Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps alleviates poverty, suffering, and oppression and works to build secure, productive, and just communities in over 40 countries around the world. Our Program Department supports field-led work that delivers measurable impact.
Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit (TSU) is a key part of the Program Department. It houses subject matter experts whose mission is to help our global teams apply the most effective solutions to the world’s toughest challenges, while building our global reputation and resources to do so. By advancing technical excellence the Unit plays a key role in driving Mercy Corps’ impact, innovation and influence around the world. Current TSU teams are: Food Security and Nutrition; Resilience; Economic and Market Development; Financial Inclusion; Agriculture Systems; Governance and Partnerships; Peace and Conflict; Youth, Gender and Girls; Environment, Energy and Climate; and New Initiatives.
The New Initiatives team plays a unique role on the TSU, leading on institutional fund-raising with the U.S. government for the most strategic, complex and impactful opportunities, linking their program development, strategic partnership and proposal management expertise with TSU subject matter and field expertise to deliver winning concepts and designs.
General Position Summary
The Program Development Manager will be a full-time member of the New Initiatives team based in the Washington, DC office. They will support strategic program development efforts by: 1) supporting prepositioning efforts; 2) leading and/or supporting proposal development processes; 3) writing, editing and reviewing proposal documents. They will help enhance agency competitiveness by working with NI team members and other stakeholders to develop/improve tools and guidance on the proposal process; and 4) Providing mentorship and guidance to Senior Program Development Officers.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Program & Proposal Development (approximately 85% time)
● Program/Proposal Design and Development: Responsible for leading and supporting the development of strategic proposals, applying the agency’s best practices in proposal development for institutional donors. Special emphasis is on supporting 1) large or strategic proposal opportunities and/or 2) complex or multi-country and multi-sector efforts. Responsible for managing large and dispersed proposal teams with many actors including coordination between HQ and field offices. Responsible for overseeing negotiations with numerous actors (local and international) both for prime and sub positions for the organization. Manages budget development process for complex proposals ensuring adequate coordination between technical design and budget development processes. Oversees large, high-pressure recruiting processes for proposals and develop management plans for the organization.
● Strategic Pre-Positioning: Assist country teams in efforts to pro-actively prepare for strategic opportunities and influence donor strategies. This may include activities such as 1) support for targeted assessments that will help create funding opportunities or increase competitiveness of the agency in solicitations; 2) facilitating strategic planning sessions with country programs. Helps promote good pre-positioning practices amongst field and desk teams.
● Donor and Partner Engagement: Regularly attend events in Washington, DC and field offices to represent Mercy Corps with key donor agencies, especially USAID, USDA and the Department of State. Additionally, cultivate relationships with potential partner organizations for future opportunities
● Provide “Real Time” Technical Support: Time permitting, provide guidance, support, and reviews to field teams on small-medium size proposal efforts.
Contribute to Activities that Raise Overall Agency State of Practice (approximately 10%)
● As a member of the NI team, the Program Development Manager will spend a small portion of their time supporting agency-wide initiatives that enable Mercy Corps to more efficiently produce competitive submissions (e.g. developing improved reference materials for proposal writers, contributing to efforts that capture learnings and results from our programs, and/or assisting with networking activities).
● Keep up to date on relevant donor strategies being developed or applied by significant governmental, academic, and non-profit groups. Work with Mercy Corps to determine how the agency can best work with and/or influence such materials.
● Deliver proposal development trainings to staff in the Washington, DC office and in field offices.
● As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
Accountability to Beneficiaries
● Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Reports Directly To: Director, New Initiatives
Works Directly With: all other TSU teams, HQ, and field teams
Knowledge and Experience
● Bachelor’s degree or equivalent required. M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in International Development, International Relations or related field is preferred.
● 7+ years of experience in International Development, including experience living and/or working overseas. Preference given to candidates familiar with at least 1 of Mercy Corps’ technical sectors and geographic locations.
● Successful track record in program design and proposal development in a variety of sectors and geographic locations.
● Deep understanding of USAID priorities, strategies, and proposal processes, with a specific focus on the Office of Food for Peace.
● Familiarity with additional donors such as the US Department of State, DFID, the EC and relevant foundations and corporations.
● Exceptional writing skills.
● Proven ability to work productively with a wide variety of stakeholders to run both participatory process and also meet tight deadlines with an emphasis on producing quality products.
● Strong negotiation skills and experience developing and negotiating multiple-partnership arrangements for proposal development.
● Strong understanding of personnel and staffing requirements for USAID and other institutional donor proposals.
● Experience developing budget and cost proposal submissions for USAID and/or other institutional donors.
● Experience with professional representation (e.g. donors, partner agencies, host governments, etc.).
● Native-level spoken and written English required; writing samples will be requested of finalist candidates.
The PDM will demonstrate a winning track record in program development, and bring flexibility, creativity, and enthusiasm to every project they undertake. The individual must have exceptional writing skills and the ability to multi-task, set priorities, pay attention to detail, and work under tight deadlines within complex team environments. The PDM will have a love of writing, strong interpersonal skills, and a healthy competitive spirit, and have the drive and initiative to contribute to internal team efforts. Being aware and sensitive to international development issues and diverse cultures is critical. The PDM will have strong leadership qualities and ability to lead a diverse team from across the agency through a complex and stressful proposal process and also be a strong advocate within the organization for effective and winning business development approaches.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position will be located in Washington D.C. The position requires travel approximately 25% time to the field where living conditions may be exceptionally rugged or be in volatile environments where security protocols will need to be followed. Team members must be ready to deploy to field environments on short notice in response to any emergency or crisis. When in the field the team member must able to work in remote settings, over weekends and/or evening as required by the schedule, and in settings with limited infrastructure, food options, and living conditions.
In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.
We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.
Equal Employment Opportunity
We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.
Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our stakeholders and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.