Regional Senior Program Development Officer, The Americas

Mercy Corps
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Aug 25

Position description

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps’ operations in The Americas are focused on the countries of Haiti, Guatemala, Colombia, in the Northwest United States, as well on the Venezuela regional humanitarian crisis, and supporting resilient communities across Caribbean states and territories. These are a disparate collection of contexts with many different challenges and opportunities that are all undergoing dramatic transitions that have the potential to create significant opportunity for development and change. Mercy Corps is well-placed to play a meaningful role in supporting forces for positive change in these places.

The Americas regional team works closely on program development efforts with the global New Initiatives (NI) team, which takes a leading role supporting and enhancing Program Development throughout the Mercy Corps world. The NI team: 1) leads the development of grant submissions to institutional donors and 2) carries out initiatives that enhance agency competitiveness. Team members lead and support strategic, high-priority proposals by: assisting country teams with pre-proposal positioning activities; assembling proposal teams; leading the proposal planning and development process; conducting on-site participatory assessment and design work; writing and editing technical proposals; working closely with the HQ and field finance team in the development of the proposal budget/cost application; reviewing proposals to assess clarity and competitiveness; and more. The team enhances agency competitiveness through the development of tools and processes to improve proposal quality across the agency. With all of its activities, New Initiatives works in a highly collaborative manner with the agency as a whole.

The Position

The Regional Senior Program Development Officer will be a member of the regional team, reporting to the Senior Program Officer and working alongside the regional team and the global NI team to support the regional country offices. They will work closely with the Americas Regional team on program development efforts by: 1) supporting prepositioning efforts focusing on (but not exclusively) proposal opportunities in Guatemala and Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, the Caribbean, and Haiti; 2) Act as lead writer on medium to large proposal efforts to institutional donors (focused on USG and private corporate/foundation donors, but not exclusively); 3) Working with members of global NI team, TSU, and wider program team (to include field teams and RPT members) to lead or support supporting proposal development processes; 4) Provide targeted reviews and editing support to field teams as needed; and 5) tracking the pipeline of potential new business opportunities for the region and supporting the RD and Country Directors (CDs) in prioritizing and preparing for them. They will help enhance regional competitiveness by working with NI team members and other stakeholders to enhance the overall state of practice vis-à-vis proposal processes.

Essential Responsibilities


  • Responsible for leading and supporting all aspects of the development of strategic proposals, including lead writing and proposal coordination with support by the New Initiatives team.
  • Special emphasis is on supporting proposal development for 1) medium/large proposal efforts for USG donors and/or 2) complex or multi-country efforts.
  • Significant travel to countries in the region to assist with program development efforts.
  • Coordinate alongside CDs with the HQ teams including the RPT, Corporations and Foundations Teams and the MCE Institutional Partnership Managers.
  • Develop and maintain a pipeline of funding opportunities in the region.


  • Lead and support pre-positioning efforts that help Mercy Corps country offices proactively influence donor planning and access funding.
  • Facilitate strategic planning sessions with country programs.
  • Track donor trends and business forecasting for potential opportunities in Americas sub-regions (Caribbean, Central America and Northern Triangle, South America) and around emerging funding priorities (humanitarian response, climate change, migration)
  • Keep up to date on relevant donor strategies being developed or applied by significant governmental, academic, and non-profit groups. Work with Mercy Corps staff in the Americas region to determine how the agency can best work with and/or influence such materials.
  • Support analysis and mapping of peer organization positioning with key donors to to better assess the competitiveness of potential Mercy Corps proposals.


  • Build capacity of Mercy Corps’ staff within the region develop and write winning proposals through team-work during proposal efforts, mentoring or tailored training activities.
  • Contribute to activities that raise regional state of practice, such as: developing improved reference materials for proposal writers, contributing to efforts that capture learnings and results from our programs, and/or assisting with networking activities.

Supervisory Responsibility

Reports Directly To: Americas Technical Director (with dotted line to Senior Director, New Initiatives)
Works Directly With: Americas Regional Director, Deputy Regional Director, and RPT, Country Directors/Deputy Country Directors and their teams, Global New Initiatives team, TSU.

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.


  • Bachelor’s degree required. M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in International Development, International Relations or related field is preferred.
  • 4+ years of experience in International Development highly preferred, including experience living and/or working overseas
  • Successful track record in program design and proposal development in a variety of sectors and geographic locations.
  • Exceptional writing skills.
  • Native-level spoken and written English required; writing samples will be requested of finalist candidates.
  • Professional proficiency in Spanish is strongly preferred.
  • Proven ability to work productively with a wide variety of stakeholders to run both participatory process and also meet tight deadlines with an emphasis on producing quality products.
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
  • Proven success with major donors such as USAID, Department of State, EC and relevant foundations and corporations.
  • Strong organizational and process management capabilities.
  • Exceptional interpersonal communication skills.
  • Familiarity with at least one of Mercy Corps’ technical sectors and geographic locations

Application instructions

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