Director of Evaluation & Learning, The Audacious Project

  • New York City, NY
  • Full Time
  • Audacious
  • Senior Manager/Supervisor

At TED, we seek to bridge, include, diversify because we truly believe ideas are for everyone. It is important to us to attract individuals from diverse backgrounds who are curious about the world and interested in helping us spread ideas far and wide.

About The Audacious Project 

The Audacious Project is a collaborative funding initiative that is unlocking social impact on a grand scale. 

TED is a nonprofit dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading,” and we’ve thought for a long time about how to turn big ideas into action. The Audacious Project — a  collaborative funding platform — is a project of TED designed to do this at scale. 

By inviting the world’s change-makers to dream bigger than ever before, the  Audacious Project surfaces ideas with the potential to affect millions of lives and  impact entire systems. Using our curatorial expertise, and in partnership with the  Bridgespan Group and several others, we support selected applicants to shape their ideas into actionable, multi-year proposals. We then convene a community of donors who collectively contribute large-scale funding directly to individual organizations. 

Our collaborative funding model attempts to address a major frustration faced by  the world’s change-makers: Without access to venture capital or stock markets,  social entrepreneurs have to pitch donors one-by-one -- often a deeply inefficient  process for all involved. Now in its fifth year, the Audacious Project has catalyzed nearly $3 billion for 38 organizations engaged in a wide range of social impact efforts around the world.  

Beyond mobilizing capital, our design is dynamic and responsive to the needs of  projects once they receive transformative funding. To that end, we have set out  to build our capacity to help projects achieve their goals for both impact and sustainability. 

Position Overview:

The Director of Evaluation & Learning will design, implement and continuously refine The Audacious Project’s approach and system for assessing the impact and garnering the learnings from the portfolio of funded projects. This person will be a valuable consultative resource that enables The Audacious Project to be more effective, ultimately creating greater impact across the portfolio. Operating within a nimble team, the Director will build an evaluation function that is right sized for the organization and its role as a platform for donors to invest directly (Audacious itself doesn’t make grants). The evaluation function will be designed to meet the unique positioning and needs of this platform, and not be overly cumbersome or viewed as excessive scrutiny by donors and grantees. 

This position will be responsible for sharing performance monitoring findings with the team, the portfolio of projects, the TED and Audacious donor communities, and to the sector at large. The learnings gathered will also provide important inputs to the team for refining and improving future Audacious cycles. This position will also support the overall investment practice, from contributing to due diligence of potential candidates and providing measurement-related guidance into their investment proposals, to providing consultative support to Audacious projects, and supporting the reporting of project outcomes and impact.

This is an outstanding opportunity for an experienced, equity-focused, entrepreneurial professional looking to join a growing team that facilitates ongoing donor investment in 35+ social change projects (with $2.8B+ in active funding) and is excited to build a new practice area for the Audacious team. While the TED office is located in New York, this position is fully flexible on location, including outside the United States (some regular working hours overlap with US time zones will be necessary).  

Responsibilities:

Strategic Design & Leadership Support

  • Lead and manage the development and implementation of an Audacious-wide evaluation center of expertise which will include an institutional approach to the measurement and evaluation of Audacious supported projects; includes defining the policies and objectives governing evaluation activities that accounts for the unique needs of Audacious, its projects and the donor community.
  • Design an evaluation function that can track and assess impact and provide indicators of success; when unquantifiable, allow the Audacious team to still act and use best judgment to foster programmatic improvements by asking the right strategic questions.
  • Bring an evaluative perspective into the design and review of new program areas in the early stages of development. Collaborate with internal teams to define rationale and logic for a new program's intention, desired impact and definition of success in that sector. 
  • Provide as needed strategic and hands on support to the Portfolio Impact team. This could include contributing to due diligence, investment preparation support and overseeing relationships with select grantees.

