Vice President of Strategy, Innovation & Special Projects

Position Type: Full-time, Salaried, Exempt
Location: Flexible (teleworking); Must be eligible to work in the U.S.
Salary:  Starting at $203,500
Closing Date: September 29, 2023

Candidates will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The position will remain open until we have a sufficient pool of diverse candidates who meet the job requirements, at which point we may pause the review of new applications before the stated deadline. Please understand you may not be contacted for several weeks after you apply.

Ideal Start Date: October 16, 2023

About the Center for Disaster Philanthropy

CDP began in 2010 with the goal of pioneering the practice of strategic disaster philanthropy. Since then, it has grown in its ambition envisioning a world where the impact of disasters is minimized through thoughtful, equitable and responsive recovery for all. CDP has a $33 million budget and a team of more than 20 staff members working remotely across the U.S.  

CDP is a trusted partner, expert and authoritative resource helping hundreds of individuals, foundations and corporations boost the impact of philanthropic giving in response to disaster and humanitarian crises by supporting equitable recovery and addressing root causes of vulnerabilities worldwide.

In 2022, CDP awarded $28.2 million, over 117 grants to 99 grantee partners worldwide; demonstrated thought leadership through 15 webinars, 21 external commentaries, 113 blog posts, 43 featured speaking engagements and other events; and served 40 philanthropic partners through consulting efforts.

  • In 2020, CDP was a featured nonprofit for the 14th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.
  • CDP has earned Charity Navigator’s Four-Star Charity rating and Candid’s Platinum Transparency seal.

As an organization grounded in racial and intersectional equity, our team members are deeply committed to strengthening communities most vulnerable to disasters because of systemic inequities. We are guided by our values of integrity, boldness and innovation, humility, and empathy in all that we do in pursuit of our mission.

Bottom line: We aspire to walk the talk of anti-racism and to treat each other and our partners in ways that inspire trust, creativity, learning and care.

Be a part of our fast-growing team that offers countless ways to help communities thrive. Join us!

Responsibilities and duties

Growth over the last few years of CDP’s 13-year history has been exponential. CDP’s positioning and greater visibility have sustained increased revenue and associated expenses. Alongside growth comes a necessity to increase our capacity, including the skills and experience available to us as we fulfill our mission. CDP is looking to staff up for the future and has created a new department that will oversee research and evaluations, partnership development and client work.

Reporting to the CEO and a member of the Executive Team, the new Vice President of Strategy, Innovation and Special Projects (VP, SISP) will also play a critical role in the development, implementation and monitoring of our new strategic plan . In doing so, the VP will focus on both the culture at CDP and the strategy that drives innovation internally and in the sector.

The successful candidate will display the following traits:

You will be a strategic thinker, with demonstrated analytical skills and business acumen, to aid CDP staff in seeing the big picture and understanding how individual and team activities affect and support CDP’s goals and future. You will be attentive to the pacing and timing of implementation to engage effectively and manage change.

As a member of the executive team, you will need to communicate effectively with other members of the team and with other stakeholders, conveying your ideas and proposals to others in a way that is easy to understand and that inspires action. You also need to be able to listen to others and respond to their questions and concerns.

As the lead on integrated organization-wide strategy, you may be responsible for guiding a team of other executives and senior staff not under your supervision. This can include assigning tasks, evaluating performance and providing guidance. An understanding of CDP’s values and matrix management approaches will be beneficial.

A strong understanding of the disaster and philanthropic spaces will be of benefit, as you explore how to leverage CDP’s niche role in advancement of our mission.

Primary responsibilities:

The VP, SISP is responsible for guiding the implementation of CDP’s new strategic plan, which includes long-term goals, current activities and innovative projects. Working closely with the CEO and staff providing services to ensure our efforts remain aligned with our mission and goals, the VP, SISP also engages closely with the marketing and communication, development and finance and operations teams to ensure that we are positioning ourselves correctly in the sector and meeting stakeholder/client needs.

