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Program Manager: Elections

Washington D.C.

  • Organization: NDI - National Democratic Institute
  • Location: Washington D.C.
  • Grade: Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Elections
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2022-10-07

NDI seeks a Program Manager with specialized skills to work with the Institute’s regional, country and other teams, local partners, regional and global citizen election monitoring networks, and international organizations to advance electoral integrity, promote citizen engagement and encourage governmental and political accountability. In concert with other Election and Political Processes Team members, this person will engage with other NDI teams to develop program strategies, prepare proposals and pursue funding possibilities, respond to requests for information and technical assistance, help to measure and evaluate program impact, and develop new materials, as well as directly help NDI field representatives and partners to develop capacities and achieve their goals for democratic development. The person should have demonstrated leadership experience in at least three of the following electoral programming areas: systematic citizen election observation (e.g., parallel vote tabulations); disinformation in elections; electoral reform advocacy; women’s political participation in the electoral process; organizational development; and/or international election observation. The position is based in Washington, DC and will include considerable international travel.

Essential Accountabilities/Responsibilities

  • Serve as a resource and provide general guidance to Project Assistants, Program Associations, and Program Officers on programmatic procedures, tasks and assignments.
  • Lead the development of detailed work plans to ensure achievement of assigned program(s) objective(s) and expected outcomes, including the establishment of actions to be taken, the required resources (time, funding, staffing, etc.), a schedule/timeline for the actions required, and specific measures/metrics for evaluation at completion.
  • Conduct all aspects of program management, ensuring the effective and efficient execution of the established program work plans, including established actions, outcomes, and timelines. Monitor progress, identify problems and barriers and make recommendations to management for necessary adjustments to ensure successful, quality outcomes.
  • Facilitate collaboration with team leadership, other team members, and as required across other teams to coordinate programmatic activities, including the development of program concepts and content for proposals, ensuring alignment with broader institutional strategies and approaches. Identify, document, and share feedback regarding successful processes/programs, as well as areas where improvements can be made for the establishment/execution of future programs.
  • Conduct relevant analysis related to assigned programs to determine potential impacts of programmatic work related to program-specific initiatives, plans, and/or problems, as well as review of data and metrics associated with program progress. Draw conclusions and present findings in a concise and understandable manner with related recommendations for any proposed actions to be taken.
  • Draft, or review/edit drafts prepared by Program Associates and/or Program Officers, related to assigned communications such as board memos, briefing memos, reports (e.g. quarterly) or portions thereof, work plans, proposals, and presentations, ensuring proper and accurate formatting, spelling, and grammar usage as well as inclusion of required content, and finalizes for submission.
  • Manage and monitor budgets, grants and expenditures for assigned programs, with particular focus on those with greater complexity, e.g. involving multiple grants, teams, and field offices. Maintain budget-related notes/documentation and ensure completion of reconciliations and proper application of allowable costs according to restrictions, structures, and established mechanisms/processes. Work to ensure adherence to budget limitations and anticipate/address overages, implementing solutions to budget variances with input/agreement from higher-level team members as necessary. Provide guidance to lower level staff related to budget preparation, tracking, and reconciliations.
  • Establish, foster and maintain relationships with field staff, funding agency representatives, and overseas partners to ensure successful program implementation and execution and to articulate new funding proposals and concepts. Brief and/or collaborate to provide briefings to specific country political, civic and business leaders, donor organizations and members of the international community about NDI activities and positively influence and gain needed action for programmatic success.
  • Serve as the point-of-contact with funding agencies for assigned programs, and interact regularly with relevant field offices to support programmatic work and allow for the monitoring and measurement of progress against plans and timing/preparations for required assessments. Act as a liaison with selected members of NGO, funding and Washington policymaking communities, as required, and negotiate with key program contacts, political leaders, donors and others to obtain relevant funding and establish program parameters and deliverables.
  • Provide support for local and regional program conferences, workshops and meetings, leading the organization of cross-functional workshops as required. Represent NDI at selected external events/meetings to assist with NDI’s public outreach.
  • Conduct onsite field visits to facilitate/leverage programmatic work through actions such as organizing and/or conducting assessments (e.g. political, new opportunities, adherence to plans, etc.), developing assistance programs, and implementing and/or delivering training programs. Organize delegations abroad, as required.
  • Establish and maintain a network of potential international training resources, volunteers, and field representatives and engage/select those appropriate to meet specific needs.
  • Adhere to NDI’s organizational values, standards of conduct, policies and processes, and any other established expectations for NDI employees, including those related to performance, i.e. goals and position description accountabilities/responsibilities such as those presented herein.

