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Head of Business Development at Plan International

  • Full Time
  • Lilongwe
  • Salary: 00

Plan International

The Organisation


Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.  Plan has gained vast experience since 1937 when it was established, and it works in more than 75 countries across the world.  We strive for a just world, working together with children, young people, our supporters, partners and host governments. Our work supports marginalised children and youth, especially adolescent girls, to grow up physically and mentally healthy and ready to shape their future.  We create an enabling environment and empower girls to be active drivers of change in realising their rights.  Plan International has been working in Malawi since 1994 in 14 districts, and its current strategy aims to reach 3.5 million adolescent girls and young women between 2022-2027 through different interventions.


This role exists to identify and mobilise funding in line with plan international malawi’s country strategy programme priorities, and to build relationships and maintain a good image among donors and plan international fundraising national offices.  The lead the writing of quality and successful grant proposals in close coordination with the programmes support team, and to strengthen processes and procedures for effective grants management and compliance.


The position reports to the Country Director and as head of the business development unit, the post holder supervises a team of 3 staff.  It has delegated financial authority of €150,000 for payments.  The position is part of the Country Leadership Team (CLT).



Strategic Leadership

  • Provide strategic input into broader organisational and business planning processes
  • Develop a resource mobilisation strategy (RMS) with a strong fundraising ambition to finance the country strategy’s programme and organisational priorities
  • Lead careful departmental strategic annual planning
  • Craft and implement a strong donor and national organisational engagement strategy to promote country programmes and projects
  • Continuously improve and innovate fundraising tactics and approaches to reach new and existing markets
  • Participate in annual and periodic reviews of the country strategy and its supporting strategies including the RMS, policies, procedures, and manuals & tools.


Prospecting and Relationship Management

  • Research trends, and identify new funding opportunities including new markets, growth areas, trends, and partnerships
  • Generate funding leads, conduct cold calls for prospective donors, and track and position Plan for calls for proposals
  • Lead all efforts of intelligence gathering in-country and with National office
  • Develop donor engagement marketing materials on programmes and projects
  • Conduct donor mapping, analysis, and targeted engagement activities to profile the image of Plan
  • Maintain a knowledge bank on donors and funding, funding mechanisms, and grants management requirements
  • Coordinate with relevant technical programmes teams to efficiently evaluate funding opportunities and reach Go-No-Go decisions
  • Maintain a comprehensive healthy pipeline of a minimum €10m and ensure monthly reporting to CLT
  • Ensure regular external engagements of donors and establish strategic relationships, including with other development and humanitarian actors


Proposal Development

  • Organise teaming arrangements with co-applicants
  • Lead in preparation of clear and realistic workplans to guide cross-sectoral proposal design in line with donor requirements
  • Coordinate high value donor proposal development and ensure the Unit leads full-stage proposal processes to ensure a complete, high-quality proposals are submitted on time
  • Ensure accurate and fully costed proposal budgets which meet approved apportioned and shared costs ratios of Plan International Malawi
  • Maintain good proposal development documentation and recording of meetings, negotiations, and key decisions to retain and enhance institutional knowledge and assets
  • Contribute to and review technical materials including programme capacity statements, and manage the library of capacity statements.


Grants Managements

  • Ensure all new grants are set up properly
  • Facilitate smooth transitions of grant awards to implementation teams
  • Nurture and maintain donor and NO relationships
  • Maintain contractual document filing
  • Ensure BDU is the official channel for communicating all donor/ NO contractual changes or modifications, and for submissions e.g. donor reports
  • Monitor grant contract adherence, and grant performance based on commitments made to donors
  • Support programmes teams to prepare grant income and expenditure forecasts based on Plan’s and donor fiscal year cycles
  • Ensure sign-off of grant reporting packages to ensure high quality and timeliness of reporting
  • Support strong and efficient grant closure procedures and processes


People Management & Learning

  • Participate in interviews for key personnel staff especially for submission with proposal bids
  • Ensure timely recruitment and resourcing e.g. from roster of BD consultants, and ensure active talent management of staff in the BDU
  • Strengthen BDU and technical team with funding acquisition capacities
  • Manage and ensure high standards of performance among BDU staff
  • Participate in donor meetings or working groups in-country and within the Plan’s region as assigned to ensure sharing and receiving learning/ best practices etc
  • Orient new staff to business development procedures to prepare them to effectively contribute to proposal development and donor engagement.


Safeguarding, Risk Management, and GEI

  • Ensure that Plan International’s global policies for Safeguarding and Gender Equality and Inclusion (GEI) are fully embedded in accordance with the principles and requirements of the policy including relevant Implementation Standards and Guidelines as applicable to their area of responsibility. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • ensuring staff and associates are aware of and understand their responsibilities under these policies and Plan International’s Code of Conduct (CoC), their relevance to their area of work
  • concerns are reported and managed in accordance with the appropriate procedures
  • Assess and put in place measures to address safeguarding risks as part of donor and NO engagements
  • Ensure interventions and budgets are provided for in proposals to fulfil safeguarding commitments in projects
  • Ensure effective and regular context scanning, identification, and management of funding and grants management risks and that grants compliance issues are addressed as they arise
  • Promote gender equality and inclusion in all business development processes and procedures


Dealing with Problems:

The role involves a high degree of complexity in managing the wide range duties and working in a matrix structure spanning various department, geographic locations, diverse individuals and contractual obligations and deliverables.  The post holder will need to demonstrate strategic problem solving and thinking, creativity, and innovation, including leading in complexity.

