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Director, Business Development

  • Director, Business Development
Brussels, Belgium
  • Director, Business Development
Brussels, Belgium


The Business Development Team supports program leaders worldwide by helping them secure resources and partnerships for their programs and strategies to build healthy, safe, and just societies. Resources come as grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts from various institutions, including governments and multilateral agencies, as well as corporate and foundation-sponsored programs. Major donors include the U.S. Government (USAID and Department of State), the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, and United Nations Agencies.

Program areas include peacebuilding and conflict resolution, inclusive governance, and conflict-sensitive humanitarian response. Search for Common Ground pursues opportunities independently and in consortia with local and international partners.

The team is comprised of 12-15 staff members worldwide, supporting Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and global programs. The work of the Business Development team is typically fast-paced, mission-driven, and rooted in the insights and ambition of our local leaders.


The Director of Business Development will lead strategically and engage operationally in developing Search’s global business direction, building on the vision of our program teams,  strengths, and experience in developing, managing, and implementing projects and partnering with various funding and program partners.

The Director shapes new and repeat business development strategies with multiple stakeholders, including capturing business intelligence and developing approaches, working with Search for Common Ground regional and country teams, technical and finance teams, and others to represent the organization. Networking and identifying business development opportunities; supervising and inspiring business development team members; and coordinating the development of winning proposals.

The Director will ensure the quality of all aspects of the proposal process. They will lead and directly manage opportunities from identification through submission to award and startup.

The Director will prepare and regularly update forecasts and reports on the funding pipeline; provide data analysis to inform annual budget planning and quarterly reviews; represent Search at selected external networking events; monitor ODA policies and budget trends; keep abreast of sector-shaping trends such as localization; develop and maintain productive relationships with key internal stakeholders, peer organizations and diverse institutional funders. The Director will monitor and advise the Executive Team and Regional Directors on funding trends and co-create innovative implementation models with program teams to win bids.

This position can be based in Brussel.


Strategic Leadership of Search’s Business Development

  • Collaborate with the Executive Team, Regional Directors, and Business Development Managers to shape business development strategies at the global and regional level, including approaches, tactics, and metrics;

  • Propose, cost out, and oversee strategic investments in new business development and the budget planning cycle;

  • Contribute to identifying emerging areas for Search to shape opportunities with funding partners.

Lead Networking and Representation to Develop New Opportunities

  • Lead the Business Development Team and coordinate with program management, technical teams, and other internal stakeholders to identify, track, and position for relevant upcoming funding opportunities;

  • Provide strategic guidance to country and regional teams on cultivating relationships, engaging strategically with funding partners at the local level, and developing new business opportunities at the country level;

  • Represent Search’s interests at relevant meetings and events and among formal, peer, and partner organizations;

  • Periodically undertake and coordinate prospecting visits to Search program countries and prepare for upcoming funding opportunities by gathering and analyzing intelligence to inform collaborative proposal development strategies, including partnering.

Lead Opportunity Pursuit

  • Lead teams in managing a funding pipeline typically evenly split between competitive bidding for open opportunities and cultivations towards direct awards;

  • Oversee all aspects of the proposal processes, ensuring proposals are submitted on time, in compliance with requirements, and to the highest technical standards;

  • Ensure proposals align with Search’s overall strategy, program needs, and priorities, as well as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Safeguarding, and other organizational priorities;

  • Lead or contribute to the identification of innovative funding or project implementation models.

Lead the Business Development Team

  • Support a high-performing business development team's recruitment, retention, and professional development;

  • Inspire and lead a geographically dispersed, multi-cultural business development team, ensuring high staff engagement, good team spirit, and equitable work distribution in a results-driven culture;

  • Set ambitious yet achievable annual goals and support team members in balancing the demanding workload with opportunities for renewal.


  • Business Development: Demonstrated ability to develop, implement, and adapt business development strategies in a rapidly changing environment. Proven track record in business development and institutional resource mobilization for international NGOs or similar organizations;

  • Institutional Knowledge: Deep knowledge of US government and European funding agencies, UN, and other multilateral lateral funding agencies; knowledge of trusts and foundations a distinct advantage;

  • Business Acumen: Strong analytical skills and familiarity with data required for business development reporting to Executive Teams and Boards of Directors. Track record of providing sound advice on business challenges;

  • Entrepreneurial Mindset: Enticed by the idea of building tools, systems, and processes.  Agile and able to identify ways to get things done in a matrixed, cross-cultural global environment;

  • Coach and Train Others:  Design programs that strengthen the skills, knowledge, and behavior of colleagues responsible for business development across the organization;

  • Industry Connection and Gravitas: Have existing relationships with donors and leaders of other NGOs, able to land the meeting and hold donors' attention, and can effectively influence their thinking. Able to identify talent and outside consultants for proposal development when necessary;

  • Collaborative Spirit: Active listener with strong communication skills. Ability to connect easily with your team and gain trust and respect.  Agile connects with the senior management team and colleagues in other units engaged in business development and philanthropy. Willing to roll up your sleeves and pitch in;

  • Multicultural Leadership: Demonstrates ability to work with diverse, interdisciplinary, and multi-national teams to produce high-quality products promptly;

  • Effective Communication: Excellent technical skills in writing, editing, formatting, research, negotiation, and verbal communications. Ability to effectively communicate with and coordinate activities of multiple stakeholders, including field-based staff;

  • Flexibility & Multi-Tasking: Ability to coordinate multiple projects simultaneously, work well under pressure, meet deadlines, and adapt to shifting priorities and opportunities;

  • Languages: Fluent English is required; the ability to work in French or Spanish is a distinct advantage;

  • Remain alert and responsive to any safeguarding risks, acquire relevant knowledge and skills which will enable you to promote strong safeguarding practices, understand the safeguarding policy and procedures, and conduct yourself in a manner consistent with the Safeguarding Policy.


  • Routinely coordinates with colleagues and consultants on-site and in the field and resolves problem situations tactfully. Has multiple and regular high-level external donor and partner contacts. It is externally-branded and visible;

  • Represents, as assigned, selected programs or projects and other organizations, including donors, vendors, and international and local partners;

  • Interacts with country and regional staff.


  • Bachelor’s degree in relevant field required;

  • Master’s level education in a related field is preferred;

  • Minimum 15 years experience in positions of increasing responsibility;

  • Five or more years experience managing people and teams.


  • Hybrid working environment;

  • Ability to travel internationally at least 20%.


Supervises several managers and their staff and is responsible for the business development unit’s budget.

As job descriptions cannot be exhaustive, the position holder may be required to undertake other duties that are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

Only applicants invited for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please. Please see our website for full details of our work. All Search Employees must adhere to the values: Collaboration- Audacity - Tenacity - Empathy - Results. In accordance with these values, Search enforces compliance with the Code of Conduct and related policies on Anti Workplace Harassment, Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Conflict of Interest, and Anti-fraud. Search is committed to safeguarding the interests, rights, and well-being of children, youth, and vulnerable adults with whom it is in contact and to conducting its programs and operations in a manner that is safe for children, youth, and vulnerable adults.  Search for Common Ground does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. View our code of conduct here and our privacy policy here.
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