Design for America (DFA) trains the next generation of social innovators. For college students to young professionals, educators and beyond, DFA’s tools, model, and coaching instill community, encourage creativity, and build capacity to take on any challenge.
DFA's ability to offer award-winning social impact design depends on: (1) a strong data management system, (2) a connected suite of tools and technologies, and (3) the skills to translate data into action. This role advances DFA’s capacity to scale and connect the DFA network as well as facilitate effective work for the national team through targeted programming, audience tracking, and measuring impact.
Our ideal candidate is experienced in data systems management and data architecture, familiar with design thinking and marketing analytics, and desires to put their skills to use for social good. In this role, you will take ownership of and lead DFA data and IT systems: strengthening DFA’s technology infrastructure... managing new data projects, considering data security, and be part of a growing entrepreneurial team using design for social impact.
Note: This is a contract-to-hire position. We will consider part-time or full-time. And, we are ready to begin when you are! We invite you to bring your competitive rate.
What you’re responsible for
Process Improvement & Best Practices
- Provide strategic advice and recommendations in the development, implementation, and evaluation of new or modified operating policies, practices, and procedures with regard to our technology suite
- Collaborate with team to identify and act on opportunities for consistent process improvement
- Ensure technology standards, patterns, and practices are understood and implemented by all teams and partners
- Conduct interviews and user research to understand pain points in data collection and accessibility for internal and external stakeholders
Data Management & Analysis
- Manage data systems to ensure transparency, fidelity, accuracy, and accessibility
- Analyze data to identify channels for targeted marketing strategies related to educational support, audience engagement, fundraising, and expanding professional and financial partnerships
- Identify data collection and tracking opportunities through events, email communication, social media platforms, and professional networking platforms
- Coach colleagues, in particular a new Team Operations Coordinator, on data and operations systems, database management, and data analysis
- Empower team members with best practices, training, and support
- Maintain oversight into ongoing development projects, meeting deadlines and delivering at the highest quality
- Support and advocate for ongoing internal documentation and sharing
- Actively participate in team meetings, working sessions, and DFA strategic planning
- Build relationships and become a trusted advisor to the DFA team and other network participants
Skills and experience
- 3+ years of experience with database systems and management, including data collection, data visualization, report generation, data cleaning and manipulation in Excel, Google Sheets, etc
- Strong understanding of data security and privacy
- CRM experience with tools such as Copper, Salesforce, etc
- Firm commitment to team success and building strong relationships with colleagues, students, stakeholders and partners
- Excellent project management, problem-solving, and communication skills both oral and written
- Exceptional organization skills and attention to detail
- Familiar with digital tools such as Zoom, Slack, MURAL, Notion, Adobe Suite.
- Demonstrated experience in design- or systems-thinking based in user feedback
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
Cherry on top
- Business intelligence experience, such as SQL, R, or Python knowledge
- Visual design experience in Figma or Adobe Suite
- Experience working with universities: students, faculty, administrators.
- A keen eye for equitable data.
- You have worked as part of a startup or growing organization, including nonprofits.
- You love food! Sharing recipes and snacks (when co-location is possible) helps us learn about one another and find new favorites!
How you work
- You’re a motivated person that wants to advance creativity, education, and positive social impact.
- You’re detail-oriented, reliable, and extremely organized.
- You’re flexible to change and adapt to growing needs with the team. You’re excited to collaborate both virtually and (eventually) in-person in Chicago to plan and execute new initiatives.
- You’re a team player from the beginning to the end. You’re an active participant in planning, working sessions, and execution.
- You practice continual iteration and actively contribute to a culture of innovation, excellence, and accountability.
How we work
- We’re a dynamic team with major bias towards action. We love to test things out, see what works, and move forward with our mission. We’re fun-loving and always deliver the cream of the crop.
- We fiercely support you in your growth both personally and professionally. We function as one in every sense of the word. No one is left behind, everyone matters, everyone has their place on the team.
- We’re a mission-driven team. We aren’t afraid to dream big about a better future, and you’re a piece of that puzzle.
Work environment + location
The DFA team is based in Chicago, IL. We are currently working remotely and will seek a new, inviting and accessible studio space when safety allows. Ideally, our new teammate will also be based in Chicago. However, we may be flexible on location.
We are a small but mighty team of strategists, designers, educators, artists, and facilitators. Like the Network, our team thrives when it is interdisciplinary and multigenerational. We highly encourage anyone who believes in the power of design for good to apply. We welcome new voices and perspectives and look forward to hearing from you!
Design for America is part of Watson Foundation and is an equal opportunity employer. Our policies and procedures are designed to promote and maintain equal opportunities for all without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability.
Send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org, Subject: DFA Data Systems Manager. Links to a portfolio or other related materials such as written work, samples, or presentations are welcome.
When Design for America launched in 2009, the founding team ambitiously called it that for two reasons: one, they wanted to design solutions that tackle social challenges with national relevance, and two, they wanted to do so by having teams across the country work in their local communities.
Today, Design for America DFA welcomes over 1,000 active students per year in 40+ campus studios around the country, where they learn human-centered design and tackle social impact challenges with community partners. The DFA Network reaches over 10,000 people, including 4,000+ alumni and hundreds of partners, mentors, and fans.
In 2018, DFA received the National Design Award from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, honoring “excellence, innovation, and enhancement on the quality of daily life.”
In 2020, DFA joined with the Watson Foundation. The Watson vision—to develop humane and effective leaders—aligns with the founding principles of Design for America that aim to create a design corps that leads change for good