Senior Associate, Program Strategy and Learning (Elections & Institutions)
Democracy Fund is a foundation working to defend American democracy and challenge it to be more open and just. Created by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, Democracy Fund has made more than $200 million in grants to support free and fair elections, a vibrant and diverse public square, effective and accountable government, and a just and inclusive society. In addition to grantmaking, Democracy Fund advocates for better solutions and works with partners to grow philanthropic support for our democracy. To learn more, visit www.democracyfund.org and www.democracyfundvoice.org.
Democracy Fund champions leaders and organizations who defend democracy and challenge our political system to be more open, just, resilient, and trustworthy. We believe that experimentation, learning, and adaptation are key to the health and resilience of any system, whether it is our organization or the American political system. As grantmakers, we focus on listening and being of service to our grantees, who are visionaries and our collaborators, and on ways we can more deeply embed diversity, equity, and inclusion as values central to the success of our work and mission.
The Strategy, Impact, and Learning staff work to establish a strong strategy and learning practice at both the organizational and programmatic levels. Democracy Fund is committed to becoming a best-in-class learning organization that consistently learns from evidence and experience, including failures. To fulfill this goal, we seek a partner to support the growth and development of our strategies to pursue long-term systems change and respond to immediate threats and challenges to our democracy.
Democracy Fund is seeking a Senior Associate to join the Strategy, Impact, and Learning staff to support our Governance and Elections & Voting programs. These two programs, also known as Elections & Institutions (E&I), are central to the organization’s mission and critical to achieving an inclusive, multiracial democracy that is open, just, resilient, and trustworthy.
- Our Governance Program, which seeks to create more representative and accountable governing institutions, includes initiatives to prevent and hold government accountable for abuses of power and explore ways of developing a more representative political system by changing its rules and structures, as well as diversifying the composition of its leadership.
- Our Elections & Voting Program, which seeks to create more free and fair elections, includes initiatives aimed at promoting voting rights, developing a modern system of election administration, and defending against attempts to sabotage and undermine our election system.
The Senior Associate will support a learning cycle that involves: (a) seeking to understand the dynamics of a complex system through research, evaluations, and other reliable evidence; (b) helping to develop strategies for engaging that system; and (c) learning from our activities to engage more effectively with that system over time. Working with the Program teams and in close partnership with Strategy, Impact, and Learning colleagues across the organization, the successful candidate will support strategy-setting processes, foster a culture of learning, develop models for ongoing reporting, and help manage work with external evaluation and strategy consultants. The Senior Associate also will serve as the primary Program Strategy and Learning liaison with the Governance Program.
Initially, this role will report to the Managing Director of Elections & Institutions, but it could change as the organization continues to grow.
STRATEGY SUPPORT AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
- Provide project management expertise to the strategy processes of the teams that make up the Elections & Institutions cluster — the Elections & Voting and Governance teams, with a particular focus on the Governance team.
- Implement processes that provide the E&I teams with greater insight into the context of their strategy, with a particular focus on the Governance team.
- Support development and implementation of cross-organization strategy processes and projects, including project management support, template development, and workshop design and facilitation.
- Help to communicate strategies by developing tools and frameworks for documenting and sharing information.
LEARNING, EVALUATIONS, AND RESEARCH
- In close consultation with Strategy, Impact, and Learning colleagues, support the design and implementation of comprehensive learning plans for the E&I teams and associated monitoring, evaluation, and research workstreams. This work includes coordinating with and, in some instances, supervising external evaluation partners, capturing learning on a regular basis, ensuring evaluation data are meaningfully integrated into strategy, and supporting ongoing team reflection and learning.
- Manage systems and processes to assess emerging trends relevant to programmatic work, including data collection and analysis.
- Support and facilitate learning-related meetings, retreats, and portfolio learning conversations at the team and organizational levels.
- Identify trends, research, and new publications in the field to inform E&I initiatives and manage specific research projects to support the development and adaptation of program initiatives.
- Participate in the cross-organization research working group and contribute to the development of the organization’s research agenda.
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS
- Contribute to writing and managing reports and other materials about Democracy Fund’s strategy, learning, and progress for internal and external audiences, including other donors in the field and Democracy Fund’s board of directors.
- Work closely with the Program Strategy and Learning Manager who serves as the liaison to the Elections Program to develop and establish a user-oriented Strategy, Impact, and Learning practice within the E&I teams and draw connections between the two programs.
- Serve as primary Strategy, Impact, and Learning liaison with the Governance Program team, participating in team meetings to more fully understand strategies and user needs.
- Collaborate with other Strategy, Impact, and Learning colleagues to facilitate organizational cross-programmatic learning and collaboration to advance Democracy Fund’s overall mission and goals.
- Contribute to a collaborative team working on the various aspects of the organization’s Strategy, Impact, and Learning agenda and develop strong networks among peers within Democracy Fund and across The Omidyar Group and the larger field.
- Work innovatively to not only solve problems for your individual projects but also generate ideas to help advance the work of a small, highly collaborative team.
EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE, AND SKILLS REQUIREMENTS
- Deep passion for strengthening American democracy.
- Deep commitment to racial equity and justice.
- A high level of integrity that embodies and reflects Democracy Fund values.
- At least four to six years of relevant experience working in the areas of strategy, evaluation, and learning. Demonstrated familiarity with systems-thinking/complexity-aware methods and some combination of experience overseeing or engaging in strategy development, development of learning plans, and evaluation processes.
- Experience with organizations or institutions that work on democracy-related issues preferred, ideally with some knowledge of governing institutions at the federal, state, or local level, government accountability and the rule of law, or elections and voting.
- Deep sense of curiosity, and demonstrated interest in learning, distilling lessons, and turning them into action.
- Clear and concise written and verbal communication skills.
- Strong quantitative and qualitative analytical skills preferred.
- High tolerance for ambiguity and the ability to respond to changing priorities.
- Excellent problem-solving abilities.
- Strong, self-directed project management skills with exceptional attention to detail.
- Experience facilitating participatory and collaborative, learning-oriented events.
- Solid interpersonal skills and the ability to operate as a strong and supportive team player, innovator, and organizational change agent.
- Commitment to learn and grow in a workplace that values diversity in multiple ways.
- Advanced degree in social sciences preferred.
- Ability to travel periodically for project work.
Democracy Fund follows a hybrid remote and in-the-office model, which enables flexibility and meets collaboration needs. New staff are expected to reside in the DMV, though exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis by the Personnel Committee. All employees, regardless of location, will be expected in the office several days a month.
Salary range begins at $101,740.50 per year.
HOW TO APPLY
Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume through our Jobs page. Applications submitted without a cover letter or lacking the desired years of experience will not be considered. Take this opportunity to tell us about yourself and why you're interested in joining our team. No calls please.
Democracy Fund is committed to a diverse workplace, seeking voices and expertise from people from across the political spectrum. Our board, staff, advisors, and grantees include Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Democracy Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer, where we encourage candidates of all ages, color, ethnic background, country of origin, religion, disability status, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity to apply.