Director of Research

Job description


·What's Our PAC’s mission is to design and quickly mainstream field-tested voter engagement innovations to help Democrats win

·Title: Director of Research

·Role: Build and lead an interdisciplinary team of ~10 researchers

·Location: Los Angeles or remote

·Pay: ~$160K annualized salary & benefits

·Qualifications: 10+ years of full-time, relevant work experience

·Application deadline: ASAP (with strong preference for before May 15, 2021)

·Questions: Email

We design and quickly mainstream field-tested voter engagement innovations to help Democrats win. The principal asset that enables us to fulfill this mission is our talented, interdisciplinary team of voter engagement, political, research, fundraising, legal, and strategy experts.

Our organization was born in the wake of the 2016 election as a grassroots, volunteer-led initiative. Over the next four years, our work took off and we became a team of 30 full-time staff in 2020. From 2016 to 2020 our work focused singularly on designing and quickly mainstreaming field-tested voter engagement innovations that spark Democratic non-activists to mobilize their friends to vote. We succeeded in developing and quickly mainstreaming a suite of elegant, user-friendly and non-proprietary innovations that RCTs suggest yielded over 100,000 net Democratic votes in 2020 swing states. As one example, we designed and quickly mainstreamed ‘polling place vote tripling’. Dozens of major partners used this innovation in 2020, including the Biden-Harris campaign, ultimately resulting in 94,000 canvasser-hours of polling place vote tripling that produced 1,100,000 relational conversations (for context, that’s 5x the 200,000 relational conversations the Biden campaign’s relational app produced). This innovation was featured in The Washington Post, The New Yorker and The New York Times.

Our 2016-2020 work serves as a compelling ‘proof of concept’ that our PAC fills a clear need within the progressive movement. Moving forward, we will work on problems beyond non-activist friend-to-friend voter turnout. The exact problem areas we will work on from 2021-2024 remain to-be-determined (more on this below), but will likely include persuasion, down-ballot dropoff, and enhanced relational voter engagement tactics. To reflect our team’s broader focus, in the summer of 2021 our organization will re-brand from to a new name that reflects our aspiration to serve as the progressive movement's behavioral innovation hub. We will consider our 2021-2024 work to be a success if we design and mainstream one or more voter engagement innovations so widely that our work yields hundreds of thousands of net Democratic votes in the 2024 presidential election.


Director of Research


Los Angeles or a remote candidate who can travel to Los Angeles every 3-4 months (when the pandemic has ended and we’ve reopened our Los Angeles headquarters).


As the leader of our research department, you will build and manage an interdisciplinary ~10-person research team. You will have a vision for how to build an interdisciplinary team composed of experts in fields such as behavioral science, UX, product design, interaction design, service design, design thinking, data science, relationship management, communication, and more. You will be responsible for developing and executing a research agenda that advances our mission. You will work closely with the head of our Partnership and Impact Team (our in-house team of political campaign field experts) who oversee our team’s efforts to quickly mainstream our voter engagement innovations. You will also manage our research-related external relationships. You’ll report to our Executive Director.


Our current research department consists of four staff, all of whom are in interim or part-time roles or are on loan from other departments. Our Interim Director of Research & Strategy is a behavioral scientist who is overseeing a six-month landscape analysis investigating which challenges — including persuasion, down-ballot drop-off, relational voter engagement, voter registration, vote-by-mail, and much more — are most well-suited for our team to tackle in the 2022 and 2024 federal elections. By the time you are hired, we expect that this landscape analysis will have identified several problem areas that are a clear fit for our team’s focus in the 2021-2024 election cycle. Building on the work our team has completed to date, you will determine and finalize which problem areas our team focuses on.

About You

  • You’re committed to electing Democrats and believe an innovative progressive movement will build a more equitable and just society
  • You’re passionate about applied behavioral science, human-centered design, or similar fields and are inspired by the opportunity to be at the frontier of designing and quickly mainstreaming field-tested voter engagement innovations to help Democrats win
  • You’re enthusiastic about navigating the twists and turns that come with a senior leadership role at a startup

Core Responsibilities

  • Provide organizational leadership as a member of our senior leadership team, including active involvement in management decisions, contributing to organizational development, and helping set our strategic direction
  • Design, hire, and lead a ~10-person team
  • Develop, build consensus around, and execute our research strategic plan
  • Simultaneously oversee multiple projects that design and test behaviorally-informed voter engagement innovations. This includes but is not limited to: (i) structuring the scope of primary and secondary research, (ii) leading internal teams through behavioral hypothesis development and design, (iii) ensuring the proper design and structure of experimental field tests, and (iv) leading internal and external teams through implementation of innovations and analysis of their impact via RCTs and other impact evaluation methodologies
  • Develop, publish, and disseminate reports detailing research findings
  • Recruit, develop, and manage external research partnerships (with allied organizations and academics) and support our development team in stewarding relationships with research-focused donors and donor advisors
  • Manage and mentor junior staff

You Have

  • 10+ years of combined relevant work experience and graduate school research experience
  • Experience managing complex projects and an ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
  • Experience managing teams and enthusiasm for managing a ~10-person team
  • Fluency in applied behavioral science, human-centered design, user research or similar disciplines
  • Experience designing, managing, and analyzing the results of field experiments, working with large data sets, and applying quantitative research methods
  • Commitment to developing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive team as well as culturally competent voter engagement innovations
  • Experience writing, editing, and publishing research reports for practitioner audiences(Preferred)
  • Experience working for a political campaign or voter turnout organization (Preferred)
  • Experience managing external implementation partners outside of supervisory or authority structures (Preferred)
  • Experience building partnerships and fostering buy-in, for example, through prior roles in external relations, sales, strategic partnerships, or consulting (Preferred)
  • Experience recruiting and hiring researchers, especially from pipelines for diverse researchers (Preferred)
  • Basic budgetary skills and enthusiasm for working with our external CFO to manage your team’s expenses (Preferred)
  • Appreciation for learning how to navigate the legal and compliance elements of this work and commitment to working with our outside council to ensure your team abides by all legal and compliance requirements

Reasons to Love This Role

  • You will be part of our senior leadership team.
  • You will gain deep exposure to the constellation of organizations and movements at the forefront of fighting to protect America’s democracy.
  • In many ways, is a new startup in 2021, especially in regards to our research department. You will be at the forefront of building our post-2020 team and, in doing so, will gain deep experience of the process of starting a startup.
  • Research departments are often siloed from programmatic departments. That’s not the case at You will work hand-in-hand with our programmatic team to design and quickly mainstream innovations that address the most critical challenges facing the progressive movement.
  • You will be deputized to quickly scale the size of our research team.
  • You will gain experience supporting our team’s fundraising efforts from progressive donors and donor advisors.  

Compensation & Benefits

  • Salary. Salary will be based on experience, but it will be roughly $160,000 for a well-qualified candidate.
  • Benefits. Our standard company-wide health insurance plan and retirement benefits.
  • Professional development. High-quality, twice-a-month professional external leadership coaching.
  • Paid Time Off. All full-time, salaried employees get roughly 40 days of paid time off each year. Specifically, all federal holidays are PTO, each employee accrues two days of PTO  per month (capping out at 24), the days from December 24 to January 1 are PTO, and a day of PTO when your birthday is on a workday.

Application Instructions

  • Read this, this, and this to familiarize yourself with our 2020 work.
  • Submit a resume to the application page.
  • Submit responses to three short answer questions (in lieu of a cover letter) to the application page.
  • Optional, but highly encouraged: Submit a code sample (ideally in Stata or R, but other languages are acceptable) from an analysis project you have worked on to the application page.

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