Strategic Partnerships Manager, Ticino-based (100%)

*Please note that all job descriptions are only available in English as it is the main working language at Switzerland for UNHCR.*

Contract Type: permanent position full-time position 
Place of work: Home-based
Starting date: As soon as possible


About Switzerland for UNHCR, the Swiss Foundation for UNHCR

UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting the rights of refugees and building a better future for the millions of people forced to flee their homes. 

Since 1950, UNHCR has responded to multiple crises on different continents and has provided vital assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people, many of whom have nowhere else to turn. Its work was aimed at ensuring their rights, protection and assistance, preserving their dignity and well-being.

UNHCR has set up a foundation under Swiss law, headquartered in Geneva, which shall: 

  • Raise funds from individuals, from the private sector as well as from the cantons and communes in Switzerland and Liechtenstein in support to UNHCR's protection and assistance programmes worldwide 
  • Raise awareness within civil society in Switzerland and Liechtenstein about the situation and needs of refugees and those forced to flee

Switzerland for UNHCR is currently looking for a Strategic Partnerships Officer to contribute to the strategic and operational Private Philanthropy Resource Mobilization in Switzerland with a particular focus on the Italian-Speaking Region of Switzerland, mainly in Ticino.

The incumbent will contribute to further develop and expand the visibility and fundraising of the organisation, drive the strategy implementation, undertake prospect research and maintain the prospect pipeline. Working in close coordination with the rest of the Private Philanthropy Team, the Strategic Partnership Officer will identify and connect with major donors, corporations and trusts/foundations in the Italian-Speaking Part of Switzerland. He/she will cultivate and manage the relationships with prospective donors and help secure income for UNHCR programs through its Swiss Foundation.

Through networking and public relations, the Strategic Partnerships Officer will lay the groundwork as a spokesperson in relevant fora and advocate for Switzerland for UNHCR in Ticino. S/he will help to engage the Swiss public in better understanding the work and perspectives of UNHCR and liaise with key actors and stakeholders with a view to secure and grow income for the refugee cause from individual major donors, foundations, corporate and municipalities.


We are seeking a dynamic and proactive team player, with a strong interest in a strong nonprofit brand and refugee issues with good project management experience and wide network that will be able to consolidate and further develop the current Swiss donors’ portfolio of the Foundation with a particular focus on the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland.

The position will also be key to increase and secure new donations and help scoping new Private philanthropy development opportunities. This work will be delivered under the supervision of the Head of Strategic Partnerships. The position will also work closely and support the Individual Giving and Communications teams, as well as with the Executive Director and, potentially, the Board.

Main Responsibilities

Scope of the Assignment

The Strategic Partnerships Officer will take the following responsibilities:

  • Develop, drive forward, implement, monitor and evaluate Switzerland for UNHCR’s new business fundraising strategy, including effective prospection, reach out and cultivation to secure new donations from major donors, as well as making concrete inroads to securing seven-figures long-term partnerships.
  • Establish relations with new potential major donors, including ultra-high-net-worth individuals, grant making foundations or corporate donors, to secure significant support for UNHCR’s work and programs.
  • Support the Switzerland for UNHCR team’s efforts to position UNHCR as the preferred charity on refugees for the private community in Switzerland. Effectively represent Switzerland for UNHCR and communicate with the public, media, donors, partners and key stakeholders for that purpose.
  • Research new prospects, deliver best practice cultivation and stewardship to prospects and partners to ensure we are achieving joint objectives and that partnerships are regularly reviewed and evaluated.
  • Prepare and facilitate one to one meetings, calls, presentations and other meaningful interactions with major donors or their representatives (lawyers, notaries, wealth managers, family offices, board members, etc.) with the aim of soliciting major support to UNHCR.
  • Organise and conduct cultivation and fundraising events with UNHCR and Switzerland for UNHCR’s leadership.
  • Ensure an appropriate strategic and tactical response to prospects in the event of humanitarian emergencies.
  • Keep abreast of the fundraising and business environment and proactively develop new opportunities for UNHCR in Switzerland, appropriately influencing the organization to explore new models of partnership.
  • Support the Director of the newly established Swiss Foundation for UNHCR in identifying potential board members (long and short list) as well as advising on the specificities of the target geography
  • Work with UNHCR’s Private Sector Partnerships teams in HQ (Copenhagen and Geneva) for the smooth implementation of the action plan, including due diligence, project support unit, major donors, foundations, shared value partnerships, communications, etc.

The ideal candidate is a passionate, professional, results-oriented individual with an entrepreneurial mindset, with a focus on business development in the Italian-Speaking Region
of Switzerland, with private sector fundraising experience relevant to the function. Experience with an international NGO or humanitarian organization would be an asset.

Key competencies
  • Minimum 8 years of relevant work experience combined with a basic university degree OR minimum of 6 years of work experience combined with a post-graduate diploma.
  • At least 6 years’ experience in project management and implementation/planning (including planning, stakeholder consultation, reporting, etc.) gained in an international NGO, not-for-profit or similar organization.
  • Excellent command of Italian and English, French and/or German an asset.
  • Proven experience in preparing and implementing business development strategies for private sector fundraising.
  • Proven track record of at least one major donor partnership in which he/she was personally responsible in the identification and solicitation one new corporate/NGO partnership that she/he was personally responsible for identifying and soliciting
  • Excellent analytical skills and strong communication and presentation skills (both verbal and written).
  • Demonstrable skills in collaborating effectively when working remotely.
  • Good knowledge of the Swiss fundraising environment and market trends.
  • Ability to deal with multiple tasks in a courteous and service-oriented manner in a demanding working condition that often functions on short-term deadlines.
  • Ability to explain complex issues to external stakeholders and present the organization and diverse operations in an appealing and concise manner.
  • Excellent computer skills and knowledge of MS Office applications.
  • Proactivity, with excellent organizational skills and ability to work autonomously.
  • High attention to details and results oriented.
  • Demonstrated ability to work as a team player, with strong soft skills, in a fast paced and multicultural environment.
  • Excellent written and oral communication and able to draft official documents of record and actively participate to internal meetings with senior management.
  • Superior interpersonal and communications skills and capacity to build excellent relationships with key stakeholders, particularly with high-level individuals in a multinational environment.
  • Familiarity with UNHCR or other UN structure is considered a strong asset. 

Interested candidates can send their cover letter and CV to the Switzerland for UNHCR Foundation by email to, until 21st November 2021, mentioning the
reference: SPO – CH Ticino.

Only selected candidates will be contacted. Switzerland for UNHCR is an equal opportunity employer and proud to make diversity a strength.

Apply here