Consultant - Proposal Costing Process for Assistance Awards - Remote

Programs Anywhere, United States



Mercy Corps is a global relief and development NGO that operates in more than 40 countries with an annual budget of approximately $500 million. The organization submits around 400 proposals per year to a wide variety of government, multilateral and private donors with budgets ranging from less than $100,000 to more than $50 million. Costing practices vary widely across these proposals, and especially for our largest and most complicated programs, there is a need to improve this process to ensure our new projects are fit for purpose, and that the cost proposal is a numerical representation of the technical design.

Purpose / Project Description:

The Consultant will work closely with Mercy Corps’ New Initiatives (Business Development) and International Finance teams to assess our existing budget & costing process and analyze recent cost proposal submissions through document review and key informant interviews. S/he will then make recommendations on concrete areas for improvement for how our cost proposals can both improve agency competitiveness and set us up for improved project performance.   

Consultant Activities:

The Consultant will:

  • Review 10-15 proposal budgets (varying in size). These will be non-contract, assistance-based programs.
  • Conduct an analysis of cost categories across these budgets in addition to an analysis of budget versus actual spending for proposals that received funding.
  • Interview key stakeholders involved in proposal budget design from a variety of departments in headquarters and country teams.
  • Review Mercy Corps’ internal budgeting guidance, policies, procedures, and budget templates, and make recommendations for improvement.
  • Review Mercy Corps’ efforts to develop and disseminate guidance and best practices for budgeting technical support, and identify and assess opportunities to enhance uptake organization wide.
  • Share findings and analysis with the New Initiatives and International Finance teams and present this information to the Mercy Corps leadership team.

Consultant Deliverables:

  • A written report that provides an analysis of the reviewed budgets. The report should include an analysis of cost categories across budgets, analysis of reoccurring (fixed) costs and activity costs; inconsistencies between the proposal budget and actual expenses; and budget trends around direct programmatic inputs and operational management and support, and program activities.
  • Recommendations for improving Mercy Corps’ costing process, budgeting guidance, policies, procedures and budget templates.
  • Recommendations on increasing uptake of new guidance around budgeting for technical support and direct costing.
  • Debrief meeting with the New Initiatives and International Finance teams.
  • Webinar/Briefing for leadership on findings and analysis.


This consultancy is expected to take 20 days.

The Consultant will report to: Senior Director - New Initiatives

The Consultant will work closely with:

  • International Finance Manager
  • Country Team Finance Directors/Managers
  • Regional Finance Officers
  • Selected members of Technical Support Unit

Required Experience & Skills:

  • At least 3 years’ experience working with or in a large international organization
  • Familiarity with NGO budgeting processes and government donor regulations
    Experience completing similar analytical and strategic projects
    Excellent analytical ability
    Excellent written and verbal communication in English
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines, work independently and cooperatively with team members is required

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives. 

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity
We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our stakeholders and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.