Director, Partnerships for Research & Innovation

International Rescue Committee | Flexible, California, New York, Washington, Washington, DC, or Other


The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC works with people forced to flee from crises and the host communities that support them, as well as with those who remain within their homes and communities. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure.

Job Summary

The IRC's strategy centers on its dedication to continue to increase the scale and improve the effectiveness of its programs worldwide with evidence of what works best to impact people’s lives in conflict and fragile settings. The organization’s External Relations (ER) department is responsible for the global delivery of the IRC’s private sector resources - financially contributing more than US$200M per annum, as well as key partnerships and influence that support our mission - and plays a critical strategic role in the design of IRC’s brand, awareness and support for its advocacy goals. ER teams based in New York headquarters and globally deliver marketing, communications, advocacy, and private-sector funding to support this work. The private-sector income of IRC comprises of three principal departments: Mass Markets, USA Philanthropy and the International Philanthropy and Partnerships (IPP). The latter two, which comprise the High-Value fundraising teams for IRC, make up for more than 80% of the annual private-sector revenue for the Organization.

The IRC’s Airbel Impact Lab designs, IRC’s Research and Innovation Unit, tests, and scales life-changing, cost-effective solutions for people affected by conflict and disaster. By applying the IRC’s deep technical expertise and field experience with a range of skills from the behavioral sciences, human-centered design, rigorous research, and multi-disciplinary problem-solving in humanitarian contexts, we work to develop breakthrough solutions that combine creativity and rigor, and a desire to think afresh with the experience of a large-scale implementing organization.

Job Overview:

The Director, Research and Innovation Partnerships will be accountable to deliver on IRC’s Research and Innovation-related growth goals with corporations, foundations and individual philanthropists. Embedded within the External Relations department with joint-reporting into Airbel, you will work closely with other IRC senior staff and leadership to effectively positioning IRC as a key global partner of choice in relation to all things Research and Innovation.

This is a highly facilitative role in a fast-paced and dynamic environment, and will require outstanding interpersonal, communications and project management skills. Working closely with the Airbel Impact Lab and the High Value Global Partnerships and Philanthropic Services team, you will:

- Develop a robust new business plan of fundraising engagement to improve and expand our financial engagement with partners in support of the annual growth goal for research and innovation
- Guide high-quality content development and financial propositions to instill support to IRC’s research and innovation.
- Drive the overall strategy of our engagement with this set of partners and contribute to advancing initiatives that fulfill this goal.

Reports To

Key Working Relationships:
Position reports to: Senior Director, Global Business Development (IPP) and the Chief Research and Innovation Officer
Position directly supervises:  Partnerships Lead
Indirect Reporting: N/A
Other Internal and/or external contacts:


  • Vice President of International Partnerships and Philanthropy (IPP) and GPPS
  • Vice President of USA Philanthropy
  • IRC External Relations leadership
  • Technical Unit Directors and Team Members
  • Country and Regional Directors
  • Airbel core team and project managers


  • Senior contacts at IRC institutional donors and private sector foundations
  • Select Major Donors


Major Responsibilities

  • Deliver on fundraising for research and innovation
  • Identify and deliver on an ambitious annual growth goal in support of IRC’s research and innovation that will contribute towards the holistic target of IPP and USA Philanthropy respectively.
  • Develop and execute fundraising strategies spanning institutional philanthropy, private gifts, social finance and public funders to support these goals.
  • Develop ground-breaking investment opportunities for donors; support the development of exceptionally promising innovation projects across the IRC.
  • Develop strategic engagement and solicitation strategies to increase donor retention and upgrade donors' giving.
  • Secure funding to sustain the Airbel Impact Lab and grow its ~$10M portfolio of innovation projects.
  • Ensure, in collaboration with GPPS and in line with global best practice across our entire engagement with HV donors, that R&I donors receive appropriate, consistent engagement/acknowledgment and an accounting of the impact that their gift has on community needs annually.
  • Support fundraising for innovation projects across the IRC
  • In collaboration with GPPS, contribute to the generation of content and material that will drive success in fundraising.
  • Allocate business development and design resources to make funding proposals more competitive.
  • Align fundraising activities with IRC’s innovation goals and support the overall revenue and impact goals of the organization.
  • Develop partnership and communications that build IRC’s reputation for innovation
  • Support and maintain the organization’s brand, and specifically through the effective positioning of Airbel with key influencing audiences and partners through effective engagement strategy, web presence and communications strategy; work with relevant ER colleagues to elevate relevant messaging and ethos into IRC mainline communications.
  • Build bridges to the private sector that welcome new ideas, new resources and new alliances into the work of solving grand humanitarian challenges.


Minimum Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree with 8-10 years of experience in a variety of fundraising roles
  • Experience in institutional or private fundraising, major donor relations, and proposal development
  • Proven track record of fundraising with foundations and/or major donors
  • Outstanding interpersonal, presentation, and writing skills
  • Ability to communicate with colleagues on all levels in a distributed, multicultural professional environment
  • Experience in the private sector and/or entrepreneurial environments a plus

Preferred Requirements

  • Fluency in French and/or Arabic
  • Experience in humanitarian setting or development contexts
  • Experience/familiarity with NGO professional setting

Working Environment:  Standard office work environment. Up to 30-40% travel required.

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Organization: Nonprofit organizations