Cost Specialist – Business Development

Cost Specialist – Business Development

Cost Specialist – Business Development

Cost Specialist – Business Development

April 23, 2024
Washington, D.C.
Position type
Experience (minimum)
2-5 Years
Education (minimum)
Travel required?
Not specified
Base salary (minimum)
$50,000 - 60,000


Title:  Cost Specialist – Business Development

Reports to:  Vice President of Business Development

Location: Washington, D.C.

Salary:  $54,600 - $81,900

Travel:  10%


The Near East Foundation (NEF) seeks candidates for the position of Cost Specialist to be based in its US Headquarters, Washington, D.C. location. Since 1915, NEF has supported community-led economic and social development in the Middle East, Africa, and Caucasus. As a non-profit international development organization, NEF draws on local teams, experience, and partnerships in these regions to create community-led solutions to reduce poverty, create economic opportunity, increase resilience, and empower conflict, climate- and crisis-affected people to improve their outlook and wellbeing. Our programs span three focal areas: Inclusive Economic Development, Climate Resilient Development, and Peace and Stability.


NEF works through a network of country offices and with local partners, with current or recent operations in Armenia, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Mali, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, South Sudan, and Syria. Our global headquarters are based in Syracuse, NY, London, UK, and Brussels, Belgium.


Position Overview


As a Cost Specialist within NEF's Business Development team, you will be responsible for ensuring the timely and accurate preparation of cost proposals and supporting documents in compliance with solicitation requirements. Your role will involve collaborating with proposal teams, providing cost advice, negotiating budgetary items, and preparing proposals budget to support NEF's new business efforts effectively.


The Cost Specialist will sit within the Business Development (BD) team.


Key Responsibilities


  1. Cost Proposal Preparation: Ensure that required cost proposals and supporting documents are prepared promptly and are accurate and compliant with solicitation requirements. Prepare line-item budgets and supporting documentation for cost proposal submissions, including budget narratives, certifications, and financial information. Support the development of cost-benefit and value for money Analyses. For all shared costs, ensure that cost proposals take into account NEF’s ongoing projects, current projects end dates, and committed expenses.
  2. Cost Advice and Negotiation: Provide cost advice to proposal teams in alignment with proposal objectives, ensuring that proposed budgets are realistic, competitive, and aligned with NEF's financial policies and procedures. Negotiate budgetary items with sub-partners under the guidance of technical staff and the VP of Business Development, ensuring cost-effectiveness and compliance with donor regulations.
  3. Proposal Budget Reviews: Present draft proposal budgets for cost proposal reviews, soliciting feedback from relevant team members at NEF HQ and country offices to ensure accuracy, completeness, and compliance with NEF's standards and guidelines.
  4. Budget Refinement and Compliance: Refine budget templates and narratives as necessary to streamline the proposal development process and enhance proposal quality and competitiveness. Assist in the development and enforcement of compliance with NEF's cost and pricing processes and procedures, ensuring adherence to organizational standards and donor requirements.
  5. Process Improvement: Identify opportunities for process improvement and assist in the implementation of initiatives to streamline and optimize NEF's cost and pricing processes.
  6. Full Cost Recovery and Value for Money: Partner with NEF managers and senior leadership to ensure forward looking costs and staffing are included in proposal budgets. Suggest best practices in cost allowance to demonstrate value for money and effective stewardship of resources.




Uphold NEF’s core values of localization, respect, inclusion, and integrity by helping to build an environment of accountability and learning, keeping work commitments and respecting colleagues’ time, listening to diverse colleagues, and participating in regular feedback and performance reviews.

Other duties as assigned.


Basic Requirements


We encourage all individuals who believe they have the skills necessary to succeed within this position and thrive at NEF to apply for this role, even if you do not meet 100% of the qualifications.

Commitment to NEF mission, curiosity, a strong willingness to learn and understand NEF’s programs and the communities and stakeholders who are our partners in development, and a capacity for passionate advocacy for locally led and impactful work.


  • Bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, business administration, or a related field; advanced degree preferred.
  • At least 3-5 years of experience in budgeting, financial analysis, or cost proposal development, in the international development sector.
  • Strong understanding of financial principles, budgeting processes, and cost analysis techniques.
  • Familiarity with donor regulations and compliance requirements, particularly those of major institutional donors (e.g., USAID, FCDO, EU, UN, GIZ).
  • Excellent analytical skills, with the ability to interpret complex financial data and provide strategic recommendations.
  • Advanced skills in budgeting software, Microsoft Excel, and other relevant financial management tools.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to collaborate effectively with diverse stakeholders across departments and organizations.
  • Strong attention to detail and accuracy, with the ability to manage multiple tasks and deadlines effectively in a fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team, with a proactive and solution-oriented approach to problem-solving.


Required Qualification


  • Candidates must be legally authorized to live and work in the United States without company sponsorship now and in the future.


Preferred Qualifications


  • Proficiency in French and/or Arabic



NEF will accept a rolling application until the position is filled. Review of application will begin on May 13, 2024. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.


To apply:


Please apply by submitting the following documents in the English language:


  1. Cover letter outlining all relevant experience, how you meet the essential criteria.
  2. Curriculum Vitae.
  3. List of three references (including one from current, or most recent, employer). You will be given further notice prior to us contacting references.


Please note only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Women candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.


Applicants are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Near East Foundation by visiting the NEF website at


The Near East Foundation promotes Equal Employment Opportunities for all applicants seeking employment and NEF employees.


Pre-employment Checks


Any Employment with the Near East Foundation will be subject to the following checks prior to start date:


  • A satisfactory Restricted Party Screening.
  • Receipt of satisfactory references.
  • Workplace Verification Check.





NEF offers a comprehensive benefits package which includes: 20 vacation days plus 12 Company Holidays; flexible sick-time policy, generous medical, dental and, vision coverage; HRA and FSA benefits; employer paid short and long-term disability; employer paid life insurance; TIAA-CREF retirement plan with 8% employer contribution, paid family leave, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and more!


NEF's strength is its people. Our team is our fuel to achieving the innovation, quality programming, community focus, mutual trust, sustainability, and learning needed to realize our mission. To help our team thrive, we support a working structure that prioritizes flexibility, personal commitments, and staff well-being while promoting a work culture of teamwork, collaboration, respect, integrity, and excellence.


As an international organization, we value a truly diverse workforce and prioritize a culture of inclusivity and belonging. We strive to create a high-achieving work environment informed by different cultures, perspectives, and experiences. With a commitment to diversity, equality, equity, and inclusion in all we do, our aim is to ensure that people feel heard, protected, and empowered to contribute to NEF's mission from day one.

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