Director, Funders’ Initiative for Civil Society Global Dialogue

Job Description

Global Dialogue seeks a Director to lead a new international programme, the Funders’ Initiative for Civil Society (FICS), a global response by private philanthropy to the closing of civic space.

As activism has gained visibility and achieved significant impact globally there has also been a noticeable rise in attacks on civil society by states and non-state actors, marked in recent years by a proliferation of laws that limit freedoms of expression, information, association and assembly. There have also been increases in politically motivated prosecutions, in illicit surveillance, and in the number of reported physical assaults and even killings of activists. Research shows that this global trend towards restricting civil society already affects more than 100 countries worldwide. In the short term the phenomenon of closing space is disrupting, and in some cases paralyzing, the day to day work of activists and their organisations. In the long term the phenomenon threatens to weaken the vitality and vision of civil society.

The Funders’ Initiative for Civil Society will facilitate a coordinated donor response to the increase in restrictions on civil society and limitations on cross- border philanthropy, encouraging donors to align their resources to create an enabling environment where civil society organisations thrive and cross-border grant-making can flourish. The Initiative already brings together many private funders from around the world and we expect it to continue to grow in membership and influence.

FICS is led by an advisory board that includes the donors to the Initiative and the funder networks Ariadne, the European Foundation Centre, and the International Human Rights Funders Group. The Initiative is housed at Global Dialogue, a registered charity (1122052) promoting human rights and social change through innovative and collaborative philanthropy. The FICS Director will be supported by a Programme Manager to be recruited by the successful candidate later this year.

Key responsibilities

This role has six key areas of responsibility:

  • Developing strategy – develop and implement a three-year strategy for the Initiative, ensuring that the FICS approach complements that of other key civil society actors working on the issue, and that local and regional funders and civil society groups in the global south and east are able to participate meaningfully in the Initiative.
  • Promoting learning – enable continuous learning, knowledge-sharing and coordination among donors on the issue, using online communities, creating smart resources, running regular briefing events and representing FICS at international conferences and meetings.
    Aligning resources – design and deliver ways for funders to align their grant-making on the issue, including mapping grants already made; devising successful grant-making strategies for different challenges and geographies; identifying gaps and opportunities for philanthropic support, large and small; and encouraging philanthropic investment on the issue.
  • Building networks – support alliance-building and coordination across sectors to address this trend, including extending the membership of FICS to the broader global philanthropic community, and maintaining strong working relationships with civil society organisations working on closing space globally, connecting them to new opportunities and funds where appropriate.
  • Supporting advocacy – assist funders to communicate their direct experiences of this trend and its impact on their grantees and on civil society to key decision makers including major philanthropic actors, national governments, regional and multilateral institutions and corporate entities where appropriate.
  • Managing operations – the Director will have overall responsibility for delivering the FICS programme, including raising additional funds as required; managing the programme team, the FICS budget and programme-specific risks; reporting to donors, to the FICS advisory board, the Executive Director and the Global Dialogue trustee board.

Person Specification

We are looking for a skilled and senior staff member with significant experience of working collaboratively and internationally on social change issues and influencing external stakeholders at the highest level.
We expect that the successful candidate will have most of the following skills and experience:


  • Excellence in strategic thinking and planning, demonstrating an entrepreneurial sense, and ability to respond quickly to developments in the external environment whilst delivering a long-term strategy
  • Demonstrated leadership in civil society, possibly in a humanitarian or development role, or in human rights, social change, environmental justice or philanthropy
  • Previous management experience
  • Understanding or experience of the pressures on civil society
    organisations resulting from current political trends
    Knowledge and understanding of private philanthropy in an international
  • Good networking and diplomatic skills, with strong existing networks
    amongst activists or donors or both
  • Strong communication skills and experience of influencing or advocacy
    at the highest levels
  • Proven success in fundraising, with an ability to raise funds both for
  • FICS itself and for associated programmes or organisations
  • Ability to direct, encourage, and facilitate collaboration among a broad
    network of donors as well as effectively manage a small team
  • Excellent spoken and written English, with expert communication and
    presentational skills
  • Informed passion for human rights, social change and civil society
  • A high level of administration and IT skills, including MS Office
  • At least ten years of paid employment in a relevant field
  • Permission to live and work in the UK


  • An advanced degree or equivalent in a relevant field
  • Experience of working with funders and/or civil society organisations in
    the global south or east
  • Fluency in a language other than English
  • Understanding of or experience in the humanitarian and/or development sector
  • Experience in philanthropic support, participating in donor
    collaborations, or in managing pooled or aligned funds
  • Experience in using social media to promote a cause

Terms and Conditions

  • Salary: £60-65,000 per annum depending on experience, pro rata for a part-time appointment
  • Working hours: This is a full time role although we would also consider offering the role at 4 days/wk (0.8 FTE)
  • Start date: autumn 2016, by negotiation
  • Holidays: 25 days per annum pro-rata plus UK public holidays
  • Length of initial contract: 3 years, subject to renewal if additional
    funding is available, with a six-month probationary period
  • Location: Vauxhall, London, with frequent international travel which we
    estimate could be up to 20% of time

Closing Date


To apply

Interviews will be held in London during the week commencing Monday 31 October. To apply please submit a maximum two-page CV and a short cover letter (maximum 2 sides A4) explaining how you meet the person specification to Please use the following subject line: “FICS Director: Last name, first name”. The filename of your CV should be “LastnameFirstname_CV” and that of your cover letter should be “LastnameFirstname_Cover”.