Consultative Support

  • Purposefully introduce evaluation principles in a way that demonstrates value, enables executives and donors to see/share the vision and meshes with the culture.
  • Utilizing a service orientation and in collaboration with portfolio managers, provide data, analysis and insights that will allow the team to be more strategic and innovative in how they structure and run the investment cycles.
  • During the investment process, provide support to finalist organizations and any third parties supporting proposal development on their M&E approaches; continue providing as-needed support to active portfolio as they report on their impact. 

Evaluation Metrics/Performance Monitoring Operations

  • Integrate evaluation that more systematically embeds equitable practices and policies into ongoing program planning and improvement, with consideration of practices used by donors in the Audacious community. Refine, implement and communicate processes that ensure projects’ performance monitoring data is submitted on time, completely, and in the appropriate format; develop training and ongoing professional development for staff as needed.
  • Train and mentor staff to perform routine and ad-hoc analysis of performance monitoring data, leading with best practices in measurement trends and an equity lens.
  • On an ongoing basis, review tools/techniques/metrics being used to determine if they remain relevant, are producing constructive data and are prompting the right strategic questions.
  • Collaborate with the Content and Programming Manager and the Communications team to develop internal reporting tools and identify strong impact stories to highlight/broadcast, especially with key stakeholders (e.g. Audacious donor community). 
  • Work with the appropriate partners (e.g. Chief of Staff, IT support) to develop the technological infrastructure necessary for efficient and effective information collection and analysis. 

Knowledge Dissemination/External Relations

  • Serve as the team’s repository and resource for the latest tools, trends and technology used for evaluation and learning.
  • In partnership with Audacious leadership, develop the approach for quantifying and communicating the impact programs are having against goals, targets and strategies, which in turn will encourage additional investment and visibility to persuade others (foundations, philanthropists, government agencies, industry influencers) to move into/support the space as well.
  • Prepare/deliver oral and written communications for internal/external reporting, presentations and practice building or knowledge dissemination opportunities.
  • Participate in and represent Evaluation & Learning at internal TED meetings as well as in relevant sectoral gatherings.

Desired Qualifications:

  • 8+ years of progressive and related experience, including a recent leadership role introducing evaluation and learning infrastructure in a foundation or a major nonprofit.
  • Demonstrated expertise in the evaluation profession; Hands-on experience leading planning, evaluation or policy analyses, as well as applying a variety of qualitative and quantitative evaluation techniques is preferred. Experience designing and authoring impact presentations and reports for a range of audiences.
  • Strong project management experience demonstrating ability to meet multiple deadlines, maintain a high level of organization, move quickly from one project to another, marshal necessary resources and manage expectations/timelines to achieve results.
  • Familiar with the latest technology and tools relevant in evaluation, along with a continual drive to learn.  Clear familiarity with requisite quality controls and metrics.
  • Experience living or working in the global south strongly preferred, but equally important is evidence confirming the ability to put programs in context; must have intelligently discussed the unique challenges the evaluation activities should address for that field.
  • Able to work independently, successful operating with resources attributable to nonprofits and understands the importance of proactively keeping stakeholders informed of progress.

Personal Characteristics:

  • Commitment to incorporating equity throughout all aspects of the work.
  • Comfortable working in a dynamic work environment where flexibility and adaptability is important.  
  • Strong presentation and interpersonal skills, including ability to interact with a wide range of stakeholders, including senior management, program staff, donors and grant recipients.
  • Skilled at getting a message across, written or verbally, especially distilling field-specific concepts to a general audience.
  • Asks strategic questions and is eager to have in-depth discussions on key program initiatives.  Conveys understanding and generates confidence with a focus on substance, not catch-phrases.
  • Engages and works collaboratively; able to effectively manage conflicts, deal with ambiguity, justify recommendations and respond to issues with clarity and diplomacy.
  • Consultative approach, not an empire-builder; operates with a high degree of respect for colleagues and delivers value in evaluation that is equally compelling.
  • Naturally collegial, patient and cooperative.
  • Ability and willingness to travel domestically and internationally, as needed.
  • Clear passion for the mission and the nonprofit sector.

 

This is a full-time remote position with a flexible location, including outside of the United States.  TED Conferences LLC is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We invite all qualified candidates to apply online with their resume.

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