Executive Director, Elections at The Pew Charitable Trusts


The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. For more than 70 years, we have focused on serving the public, invigorating civic life, conducting nonpartisan research, advancing effective public policies and practices, and achieving tangible results. Through rigorous inquiry and knowledge sharing, we inform and engage public-spirited citizens and organizations, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause. We are a dedicated team of researchers, communicators, advocates, subject matter experts, and professionals working on some of today’s big challenges – and we know we are more effective and creative collectively than we are individually. With Philadelphia as our hometown and the majority of our staff located in Washington, D.C., our U.S. and international staff find working at Pew personally and professionally rewarding.

Wise stewardship of resources allows Pew employees to pursue work that strategically furthers our mission in significant and measurable ways. We collaborate with a diverse range of philanthropic partners, public and private organizations, and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven initiatives to improve society. Pew attracts top talent, people of integrity who are service-oriented and willing to take on challenging assignments. We provide competitive pay and benefits, ability to telework up to 60%, a healthy work-life balance, and a respectful and inclusive workplace. Pew employees are proud of their colleagues, proud of where they work, and proud of the institution’s reputation.

Pew is committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment that encourages a culture of belonging and respect; where individuals from all backgrounds can bring their whole selves to work and thrive.You can learn more about Pew’s work at its website: https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/


The Executive Director will guide the efforts of several interested philanthropic funders, which aim to advance evidence-based and nonpartisan solutions that improve the access to, integrity of, and trustworthiness of the U.S. election administration system. This position will lead a team of 3-4 staff to drive transformative investments, and will be accountable for developing investment recommendations, allocating resources to sourcing and due diligence, supporting fundraising, and providing leadership to drive progress and performance. The ideal candidate will have significant and distinguished work experience relevant to election administration and U.S. democracy, managing senior-level professional staff, and working with executive leadership, boards, or donors.

This senior role requires a proven track record of leadership and accomplishment in designing and implementing programs aimed at solving complex and dynamic problems. The individual in this role must understand best, promising, and emerging practices and innovations in the field of election administration, and have well-honed political, strategic and analytical skills. The Executive Director must be flexible and results-oriented, with exceptional interpersonal, relationship-building and communication skills, and experience translating concepts into action, with a proven record of success in developing and implementing innovative strategies and solutions with the engagement of a broad set of stakeholders.

This position will report to the Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer. The position has a set time frame that could be extended based on the success of the program, funding sources, and board decisions on continued support.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Leadership and Strategy Setting

– Manage a significant annual budget and projects across the country, lead development and implementation of targeted, effective and measurable strategies that seek to improve policy and practice at the state, local, and federal levels. Manage and oversee day-to-day operations and activities for these initiatives and collaborate closely with the advisory board, project leadership and counterparts at partner institutions to assess progress, refine strategies, and achieve critical milestones.

– Supervise team of investment staff accountable for sourcing, diligence, and structuring investment opportunities and grant management. Empower them to succeed in their roles delivering key elements of the strategy by providing strong leadership and management to staff, including setting measurable goals and targets, establishing work plans and milestones, conducting performance evaluations, using evaluation mechanisms to monitor individual and team achievements, and ensuring staff are adhering to appropriate policies and procedures.

– Continually assess performance against identified objectives, determine when goals are at risk of not being met, identify the causes and, when needed, take appropriate steps to fix any problems in ways that keep the initiative on course.

– Serve as a spokesperson for the partnership to cultivate and engage the public and key constituencies on core issues, including representing the partnership publicly at conferences, seminars, and official forums, authoring articles and other communications, and providing interviews to outside sources. Provide guidance to investment leads serving as spokespersons for their respective areas of expertise and portfolios.

– Analyze relevant opportunities to change policy and practice and design strategies to strengthen U.S. election administration informed by the best available data and research.

– Build and maintain a culture of excellence and accountability, ensure a continuing commitment to inclusion and diversity, establish positive and productive teamwork, effectively manage and coach individual staff, provide appropriate opportunities for professional development.

Relationship and Team Management

– Serve as a thought partner, advisor, and facilitator for donors; cultivate strong, trusted relationships with partners, potentially including high-net worth individuals; manage regular meetings and engagement with the initiative’s governing board and investment advisory group.

