Mercy Corps

Regional Senior Program Development Officer

Mercy Corps

Job Description


Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps’ operations in The Americas are focused on the countries of Haiti, Guatemala, Colombia, in the Northwest United States, as well on the Venezuela regional humanitarian crisis, and supporting resilient communities across Caribbean states and territories. These are a disparate collection of contexts with many different challenges and opportunities that are all undergoing dramatic transitions that have the potential to create significant opportunity for development and change. Mercy Corps is well-placed to play a meaningful role in supporting forces for positive change in these places.
The Americas regional team works closely on program development efforts with the global New Initiatives (NI) team, which takes a leading role supporting and enhancing Program Development throughout the Mercy Corps world. The NI team: 1) leads the development of grant submissions to institutional donors and 2) carries out initiatives that enhance agency competitiveness. Team members lead and support strategic, high-priority proposals by: assisting country teams with pre-proposal positioning activities; assembling proposal teams; leading the proposal planning and development process; conducting on-site participatory assessment and design work; writing and editing technical proposals; working closely with the HQ and field finance team in the development of the proposal budget/cost application; reviewing proposals to assess clarity and competitiveness; and more. The team enhances agency competitiveness through the development of tools and processes to improve proposal quality across the agency. With all of its activities, New Initiatives works in a highly collaborative manner with the agency as a whole.

The Position
The Regional Senior Program Development Officer will be a member of the regional team, reporting to the Senior Program Officer and working alongside the regional team and the global NI team to support the regional country offices. They will work closely with the Americas Regional team on program development efforts by: 1) supporting prepositioning efforts focusing on (but not exclusively) proposal opportunities in Guatemala and Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, the Caribbean, and Haiti; 2) Act as lead writer on medium to large proposal efforts to institutional donors (focused on USG and private corporate/foundation donors, but not exclusively); 3) Working with members of global NI team, TSU, and wider program team (to include field teams and RPT members) to lead or support supporting proposal development processes; 4) Provide targeted reviews and editing support to field teams as needed; and 5) tracking the pipeline of potential new business opportunities for the region and supporting the RD and Country Directors (CDs) in prioritizing and preparing for them. They will help enhance regional competitiveness by working with NI team members and other stakeholders to enhance the overall state of practice vis-à-vis proposal processes.

Essential Responsibilities

  • Responsible for leading and supporting all aspects of the development of strategic proposals, including lead writing and proposal coordination with support by the New Initiatives team.
  • Special emphasis is on supporting proposal development for 1) medium/large proposal efforts for USG donors and/or 2) complex or multi-country efforts.
  • Significant travel to countries in the region to assist with program development efforts.
  • Coordinate alongside CDs with the HQ teams including the RPT, Corporations and Foundations Teams and the MCE Institutional Partnership Managers.
  • Develop and maintain a pipeline of funding opportunities in the region.
    • Lead and support pre-positioning efforts that help Mercy Corps country offices proactively influence donor planning and access funding.
    • Facilitate strategic planning sessions with Country Programs.
    • Track donor trends and business forecasting for potential opportunities in Americas sub-regions (Caribbean, Central America and Northern Triangle, South America) and around emerging funding priorities (humanitarian response, Climate Change, migration)
    • Keep up to date on relevant donor strategies being developed or applied by significant governmental, academic, and non-profit groups. Work with Mercy Corps staff in the Americas region to determine how the agency can best work with and/or influence such materials.
    • Support Analysis and Mapping of peer organization positioning with key donors to to better assess the competitiveness of potential Mercy Corps proposals.
      • Build capacity of Mercy Corps’ staff within the region develop and write winning proposals through team-work during proposal efforts, mentoring or tailored training activities.
      • Contribute to activities that raise regional state of practice, such as: developing improved reference materials for proposal writers, contributing to efforts that capture learnings and results from our programs, and/or assisting with networking activities.

        Supervisory Responsibility
        Accountability Reports Directly To: Senior Program Officer, Americas (with dotted line to Senior Director, New Initiatives)
        Works Directly With: Americas Regional Director and RPT, Country Directors/Deputy Country Directors and their teams, Global New Initiatives team, TSU

        Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

        Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

        Minimum Qualifications & Transferable Skills

        • Bachelor’s degree required. M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in International Development, International Relations or related field is preferred.
        • 4+ years of experience in International Development highly preferred, including experience living and/or working overseas
        • Successful track record in Program Design and proposal development in a variety of sectors and geographic locations.
        • Exceptional writing skills.
        • Native-level spoken and written English required; writing samples will be requested of finalist candidates.
        • Professional proficiency in Spanish is preferred.
        • 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.
        • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
        • Proven success with major donors such as USAID, Department of State, EC and relevant foundations and corporations.
        • Strong organizational and process management capabilities.
        • Exceptional interpersonal communication skills.
        • Familiarity with at least one of Mercy Corps’ technical sectors and geographic locations

          Success Factors The SPDO 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 multitask, set priorities, pay attention to detail, and work under tight deadlines within complex team environments. The Regional SPDO 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 Regional SPDO will also be willing and able to travel for extended periods to work with country teams on program development strategies and proposal efforts for a wide variety of donors.

          Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions This position can be located either remotely, or in the Mercy Corps US offices in Portland, OR or Washington, DC it can also be located in one of our locations in Colombia, Guatemala or Puerto Rico. The position requires travel approximately up to 50% 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.

          Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/temporary assignment to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws and customs, and adhere to MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

          Ongoing LearningIn support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we 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

          Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.
          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 & EthicsMercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate Child Abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.
          As a safeguarding measure, Mercy Corps screens all potential US-Based employees. This is done following the conclusion of recruitment and prior to assuming full employment.
          Our screening process is designed to be transparent and completed in partnership with new Team Members. You will have the opportunity to disclose any prior convictions at the conclusion of the recruitment process before the check is initiated. We ask that you do not disclose any prior convictions in your application materials or during the recruitment process.

          Covid-19 Vaccine Policy for US-Based EmployeesMercy Corps has determined that, in an effort to protect the health, safety, and well-being of all Mercy Corps employees working in the United States, all U.S.-based employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, regardless of prior COVID-19 infection status. This policy is necessary to ensure not only the safety of our workforce, but the ongoing functionality of the organization.
          This policy will be revised as needed to comply with federal, state, and local requirements, and to respond to changing guidance from public health authorities.
          For new employees this requirement goes into effect within 10 business days of employment. Team members that travel are expected to comply with host-country requirements, including vaccinations. Failure to comply may impact your employment. Proof of vaccination or exemption must be provided

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