Head of Strategic Partnerships (Remote)

Location: IIRR US Office

Deadline: Open until filled

IIRR is one of the world’s leading rural-development NGOs with a 60-year history of building economic opportunities for communities in 46 countries. It maintains a team of over 200 people in 9 offices across Africa, Asia, and North America. The organization’s global programs address the health, educational, and environmental conditions of the rural poor, and prioritize the delivery of sustainable and scalable solutions that empower people to move out of poverty.

Though IIRR has delivered over 60 years of impact that has improved millions of lives, we remain agile and committed to testing, prototyping (and even failing) in order to continually learn how best to deliver the most cost-effective impact to communities who need it most.

About the Job

We are seeking an experienced and innovative senior leader to join us as Head of Strategic Partnerships and ultimately build a Partnerships Team. This critical senior role is key to ensuring we have the creativity, drive, and skills to work with businesses to co-design programs that leverage their unique assets and capabilities to realize our ambition for rural development. This work will build on recent partnership opportunities that have opened up across the organization.

As Head of Strategic Partnerships, you will work closely with the organization’s leadership in developing and delivering creative new approaches that enhance IIRR’s engagement with businesses in a way that facilitates their contribution to development outcomes. This will include developing tools and instruments that ensure partnerships generate a strong developmental impact for rural communities and sustainable income opportunities for business primarily across food systems, agriculture, and climate. The role reports directly to the IIRR President and is expected to be part-time for the first 6 months with the option to move to full-time. The position is remote/home-based.

Key responsibilities

  1. Lead on strategic partnerships by identifying and engaging with companies that can contribute to IIRR’s breakthroughs through core business engagement.
  2. Provide technical support to IIRR country offices and other team members on how to effectively engage with key corporate and philanthropic partners at the national level during the design and implementation of programs.
  3. Represent IIRR in key US and international initiatives focused on engaging business in the sustainability arena.
  4. Create and implement strategic prospecting and territory action plans for review and approval by the IIRR President.
  5. Establish strong relationships at various levels with key business and technical contacts.
  6. Actively participate, orchestrate, and initiate projects and meetings as required to achieve partnership goals and objectives.
  7. Review monthly partnership reports for trends and respond appropriately in a timely manner.
  8. Facilitate and own the Onboarding Process when initiating new accounts.
  9. Manage all aspects of the partnership cycle including writing and presenting professional business proposals and assisting with responses as directed.
  10. Utilize consultative business models to understand prospect needs and align with services offered by IIRR.
  11. Develop and maintain professional negotiation skills and personal technical expertise relating to food systems, climate, and/or agriculture.
  12. Be independent, autonomous, creative, and competitive to drive business while maintaining excellent relationships with internal and external personnel.
  13. Maintain client files within CRM (e.g. Salesforce) by documenting meetings, phone calls, emails, opportunities, and the status of the sales cycle and sales opportunities.
  14. Maintain information on sector leaders’ strengths, weaknesses, policies, cost-structures, and services to increase the likelihood of success.
  15. Perform other duties as requested by the IIRR President.


  • Excellent knowledge of private sector approaches for base of the pyramid clients in developing countries (e.g. shared value, philanthropy, and corporate responsibility).
  • Excellent leadership and influencing skills that demonstrate an ability to create acceptance and support for ideas.
  • Knowledge of, or experience in the impact (or esg) investing space.
  • Experience in developing tools and instruments to build the business development capacity of new teams, and in upskilling staff to deliver high-quality business development materials (e.g. proposals, concept notes).
  • Proven analytical and problem-solving skills including effective use and interpretation of evidence.
  • Bachelors degree in Business, Agriculture, Food Science, or relevant field.
  • Master’s degree desirable (not required).
  • Working knowledge of Agroforestry, Supply Chains, Agribusiness, or related fields through previous work experience.
  • Strong and proactive business skills to address partnership concerns; identify opportunities throughout the market; seek out and cultivate high-level relationships; and translate customer priorities into product solution.
  • Solid experience with closing the deal.
  • Ability to work independently and as a team member.
  • Solid computer skills including MS Outlook, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and CRM.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills to allow for efficient and productive use of time and resources; ability to handle multiple projects concurrently.
  • 10-15years of partnerships/business development experience.

The successful candidate will be an experienced current or former private sector development professional with extensive experience in business engagement in development contexts. With developed influencing skills that draw on core business, technical expertise, and financial resources, your business engagement skills will enhance our ability to pioneer and leverage our work to impact millions of lives across the globe.

If you share our mission, are passionate about global issues such as climate and food systems, and believe you can contribute, then join us and we’ll give you every opportunity to succeed. We look forward to hearing from you.

How to apply

When expressing your interest in the role, please submit: i. Cover Letter (1-page maximum); ii. Resume; and iii. Salary expectations to: recruitment.usoffice@iirr.org. Include ‘Head of Strategic Partnerships’ in the Subject Line.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Prospective candidates are encouraged to submit applications asap. No calls, please. If you have not received a response from us within three weeks, please assume that your application was not successful on this occasion. We are unfortunately unable to contact all applicants individually.

IIRR is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified women are encouraged to apply. We will respond to short-listed candidates only. All applications should be sent electronically.

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