Sr. Program Officer, Storytelling

National Geographic Society
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Feb 19

Position description

The Storytelling team works to expand the organization’s impact through journalism, photography, film/video, web content, mapping, and data visualization. As one of the largest funders to individual storytellers in this work, it also identifies key grantmaking, and fellowship opportunities with creative talent. Much of the team's programmatic activity is focused on identifying and building capacity for the next generation of diverse storytellers. 


The Senior Program Officer (SPO) works in collaboration with the entire grants team and Senior Director of Storytelling Grants, Fellowships and Programs, with the primary responsibility of Storytelling grant making for the Society. The SPO is responsible for planning, monitoring and overseeing the daily operations of Storytelling grants. The SPO ensures consistency and timely grant processing for all storytelling grants, and recruits new explorers and projects from the discipline. The SPO prepares reports of grant making activities, disseminates the results of these grants to interested parties, and leads the liaison process between storytellers, committee members, grantees, professional organizations, and internal National Geographic Society (NGS) and National Geographic Partners (NGP) divisions. The SPO organizes internal presentations by grantees and in collaboration with Impact Media, shepherds grantees among editorial units when relevant.

Your Impact 

Responsibilities Include

  • Reviews requests for funding within Storytelling. Identifies qualified requests based on eligibility, timeliness, project plan accuracy, talent of the candidate, viability of methodology, currency and significance of the topic, and relevance to the priorities of the lens. (45%)
  • Provides feedback to potential and repeat applicants before grant proposal submission, including improvements for project planning and design. Provides technical and specific support to grantees during all phases of grant-making process and project implementation. Builds and maintains relationships with grantees and acts as the main point of contact to provide active engagement. (25%)
  • Recruits potential explorers and projects through domestic and international professional conferences, meetings, special events, and site visits. Attends some key events as an NGS representative.  (10%)
  • Coordinates with Storytelling Amplification and Strategic Communications to promote grantees through all NGS/NGP departments by notifying them of new grants and highlighting projects with good media potential. Communicates with grantees to identify story/media opportunities. Tracks media coverage of grantees. (10%)
  • Supports the Senior Director of Storytelling Grants, Fellowships and Programs in designing strategic priorities, planning new initiatives, and adaptively managing the overall vision and metrics of the storytelling portfolio. (10%)

What You’ll Bring 

Educational Background

Bachelor's degree. Master’s degree preferred.

Minimum Years and Type of Experience   

7+ years of storytelling (photography, filmmaking, videography, journalism, media) related experience with a preference for visual journalism expertise. 

Necessary Knowledge and Skills

  • Strong understanding of science media, knowledge of current trends in scientific storytelling is helpful along with a demonstrated interest in the conservation of the earth's cultural and natural resources.
  • Excellent multitasking and interpersonal skills essential.  
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of MS Office. 

Desired Qualifications

  • Knowledge of Salesforce, visual media and databases preferred.
  • Experience in grant making preferred but not required.  


No direct reports

We encourage you to apply even if your experience is not a 100% match with the position. We are looking for someone with relevant skills and experience, not a checklist that exactly matches the job description. We want to help you grow and in return, you help us grow into a stronger, more inclusive organization. 

Application instructions

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