– Serve as an ally of organizations leading change on the ground, supporting and influencing funder thinking, practice and actions to respond to field needs.

– Work closely with partners to create and implement strategic plans and identify new opportunities and interventions to support objectives.

– Develop coalitions, partnerships, and co-investments aligned with the strategy and grantmaking.

– Establish and maintain relationships with relevant policymakers and elected officials across the political and ideological spectrum. Liaise with funders and nonprofits focused on elections and other constituencies to advance campaign objectives.

– Build and maintain strong working relationships with leadership at Pew and partner organizations, as well as with key programmatic and operational staff, playing an important role in facilitating the ongoing development of the partnership.

– Participate in fundraising and partner development, cultivation of new donors, and the preparation and submission of funding proposals and reports.

– Oversee project budgets, funding proposals and reports, job descriptions, staff promotion and award nominations, contract, grant and expense reports, news releases, media statements, publications and other work products generated by staff.

– Ensure staff comply with relevant procedures and policies including compliance with federal, state, and local lobbying and ethics laws.


– At least 15 years of specialized experience in the field gained through professional education, training and experience, including in election administration and/or leading successful campaigns to elevate public policy issues and shape debates among decision makers and the public. Specific experience with U.S. elections is preferred.

– Minimum of eight years of previous direct supervisory experience required including experience managing performance management process for direct reports and providing career development advice and counsel.

– Excellent strategic and program management skills, with a proven ability to analyze complex programs and then lead, develop, execute and evaluate a range of diverse strategies to achieve goals.

– Highly flexible, with the ability to juggle multiple priorities, adjust to changing circumstances, remain attentive to details and identify resources for projects, moving objectives forward with a high degree of independence and autonomy.

– Demonstrable experience of successfully managing staff, able to develop and manage productive relationships with consultants, partners and others who contribute to the development of a project by anticipating possible outcomes.

– Persuasive, highly articulate, and successful in building support for and commitment to initiatives and ideas among individual donors and donor organizations.

– A strong network of relevant contacts that can provide expert information, analysis, and advice to advance results. Able to leverage relationships to influence positive outcomes. Excellent knowledge of the current trends, principal theories, leading thinkers and major concerns within election administration. Strong operational management acumen. Ability to analyze budgetary information, assess organizational needs and problem solve within a large institution.

– Exceptional oral and written communications skills. Able to synthesize material and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue and the means to address it. Confident in presenting one’s own ideas and diplomatically persuading others as appropriate. Ability to communicate complex ideas for a general audience, with strong public speaking skills and an ability to persuasively engage individuals or groups in dialogue that results in a desire to take action. Clear, effective writing style.

– Exceptional interpersonal skills, with seasoned judgment and analytical capacity; must demonstrate strong collaborative spirit and ability to make decisions. Responsive, clear and firm with colleagues and partners.

– Media-savvy and politically astute. Understands the importance of marketing techniques and the news media to communicate research results and key concepts. .

– Diplomatic and able to work productively with a wide array of different people and institutions that may disagree with your priorities or compete with your initiatives.

– Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills. Must be flexible, creative, consistent and assume full accountability for all areas of responsibility.

– Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required; advanced degree in public policy or equivalent experience strongly preferred.


Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience. The location for the role is flexible (Washington, D.C. preferred). Pew is returning to in-person work two days per week.

The Pew Charitable Trusts offers a competitive salary and benefit program, including: comprehensive, affordable health care through medical, dental, and vision coverage; financial security with life and disability insurance; opportunities to save using health savings and flexible spending accounts; retirement benefits to help prepare for the future; and work/life benefits to maintain a good balance.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Pew considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law. For more information about The Pew Charitable Trust’s commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, please visit: https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/about/inclusion-and-diversity

Like The Pew Charitable Trusts, On-Ramps is deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe social change happens when people with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and identities come together with common purpose.

Accommodation Statement: On-Ramps is committed to the inclusion of all qualified individuals in the hiring process, including but not limited to those with disabilities. If you require reasonable accommodation(s) to participate in the application or interview process, please contact info@on-ramps.com.

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