Director, Global Volunteers

Brooklyn, NY preferred; DC and Bay Area possible

About DataKind

DataKind is a global nonprofit dedicated to harnessing the power of data science and artificial intelligence (AI) in the service of humanity. Named one of Fast Company's 2017 top 10 innovative nonprofits, we team talented pro bono experts from academia and industry with visionary changemakers to collaboratively design innovative solutions to tough social challenges. We help social organizations apply their data to predictive analytics, machine learning algorithms, and AI needs in a way that both increases impact and is sensitive to the ethical considerations they have.

  • We are 20,000+ strong: DataKind volunteers hail from almost every country across the world, representing a community of technologists and social changemakers who believe in using data science and AI for a stronger planet and a more just and prosperous world.
  • We have served 300+ projects around the world: From using satellite imagery to measure crop yields to automating the fight against hate speech online, our volunteer community has shown up to support a range of humanitarian needs.
  • People are at the center of our process: The most advanced machine learning algorithms are useless if they’re not designed for real peoples’ problems. We celebrate human centered design principles that focus on the “why,” the “for whom,” and the “should we” long before we ever get going on the “what.”
  • “AI for Good” Will Only Succeed If It’s “AI for All”: We will continue our work until all people and all communities can use digital technology for the outcomes they want to see. We support not just the technology communities of today, but anyone in any community who wants to lead in how data technologies serve their needs fairly.

Our Next Phase

We have been honored to work with social change organizations around the world to do over 300 projects these past eight years. Those projects have resulted in more effective NGOs, more funding for social change organizations, and more awareness of the power (and pitfalls) of data science and AI in the social sector. However, we have always known we will not be able to combat all of the world’s looming challenges on the backs of individual, uncoordinated, short-term projects alone. Thanks to generous long-term support from The Rockefeller Foundation and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, we are now focusing the DataKind network on issue areas, such as improving health outcomes through community health workers or increasing financial inclusion. Over a period of five years, we’ve been granted $20M to make this vision a reality, and are looking for people to join us in this journey. You can read more about the new strategy here.

About the Opportunity

DataKind’s data scientist volunteers are the engine of what we do, applying their expertise to assist high-impact, mission-driven organizations tackle the world’s biggest challenges. With hubs across the globe in San Francisco, DC, Bangalore, the UK, and Singapore, the Director, Global Volunteers sets the vision and strategy for engaging and supporting our worldwide volunteer community.

Reporting to the Chief Program Officer and managing Network Managers who offer direct support to chapters, the Director will create an environment in which volunteers can contribute in meaningful ways to our partners, feel valued for their unique abilities, and reflect the diverse communities they represent. Ensuring that volunteers are trained and supported in their work, the Director will partner with the Center of Excellence and other Programs team staff to develop a best-in-class orientation and training program and build volunteer talent pipelines for data projects. In addition, the Director is charged with defining the strategy for the global chapter model, strategically recruiting new volunteers and chapter leaders, ensuring a clean volunteer database, and developing a taxonomy of volunteer roles and project pathways.  

Ideal candidates have developed world-class volunteer engagement programs, have served as a network leader, and preferably have worked in international or volunteer contexts themselves.

What You’ll Do

The Director, Global Volunteers is responsible for the following in addition to any other project as assigned by their manager:

Global Network Strategy & Design

  • Develop the strategy for, and codification of, the DataKind volunteer experience and journey.
  • Continue to refine and implement the strategy for our volunteer chapter network.
  • Monitor progress on the strategic roadmap and investment plans for each of our three key community constituents: the network of DataKind chapters and chapter leaders, the pool of individual volunteers who work on projects, and those “inspired by DataKind” who wish to replicate our model.

Volunteer Recruitment & Retention

  • Develop a strategy for, and building of, long-term partnerships which allow for volunteer recruitment, amplification of volunteers’ voices, and project promotion.
  • In collaboration with the Product team and chapter leaders, develop an effective volunteer engagement strategy that supports the diversity, health, and satisfaction of the volunteer base (as evidenced by regularly administered surveys).
  • Create clear ways for the global DataKind community to communicate with one another, share learnings, and build relationships as fellow members of the Data and AI for Good movement.
  • Develop a clear and inclusive volunteer journey that makes it easy for new members to engage, find roles that fit their needs, and engage on projects.

Chapter Operations, Governance, & Support

  • Ensure all chapters operate under the fiscal, risk, and compliance standards set forth by the Operations Team.
  • Plan and host an annual chapter summit convening our chapter leaders from across the globe.
  • Create and maintain a volunteer handbook and chapter manual which codify volunteer roles, expectations, and other program-related content.
  • Partner with the Product and Technology teams to establish the parameters of a volunteer management system and then develop strategies to ensure volunteer records, project impacts, and costs are kept up-to-date.

