Head of People Operations

GiveWell is a nonprofit that operates like a crowdsourced foundation. We identify and fund cost-effective giving opportunities, focusing on global health. We’ve grown from raising $1.5 million in 2010 to over $600 million in 2022; we are now one of largest private funders of global health and development worldwide.

We’ve seen similar growth on our relatively small team—our staff has quickly grown from about 20 people in 2018 to about 70 today. We’re looking to hire a founding leader of a People Operations team. This person will work closely with our Director of Operations to develop the People Ops strategy, tactics, and team that will support our continued growth.

What makes this opportunity unique?

  • Have an outsized impact with your career. GiveWell’s work saves and improves lives around the world, and you’ll build the team to do that critical work.
  • Work with brilliant, motivated colleagues. GiveWell has a relatively small team because we’re able to attract the best. You’ll get to work with a team of smart, ambitious people who are passionate about doing good in the world.
  • Build a People Operations team essentially from scratch. GiveWell is about 70 people today, and we expect to grow to 100+ over the next two to three years. In many cases we’re still leaning on improvised policies and approaches we haven’t had the bandwidth to revisit since our start-up days. Our People Ops leader will have the opportunity to build a world-class People Operations team from the ground up.
  • Become a trusted advisor to senior leadership. You will be a critical advisor for the executive team and will have significant influence over GiveWell’s culture and direction—finding and retaining the best talent is our number one organizational priority.
  • You’ll have the resources to build a world-class team. We’re an unusually well-funded nonprofit, and we want our operations team focused on providing A+ support rather than navigating hard tradeoffs under restrictive budgets.
  • High pay, high expectations, high performance. We maintain a high-performing, collegial culture, and our salaries are competitive with nonprofit peers.

Core responsibilities

High-level ownership of People Operations.
The main focus of this role is broad ownership of our People Operations function. Specifically, we expect you to:

  • Define our strategy and road map for People Operations.
  • Manage a team to execute against that strategy and road map. We have two existing People Ops staff (a recruiter and an admin) who would report to you. We expect to make additional hires based on the road map you develop.
  • Serve as a trusted advisor to the executive team on personnel and leadership decisions, and be the person that managers at all levels seek out when they run into challenges.

What does People Operations include?
Below we’ve listed the responsibilities that fall under our People Operations function. We don’t expect you to own all (or even many) of the items listed below as an individual contributor—we’re sharing these to give you a clear picture of how we’re understanding the scope of People Operations.

At GiveWell, People Operations includes:

  • Administration of all HR functions (including payroll, benefits, and employment law)
  • Compensation and benefits. We want our staff to be compensated reasonably and competitively.
  • International employment and visas. People Ops ensures that we can employ the staff we want to. While most of our staff are based in the US, about 10% are based internationally, and another small portion are in the US on visas we’ve sponsored.
  • Performance management. People Ops helps us maintain a culture of excellence and the processes to back that up.
  • Manager support. One role of People Ops is supporting managers—for example, consulting with a new manager on how to handle a performance issue with an employee.
  • Vendor relationships. People Ops ensures we have (and manage) the right vendors to support our team—lawyers, HR vendors, payroll systems, temp agencies, benefits providers, and international employers of record.
  • Recruiting. Finding and retaining the best talent is GiveWell's number one organizational priority, and People Ops ensures that we find, recruit, and hire the talent we need to grow.
  • Learning and development. GiveWell actively encourages professional improvement, and People Ops supports training, general learning and professional development, manager support, and internal coaching and mentorship.
  • Culture. GiveWell has a strong and idiosyncratic culture, characterized in part by high levels of feedback, transparency, truth-seeking, and considerateness. We prize our culture and want to make sure it remains strong as GiveWell develops.
  • Diversity and inclusion. We think diversity, defined broadly, is important to our work.
  • Internal communications. We want to communicate with our staff transparently, comprehensively, and legibly.

Who might be a good fit

The ideal candidate has built and scaled a People Operations team at least once, and is excited to leverage their past experience and deep subject matter expertise to help GiveWell grow and excel.

We also think an outstanding generalist with demonstrated management abilities could be great in this role, though we’d expect to see an impressive track record to offset the lack of specific expertise. We don’t have a preference for staff with nonprofit experience.