Peripheral Accountabilities/Responsibilities (Non-essential)

  • Develop program concepts and lead strategic discussions; facilitate sharing of program strategies across regional, country and other teams, including development of written best practice materials, conducting training sessions and making presentations in various forums.
  • Respond in an expedited manner to NDI staff inquiries requiring functional (subject area) expertise, general advice and/or country related experience.
  • Maintain collaborative relationships with intergovernmental organizations, international NGOs and democratic development agencies, organizations in the U.S. and elsewhere that provide human and other resources in electoral related areas, country, regional and global networks of partners, and NDI’s network of trainers, experts and election observers.
  • Travel to assigned program locations to provide direct assistance, strategic planning advice, impact measurement and evaluation and assist in identifying and pursuing new program and funding opportunities.
  • Assist in capacity building for NDI colleagues and partners in budgeting and accounting for electoral related program activities and sub-grants.
  • Participate in cross-functional initiatives as needed.
  • Actively seek and engage in professional development opportunities to enhance knowledge in project/program management, and maintain a general working knowledge of relevant program trends and issues occurring external to NDI.
  • Perform other duties as required.


  • Incumbent operates under general direction, works in accordance with established procedures and objectives.
  • Incumbent serves as a resource and provides guidance to lower level staff.
  • Incumbent regularly interacts with staff at all levels within NDI.
  • Incumbent regularly interacts with NDI partners, funders, and other stakeholders, including international development organizations, civic organizations, NDI’s network of volunteers, trainers, and experts, political leaders and other key program contacts.

Required Qualifications


  • Bachelor's degree, preferably related to international relations or development, political science, information or data science, public policy, journalism or a related field, or equivalent experience. Graduate degree in a similar discipline preferred.


  • Five years of relevant work experience in international development, community organizing, human rights, political campaigns, legislative affairs, investigative journalism, data science or related technology fields, or a similar field, including experience in program strategy and design. An advanced degree or work towards one in a relevant discipline may be substituted for required years of experience on a one-for-one basis.
  • Prior relevant international field work experience performed in-country is highly desired.


  • Advanced knowledge and competence in one or more of NDI’s international development disciplines, e.g. political campaigns, elections, information integrity, and technology innovation.
  • Knowledge of budget development/management and accounting processes along with math skills and the ability to perform accurate calculations and understand quantitative information.
  • Strong analytical and judgment skills for identifying problems, drawing conclusions, determining options for resolution, and recommending next steps.
  • Familiarity with trends and impacts of online information systems and social media platforms, open-source intelligence techniques (OSINT), information or influence operations, and/or online hate speech a plus
  • Negotiation skills and the ability to be innovative and creative in finding ways to resolve issues and secure necessary support and resources for achieving programmatic goals.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and cultural sensitivity to interact effectively and diplomatically with individuals at all levels of the organization, as well as externally both domestically and internationally with NDI partners, funders, and other stakeholders, as well as with U.S. and foreign government personnel.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively and project a professional image when giving and taking information in writing, in person, and through various communication media. The ability to present to varying sized audiences in a manner that influences and drives understanding is highly desired.
  • An attention-to-detail, with a propensity to complete work accurately and with a focus on quality.
  • Action-oriented with a high level of initiative and an advanced level of proficiency in the ability to multitask and prioritize; manage time, perform project management, problem-solving, and organizational skills; and flexibility to adapt and respond to shifting priorities.
  • Capacity to work effectively both independently and as a member of a team.
  • Ability to apply discretion and maintain confidential information.
  • Ability to travel internationally.
  • Experience with multiple social media APIs a plus
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office to include Word, Excel and PowerPoint; knowledge of/proficiency in Google Suite tools preferred.
  • Experience with data analytics tools and related programs is desired.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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