Position Opening: Programs & Operations Specialist

SPARC is seeking a full-time specialist to help to coordinate community programming and provide operational support to the organization.

Application Form

About the Position

SPARC is a non-profit advocacy organization that supports systems for research and education that are open by default and equitable by design. We believe everyone should be able to access and contribute to the knowledge that shapes our world. As a catalyst for action, our pragmatic agenda focuses on driving policy change, supporting member action, and cultivating communities that advance our vision of knowledge as a public good. From the local to the global level, SPARC works to address the ways in which our knowledge systems exclude people due to racism, colonialism, and other legacies of injustice. SPARC is a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

The Programs and Operations Specialist position assists the Chief Operating Officer in the operational management of SPARC, which encompasses policy, advocacy, community organizing, and professional development initiatives. The Specialist provides key organizational support to the SPARC team, including coordinating virtual and in-person events, facilitating memberships, supporting the Steering Committee and their election process, and as well as general operational support. The position also coordinates parts of SPARC’s ongoing community programming and contributes to meaningful and impactful work across the organization. 

This full-time, virtual position is a prime opportunity for a motivated professional seeking to advance openness and equity in research and education while gaining valuable operational non-profit experience alongside experienced advocates and leaders. Candidates for employment must be authorized to work in the United States. Candidates outside of the United States may be considered as a contractor.

Studies have shown that people marginalized by racism and/or sexism are less likely to apply for jobs unless they meet every listed qualification. If you are unsure if you meet all of the requirements above but believe you can do the job as described, we encourage you to apply. 


Position Title: Programs & Operations Specialist

Location: Virtual, based anywhere. Candidates located in the U.S. will be considered for employment and must be U.S. work authorized. Candidates located outside the U.S. be considered for an independent contractor position.

Hours & Schedule: 40 hours per week (average), generally available 9am-5pm Eastern Time with some flexibility. Extra hours may be necessary periodically and are offset by a generous time off policy during the rest of the year. Will require 2-3 overnight trips a year.

U.S. Overtime Status: Exempt

Compensation:  Full time employee salary of $48,000-$60,000 USD per year, commensurate with experience. Comprehensive employee benefits package for USA-based employees includes 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance, a 6% employer match on 401(k) contributions, paid holidays, and paid time off.

Reports to: Chief Operating Officer

Availability: Desired start date is October 31, 2022.


Position Responsibilities

  • Coordinate virtual and in-person events including planning, communications, registration, speakers, sponsors, logistics, contracts, invoicing, troubleshooting, and travel support. Periodically serve as a meeting facilitator.  
  • Update website news, events, resources, other content, as well as social media accounts. Respond to general informational inquiries. 
  • Facilitate memberships including annual invoicing, collections follow up, new membership inquiries/questions, new member welcomes. Maintain member contact data and mailing lists.
  • Support day-to-day operations, including assisting with member programming/resources, and other member support, meeting and calendar coordination for team and Executive Director, documenting action items, tracking deadlines, organizing files, and maintaining databases.
  • Support the Steering Committee, including managing the annual election process, maintaining records, and ensuring compliance with the SPARC Articles of Governance.  
  • Organize office and materials (merchandise, office supplies, etc), track inventory, order and distribute as necessary. 
  • Contribute to SPARC’s broader work as assigned by the COO, which may include creating resources, coordinating meetings, drafting communications, and researching information.
  • Contribute to projects and discussions to center diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of SPARC’s work.


Position Qualifications

The most competitive candidates will have all or most of the following qualifications:

  • 3+ years of professional experience in a role that involves event coordination, project management, community organizing, or similar work, ideally in a non-profit or higher education environment.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent level of coursework, training, or on-the-job experience. 
  • Consistent track record of being able to develop and execute plans according to a strict timeline.
  • Outstanding organizational skills, including attention to detail, time management, and the ability to develop efficient workflows.
  • Ability to problem solve and think creatively about solutions, even when under pressure.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, especially in the areas of building relationships and helping to facilitate groups. 
  • Strong written communication skills, particularly the ability to write clear and concise summaries or instructions.
  • Ability to take initiative and stay motivated when working independently.
  • Ability to work productively and collaboratively within a virtual team, including “managing up” and “managing across” to support colleagues and community volunteers. 
  • Capacity to quickly and independently learn to use new software applications and tools, ideally solid experience with Google Suite (Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms) and/or Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint).
  • Motivation to advocate for SPARC’s mission to make research and education open by default and equitable by design.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Fluent English. Other languages are a plus.


Additional optional but desirable qualifications include:

  • Experience working for a non-profit organization or higher education institution. 
  • Familiarity with the Open Access movement and community, particularly in the U.S. and Canadian contexts. Lived experiences related to research and educational equity are also recognized.
  • Experience facilitating groups and/or group project work. 
  • Hands-on experience planning and running virtual or in-person events.
  • Experience with business processes, such as invoicing, collections, data management, general inquiries, etc.
  • Experience with website content management systems, ideally WordPress and SquareSpace and customer relationship management systems. 
  • Other valued experience includes conflict resolution, anti-racist practices, inclusive design, and other expertise related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 


How to Apply

Apply Now

Complete the form at the bottom this webpage by October 2, 2022. If you experience any technical or accessibility issues, please email [email protected] for accommodations.


Hiring Statement

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) is a project of New Venture Fund (NVF), a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. NVF is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. NVF’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.


COVID-19 Policy

To center the safety and well-being of its employees, New Venture Fund requires that any employee who is required to conduct in-person activities for their job must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within four weeks of their start date.  This position may require candidates to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  Accommodations may be sought and approved in accordance with the law by contacting human resources at [email protected]


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