Director, Field Tech

New York, NY

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About GiveDirectly:

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 spent on evidence-free interventions. GiveDirectly wants to change that, establishing a benchmark as Vanguard did for the financial industry (i.e., index fund), and in the process accelerate the end of extreme poverty.

GiveDirectly has reached nearly 150,000 households and launched operations in 8 countries since 2011, while being recognized as one of the most innovative non-profit companies by Fast Company. The New York Times Magazine adds “the beautiful thing about GiveDirectly’s approach is that it lets people devise their own path out of poverty.” 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 GiveDirectly 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 competitive salary and benefits and performance-based bonuses.

Overview of the role:

GiveDirectly’s field tech team plays a critical role in enabling cash delivery at scale. The team drives a number of core functions: from enabling millions of dollars of payments on a monthly basis to providing the technical infrastructure for complex cash program designs and safeguarding data and processes against fraud. In this role, you will report to the COO-International and be responsible for the team’s overall success, including the growth and development of multiple direct reports.

You will own organizational challenges at the goal level, work with cross-pillar partners (e.g field, research, finance) to find the right technical solution, and lead the team to successfully project manage releases. You are a systems thinker and an adept manager, who is comfortable assessing tradeoffs and enjoys learning and teaching technology in a variety of business contexts. You naturally take ownership, can navigate unfamiliar settings, and enjoy both building and managing operations.


Manage the field tech team to provide exceptional support to GD’s country offices including: - Customizing tech platforms to launch new & innovative cash programs (e.g. basic income, cash for refugees, cash for disaster relief) - Running a monthly payment process that ensures recipients are paid securely and on time - Providing high quality training and trouble-shooting to a range of field stakeholders (i.e. field officers to country directors) - Building and reinforcing norms around high-quality process and stakeholder management

Lead team to own tech-related fraud & compliance risk for field ops, including: - Ensuring robust fraud tracking (i.e. metrics) & mitigation policies - Scoping and implementing high-value fixes (e.g. predictive fraud flags, automated inventory tracking)

Lead team to own best-in-class field reporting including: - Producing an analytics offering that reflects and reinforces GD’s operational quality bar, with all layers of field management regularly using and reporting benefit - Providing the growth and partnership team with analytics and visualization products that showcase ops & tech excellence

Own decision-making around field tech stack, including: - Making ROI-justified recommendations on platform changes or investments - Defining bars of acceptable tech debt vis-a-vis data quality, data concepting, and investment in scalable processes.

Ensure GD is leveraging field tech to generate revenue and remain a leader in the sector by: - Driving select field tech bets that will grow our revenue base and brand

What we’re looking for:

  • Demonstrable track record managing data and tech focused teams
  • Exceptional experience in project and stakeholder management
  • Background in computer science preferred; open to strong data science credentials
  • Exceptional alignment with GD values (outlined below)

GD Values:

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 biggest impact on our overall performance. We avoid territoriality, self-promotion, and I’m above this attitudes.

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 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.

Time commitment: Full time

Applications due: 2019-09-15

  • Category Global Poverty
  • Created by Tessa Robertson
  • Submitted 17 Jul
  • Last updated 17 Jul