Business Development Specialist II, Central Africa Regional Office

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 31 December 2018

Job Description

Job Summary:

The Regional Business Development Specialist (BDS), in conjunction with regional and country program leadership will provide leadership for resource mobilization efforts to meet long-term goals and annual growth targets. S/he will also support the diversification of revenue from institutional donors and non-traditional funding sources to achieve CRS’ strategic objectives. He/she will operate as a member of CRS’ Central Africa Regional Office (CARO) team, providing direct support to strategic growth opportunities as well as helping to strengthen BD-related systems, processes, relationships and staff capacities. CARO has 10 countries: Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Rwanda, Republic of the Congo and Togo. Working as one of five business development staff in the region and country programs, the BDS will have the opportunity to provide support in a variety of countries and program areas. CRS program portfolio in CARO includes: food security, agriculture recovery, livelihoods/cash assistance, shelter, community-based early warning systems, peacebuilding, and social cohesion and reconciliation.

This position offers an opportunity to demonstrate initiative to help support the direction and growth of CARO country programs. The Regional BD Specialist will maintain CRS’ competitive positioning for and pursuit of institutional donor resources, with an emphasis on competitive funding mechanisms. He/she will support country programs to define, monitor and update the business pipeline and ensure that CRS is best positioned to pursue relevant opportunities. With a core function of leading the production of high quality applications for donor funding, particularly for development donors, including both for grant/cooperative agreement and contract funding, this position will also provide specialized assistance in other dimensions of the BD cycle:

- providing guidance and leadership for strategic growth planning

- leveraging CRS’ competitive position and program results to attract new funding

- managing functional teams to identify and capture funding opportunities

- incorporating best practices into growth-related business processes and proposals

- building relationships with current and prospective donors

- developing/managing strategic alliances and/or coalitions with other organizations

- monitoring donor trends, including corporate and other non-traditional sources

- liaising closely with the CRS Program Managers (PMs) to learn about programming in the field offices

The BDS will train and mentor staff to improve their skills in proposal development, representation to donor and partner organizations, intelligence-gathering, and marketing. S/he will strengthen BD systems and use of CRS tools and resources within the country program in partnership with CARO’s Regional Technical Advisor in BD (RTA/BD).

Specific Responsibilities:

Identify Funding Opportunities and Prepositioning

  • Research, analyze and plan for new funding opportunities, competitive intelligence, and CRS’ competitive positioning on a continuous basis. Support effective internal communication and information management processes to ensure access and use of BD information by relevant stakeholders within the agency to better position the country programs to successfully compete.
  • Lead the country program’s functional teams to develop appropriate and effective fundraising and positioning strategies involving donor research and intelligence, product development, marketing, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship, as needed.
  • Assist with positioning CRS as a leader in local partner institutional strengthening with potential donors highlighting concrete results and approaches; take actions to position CRS for specific opportunities that may arise.
  • Oversee maintenance of opportunity pipeline, proposal submission, and donor intelligence on CRS’ online project information management system.

Capture Planning

  • When significant funding opportunities are identified, work with relevant program and regional teams to follow a capture planning process that generates useful information for decision-making (go/no-go decisions), assessing and improving preparedness and competitiveness, and building the foundation for a preliminary project design.
  • Train Country Program staff on the benefits of and how to capture plan.

Proposal and Concept Note Development

  • Lead country teams to manage proposal processes, often as the Proposal Coordinator, to ensure timely submission of high quality concept notes and proposals that are responsive to and compliant with donor requirements and with CRS technical application and cost application standards. This includes leading design workshops, coordinating review timelines with Regional and Headquarters’-based staff, support personnel recruitment, proposal timeline development, budget development, non-technical proposal writing, teaming agreement negotiations, and/or editing/packaging as part of proposal team.
  • Collaborate with Head of Operations and Finance Manager to align management /cost components of the proposal with CRS standards; donor regulation and guidelines.
  • Provide reviews of technical and cost applications, reviewing for clarity, responsiveness, presentation, and compliance, in coordination with the Head of Program and Finance Officer, and in compliance with CARO Regional Review and Approval Procedures.