Key relationships


  • The CD and the CLT on strategic leadership
  • Director of Programmes on resourcing programmes and influencing
  • BDU
  • Technical Leads of programmes
  • Programme Area Managers
  • NO counterparts
  • Other support teams i.e. Finance, Risk & Compliance, Supply Chain, People & Culture


  • Key donors including FCDO, EC, NORAD, SIDA, USAID, The UN (UN Women, UNDP, UHNCR and WFP), Global Fund, BMZ and Kingdoms of the Netherlands & Flanders
  • Key government line departments
  • The private sector
  • National Offices/Fund raising offices

Technical Expertise, Knowledge, and Skills

Qualifications and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Business Administration or related field
  • Minimum of 5 years working experience in INGO development and humanitarian contexts
  • Over 3 years’ experience in engaging and building donor relationships
  • Traceable experience in marketing programmes and project models and interventions
  • Clear experience in business development or fundraising, and donor & relationship management
  • Good experience in supporting fundraising for both rapid and slow onset emergencies
  • Vast experience in strategic portfolio analysis and planning in NGO sectors
  • Solid experience in mobilising funding in more than three of Plan International’s core programmes: Education; youth skills, employability and entrepreneurship; right to participation; sexual reproductive health and rights; protection from violence; and early child development
  • More than 3 years proven experience in leading the development of large-scale complex proposals and consortiums proposal development.
  • Solid experience in developing talent and leading and supervising diverse teams


Skills & Knowledge

  • Knowledge of the requirements of major institutional donors including budgeting, eligibility issues, compliance management, and reporting
  • Good understanding of the role of the Private sector in development and humanitarian work
  • Good knowledge of the context of the donor community in Malawi relating to girls and young women’s rights
  • Strong understanding of programmes, programming, and project management
  • Skills in leading donor landscape mapping and developing resource mobilisation strategies
  • Excellent planning, management, and coordination skills, with the ability to organise a demanding workload
  • Strong written and verbal communication & presentation skills
  • Cultural sensitivity and interpersonal skills
  • Excellent negotiation skills
  • Computer literate in Microsoft application and grants and financial systems
  • Solid analytical skills



  • Conscientious, courageous, and results-focused
  • Demonstrates high degree of professionalism and integrity
  • Confident in taking initiative and exploring new opportunities
  • Assertive and shows cultural sensitivity
  • Agile and innovative forward-thinking approach to all aspects of work
  • High personal and professional integrity, ethics, and creation of climate of trust
  • Collaborative and values participatory approaches to ways of working
  • Culturally sensitivity in engaging others depending on diversity and local culture and contexts
  • Modelling behaviour within and outside that aligns with Plan’s values, feminist principles, gender equality etc
  • Leading leaders and managing in complexity with timely decisions, even in uncertainty and when information is imperfect
  • Self-aware, resilient and constructive in embracing change
  • Respecting all people, appreciating differences and challenging inequality in programmes and the workplace


Plan International’s Values in Practice

We are open and accountable

  • Promotes a culture of openness and transparency, including with sponsors and donors.
  • Holds self and others accountable to achieve the highest standards of integrity.
  • Consistent and fair in the treatment of people.
  • Open about mistakes and keen to learn from them.
  • Accountable for ensuring we are a safe organisation for all children, girls & young people


We strive for lasting impact

  • Articulates a clear purpose for staff and sets high expectations.
  • Creates a climate of continuous improvement, open to challenge and new ideas.
  • Focuses resources to drive change and maximise long-term impact, responsive to changed priorities or crises.
  • Evidence-based and evaluates effectiveness.


We work well together

  • Seeks constructive outcomes, listens to others, willing to compromise when appropriate.
  • Builds constructive relationships across Plan International to support our shared goals.
  • Develops trusting and ‘win-win’ relationships with funders, partners and communities.
  • Engages and works well with others outside the organization to build a better world for girls and all children.


We are inclusive and empowering

  • We empower our staff to give their best and develop their potential
  • We respect all people, appreciate differences and challenge equality in our programs and our workplace
  • We support children, girls and young people to increase their confidence and to change their own lives.


Physical Environment

Typical Office environment with about 30% frequency of travel to field locations

Level of contact with children

Low contact: Rare interaction with children through co-design or project visits



Location: Country Office, Lilongwe

Type of Role: Fixed Term 

Reports to: Country Director

Grade: Level 16

Closing Date: 1 June 2024


Equality, diversity and inclusion is at the very heart of everything that Plan International stands for.

Qualified Females are encouraged to apply!!


We want Plan International to reflect the diversity of the communities we work with, offering equal opportunities to everyone regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.


Plan International is based on a culture of inclusivity and we strive to create a workplace environment that ensures every team, in every office, in every country, is rich in diverse people, thoughts, and ideas.


We foster an organisational culture that embraces our commitment to racial justice, gender equality, girls’ rights and inclusion.


Plan International believes that in a world where children face so many threats of harm, it is our duty to ensure that we, as an organisation, do everything we can to keep children safe. This means that we have particular responsibilities to children that we come into contact with and we must not contribute in any way to harming or placing children at risk.


A range of pre-employment checks will be undertaken in conformity with Plan International’s Safeguarding Children and Young People policy. Plan International also participates in the Inter Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. In line with this scheme we will request information from applicants previous employers about any findings of sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and/or sexual harassment during employment, or incidents under investigation when the applicant left employment. By submitting an application, the job applicant confirms their understanding of these recruitment procedures.

Please note that Plan International will never send unsolicited emails requesting payment from candidates. 

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