Vice President of Strategy , Learning, and Impact

The Democracy Fund seeks to hire a senior executive to lead our efforts to develop highly impactful strategies and sharpen our influence in the broader systems in which we work. The Vice President will lead an adaptive cycle that involves (a) seeking to understand our democracy as a complex social system, (b) helping to develop strategies for engaging that system, and (c) learning from our activities so that we can engage more effectively over time. The Vice President will provide leadership on our overall approach to strategy as well as analysis and innovation to resolve strategic issues facing the organization.

Success for this position will mean that the Democracy Fund’s strategies create measurable, sustainable social change and that the Democracy Fund becomes a best-in-class learning organization that consistently learns from its failures as well as its successes. The Vice President will be a strong manager of people and processes with a focus on facilitating and leading sound decision making in support of the Democracy Fund’s mission, programmatic team, and partners.

This position will play a prominent role guiding strategic conversations and addressing key questions with the Board of Trustees. He or she will also be responsible for collaborating with and learning from the Democracy Fund’s peer organizations within the Omidyar Group with respect to strategy, learning, and impact. The person hired will be expected to not only lead internally on these topics, but also provide leadership to the field through speaking, convening, networking, and publishing.

In addition, the Vice President will direct the Democracy Fund’s Manager of Evaluation and Learning in the design and implementation of a coordinated and comprehensive strategy for measuring the impact of our programs to ensure that the organization deepens and broadens its influence. In collaboration with other departments, the Vice President will work with our team to develop key ways to understand and evaluate immediate programmatic impacts and how those impacts may contribute to sustainable social change at the systemic level. We are explicitly not looking for conventional M&E thinkers to apply conventional development and philanthropic logframes to the challenges we face. The Vice President will build buy-in and capacity for the Democracy Fund to continuously adapt its programs based on ongoing self-assessment, and lead efforts to conceptualize and implement a longitudinal strategic evaluation plan designed to improve internal program practices.

This role will be an agent for change within the organization through program/grantee evaluation, and the implementation of workable, practical, and sustainable processes that enhance productivity. This role provides an exciting opportunity to develop innovative approaches that translate our theories of change into actionable insights on success and failure that can in turn help the Democracy Fund recalibrate strategy as needed in the service of increasing social impact. The Vice President will also be responsible for institutionalizing learning pathways and culture in an organization that believes learning is the key central function when operating in rapidly evolving and dynamic systems.

Specific responsibilities include:

This position requires a high level of comfort for collaboration with the broader team. The Vice President will collaborate closely with the Democracy Fund’s Communications, Program, and Operations teams in carrying out the following duties and responsibilities.

Strategy

  • Ensure an integrated cycle of planning, evaluation, learning, and adaptation exists across the organization and that there is a systematic and organizational-wide approach to executing the Democracy Fund’s programs
  • Play a leading role in facilitating and coordinating review and updates of the Democracy Fund’s program strategies – providing inputs for developing new programs or modifying current programs
  • Provide strategic analysis and recommendations as required to support board and executive management’s decision making and resolution of strategic issues
  • Help ensure that decision making remains in line with the organization’s short and long term strategies through participation on the Democracy Fund’s Investment Committee and management team
  • Develop relevant policies and procedures pertaining to strategic planning, learning, and impact
  • Reflect the direction and learnings of the broader network of Omidyar Group organizations in developing the Democracy Fund’s strategies

Learning

  • Work with evaluation and learning team to utilize internal and external data to systematically assess performance and provide a platform for foundation-wide learning and improvements to ensure that we can become a best-in-class learning organization
  • Provide coaching to the evaluation and learning team as they help the Democracy Fund’s program teams to identify learning priorities, conduct research, and support the learning and evaluation needs of our grantee portfolio.
  • Work with the team to develop strategies for disseminating learning to key audiences
  • Contribute to the development of knowledge management systems that codify, store, and manage results and learning
  • Collaborate with teams to analyze trends in the portfolio for lessons to share internally and externally
  • Work with our staff to cultivate a learning environment in which experimentation and evidence-based reform are highly valued.

Impact

  • Lead groundbreaking efforts to analyze and measure the Democracy Fund’s social impact, innovation, and influence within the systems in which we operate, including working with and learning from the Democracy Fund’s board and its sibling organizations in the Omidyar Group.
  • Coordinate with program teams to ensure continuous performance monitoring of the portfolio and compile performance reports
  • Lead in reviewing and determining the impact of programs and use the resultant information to determine whether programs are achieving broader outcomes
  • Work with evaluation and learning team to build capacity for, implement, and manage internal systems for conducting ongoing outcomes measurement and assessment
  • Identify content and lessons learned for publication externally to exert thought leadership and influence the broader field

Leadership and Collaboration

  • Publish articles, participate on panels, and organize forums to share the Democracy Fund’s approach and learning with external audiences
  • Develop networks and collaboration in the fields of evaluation and systems thinking
  • Develop and manage a modest grant making portfolio dedicated to research and thought leadership to advance the field’s understanding of systems, learning, and impact
  • Contribute to a collaborative internal team and develop strong networks among peers within Omidyar Network and the larger field
  • Embody the core values of the Democracy Fund

Education, Experience, and Skills Requirements

  • Deep passion for the improving the health of our nation’s democracy.
  • Minimum of 15 years overall work experience across a range of sectors including exposure to research and significant experience in either an internal or external consulting role, with experience catalyzing social change within a nonprofit or social impact context highly desirable (foundation, NGO, advocacy organization, government, or other)
  • Must have a strong strategy framework with at least 7-10 years direct experience involved with strategy development and performance measurement
  • High tolerance for ambiguity, and ability to adapt to changing priorities, strategic frameworks, and definitions of success
  • Understanding of systems thinking and complexity science
  • Demonstrated flexibility and non-dogmatic approach, including in developing and adapting strategic approaches to different organizations and contexts
  • Advanced degree in social sciences, evaluation or related field with substantial experience in research and program evaluation. MPA, MPP, MBA, or PhD preferred
  • Must be very logical and structured in thinking and have excellent problem solving ability, but tempered by an unmatched ability to pivot in response to opportunities and challenges
  • Must be able to facilitate discussion and have solid interpersonal skills. Strong and supportive team player
  • Deep sense of curiosity, and demonstrated interest in learning, distilling lessons and turning them into action
  • Recognized innovator and change agent capable of creating and implementing effective
  • Willingness to live in the Washington DC area is required

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to Gina Moss at gmoss (at) omidyar (dot) com with the subject line “VP of Strategy, Learning, and Impact Application.” No phone calls please.