Mercy Corps

Vice President of Global Policy and Advocacy

Mercy Corps

Job Description

This position is open to Washington, DC, and London, UK.

About Mercy Corps

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.

The Global Policy and Advocacy Team

To achieve impact, Mercy Corps actively influences the priorities, policies, and investment decisions to achieve transformational impact in the countries where we work. Topics of particular interest to our teams include: humanitarian response and assistance, Global Development, resilience, innovative financing, Conflict Prevention and resolution, innovation in development and emergencies, and climate adaptation.

The Global Policy and Advocacy team is responsible for influencing key bilateral donors and select multi-lateral institutions and foundations to improve relevant policies, practices, and investment decisions affecting vulnerable communities. Our influencing efforts rely on our programmatic record in the countries we serve, the empirical arguments we generate, and our credible, respected global voice and presence. We leverage these assets to sustain our engagement with policy-makers, donors, peer organizations, and other leaders.

Over the past few years, the team has worked to shape policies and programs developed by the US, UK, other key European donors, World Bank, the United Nations, and other multilateral organizations. The team relies on an array of advocacy tools, including written reports and other evidence-based publications, Congressional testimony, showcasing top-flight agency talent, public and private meetings with high-level officials, visits to our Country Programs, public petitions sent by citizens to decision-makers, and print and social media engagement. The team is composed of members based in Washington, DC, Edinburgh, London, and the Hague and collaborates closely across other teams to ensure the possible impact.

General Position Summary

The Vice President leads Mercy Corps’ global policy, advocacy, and influence efforts and serves as a key strategic voice on Mercy Corps’ Executive Team. The Vice President reports directly to the CEO. Informed by the Agency’s global strategy, the Vice President is responsible for conceiving and executing an all-agency approach to influencing the policy and practice of global bi-lateral and multi-lateral institutions and donors. The Vice President is also responsible for helping to set vision, serving as the in-house expert on global trends in the humanitarian assistance and global development space. They are responsible for helping country leaders to develop local policy and advocacy strategies, and building capacity across the organization globally for strategic use of advocacy to achieve our mission. The Vice-President will also work closely with the Resource Development team to ensure progress is shared with private donors and is a key part of the Mercy Corps brand and global communications.

An invaluable senior representative, they will steward Mercy Corps’ reputation amongst key external stakeholders as an essential, innovative, thoughtful, high impact leader. Ensure the agency can meaningfully influence public policy debates in support of the agency’s priorities. Work closely with the CEO, the Board of Directors, other members of the Executive Team, and agency leaders across the organization while leading a team of public policy professionals. The Vice President’s approach is defined by consultation, close collaboration, and partnership with other parts of the agency, especially the Research, Technical Support, Humanitarian, Resource Development, Media Relations, and Country teams, recognizing that influence is co-owned and these partnerships are critical to amplify influence.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision

  • Informed by Mercy Corps’ strategy and grounded in a strong understanding of how NGOs successfully influence policy debates, develops strategy and vision for the agency’s global policy and influencing work.
  • Ensures that the global advocacy vision allows for influence approaches tailored to each unique operating context; and creates a US/European management structure to facilitate this.
  • Provides strategic guidance for global advocacy campaigns and supports country-focused advocacy efforts, including by working in coalition with other NGOs.
  • Ensures strong relationships and close collaboration with other Mercy Corps teams, including Resource Development, Marketing & Communications, Global Partnerships, Programs (HQ and Country Offices) and the Technical Support Teams.
  • Works closely with Resource Development and New Business units to identify and secure restricted funding resources to execute program plans.

Team Management

  • Fully embraces the agency’s culture and values and actively works to achieve its goals relating to Gender, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
  • Creates and sustains a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence on their own team while embracing their role in advancing the shared goals of the larger agency. Communicates expectations and promotes accountability through regular supervision, work plans, and performance reviews that adhere to Agency personnel policies and practices.
  • Manages teams and financial resources to ensure they are working in compliance with agency HR, budget, and other policies as well as US and European law. This includes ensuring compliance with US and European lobbying rules.
  • Integrate US and Europe-based policy teams.
  • Empowers teams and team members to advance leadership in their fields and encourages/supports professional growth to help them reach their full potential.
  • Provide support to the Executive Director of the National Committee for North Korea, a membership organization dedicated to constructive engagement with the DPRK and housed within Mercy Corps.

Influence & Representation

  • Represent Mercy Corps with the US Administration and Congress, the UK, Dutch and other European governments, at UN and World Bank meetings, think/policy tank panel discussions and briefings, and other high-level stakeholder events as appropriate.
  • Build, support, and maintain strong relationships with senior level government officials in the US, UK, and EU.
  • Work closely with Mercy Corps Europe’s Executive Director to ensure our efforts reflect a global approach to influence, representation, and outreach – and that there is complementarity between our U.S.-based and Europe-based influence efforts.
  • Work closely with the VP for Humanitarian Leadership to ensure all of Mercy Corps’ representation in global humanitarian policy/practice fora reflect our "one agency" global approach to influence, representation, and outreach.
  • Contribute to or lead on written pieces including policy pieces, thought leadership and other external facing communications, drawing on original Mercy Corps research and points of view, programmatic work, and other relevant research and evidence.
  • Develop and leverage partnerships with think tanks, foundations, media, government institutions and the private sector to ensure that Mercy Corps’ views and arguments are represented in external debates.
  • Find opportunities for the CEO, Executive team, Country, and other leaders to participate in donor and policy debates
Supervisory Responsibility: US based Policy & Advocacy Team, UK based Policy & Advocacy team, Executive Assistant to the VP, Executive Director – NCNK.


Reports Directly To: CEO Works Directly With: Executive Team, Board of Directors, Regional Directors, Department Heads

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

  • Graduate degree in international relations, development, public policy, or related fields of study.
  • A minimum of 10 plus years of experience, with overseas experience highly desirable
  • Superior communications skills—both written and oral
  • Demonstrated understanding of the global relief and development industry including emergency and development issues, humanitarian practice and policy, and the unique role of NGOs in influencing policy and practice.
  • High-level government experience.
  • Strong leadership skills and demonstrated success building and working effectively in teams.
  • Professional record advancing gender, diversity, and inclusion goals.
  • Demonstrated ability to open doors and a track-record building partnerships with a broad and relevant network of key influencers including in the private sector, policymakers and other major international stakeholders.

Success Factors

The successful VP will be a dynamic and compelling leader with demonstrated, deep expertise and credibility in foreign assistance, Conflict Resolution and peacebuilding, humanitarian debates, market-led development, and broader trends in development policy. They will be a strategic thinker, capable of developing and executing on an ambitious, yet realistic influence plan to achieve targeted change in policy and practice. S/he will be a skilled communicator. They can build consensus among colleagues and team members, with different expertise and objectives, to shape organizational direction for greater impact. They will have the confidence to respectfully disagree and challenge colleagues and teammates to dig into complex and challenging issues in search of better outcomes. They are an inspiring leader, committed to advancing the organization's mission of impact and social change and enthusiastic about advancing gender, diversity and equity goals.

The successful VP will be a strong manager, committed to driving Mercy Corps’ strategy and vision forward by influencing and shaping the work across the agency. The successful VP will demonstrate skill at recruiting and retaining new talent and mentoring individuals with a diversity of backgrounds and ideas.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is based in Washington, DC or London, UK with the expectation the VP will travel up to 30% of their time to locations that may include insecure or harsh environments. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a country posting or on a visit/TDY to a country posting. 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.

Ongoing Learning

In 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 & Ethics

Mercy 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. 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.

Apply Now