National Democratic Institute Reviews

Updated November 25, 2014
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2.7
29 Reviews
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Kenneth Wollack
19 Ratings

29 Employee Reviews

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  1. NDI is a good place to start a career in international or political affairs.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Program Assistant in Washington, DC

    I worked at National Democratic Institute full-time (more than a year)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Very interesting subject matter; lots of writing and chances to develop as a writer; occasional international travel; excellent program management experience; challenging work in general

    Cons

    Very hierarchical; very poor senior management; limited opportunities for advancement; again senior management is lacking - there are several dinosaurs among NDI's directors who contributes absolutely nothing to its mission and are a waste of resources.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the dinosaurs, including the president. Do a better job of preventing turnover.

  2. Helpful (1)

    Lots of bureaucracy

    Former Intern - Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Project Assistant in Washington, DC

    I worked at National Democratic Institute as an intern

    Pros

    Talented people who care about their work - I was lucky to have an excellent manager who went out of her way to help me develop professionally. I think this was more due to her own motivation and qualities than to the overall culture of NDI though.

    Cons

    No opportunity for those talented people to actually make a difference as proposals, work streams etc. are recycled and not tailored to the actual situation.

  3. Helpful (2)

    Bureaucracy for a good cause.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Washington, DC

    I have been working at National Democratic Institute full-time (more than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people who mostly mean well.
    Awesome benefits.
    Nice plants in the office.
    Free coffee.

    Cons

    All encompassing bureaucracy makes it impossible to get things done.
    Way too many long term "time serving" employees.
    Terrible vending machines.

    Advice to Management

    Pay attention to junior employees.
    Stop empire building.
    Improve morale. Friday Fun days just don't cut it.

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  5. Awful management!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at National Democratic Institute full-time (more than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Very passionate people but ultimately work is often hindered by egos of management and directors. I learned a lot because I had to become a manager since the director was incapable of completing simple administrative tasks or managing people. Junior staff are incredible, including interns and project assistants.

    Cons

    Directors have egos and don't know how to collaborate. Sadly, don't expect upward mobility or opportunities. Teams and organizations not open to new ideas or taking risks.

    Advice to Management

    When staff complain about management, do something about it. Build some accountability structures so Directors don't get away with bullying other teams and staff. Encourage and support junior staff and their ideas.

  6. Great place to work, particularly compared to other INGOs

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at National Democratic Institute full-time

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The benefits were great; good luck duplicating anywhere else. Good people with a good sense of humor. Hard working, smart and talented staff.

    Cons

    Egos of a handful of regional directors and some deputies unnecessarily inflated, which is hard to understand as NDI's President is an extremely approachable and unassuming leader.

    Advice to Management

    Open minds to new ways of managing, structuring teams and rewarding/recognizing staff.

  7. Helpful (3)

    Important Work but Demoralized

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Program Assistant in Washington, DC

    I worked at National Democratic Institute full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    -Smart, talented junior staff who have good ideas and in tune with the types of changes needed to make meaningful institutional changes.
    -Important mission and willingness to be innovative in program design.
    -Access to a diverse set of government, think tank and NGO communities doing important related work.

    Cons

    -Demoralizing and dishonest mid-level management with no real management or human resources skills. Possibly because they have been around for a long time and lack motivation and ingenuity.
    -Below-average salary compensation and benefits, even compared to other Washington DC non-profits.
    -Non-transparent, disconnected executive office. "Fun Fridays" don't cut it.
    -Cumbersome, bureaucratic, and arcane financial and reporting practices.
    -Little demonstrated interest in work/life balance or employee health.
    -On some teams, little opportunity to travel and interact with field staff that DC teams support.

    Advice to Management

    Upper management can have a genuine interest in junior staff by improving vertical communication, showing an interest in staff development that junior actually staff wants, and finding ways to incentivize work even if higher salaries are not possible.

  8. Helpful (2)

    Poor respect for junior staff - inflated senior management.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Project Assistant in Washington, DC

    I worked at National Democratic Institute as an intern (less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    A lot of opportunity as a PA to move up if a position opens, the junior staff at NDI are really dedicated

    Cons

    Senior management is terrible - there needs to be an audit of management. A lot of wasted money on unnecessary senior management travel. Junior staff are often viewed as disposable.

    Advice to Management

    Invest more in your junior staff - your senior staff will not be around forever and your junior staff are the future of the organization.

    I know from friends that the institute is BLEEDING junior staff - incentivize them to stay.

  9. Good entry level job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Assistant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Program Assistant in Washington, DC

    I have been working at National Democratic Institute full-time (more than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good people, travel, good cause.

    Cons

    Some management issues - lack of oversight and feedback. Very difficult to move from mid-level to senior level.

  10. Wonderful Atmosphere with Wonderful People!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Receptionist in Washington, DC
    Former Contractor - Receptionist in Washington, DC

    I worked at National Democratic Institute as a contractor (less than a year)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    This organization's purpose is to facilitate the creation of democracies in countries where there aren't any in place. The employees here are young, smart and driven and an absolute pleasure to work with!

    Cons

    I cannot think of one con.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work!

  11. Good internship experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Intern - Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Current Intern - Project Assistant in Washington, DC

    I have been working at National Democratic Institute as an intern (less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Nice people who are smart and, generally, don't take themselves too seriously. It's a good place for an internship because they genuinely seem to want you to get the best experience possible. I was never really treated as an "intern", more of a junior staffer but still a member of the team.

    Cons

    Nothing in particular. It's a big place with lots of moving parts and I've heard it's tough to move up if you are hired full time.

    Advice to Management

    Keep valuing your interns!

National Democratic Institute Photos

NDI Kenya office (Photo thanks to Flickr user andinyc All rights reserved.)
NDI Burundi office (Photo thanks to Flickr user andinyc All rights reserved.)
NDI Office (Photo thanks to Flickr user Thomas K Kelly All rights reserved.)

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