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Vice President, Human Rights Program

Palo Alto, CA | Human Rights

Job Description

Benetech is seeking a Vice President to lead and expand our worldwide human rights efforts. The successful candidate will oversee our Human Rights Program team with the dual goals of using technology to advance the cause of human rights while also protecting those who work to defend them. This is a rare opportunity to take on a major leadership role at the intersection of social justice and information technology. 

Benetech was founded with the goal of identifying unmet social needs and harnessing the power of technology to create software-based solutions to meet them. We have four main program areas—Human Rights, Access to Literacy, Social Impact Technology, and Environment—and focus on projects that offer the greatest social return on the funds invested. Jim Fruchterman, social entrepreneur and MacArthur Fellow, founded Benetech in 1989 and leads the organization as its President & CEO.

Our Human Rights Program is anchored by Martus, an open source software tool developed by Benetech and made available for free, which allows users anywhere in the world to securely document abuse that is occurring. Our staff have trained hundreds of groups and individuals, in over 35 countries, on how to use Martus to help capture these stories of abuse so that advocates and activists have the documentation that is often necessary to pursue reform, seek justice and begin reconciliation.The Vice President of Human Rights is a key leadership position requiring an individual who has the ability to drive the program to achieve and surpass its goals.  This is the top leadership role in Human Rights at Benetech, responsible for fund development, strategy and operations.  Reporting to the CEO, the person in this position is responsible for envisioning how technology can help activists in their daily unequal struggle with the forces of oppression, discrimination and violence.  It includes fundraising and day-to-day operations, including planning and directing all aspects of software products and field outreach and training operations, with the primary objectives of assuring partner satisfaction and effectiveness via quality products and services, and meeting our commitments to both users and funders. 

The Vice President of Human Rights is an integral member of Benetech’s senior leadership team.  This position is full time, and based in Palo Alto, California, with significant domestic and international travel.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Lead and manage the work of the Human Rights Program, anchored by the Martus software project.  This includes strategic planning, budget development, resource allocation, outreach, and management to ensure that mission objectives are met.
  • This role has significant fund raising responsibilities, which include donor outreach and stewardship, strategizing asks, and committing to grant objectives that donors are excited to fund and will deliver great mission outcomes.
  • Implement recognized planning methodologies, annual budgets, and performance reporting based on key performance indicators.
  • Set operational and performance goals for each area of responsibility which are aggressive, achievable, and tied to long-term goals.  Monitor performance to ensure progress is being made.
  • Coordinate closely with complementary teams at Benetech, including Development and Communications as well as Engineering.
  • Provide Benetech organizational leadership as a core member of the senior management team 
  • Ensure that all activities comply with Benetech’s goals and contract objectives, and are consistent with the Benetech Truths, the core cultural values that guide decision making.
  • Establish processes to measure, learn from, and improve program effectiveness and impact.
  • Safeguard the data of human rights groups through strong security measures, with a focus on minimizing disclosure risk and improving the safety of our users
  • Ensure quality control of all programs, especially with regard to software development, user acquisition, retention and delivery of services.
  • Manage multiple projects and priorities working to satisfy internal and external requests.
  • Take a leadership role in articulating and implementing the vision and mission of the Human Rights Program, including representing Benetech and the Program to outside constituencies and the press, networking with policymakers, partners and community leaders, participating in sector events, and public speaking.  Manage all essential relationships with strategic partners.
  • Advise the Benetech management team on key planning issues and make recommendations on important business decisions.
  • Foster an achievement-oriented culture based on continuous learning principles where employees are motivated and rewarded for both individual and team contributions.


  • Bachelor's degree required, advanced degree preferred
  • Must have either (a) strong human rights leadership experience with technology cred, or (b) strong tech leadership experience with human rights cred. 
  • Being able to speak the languages of both human rights and technology: an essential bilingual requirement (whatever your first language between these might be)
  • At least 10 years of progressive management experience with five  in a senior leadership role
  • Solid working knowledge of budgeting, sales, partnership and funding development, and strategic planning
  • Ability, comfort with and interest in traveling throughout the world, with a focus on lesser developed regions including Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Combination of both business and nonprofit/philanthropic experience preferred
  • Significant experience in the nonprofit sector as a manager, volunteer and/or board member and a personal commitment to Benetech’s nonprofit goal of technology serving humanity
  • Strong understanding of Benetech’s mission, and ability to serve as a passionate, effective advocate within the community
  • Personal belief in and enthusiasm for our mission to support and strengthen the capacity of human rights advocates around the world. A record of significant accomplishment in building and managing effective programs in a start-up phase or environment, and a strong track record in program and/or enterprise management
  • Confidence, flexibility, and the ability to lead, plan, and manage change are essential
  • Ability to work well within a multi-disciplinary team environment with high standards, integrity, and a sense of humor
  • Experience in managing, guiding, and developing a professional staff (that is often traveling or geographically dispersed) with an emphasis on teamwork and teambuilding, where a significant portion of the team is not in the office at most all times
  • Ability to work collaboratively with partners in a wide variety of cultural contexts.
  • Interest in a wide range of human rights issues – our partners work in varying spheres such as social/political/economic justice, including LGBT rights, gender-based violence, children in armed conflict, torture, government accountability and so forth.  Applicant should be interested in learning about the challenges that our partners face, and working collaboratively with them to determine how to best meet their goals (vs. coming in and telling them what they should do)
  • Ability to generate respect and trust from staff and external constituencies
  • Excellent judgment, strategic thinker, enthusiastic, and entrepreneurial
  • Exceptional interpersonal, communication, public speaking, and presentation skills.

Salaries at Benetech are commensurate with education, experience and responsibility.  Senior executives are compensated well by nonprofit standards, but are not competitive with private-sector technology company positions.

Benetech’s Organizational Truths

  • We are committed to social change through technology
  • We get stuff done
  • We do the right stuff right
  • We prefer open to proprietary (internal and external)
  • We think we can do more together (internally and externally)
  • We value flexibility (as an employer and from our employees)
  • We are committed to personal and professional development
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