Portfolio Manager

Brooklyn, NY

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. 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 in the 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, we have 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

Reporting to the Director of Product, the Portfolio Manager will be responsible for overseeing a portfolio of volunteer-led projects using cutting-edge technology to help inspiring organizations worldwide make greater impact. In this highly visible and high-impact role, you will manage a set of long-term projects from start to finish, staffing teams of talented pro bono data scientists with the right skills to get the work done, and you will build strong relationships with DataKind’s nonprofit partners, ensuring everyone has a great experience in the process. You will also have the opportunity to direct and contribute to short-term engagements and public facing community events. In this role, you will work closely with data scientists as well as the Operations, Community, and Network teams.

What You’ll Do

The Portfolio Manager will be responsible for the following in addition to any other project assigned by their manager:

Project Management

  • Scope potential projects, contributing to scope statements, and developing project plans
  • Write and oversee project briefs for the impact practice portfolio, managing scope creep
  • Prepare projects for a seamless launch with our volunteers and nonprofit project partners, including but not limited to: aligning on and having contracts signed, ensuring data has been collected from our partners, and making sure that tech and communications systems have been put in place for teams
  • Lead day-to-day team project operations and activities while ensuring work is progressing as planned
  • Plan and execute project kick-off meetings, overseeing client and volunteer check-ins and end of phase presentations
  • Communicate and manage expectations of partner organizations and volunteers throughout the entire project life cycle
  • Manage project management tools like Salesforce and Asana, ensuring that they are updated with project information and progress
  • Meet weekly with the Product teams to provide detailed status updates on key projects and work streams

Project Team Management

  • Interview and select volunteers for project teams
  • Work with the Director of Global Volunteers to identify top volunteers
  • Ensure volunteers have a great experience on projects, celebrating their efforts and work throughout the project
  • Solicit feedback from partner organizations and volunteers to execute action plans based on their feedback

 Who You Are

  • You are an experienced project manager. You have a proven track record of successfully managing full life-cycle tech projects, and love nothing more than successfully getting a project from the start line to the finish line. You have experience managing technical teams and deliverables in either the volunteer, nonprofit, or tech spaces (or perhaps all three). You are comfortable breaking complex problems down to bite-sized deliverables, you use agile management or a similar style, and you are exceptional at keeping teams on task to deliver a strong product on time. You identify problems early and are proactive about creating solutions. You have stellar relationship management and communication skills.
  • You are fluent in both tech and social impact sector vocabulary. You understand the language of social impact and translate it into technical requirements, and vice versa. You know how to put technology to task and you recognize when a solution might be an algorithm, a database, an application, a retrospective analysis, or none of the above.
  • You are a self-starter and get stuff done. Whether it’s on your own or through others, your experience, transparency, and organization allow you to get the nuts and bolts in place in record time, always with support and input from the rest of the organization. You are able to work independently with some guidance from your manager.
  • You bring people together to move work forward. You know how to build buy-in from a variety of stakeholders, ensuring they have shared ownership over decisions and deliverables. You have time-tested strategies in your toolkit to support effective decision-making processes and have developed proven internal management systems that drive consistent results. You know what it’s like to volunteers and/or you’ve had experience rallying and motivating groups of volunteers around large scale projects or events.
  • You are values-aligned and understand the bigger picture. You share our values of humility, transparency, diversity, equity, inclusion, thoughtfulness, expertise, and approachability. You care about more than just completing your projects. Continuous improvement is a mantra of yours. You will always be contributing learnings to the team, so they can make constant updates to their process and their product.

How You’ll be Measured

At the end of year one, the Portfolio Manager will have accomplished the following:

  • Direct and contribute to a landscape analysis for an upcoming impact practice sector
  • Guide a minimum of five projects through the end-to-end project process
  • Direct and support at least one open call for volunteers, select volunteers for project teams, and put all materials in our volunteer management system
  • Communicate in a timely and proactive way regarding volunteers, projects, and opportunities such that the team is able to react and contribute to solutions


  • A bachelor’s degree with five to seven years of work experience; at least three years of experience in complex project management across multiple time zones/continents/countries
  • Experience managing and working with a global volunteer or multi-site workforce and managing data science projects strongly preferred
  • Familiarity and comfort speaking about and leveraging data science resources
  • PMI or other project or process management certification preferred but not required

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 an outstanding 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: https://www.axistalentpartners.com/current-openings


DataKind is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Naturally, DataKind is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages 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.