Role: Senior Manager
Base: Lilongwe, Malawi
Reporting Line: Reports to Country Director
GiveDirectly (GD) aims to reshape international giving - and millions of lives - by allowing donors to provide capital grants directly to the world’s poorest. The Brookings Institution estimates that $70B of cash transfers would be required to eliminate the poverty gap; the aid sector currently spends $135B each year, much of which is allocated to evidence-free interventions. GiveDirectly wants to change that, establishing a benchmark, and in the process accelerate the end of extreme poverty. GiveDirectly has raised over $650M in revenue and established operations in 10 countries while being recognized as one of the most innovative non-profit companies by Fast Company. The growing movement toward cash transfers and GD’s role in that movement have also been featured in This American Life, Foreign Affairs, The Economist, and Business Insider.
We’re looking for exceptional talent to grow our team and the broader cash movement. Our culture is direct, analytical, non-hierarchical, fast-paced, transparent, and hard working. We are open to candidates from any industry and typically recruit from top organizations - members of our team have come to us from private-sector companies (consultancies, law firms, investment banks, etc.), start-ups, and government. We value ability and willingness to learn over years of experience. We offer a competitive salary and benefits and performance-based bonuses.
- Work closely with the Country Director to prioritize support areas (i.e. create the project pipeline for your own role)
- Become a cross-country expert who can effectively disseminate key learnings and areas for improvement across our different areas of operation.
- Design and deliver discrete projects often within fixed and tight timelines at a predetermined operational quality bar
- Work with external parties to carry out collaborative program designs for bespoke foundation or institutional funded projects
- Conducting desk/field-based recon to establish operational feasibility & view on main design features
- Inputting on design of initial pilot and assisting with set-up (e.g.gov’t permission, initial work plan etc)
- Managing all aspects of ground operations, including hiring, training and managing a team of 30+ field staff at a time
- Owning quantifiable targets like operational efficiency
- Building relationships with government and other external stakeholders
- Assisting with implementation of research/academic partnerships on the ground
- Supporting outreach and communications effort
- Assisting with synthesis of key results, including recommendations for operational model/broader sector
Qualities we’re hiring for:
- Exceptional management consulting and/or project management track record at a high-performing organization
- Strong operational acumen (including the ability to rapidly get up-to-speed on GD field model) & penchant for problem-solving in contexts with a limited pre-existing playbook
- Deep ownership mindset (i.e. the default assumption that when you identify a problem, you’re likely going to be the one to solve it!)
- A versatile generalist who is comfortable taking on a wide array of projects
- Comfortable with handling large and messy datasets on excel and carrying out basic data analysis
- Willingness to travel and work from differing working locations, some of which will be remote
- Passion for the role cash transfers can play in giving recipients choice & driving impact at scale
- Strong alignment with GD values, as listed below
- Assist with design and set-up phase of special projects
- University Degree in a relevant field
- 5 plus years experience in the development sector
- Demonstrated success in a high-performance work environment
- Strong interest in advancing the values and mission of GiveDirectly
- Exceptional communication, organizational, and analytical skills
- Ability to approach tasks with resourcefulness and to work in a highly self-directed manner
- Ability to manage day-to-day operations while simultaneously building more robust, efficient systems
- Working proficiency in English, and Chichewa would be an added advantage
- Recipients first. We prioritize recipient preferences over those of donors or ourselves. We do not impose our preferences, or judgments, on the beneficiaries; instead, we respect and empower them to make their own choices, elevating their voices in the global aid debate. This value is core to GiveDirectly’s identity as the first organization exclusively devoted to putting the poor in control of how aid money is spent. It comes at a potential cost, as it means that neither we nor donors get to set priorities (and we may even lose some “efficiency” in providing this option).
- Team next. We do what’s best for organizational - not individual - success.This is a team sport, where we will succeed (or fail) together. The best players are not those with the best individual statistics, but those with the biggest impact on our overall performance. We avoid territoriality, self-promotion, and I’m above this attitude.
- Be proactively candid. We say what we believe, and are honest in sharing information. Having confidence that other people are telling us what they truly believe, without gloss or omission, is critical to effective communication and to our ability to learn and grow from feedback. We owe it to each other - and our donors - to instill this confidence even though giving and receiving information candidly are unusual in both professional and social life and can be very uncomfortable.
- Create positive energy We strive to be a source - not a drain - of energy for our colleagues. Our work is hard, practically and emotionally, and we cannot overemphasize the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, enjoying the company of our colleagues, and not taking ourselves too seriously. In doing so, we aspire to generate energy and excitement amongst our colleagues in pursuing our mission. This should not preclude candor, and we aspire to achieve both.
- Think rigorously; act quickly. We are intellectually rigorous with a drive towards action - not debate. We reason from first principles, grounding our decisions in objective claims about the world, rather than hard-to-disprove assertions or hierarchy. We aim to brainstorm inclusively and respectfully, but critically self-vet ideas we put forward, so as to ensure productive and prudent decision making. Demanding this level of rigor forces us to think harder about decisions and our assumptions than we otherwise might. This is a real cost. It can be taken too far: it is possible to overthink decisions, and we avoid debate for the sake of debate. We are not here to philosophize or ensure consensus. We decide and act quickly, avoiding getting bogged down in debates.
- Accept reality. Propose solutions. We do not dwell on problems. We work actively to create solutions. There will always be an endless list of things to improve. We focus on the things that can be changed; find the most important of those things, and propose actionable answers. We do not allow“problems” to weigh us down and be a source of negativity. We are forward-looking, which we believe not only leads to better team outcomes but also creates a more enjoyable, energizing environment for all.
- Be productively ambitious. We take the risks to pursue industry-changing success, not incremental progress. We seek step-change improvements at all levels, and are willing to make big-bets; we do not accept complacency nor do we simply optimize existing processes. In doing so, we allow ourselves to dream big with a belief that perceived constraints are merely opportunities for creativity. Such ambition not only requires hard work (i.e., this is not a 9-5 job), but also a willingness to accept and learn from temporary setbacks and failures. In accepting these failures, we’re conscious to not point fingers, nor obsess over “mistakes” made.
- Know yourself and grow. We recognize and accept our imperfections with a focus on growth. We are an organization of exceptional people and trust in each other’s abilities, yet we recognize that none of us is perfect. We strive to maintain an accurate understanding of our individual and institutional strengths and weaknesses, in order to position ourselves to maximize our chances of success. At the same time, we seek personal growth for ourselves and our teammates. Feedback is given with a spirit of helpfulness; and sought out with a desire to learn.