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Director, Research and Innovation

Position: Director of Research and Innovation

Reports to: Senior Director of Innovation, Learning and Impact
Organization Description: The Voter Participation Center (VPC) is the nation’s largest non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to registering and mobilizing voters from the New American Majority (NAM) – people of color, unmarried women and young people – who make up the majority of the potential electorate but have been historically underrepresented in political participation and power. Using direct mail, digital and social media outreach, guided by rigorous data science and experimentation, and working closely with a multitude of partner organizations, VPC connects with millions of voters each year, building the foundation for a more representative democracy.

Over 19 years VPC has helped more than 5.7 million people register to vote. In 2020, as COVID-19 shut down most forms of in-person voter contact, VPC helped more than 4.6 million people apply to vote by mail & cast ballots, registered more than 1.6 million people, and assisted millions of voters in voting early and safely to reduce pressures on polling places on Election Day.

VPC programs are flexible, nimble and scalable. VPC is driven by a commitment to constant research, testing, experimentation and evaluation, and thus offers many of the most cost effective, proven, high-impact programs in the civic engagement field.

The Center for Voter Information (CVI) is VPC’s partner organization, and is a separate but affiliated 501(c)4 non-profit that works to engage both the NAM as well as members of the broader electorate who share their values.

Position Description: The VPC and CVI seek an experienced, creative, and resourceful researcher to join our Innovation, Learning, and Impact team as the Director of Research and Innovation. The Innovation, Learning, and Impact team reflects a substantial and long-term commitment to fostering innovation and evidence-based programs by the VPC and CVI. 
The Director will cultivate innovative program ideas, supporting the organization to generate insights, prioritize the right experiments and tests, and assess and develop initial learnings. The role will involve designing and leading research and innovation projects, drawing insights and interpreting findings from internal and external sources, and engaging and partnering with experts inside and outside the civic engagement community. 

The successful candidate will be a collaborative teammate and excited by the possibilities in stewarding innovation and building new capabilities for VPC, CVI, and the civic engagement community. This is an excellent opportunity for an individual with a background in consumer marketing research or behavioral research to play a leadership role in an organization committed to leveraging innovation and research to maximize program impact.

Primary responsibilities as well as desired skills and qualifications for this position are listed below. We very much welcome applications from individuals who are a good fit for the role even if they do not meet all the requirements listed below.  

Primary Responsibilities:

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Managing and contributing to quantitative and qualitative research and innovation projects to understand voter behaviors, including working with external vendors, designing primary research (including survey questionnaires), and developing program tests
  • Collaborating with colleagues across VPC and CVI to develop messages and approaches for mail and digital communications, especially through in-program randomized control trial experiments
  • Synthesizing ideas, external theories, and key trends impacting the NAM in civic engagement and beyond to drive innovation within VPC and CVI
  • Formulating creative research questions, hypotheses, and research designs to create actionable insights for VPC/CVI programs
  • Providing analysis to support external communications and program decisions
  • Coaching staff and consultants on research and analysis
  • Communicating analysis plans, research findings, and program ideas to non-technical staff and external stakeholders through writing and graphics
  • Contributing to the building new research capabilities to effectively leverage data and insights into program design, such as external research agenda formation
  • Engaging experts and practitioners to discover and develop promising potential innovations
  • Monitoring academic and private sector innovation centers for opportunities to adapt and implement external innovations in VPC and CVI programming

Skills and Qualifications: 

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A demonstrated commitment to and passion for erasing inequities and gaps in political participation in this country
  • At least 5 years of full-time professional experience outside of undergraduate or graduate education
  • At least 7 years of experience conducting research in the social sciences, behavioral sciences, consumer marketing, political campaign research, or similar fields (can include graduate-level academic work)
  • An advanced degree in the social sciences or similar training and experience, including facility with qualitative, quantitative, and statistical methods 
  • Experience designing and managing large research projects with multiple stakeholders
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills
  • Excellent organizational, management, and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work independently in a team environment fostering positive partnerships, teamwork, and cooperation
  • Strong logical reasoning and analytical skills
  • An interest in or experience with consumer market research methods
  • A track record of getting results in a fast-paced environment
  • Knowledge of the legal and political issues surrounding voting rights and civic participation in the United States

Additional nice-to-have:
  • Experience with digital marketing and digital experiments in a consumer or political context

The salary range for this position is $110,000 - $120,000 annually, commensurate with experience. This position is exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act and is not eligible for overtime pay. Our comprehensive benefits plan includes 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance for employees; generous paid time off; access to retirement plan with 3% employer match, and more.
Please APPLY HERE and submit a cover letter, resume, and three professional references. The cover letter should be concise, compelling, and include why you would like to work for VPC-CVI. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until a successful candidate is identified. References are not contacted until you are notified. 
VPC-CVI is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes people from all backgrounds, experiences, abilities, and perspectives to apply. We strongly value the leadership of people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and other traditionally marginalized communities, and encourage candidates from these communities to apply.

We strive to create and maintain a working environment that is inclusive, equitable and welcoming. At VPC-CVI, diversity, equity, and inclusion are directly aligned with the fundamental belief that people are inherently capable but often lack opportunity. We know that a diverse workforce allows us to see problems in more nuanced ways, creating the thought leadership needed to fulfill our mission and reach our goals.