Executive Director

ActionAid USA
April 12, 2019
Washington, DC
Post Type
Experience (minimum)
10+ Years
Education (minimum)
Travel Required?
Base Salary
$120,000 - 130,000


ActionAid USA (AAUSA, www.actionaidusa.org) is seeking a dynamic leader with the passion and leadership skills to head this independent chapter of a highly respected international nonprofit organization, ActionAid International (AAI, www.actionaid.org). The ideal candidate will have expertise in human rights and international development as well as experience raising resources and building strategic partnerships to advance a mission-based organization.

About ActionAid USA

Our Vision

A just, equitable and sustainable world in which every person enjoys the right to a life of dignity, freedom from poverty and all forms of oppression.

Our Mission

To achieve social justice, gender equality, and poverty eradication by working with people living in poverty and exclusion, their communities, people’s organizations, activists, social movements and supporters.

ActionAid USA works together with problem solvers who are tackling systemic challenges of poverty and injustice locally and globally. AAUSA raises resources in support of ActionAid programs around the world and, through campaigning and solidarity actions, AAUSA connects local people with decision makers in the U.S. and on the global stage so they can challenge the government policies and power imbalances that deny them full access to their rights.

Using a feminist lens, we closely assess the causes and consequences of the inequality in power relations between men, women and other oppressed genders, and advocate for the transformation of all social relations that oppress, exploit or marginalize any groups of people.

ActionAid believes people facing poverty and injustice hold the key to solving these problems, as they face them every day. ActionAid is deeply rooted in the communities it works with. We take action alongside people at all levels, connecting communities across countries and continents to hold decision makers to account and build just, equitable and sustainable alternatives to the systems and structures behind poverty and injustice.

The global federation was founded in 1972 and now works with over 15 million people in more than 45 countries. The Global Secretariat (GS) of the federation is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. AAUSA was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in October 2000 and is located in Washington, DC. AAUSA is governed by a diverse board of directors and has a core team of staff that take forward the policy and campaigning work and raise resources for the broader federation. AAUSA has received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. AAUSA joins other member countries in this democratic structure to drive the federation forward.

The Position & Leadership Opportunity

In just 19 years, AAUSA has established itself as a respected policy voice on international development and a reliable partner for foundation funders focused on rights-based international development. The new Executive Director will build on AAUSA’s strengths, expand AAUSA’s role in policy leadership and fundraise to support AAUSA's work in the US and work with people living in poverty around the world.

Toward these ends, the board has outlined the following priorities for the first 12-18 months of the Executive Director’s tenure:

  1. Establish a firm understanding of AAUSA’s strengths, opportunities and future direction, and foster a strong working relationship with staff, board, key stakeholders and AAI leadership; develop a leadership profile within the global AAI federation.
  2. Understand and embrace the AAI and AAUSA Strategies, advancing these strategies to ensure organizational sustainability.
  3. Come up to speed on the current portfolio of AAUSA policy issues and be prepared to act as a spokesperson for the organization when high-profile public opportunities arise.
  4. Support the Development team to continue growing the major gifts program into a significant revenue source for the organization, expand foundations funding, and sustain or grow an individual donor program.
  5. Develop an action plan to elevate AAUSA’s visibility in the US and broaden the base of supporters engaged in activism or contributing financially.
  6. Engage with ActionAid International’s leadership teams, the other heads of country offices, the GS, and international allies to collaboratively lead the federation.

Reporting & Responsibilities

Reporting to the AAUSA board of directors, the Executive Director provides day-to-day internal and external leadership for AAUSA. As a member of the ActionAid federation, AAUSA aligns with AAI strategies, policies and practices. There is an expectation of “dual citizenship” whereby all Executive Directors advance their national organizations and the federation at large. The ED will:

  • Provide visionary, strategic, feminist leadership to the organization and work within and outside the organization to combat exclusionary power.
  • Provide leadership and vision to AAUSA’s fundraising program, in partnership with the development team and board, to ensure that the organization meets or exceeds its fundraising goals.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with strategically important individuals and organizations, particularly individual donors and foundations, public officials and decision-makers in multilateral institutions.
  • Collaboratively work to translate that vision into specific strategies and concrete actions that advance the mission; be accountable for the achievement of the organization’s objectives.
  • Champion the mission of AAUSA and AAI and serve as the chief U.S. spokesperson for both organizations.
  • Build strong relationships with US and international staff, board and partners.
  • Lead within a unionized environment and honor the centrality of the collective bargaining agreement.
  • Play a leadership role in the AAI Federation, representing the U.S. but also building strong collaboration and working relationships with all of its members in other countries.
  • Support and provide leadership to AAUSA’s policy development efforts, in partnership with the policy staff.
  • Oversee the internal operations, finances and programs to preserve AAUSA’s status as a well-managed, fiscally-sound, highly-respected organization and highly-rated nonprofit.
  • Supervise the Senior Management Team and support their leadership growth to ensure that they are fully equipped to lead their respective teams.
  • Support the board of directors in its governance role, foster its ongoing development, and partner with it to achieve AAUSA’s vision and goals.

Ideal Candidates

The ideal candidate for this position will have a passion for the mission of working to end poverty and injustice, and:

  • Possess the ability to align with ActionAid’s vision and be a credible, passionate spokesperson for rights-based development.
  • Have substantial senior level organizational leadership and management experience, with a strong preference for having worked within an international organization; must have a global perspective on development issues.
  • Have demonstrated success in leading revenue generating programs. Experience soliciting major gifts and foundation funding is essential and broader experience in fundraising a definite plus.
  • Demonstrate extensive experience in representing an organization at the senior level of partners, government agencies, private sectors and donors.
  • Be a gifted communicator, both verbal and written, with the ability to digest complex issues and make a compelling case that enrolls people into action and generates support.
  • Have an inspiring collaborative leadership style that sensitive to multiple cultures and contexts, feminist leadership practice preferred.
  • Demonstrate a successful track record of building an organization and supporting high- functioning teams.
  • Eligibility to work in the United States.

We are fully focused on equality and believe deeply in diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin and other characteristics that make us different. As an organization focused on justice for marginalized communities, ActionAid encourages applicants of all abilities, ages, races, genders and national origins to apply, especially women of color. ActionAid USA offers a competitive salary and a superior benefits package that includes an excellent family leave policy, a variety of health insurance plans, generous paid leave, and a flexible work environment, among others. Relocation allowance will be available for the right candidate.

AAUSA is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

Application Process: Email resume or CV, cover letter, and writing sample to: jobs.usa@actionaid.org
Salary starting at $125,000 commensurate with experience. Applications reviewed on a rolling basis. Please no phone calls.

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