  • Facilitating the development of and monitoring against CDP’s strategic plan implementation, including defining agreed annual action plans and reporting on progress, results and impact.
  • Advising on how to allocate resources in order to achieve strategic goals.
  • Evaluating current performance against objectives to determine if any adjustments need to be made.
  • Providing leadership in identifying opportunities for growth within CDP’s niche.
  • Identifying and analyzing external factors that could affect the organization’s long-term success, including changing client demand for services.
  • Coordinating with other staff to ensure agreed objectives are being met.
Research and evaluation
  • Facilitate CDP’s research and learning efforts, ensuring connectivity between strategies, values and impact.
  • Guide on content development that increases CDP’s positioning as a subject matter expert and thought leader.
  • Engage other departments in defining and determining priorities for research and learning, ensuring a collaborative approach.
  • Ensure connectivity of CDP’s sectoral learning into client management and consulting services.
  • Partner with CFOO and other teams in identifying internal training needs
  • Lead on the evaluation and measurement of CDP’s effectiveness and impact.
Partnership development
  • Develop relationships with key stakeholders, including creation of a partnership classification system.
  • Represent CDP to the public, community leaders, social service and community-based organizations, disaster experts and colleagues in the field of philanthropy, exploring opportunities for collaboration.
  • With the support of the broader team, oversee the incubation of projects to define fit, and propose future roll-off, scale or expansion needs.
Client management/consulting services
  • Understand the market for CDP’s services and identify opportunities and challenges.
  • Define our menu of client services and explore what and how to scale.
  • Lead and manage the pipeline of consulting clients, including identifying and cultivating potential clients; business development is a key aspect of this role.
  • Develop the bench of CDP staff experts and other CDP-onboarded consultants across an array of skill sets. Explore how to lift up our association with consultants for mutual benefit.
  • As necessary, craft bespoke deliverables, including proposals against RFPs and donor requests.
  • Oversee administrative functions relating to budget, contract development and management of consulting services.
Supervisory and other duties as assigned
  • Supervise department staff.
  • Participate on the Executive Team in service to the organization, and as a representative of the work under your purview.
  • Regular travel for professional development and in-person team meetings.
  • Serve on committees and task forces at CDP as appropriate and as available.
  • Represent CDP in a positive, professional manner in meetings and other external engagements.
  • Perform other duties and job-related tasks that may be assigned.

This position reports to the President & CEO but works in service of the whole organization.

As this is a new position, prior experience in navigating organizational structural change will be a welcomed experience.

Required qualifications

  • ≥ 15 years of relevant, progressive professional experience in philanthropy, disasters and/or relevant technical expertise, including supervisory experience (at executive team level a plus).
  • Masters in related field or equivalent work experience.
  • Proven experience developing and executing organizational strategy, preferably with a nonprofit working in the disaster/humanitarian sector.
  • Outstanding analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent communication, presentation, and writing skills.
  • Ability to think creatively and outside the box.

Preferred skills and qualifications

  • Experience designing evaluations to assess the progress and impact of strategy.
  • Experience working in a fast-paced, high-growth environment.
  • Experience helping groups integrate evidence into their decisions.
  • Experience designing and implementing learning practices, with strong facilitation skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to center evaluation, learning and strategy work in equity principles.
  • Proven ability to make connections and apply learning between research and practice as it relates to understanding systems change.
  • Operational experience, specifically in managing a consulting portfolio.
  • An understanding of nonprofit fundraising and relationship cultivation.
  • Proficiency with Excel, PowerPoint CRMs and project collaboration tools.
  • Proven ability to independently manage a range of operational functions, stand-alone workstreams and/or manage staff.
  • Ability to work remotely with minimal direct supervision and to multi-task, including managing multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to build relationships with and motivate dispersed team members with diverse personalities and backgrounds.

Personal Characteristics

  • Commitment to the values intrinsic to CDP’s mission and strategy, including the centrality of local leadership, equity and service to marginalized and vulnerable communities.
  • Sense of humor.
  • Enterprise leader.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.

We welcome and encourage applicants with non-traditional career paths. If you don’t exactly meet the qualifications outlined here, please apply, and tell us how your experiences would equip you for the job.  

Apply now

To apply, please visit this link. Applications must highlight competencies against requirements.

All applicants must be able to provide documentation that they are legally eligible to work in the United States for an extended period.

Due to the expected volume of applications, only finalists will be notified. No phone calls, please.