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GiveDirectly // crypto-powered charity initiative
New York    Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2019
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About GiveDirectly

GiveDirectly (GD) aims to reshape international giving - & millions of lives - by allowing donors to provide capital grants directly to the worlds 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), & in the process accelerate the end of extreme poverty.

GiveDirectly has reached nearly 150,000 households & 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 GiveDirectlys approach is that it lets people devise their own path out of poverty. The growing movement toward cash transfers & GDs role in that movement have also been featured in This American Life, Foreign Affairs, The Economist, & Business Insider.

Were looking for exceptional talent to grow GiveDirectly & the broader cash movement. Our culture is direct, analytical, non-hierarchical, fast-paced, transparent, & hard working. We are open to candidates from any industry & 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, & government. We value ability & willingness to learn over years of experience. We offer competitive salary & benefits & performance-based bonuses.


GiveDirectlys 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 & safeguarding data & processes against fraud. In this role, you will report to the COO-International & be responsible for the teams overall success, including the growth & 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, & lead the team to successfully project manage releases. You are a systems thinker & an adept manager, who is comfortable assessing tradeoffs & enjoys learning & teaching technology in a variety of business contexts. You naturally take ownership, can navigate unfamiliar settings, & enjoy both building & managing operations.


Manage the field tech team to provide exceptional support to GDs 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 & on time
  • Providing high quality training & trouble-shooting to a range of field stakeholders (i.e. field officers to country directors)
  • Building & reinforcing norms around high-quality process & stakeholder management

Lead team to own tech-related fraud & compliance risk for field ops, including:

  • Conducting periodic audits across tech-facing field processes to identify systematic vulnerabilities
  • Scoping & implementing high-value fixes (e.g. predictive fraud flags, automated inventory tracking)
  • Ensuring robust fraud tracking (i.e. metrics) & mitigation policies

Lead team to own best-in-class field reporting including:

  • Producing an analytics offering that reflects & reinforces GDs operational quality bar, with all layers of field management regularly using & reporting benefit
  • Providing the growth & partnership team with analytics & 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, & investment in scalable processes.

Ensure GD is leveraging field tech to generate revenue & remain a leader in the sector by:

  • Identifying gaps in GDs tech offering vis-a-vis other non-profit actors
  • Driving select field tech bets that will grow our revenue base & brand

What were looking for

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

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 & empower them to make their own choices, elevating their voices in the global aid debate. This value is core to GiveDirectlys 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 whats 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, & Im above this attitudes.

Be proactively candid.

We say what we believe, & 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 & to our ability to learn & grow from feedback. We owe it to each other - & our donors - to instill this confidence even though giving & receiving information candidly are unusual in both professional & social life, & 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 & emotionally, & we cannot overemphasize the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, enjoying the company of our colleagues, & not taking ourselves too seriously. In doing so, we aspire to generate energy & excitement amongst our colleagues in pursuing our mission. This should not preclude candor, & 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 & respectfully, but critically self-vet ideas we put forward, so as to ensure productive & prudent decision making. Demanding this level of rigor forces us to think harder about decisions & our assumptions than we otherwise might. This is a real cost. It can be taken too far: it is possible to overthink decisions, & we avoid debate for the sake of debate. We are not here to philosophize or ensure consensus. We decide & 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, & propose actionable answers. We do not allow problems to weigh us down & 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, & 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 & learn from temporary setbacks & failures. In accepting these failures, were conscious to not point fingers, nor obsess over mistakes made.

Know yourself & grow.

We recognize & accept our imperfections with a focus on growth.

We are an organization of exceptional people & trust in each others abilities, yet we recognize that none of us is perfect. We strive to maintain an accurate understanding of our individual & institutional strengths & weaknesses, in order to position ourselves to maximize our chances of success. At the same time, we seek personal growth for ourselves & our teammates. Feedback is given with a spirit of helpfulness; & sought out with a desire to learn.

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