National Democratic Institute Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

National Democratic Institute Washington Reviews

Updated July 24, 2017
64 reviews

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Washington, DC

3.2
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Kenneth Wollack
37 Ratings

64 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Wonderful organization that works around the world to promote democratic values (in 6 reviews)

  • Intelligent and friendly junior staff (in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • Extremely slow growth and pay increases and a hint of favoritism among certain senior staff towards certain junior staff (in 13 reviews)

  • Very difficult to move up within organization (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Senior Technology Officer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Program Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Program Officer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at National Democratic Institute full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good and fun co-workers, good cause.

    Cons

    Poor salary compensation, bad managers.

    Advice to Management

    Pick better leaders......


  2. "Reflections"

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

    I worked at National Democratic Institute full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Wonderful organization that works around the world to promote democratic values

    Cons

    Junior staff members sometimes feel unrecognized for their contributions

    Advice to Management

    Spend more time making sure the talented staff knows it's appreciated

  3. "Exciting learning experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Program Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Program Officer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    NDIers are a team of dedicated professionals that truly believes in "working for democracy and making democracy work." Possibility to grow from project assistant to senior program officer.

    Cons

    It is a rigid, very hierarchical organization. Upward mobility is not that easy to achieve once a senior program officer on a regional team.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your subordinates with respect.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Disinterested Management and Negative Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program/Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Program/Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Many junior staffers are intelligent, hard working and have had extensive experiences abroad. They're devoted to the organization as well as the region in which they work. In the right circumstances, they can be good mentors and helpful contacts for the future.

    Gmail is SO much better than outlook. It was nice and easy to use

    Even though pay needs improvement, overtime pay is appreciated

    Cons

    While junior staff are generally decent, the program managers and program directors I saw were horrible managers and disinterested in actually working. The two I worked most closely with never knew any of the staff's names, showed up very late to work (if at all), traveled regularly for no reason whatsoever and spent most of their time at work distracting people that were actually trying to work (the deputy director, among the most professional people I saw at NDI, did ALL the work and no one seemed to think this was unfair or inappropriate)

    Job Titles matter so much here. Regardless of how much time you commit towards a project, you will be confined to largely administrative tasks with no communication or updates on the status of a program, its funding, or engagement from the field. This is not the fault of the country director; it's entirely due to the hierarchy within the DC office. This is not just obnoxious but extremely counterproductive

    Managers rarely check their emails and there's a passive-aggressive tendency among program managers to just send (extremely delayed) cc'd emails instead of constructive communication

    Much of the day is filled with meetings that resemble dog and pony shows with equal time spent for brown nosers and weird aggression (and they always start 15-20 minutes late)

    Advice to Management

    Promote people based on their work ethic, professionalism, and insight and, by the same logic, call out long term NDI workers that are complacent and do no work

    Try to be respectful of administrative teams, functional teams, and, most importantly, field staff and sub contractors. The organizations we partner with often do most of the work and there's a really disgusting tone of superiority that DC NDI managers and directors use when speaking with them.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "On The Outs"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Intern - Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Current Intern - Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great work worldwide in democracy assistance

    Cons

    Witnessed lots of tax payer money being wasted on badly planned and executed programs.
    NDI just laid off a bunch of people and is having to sublet it's space just to stay afloat.
    Additionally our VP has one foot out the door (and there's never just one round of layoffs)
    Strongly advise all NDIers to polish their resumes.

    Advice to Management

    Be more honest with employees.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Former NDIer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at National Democratic Institute full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    If NDI does one thing right, it would be choosing the people they hire. Almost everyone I met and worked with at NDI was intelligent, driven, hardworking and creative.
    It is also very diverse and multicultural, there's literally people from all over the world, which at least to me makes it a great place to work.

    The building rooftop, is a hidden gem!

    Cons

    -Terrible (Glassdoor made me remove the "bad language" I initially used) management.
    -At NDI, you are replaceable, and the management doesn't hesitate to highlight that, don't take it personal, it is how the market is and how ignorant the management the importance of feeling valued.
    - Salary SUCKS, the lowest compared to it's competitors, but again " poor" management + how easy is it to replace you= NDI Salaries.
    -If you have been extended an offer and you know someone at NDI, ask them for the Salary Survey. And even if you don't, ask any junior staff for an information-interview and then for the salary survey, they will be happy to share it with you.
    -Don't believe it when HR says that salary is nonnegotiable, if they have extended an offer, you can and absolutely should negotiate. Remember when I said the management is bad? I wasn't lying, the hiring process is terrible too, and usually carried out by program staff who are not trained to recruit/hire nor they have the time to go through 100 of applicants, if they like you, they will extend an offer, keeping their fingers and toes crossed that you accept as they don't want to go back and interview other candidates. If you are not an intern, then you should negotiate as hard as you can, it's actually the only time NDI will negotiate with you.

    Advice to Management

    The president and vice-president who I believe - or hope- still cares for what NDI stands for and understand that NDI is nothing without its amazing staff, should take a closer look at how unhappy and frustrated their junior staff are due to the lack of professional development opportunities, and being supervised by terrible managers or managers who are unhappy themselves.


  7. "Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great place to work! There are opportunities to publish blog posts and undertake online training in M&E and writting.

    Cons

    If you have a couple of years of work experience already you may find yourself running out of work.

    Advice to Management

    Distinguish between undergraduate and graduate interns.

  8. "Project Assistant overall worthwhile despite being temporary"

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

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

    Pros

    People are super friendly, different teams have different vibes and are all pretty inclusive. You're pretty busy all the time unlike some intern/temporary positions where no one gives you anything to do. They actually put you to work and encourage you to get the most out of the job as you can.

    Cons

    You're doing a lot of grunt work and you can sometimes feel micromanaged. Just keep reminding yourself that you're the intern and not to take it personally.
    Another con--it's temporary.

    Advice to Management

    Maybe don't have 5 people look over a logistics email? It seems like a waste of manpower and feels unnecessary. In a nutshell: there's not a clear management structure and you're often getting feedback from many different people--just gotta go with the flow.


  9. "Great"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Very professional, lots of opportunities to work with experts.

    Cons

    Low pay, long hours, but this is common with NGOs

    Advice to Management

    Be more in touch with staff


  10. "Outstanding NGO"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    An organization that really cares about its mission and employees!

    Cons

    Nothing comes to mind currently.

    Advice to Management

    Keep providing inspiring opportunities locally and abroud.


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