GiveDirectly (GD) aims to reshape international giving – and millions of lives – by providing cash grants directly to the world’s poorest. The Brookings Institution estimates that $70B of cash transfers would be required to eliminate the poverty gap; the aid sector currently spends $135B each year, much of it on evidence-free interventions. GiveDirectly wants to change that, establishing cash transfers as a benchmark for foreign aid – as the index fund is a benchmark for the financial industry – and in the process accelerating the end of extreme poverty.
Since launching in 2011, GiveDirectly has raised over $700M, delivered cash to more than 700,000 people, and launched offices in 9 countries. We’ve also supported large-scale, experimental research that indicates strong recipient impact of our programs. As a result, GD has been celebrated as one of the most innovative non-profit companies by Fast Company, while the growing cash transfer movement (and GD’s leading role within it) have been featured in the New York Times Magazine, This American Life, Foreign Affairs, and The Economist.
Research at GiveDirectly
GiveDirectly’s cash transfers stand on the shoulders of giants, backed by hundreds of high quality research studies that have documented the myriad positive impacts of cash on peoples’ lives. In addition, GiveDirectly has been at the forefront of cash evidence generation with 15 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) ongoing and completed. These have covered diverse, cutting edge research questions including: the macro impact of transfers on local economies, the impact of a universal basic income, and establishing cash as a benchmark that traditional, ‘in kind’ aid interventions should beat in order to be considered cost-effective.
Complementing these experimental studies are numerous non-experimental evaluations of our programs exploring the feasibility, recipient experience, recipient spending priorities and self-reported impact of a range of innovative cash programs. These include large cash transfers to refugees, delivering transfers to extremely remote communities, emergency hurricane relief, and grants to young people living in informal settlements in Nairobi. We are increasingly seeking to integrate qualitative and quantitative approaches within individual studies to better understand how and why change happens.
Delivering and disseminating research has become a core part of GiveDirectly’s value proposition to donors, and central to our ability to raise the revenue that enables people living in poverty to transform their own lives.
We’re looking for exceptional talent to grow our collaborative, diverse team. Joining GiveDirectly provides the opportunity to work alongside individuals who come from 21 different countries and speak 69 different languages. We’re actively working toward an equitable and inclusive environment for all team members, and seek candidates who will bring diverse perspectives and experiences to our organization. We recruit from organizations across all industries: our team has hailed from sectors including start-ups, government, consultancies, investment banks, and nonprofits.
Across our global offices, our culture is candid, analytical, non-hierarchical, and fast-paced. We value ability, adaptability, and willingness to learn. We offer competitive salary and benefits, as well as performance-based bonuses.
About the role
The Research Associate will have the opportunity to work in a dynamic research team to provide methodological, research and evidence-based support to GD fundraising, research and project designs, implementation and dissemination. In addition, the Research Associate will benefit from exposure to intellectual exchange and networking with the various internal and external stakeholders linked to GiveDirectly’s work. The Research Associate will work closely with the Research Manager.
Reports to: Research Director
- Support GD Fundraising and Field Operations teams funding bids through engagement with research partners (where relevant) and project funders and supporting the development of appropriate research or project evaluation plans for instance, choice of indicators, monitoring and evaluation plans, and theory of change.
- Design quantitative surveys and qualitative interview guides in collaboration with the data and country teams and perform cognitive testing and piloting of data collection instruments.
- Work with Field Operations to support ongoing and initiate non-experimental evaluations of GD projects.
- Perform data quality checks for ongoing GD internal research and project evaluations.
- Conducting primary data analysis for internal research and providing statistical and analytical support to Field Operations teams.
- Write high quality reports and support internal and external stakeholders by critically reviewing reports.
- Conducting literature reviews as requested and keeping abreast of findings from relevant research.
- Support the Research Manager in preparing, maintaining, and updating GD’s research knowledge databases.
- Undertake other administrative duties related to GDs research projects, such as participating in internal meetings, arranging and facilitating research brown-bag sessions, coordinating dissemination of internal research and country program reports, and maintaining research documents.