We expect that all strong candidate will have almost all of the qualities listed below:

  • You’re an experienced leader.
    • You’ve managed teams across the full employee life cycle (hiring, training, managing performance, separations).
    • You’ve owned a complex, open-ended set of responsibilities that required you to set and execute a strategy.
    • You'll likely have around 10 years of work experience, at least some of it directly relevant, though we don’t have a hard requirement for years of experience.
  • You get stuff done.
    • You are skilled at planning and managing projects, including identifying and focusing on the most decision-relevant aspects of a project and communicating effectively with teammates.
    • You’re adept at navigating challenging strategic or interpersonal situations (e.g., separations from employment, thorny cultural problems) and coaching others as they do the same.
  • You click incredibly strongly with our work culture (and can be a culture carrier for the org).
    • You’re excited to work in a relatively small, ambitious, and growing organization (and all the opportunities and challenges that come with that).
    • You have a low-ego approach to work. You’re excited to have transparent conversations about how to solve problems, and are enthusiastic to receive frequent feedback.
    • You have demonstrated success building and maintaining a work culture of excellence.
    • You’re wildly proactive and are comfortable—even thrive in—ambiguity and a changing organization (we are small and growing quickly).
    • You’re down with hands-on leadership. We’re a small team, and we need leaders who can pitch in and take on projects themselves rather than solving all their problems by delegating to others.
    • You are passionate about the cause of improving global health and alleviating global poverty.
    • You’re excited about GiveWell’s organizational values and our Operations team culture.

GiveWell is looking for exceptional people who want to make a positive impact through their work. Please apply if this role would make you excited to come to work every day, even if you have a non-traditional professional background or don’t perfectly fit each element of the role.

Key info

Position: Head of People Operations


  • Tier 1 (San Francisco Bay Area or New York City): $190,900.
  • Tier 2 (all other US locations): $173,100.

Location: GiveWell’s operations team works remotely within the US. GiveWell has offices in Oakland, California, and Brooklyn, New York City; you are welcome but not required to work from either.

Travel: We host week-long, in-person Visit Weeks for our staff about four times per year—these are a critical part of building relationships between our mostly-remote staff. These are typically at our Oakland office, though the cadence and location may change. We expect our People Ops leader to attend all Visit Weeks (barring special circumstances).

Flexibility: We support and encourage flexible working, including flexible hours, working remotely, and working from the office when you choose. The majority of our staff, including senior management, work flexibly in one way or another.

Visa Sponsorship: We will attempt to sponsor work visas for hired staff members who wish to move to the US. However, please be aware that processing times are country specific and are much longer than usual right now. We are also unable to control visa eligibility and cannot guarantee visa approval.

Timeline: We're reviewing applications on a rolling basis and aim to make an offer by the end of March. We’d like you to start as soon as possible after extending you an offer, but we’re happy to adjust timelines for exceptional candidates. We encourage you to submit your application by mid-February, though we don’t currently have a deadline for applications (we’ll update this page if that changes).

Benefits: Our benefits include:

  • Fully funded health, dental, vision, and life insurance (we cover 100% of premiums within the US for you and any dependents)
  • Four weeks of paid time off per year
  • Four months of fully paid parental leave
  • Ergonomic home workstations or coworking space memberships
  • 403(b) retirement plan
  • You can see our full list of benefits here.

To apply

Apply here. We only accept applications through our website.

Applications will close after Monday, February 26.

You can see our FAQ document for this role here. Please email us at jobs@givewell.org with any additional questions.

About GiveWell

GiveWell is motivated by the simple question: How can we do as much good as possible?

Our staff researches and makes grants to support the most cost-effective global health programs that save and improve lives. We focus on global health and poverty alleviation in the lowest-income parts of the world because that is where we've found we can have the greatest impact.

Since 2007, we’ve directed over $2 billion to cost-effective programs and interventions. In 2022, we directed over $400 million. GiveWell is one of the world’s largest private funders of global development efforts, and we estimate that the funding we've directed has saved more than 200,000 lives.
Recent grants have supported programs that:

Additional information

If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at jobs@givewell.org.

As part of our dedication to the diversity of our staff, GiveWell is committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity and to making employment decisions based on merit and value. We are committed to complying with all federal, state, and local laws providing Equal Employment Opportunities, as well as all laws related to terms and conditions of employment. We desire to maintain a work environment free of harassment or discrimination due to sex, race, religion, color, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, citizenship, physical or mental disability, marital status, familial status, ethnicity, ancestry, status as a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, age, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws.

We will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.