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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, DataKind teams talented pro bono experts from academia and industry with visionary change makers 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 change makers 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 people’s problems. DataKind celebrates 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 tech communities of today, but anyone in any community who wants to lead in how data technologies serve their needs fairly.

The Next Phase

DataKind has 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 that 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, DataKind has been granted $20M to make this vision a reality, and we 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 chapters 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 staff 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 our 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 also charged with  carrying forward the strategy for our 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 Volunteer Strategy And Design

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

Volunteer Recruitment And Retention

  • Develop a strategy for and build 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 find roles that fit their needs and engage on projects

Chapter Operations, Governance, And Support

  • Ensure all chapters operate under the fiscal, risk and compliance standards set forth by the Operations Team
  • Together with the volunteer support team, plan and host an annual chapter summit convening the 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

How You’ll Be Measured

At the end of year 1, 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 chapter network strategy.
  • Ensured that 90% of projects are staffed with qualified volunteers within 4 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. 


  • Strong alignment with DataKind’s mission and values, including the ability to build relationships across difference (e.g. culture, skillset, or time zone)
  • At least 7-10 years of professional experience, preferably including experience at nonprofit or mission driven organizations or teams
  • Significant experience in volunteer recruitment, management, and engagement with a track record of creating strong community for volunteers
  • Track record of designing and implementing programmatic strategy, including systems thinking, process improvement, and data-driven decision-making
  • Experience managing staff and developing high-performance teams
  • Experience coming up to speed quickly on a technical issue and/or conversant in basic data science
  • Preferably, externally representing an organization or issue area through public speaking or writing

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.