate reporting about local government, housing, homelessness, health, the environment and other big issues in Santa Cruz County. We lift up voices not normally heard by local government or local media. 

Santa Cruz Local is at the forefront of a new wave of independent, nonprofit, startup local news outlets. We are building a new, sustainable business model that relies on donations from the community we serve. 

The job opportunity: This position has two goals:

  • Develop and maintain an organized system to hear from Santa Cruz County and Pajaro Valley residents about their local priorities, to influence Santa Cruz Local’s and Noticias Watsonville’s journalism. Your work helps deepen our community’s trust and adds nuance and complexity to our stories.
  • Grow donations, including memberships and major gifts.

In addition, as part of an early-stage startup, you would interact with people across the organization. An ideal candidate would be ready to learn, take initiative on diverse projects and offer support where needed.

Santa Cruz Local employees are encouraged to take initiative, push new ideas, disagree, offer opinions and alternative solutions. You will have a strong voice in shaping the company’s long-term direction. 

Our company is growing and changing quickly. An ideal candidate would be a thought partner to the CEO — we’d want you to be a leader on our team and ready to offer ideas. We want candidates who have the ambition and excitement to work with the CEO on growing your career within the company.

You would report to the CEO.


Fundraising Development

  • Plan and manage membership drives, including drafting fundraising emails. 
  • Help readers and listeners with all things membership.
  • Support the CEO with the development of a structured Individual Giving Program to engage individual donors and increase their contributions.
  • Collaborate with the CEO on the development and execution of a fundraising plan that’s tied to Santa Cruz Local’s three-year strategic plan.
  • Create and run fundraising-related experiments.
  • Plan and coordinate occasional events to help deepen relationships with the communities we aim to serve.

Community Engagement

  • Write and research community-engagement related items for our weekly newsletter.
  • Develop and monitor surveys.
  • Develop and maintain a system to communicate with editorial leadership about what we’re hearing from residents.
  • Coordinate listening sessions with local organizations. Develop and maintain relationships with community organizations.
  • Conduct interviews and focus groups. Compile the data in a structured way to understand top themes and questions.
  • Report back to our audience what was heard in community engagement work.


  • Experience using a computer, accessing the internet and corresponding by email.
  • Fluency in English, spoken and written. Fluency in Spanish is desired.
  • Experience and proven success at managing membership or individual donation programs.
  • Strong writing skills, especially related to marketing and value propositions. 
  • Values local journalism and understands journalism ethics and standards.
  • Experience asking for donations to support an organization’s mission.
  • Demonstrated skills at effective communication and building meaningful relationships with mission-aligned organizations and people. 
  • Able to listen and communicate with people of different cultural backgrounds.
  • Ability to travel within Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley. We can offer Uber transportation to work-related events if you don’t have a car.
  • You must be 18 or older.

We welcome applicants from a broad range of professional and educational backgrounds.

How we’ll assess candidates

You’re our ideal candidate if you are:

  • Diligent at operations and project management: Can lead a large, systematic, weeks-long project and hit deadlines. Communicates effectively with all team members involved. Can work independently with good time management and troubleshooting skills. Knows how to create a clear plan and milestones, but is also adaptable when circumstances change. Knows when to ask for help.
  • A critical thinker: Can see the bigger picture and make effective, analytical decisions. Can use prior experience, research and experiments to guide decision-making. Knows how to consider alternate methods to completing a project.  
  • Emotionally Intelligent: Skilled at reading interpersonal cues and situations. Can adjust communication style to fit different situations. Can make others feel like they are understood and belong, no matter their background. Can guide conversations toward a subject or goal. Receptive to constructive feedback. Comfortable challenging ideas respectfully. Can manage conflicts or disagreements respectfully, calmly and successfully. Can maintain appropriate tone and positive body language.

Our ideal candidate has these skills:

  • Able to build relationships with potential donors in-person, over the phone and by email: Able to represent the company and at the same time have the other person feel seen and heard. Able to guide conversations toward a topic or goal. Able to build rapport and accomplish goals efficiently.  
  • Good at writing emails: Ability to craft a message that is on brand, concise and compelling. Highly effective communicator through email. Understands Santa Cruz Local’s unique value. 
  • Collaboration: Not a “follower.” Able to think critically about a situation, offer ideas and feedback, compromise and work with other team members on large projects. 

Bonus points for:

  • Experience with all phases of the donor relationship, from identification to solicitation to stewardship. 
  • Conversational fluency in Spanish.
  • Experience at a news outlet.
  • Deep connections in Santa Cruz County and/or the Pajaro Valley.

If you worry you’re not qualified, please give it a shot and apply anyway. You do not need  an educational degree to apply.

Application and hiring process:

We plan to invite top candidates for a Zoom interview by April 12. If you’re invited for an interview, we’ll pay you $50 for your time and participation. We plan to make hiring decisions by the end of April. If you’re not selected for the position, we’ll let you know.

This position starts in May.

Questions? Email, call or text Santa Cruz Local CEO/Co-founder Kara Meyberg Guzman, [email protected] or 831-291-3456.

Santa Cruz Local is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other protected characteristic as outlined by federal, state or local laws.

Santa Cruz Local makes hiring decisions based solely on qualifications, merit and business needs at the time.