Director of Institutional Relations

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    Berlin, Germany
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Posted
    Oct 27

Position description

Director of Institutional Relations, Office of the Berlin Director, Berlin, Deadline: 11/11/2018

Open Society Foundations (OSF) is a global network of foundations committed to local knowledge and national expertise, and including national foundations, regional foundations, and other geographic programs operating in more than one hundred countries. In Berlin, OSF has one of its key hub-offices housing more than 80 employees working for various programmatic or operational units. OSF aims to build a significant institutional presence as a global Foundation operating from one of the key European capitals. To achieve this it reaches out to Berlin's local and Germany's civil society organizations, private and public foundations, politicians and other relevant policy actors in the domains of OSF's interest.
Job profile

OSF is recruiting a seasoned professional in the domain of institutional relations, public advocacy, outreach and communication with 10 to 15 years of experience to develop and support OSF presence in Berlin and Germany. OSF Hub Office is looking for a great strategic thinker and networker who will work closely with the Director of the office, our Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE), Open Society European Policy Institute (OSEPI) in Brussels and other programmatic units to achieve its objectives in Germany.

The role requires interest and familiarity with European current affairs, particularly in themes such as justice, human rights, economic advancement, political participation and inclusion, policy-relevant research and high-level debates and other areas in which OSF works, and with some of the leading voices in these areas. Knowledge of European civil society networks, familiarity with philanthropy in Europe, and experience in pan-European or several national European contexts are all highly valued. Understanding and prior experience with German civil society, in particular in Berlin, are an advantage.

Application: To apply for this position, please submit a CV in English and a motivation letter in English and German. In your cover letter, please demonstrate your capacity for developing networking strategies to advance open society goals in Berlin as an emerging policy and civil society hub as well as in Germany.

The successful candidate will work under a German employment contract and will report to the Director of the OSF hub-office in Berlin. OSF offers a competitive remuneration package. The position requires regular travel in Germany, limited travel elsewhere in Europe and occasional trips beyond Europe.

Responsibilities will include:

  • developing networking strategies to achieve OSF strategic goals in Berlin;
  • representing OSF towards Berlin's local and Germany's civil society, private foundations and other relevant policy actors in the domains of OSF's interest (in tandem with the director of the office);
  • mapping the relevant partner institutions in Berlin and maintaining regular contact with key partner institutions
  • conducting research independently or in collaboration with other colleagues to be used in decision-making and strategy development.
  • anticipating opportunities of potential interest to the Director in Berlin and the OSIFE leadership in the European area, researching options for new directions and presenting them to the Leadership of the Regional Program;
  • working in close collaboration with OSF Communication Department, OSIFE's grant officers and OSEPI's policy team as well as with other programmatic units;
  • (occasionally) providing a high level of analysis of policy developments and public debates in Germany on a range of domestic, European and international issues;
  • drafting memos, internal documents, policy briefs, op-eds and other documents in English and German;
  • facilitating access and information flows to OSF grantees and partners;
  • managing a small team dedicated to developing institutional relations and outreach in the OSF Hub Office
  • supporting internal communications by producing period news updates about recent developments in Berlin, Europe for internal OSF consumption and liaising with OSF's communications program
  • contribute to OSF's internal reporting and impact assessment processes.


Candidate profile
  • Deep understanding of policy processes in Germany and some experience in networking and or representing/advocacy at federal level (experience in government, parliament or in policy advice and advocacy is a strong asset).
  • Well established network with key actors across all political affiliations.
  • Proven track record of successfully developing and implementing networking strategies.
  • Good understanding of the German media landscape (past experience in appearing on media is an asset), including social media.
  • Good knowledge of the European Union, including institutions, actors, processes and policies; and of public policy and what influences it.
  • Willingness to work with a broad range of stakeholders inside and outside OSF (OSF programs in Berlin, Barcelona, London and Brussels, civil society organizations, think tanks, foundations and other partners in Germany).
  • Excellent writing and communications skills in German (native level) and English (C2 level).
  • Ability to manage small and mid-size teams
  • Ability to work remotely and closely coordinate activities with other OSF colleagues
  • Ability to manage competing priorities and deadlines.
  • Sound professional judgment on issues requiring sensitivity, confidentiality and discretion.
  • Ability to work constructively with colleagues at all levels in the organisation as well as with external partners. Commitment to inclusion and respect for all colleagues regardless of identity or seniority.
  • Commitment to open society values of rights, justice, accountable governance, human dignity and democratic practice.


This position requires high-level planning, organizing and writing skills and will attract candidates that are comfortable working on a variety of tasks simultaneously, across various time zones. The role also requires self-confidence and a respectful collegial style in dealing with a wide range of people in both senior and junior roles and of diverse backgrounds; strong diplomatic skills, respect for confidentiality and high personal integrity will be important. The successful candidate will be working in a team but may at times be expected to perform tasks and take responsibilities with little supervision.

Competitive rates of pay apply.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.
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