Documentation of results, reporting and marketing

  • Work with relevant staff to leverage CRS’ programmatic and operational results for marketing, positioning, and direct fundraising purposes, including maintaining data on past performance and agency capacity, publications and dissemination, and donor visits.
  • Conceptualize and oversee the production of appropriate marketing materials for the CRS portfolio in collaboration with programming and administrative staff; including project fact sheets, sectoral and/or geographic focus brochures, past performance documentation, and others.
  • Work with regional and HQ staff to analyze country programs’ past performance by donor and sector, with an emphasis on public resource proposal submission, success rates, and lessons learned.

Capacity-Building and Coordination

  • In collaboration with the RTA/BD, foster a culture of business development within the country program by contributing to the development and dissemination of standardized BD materials (learning resources, guidelines, tools and templates, and online information) and build capacity of country program staff on their application, through staff mentorship, modeling of good practices, and training.
  • Contribute to building capacity of local partners to access funding for programs.
  • Identify relevant internal and external training and learning opportunities and share with country program staff.
  • Participate in regional and agency-wide business development community learning and knowledge management by sharing experience and lessons learned virtually.
  • Lead After-Action Reviews of submitted proposals and pursue debriefs from funders on funding decisions to capture and document lessons learned in order to continually improve proposal processes.

Supervisory Responsibilities: N/A

Key Working Relationships:

Internal: Country Representatives, Head of Programs, Country Finance Managers, RTA/BD, Program Managers, CARO RTAs for Health, Agriculture and MEAL, DRD/PQ; HQ IDEA team

External: Church and other Partner Organizations in CP, government ministries, UN Agencies, cluster coordinators, local bilateral institutions, other funding agencies, local/international NGO offices

Personal/Professional Skills:

  • Strong team-player
  • Sound judgment and patient
  • Assertive, yet culturally sensitive
  • Strong interpersonal and networking skills
  • Efficient and highly productive
  • Excellent writing skills in English
  • Speaking and writing proficiency in French
  • Commitment to the Agency’s mission

Program Manager Competencies These are rooted in the mission, values, and principles of CRS and used by each program manager to fulfill his or her responsibilities and to achieve the desired results.

  • Sets clear goals and manages toward them
  • Collaborates effectively with staff and stakeholders
  • Manages financial resources with integrity
  • Applies program quality standards to project design and organizational learning

Agency-wide Competencies (for all CRS Staff): These are rooted in the mission, values, and principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and to achieve the desired results.

  • Serves with Integrity
  • Models Stewardship
  • Cultivates Constructive Relationships
  • Promotes Learning


  • Bachelor’s degree in business management, international development, or related field. Master’s degree preferred.
  • Minimum five years international development experience, including at least three years of work in a developing country and a minimum of two years in a resource mobilization role.
  • Understanding of relevant U.S Government funding strategies and guidelines, including proposal formats and requirements; similar experience with UN and other development donors (such as DFID, GIZ, EU) and major foundation donors highly desired. Experience with pursuing contracts, such as USAID’s Request for Proposals (RFPs), is preferred, but not required.
  • Proven experience and track record of developing successful project proposals in similar funding and operational contexts to those of CRS CARO country programs.
  • Demonstrated capacity in establishing and maintaining strong working and representational relationships with international and local NGOs, donors, government officials, community organizations, and/or other stakeholders in international development.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide leadership in strategic planning initiatives.
  • Capacity to work closely with and understand local partner organizations.
  • Demonstrated excellent writing skills
  • Strong computer skills: Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint.
  • Experience in staff development and local partner capacity preferred, including experience in leading trainings, coaching, and mentoring staff.
  • Knowledge of CRS’ program quality standards and Catholic Social Teaching principles preferred.

Required Foreign Language: Native fluency in oral and written English, with proficient communication skills in French and intermediate writing skills in French.

Required Travel: Approximately 50% travel to country programs.

Physical Requirements/Environment: Required travel to remote, rural villages in addition to working in provincial and national capital cities.

Disclaimer: This job description is not an exhaustive list of the skills, effort, duties, and responsibilities associated with the position.

CRS’ talent acquisition procedures reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation.


About the Organization

CRS staff, alongside our partners and the people we serve, work daily to bring our mission and guiding principles to life. We share our stories of hope, compassion and solidarity to inspire others to join us in creating a more just and prosperous world for all.

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