Core competencies and experiences
- Understanding of the lives of people living in poverty – learned or lived experience of the reality of poverty — this could be extreme absolute poverty or relative poverty in a higher income country
- Communication – be equally comfortable having a technical conversation with program specialists and Field Operations teams as you are describing an evaluation in straightforward terms to a donor who has neither program nor contextual knowledge. Experience communicating project evaluation in a clear and compelling manner with a range of internal and external audiences — both verbally and in writing — is crucial in this role.
- Quantitative research experience – 2+ years experience of designing, undertaking high quality project / program evaluations is essential. Experience of cognitive testing survey questions, survey design, sampling and analysis is highly desirable for the role. Experience in experimental / quasi-experimental research studies (e.g. RCT, RDD, PSM designs) would be an advantage but is not essential.
- Qualitative research experience – competent in qualitative research design, interview guide development, undertaking interviews / Focus group discussion. Expertise in qualitative analysis, integration of qual and quant in design and analysis would be an advantage but is not essential.
- Research stakeholder management – speak the language of researcher and project management specialists to design and conduct high quality evaluations, predict and over risks and deliver on time and to budget.
- Project management – experience in multiple large-scale projects, project risk management, stakeholder communications, and maintaining project tracking systems.
- Knowledge synthesis – experience conducting literature searches (e.g. through Google Scholar alerts, research circulars, Twitter) and summarizing complex academic papers and non-academic reports into key findings / talking points in straightforward, non-technical language.
Alignment with GiveDirectly Values and active demonstration of our core competencies: emotional intelligence, problem solving, project management, follow-through, and fostering inclusivity.
We welcome and strongly encourage applications from candidates who have personal or professional experience in the low-income and/or historically marginalized communities that we serve.
Why work at GiveDirectly?
At GiveDirectly, we work to ensure that you have everything you need to excel in your role and on your team, including:
- A positive and supportive team with opportunities for advancement
- A demonstrated commitment to helping all staff develop and grow
- A competitive salary
- A monthly benefits allowance that covers Health, Dental, and Vision monthly premiums
- Unlimited PTO (that we encourage staff to take!)
- Desk allowance and flexible work location
**GD is committed to observing all local, national and international laws that protect children, vulnerable adults, and basic human rights of all. GD is committed to a policy of “zero tolerance for sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment (SEAH)” and expects anyone who works for GD to uphold the protection and safeguarding of our recipients as a priority.**
GiveDirectly aims to reshape international giving - and millions of lives - by enabling donors to provide capital grants directly to some of the world’s poorest people. GiveDirectly’s cash transfers stand on the shoulders of giants, backed by hundreds of high quality research studies that have documented the myriad positive impacts of cash on peoples’ lives.
GiveDirectly has been at the forefront of this evidence generation effort since we launched a decade ago. Fifteen randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of GiveDirectly’s programs are either ongoing or completed. These have covered diverse, cutting edge research questions including: the macro impact of transfers on local economies, the impact of a universal basic income, and establishing cash as a benchmark that traditional, ‘in kind’ aid interventions should beat in order to be considered cost-effective. We are increasingly seeking to integrate qualitative and quantitative approaches within individual studies to better understand how and why change happens.
These studies do not just sit on dusty shelves -- since 2018, GiveDirectly RCTs have been covered in top media outlets including: Washington Post (twice), New York Times, The Economist, Vox (several times over), Quartz, NPR (twice), DevEx, Fast Company, Axios and Wired. Delivering and disseminating research studies have become a core part of GiveDirectly’s value proposition to donors, and central to our ability to raise the revenue that enables people living in poverty to transform their own lives.
Cash transfers are at a potential inflection point: COVID-19 has amplified the challenges of bulkier in-kind aid models, and governments are deploying cash as their most common tool of assistance to vulnerable populations. This brings new research challenges and opportunities. How do we combine existing research knowledge with recent data to design high-impact programs in a new humanitarian context? How do we evaluate the impact of those programs when in-person data collection is not possible?
GiveDirectly currently operates in multiple African countries: DRC, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Morocco, Rwanda, Togo and Uganda. We have also delivered disaster response programs in the United States and the Bahamas.