Who You Are 

  • A volunteer and network workforce expert. Having worked in contexts with a global volunteer workforce, you understand the unique interplay between staff and volunteers and how to create opportunities for them to meaningfully contribute their skills. This experience allows you to understand how all of the pieces of the volunteer lifecycle fit together and which systems will support the ongoing operations of DataKind.
  • A cultural ambassador. You understand how to develop a strong organizational culture through facilitative leadership and have experience in developing a strong volunteer workforce across several countries/continents. You demonstrate this belief in the ways you interact with volunteers and stakeholders, harness and focus team energy, and communicate with integrity in your day-to-day work. You share our values of humility, transparency, diversity, equity, inclusion, thoughtfulness, expertise, and approachability. Your passion for these values is contagious and drives organizational culture.
  • A network leader and strategist. You’ve set the vision for what an extraordinary volunteer journey and engagement strategy looks like and have built systems to realize and support impactful volunteer deployment.
  • An advocate for community project ownership. You understand the value of having projects completed by global volunteers and the transparency that it signals to partners worldwide. You appreciate the talent, expertise, and capacity that the volunteer base brings to each project, allowing DataKind to have far more impact and reach. You see volunteer engagement as a way to both build intercultural understanding and for an ongoing learning exchange between DataKind and our volunteers.
  • A systems thinker and people person. You love chatting with people just as much as you love creating process and systems to help them do their best work. People want to work for you. You are used to leading a team but also don’t mind rolling up your sleeves to get in the weeds when necessary. You are a natural at building rapport and have a knack for relationship management.
  • An experienced, collaborative manager. You have experience managing teams in either the volunteer, nonprofit, or tech spaces (or perhaps all three). You’re comfortable taking complex problems down to bite-sized deliverables, and you are exceptional at keeping teams on task to deliver great work on time. You identify problems early and are proactive about working with colleagues to create solutions.

How You’ll be Measured

At the end of year one, the Director will have:

  • Developed and implemented a global volunteer engagement strategy in concert with the senior leadership and Executive teams.
  • Launched at least one chapter in accordance with the newly-implemented strategy.
  • Ensured that 90% of projects are staffed with qualified volunteers within four weeks of the needs for a project being identified.
  • Codified the volunteer experience and journey, which includes organizing and hosting training webinars, data meet-ups, and annual volunteer summits.
  • Developed and begun executing on a strategy to identify, onboard, and train new volunteers across the globe, especially in those geographies where our focus on impact practice areas may be centered.
  • Created a volunteer engagement calendar with volunteer opportunities, training sessions, and coordinated outreach.
  • Co-created clear pathways for chapter-led projects to contribute to impact practices.


  • Eight years of professional experience with a background in social services or service/program delivery, and a minimum of four years providing leadership to a department, program, or service. Demonstrated experience in coordinating staff and volunteer activities.
  • Experience with community outreach, community organizing, and relationship building highly preferred.
  • Outstanding knowledge of current trends and information about volunteerism.
  • Ability to relate well and effectively with diverse groups and individuals; international experience a plus.
  • Demonstrated track record of enhancing, implementing, and enforcing processes to increase operational efficiency, with special preference for those with experience with volunteer management.
  • Skilled in leveraging data to make strategic decisions.
  • Experience with community-based knowledge management.
  • Excellence in organizational management with ability to manage and develop high-performing teams to develop and implement volunteer program strategies.
  • Proficiency with Salesforce (or other CRM system) a plus.

Why Work with DataKind

At DataKind, we believe that people are the most important asset to delivering on our mission to collaboratively design data-driven, innovative solutions to tough social challenges. Working with us means that you will have:

  • Flexibility in your working schedule. This includes things like working from home, leaving early to care for kids, coming in late to walk your dog, etc. This also means that you have unlimited PTO.
  • Access to a generous health plan. We pay 100% of medical, vision, and dental benefits for employees and contribute partially for spouse/kids/family members.
  • Support to plan for your future. We offer a 401(k) match up to 5%.
  • Opportunities to learn and grow. Each year, we budget for each staff person to have ongoing professional development support.

To Apply

This search is being managed by Axis Talent Partners, a boutique executive search and talent strategy firm which partners with social justice-focused organizations. Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter detailing their interest in our mission and qualifications for the position to


DataKind is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Naturally, we are an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourage candidates from underrepresented groups in tech to apply. DataKind does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, disability, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other protected category.