United Nations Foundation Reviews | Glassdoor

United Nations Foundation Reviews

Updated July 6, 2017
59 reviews

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Pros
  • Great colleagues, diverse areas of work, great benefits (in 15 reviews)

  • Great place to work with very passionate people and they often hire internally (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • There is a remarkably high turnover rate (1-2 yrs) as well as a high lay off rate (in 4 reviews)

  • Senior management says they are working to improve this (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great for some, not for others."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Communications Director in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Communications Director in Washington, DC
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at United Nations Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    There are a lot of terrific people working at the UN Foundation who are very passionate and knowledgeable about making the world a better place in a variety of issue areas. You have the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of partners and really feel that you are making a difference. The benefits are great and the overall working environment is friendly. Great for people just starting out in their careers.

    Cons

    As a highly matrixes organization, it can be a complicated place to figure out. They take on a lot of different issues and don't necessarily have the resources - human or otherwise - to implement them properly. Your experience will also vary widely from team to team, so if you're looking at a position there, try to get a full understanding of what that team is like, what the funding situation is like and how you will interact with the rest of the organization. Lots of young people, which could be considered a "pro" too.


  2. Helpful (12)

    "Approach this beautiful building with extreme caution"

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

    I worked at United Nations Foundation full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great benefits (especially for a nonprofit), beautiful office. Some very nice people.

    Cons

    It really depends on your department/supervisor. Managers do not undergo management training, and it really shows. UNF is extremely hierarchal. Junior employees often receive very little feedback on their work, and are then blamed or fired (easily with the at-will employment mechanism) with little to no warning or notice to meet poorly-planned budgets. Very little strategic planning. Managers are generally very out of touch, which results in extremely high turnover in certain departments. As an entity, they do not see employees as people or treat them with dignity or respect. It is very clique-y. Managers seem to want to preserve the status quo and not deliver quality or innovative work.

    There is very little room to grow/move up, and little professional development or career opportunities.

    In terms of feel-good work, UNF does some of that, but often hypes up what they are doing way beyond what it actually is.

    Advice to Management

    Take a look at departments with high turnover, high expenses, and low morale. Treat people with respect. Provide management training for all managers. Eliminate at-will employment policy.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Great work environment"

    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
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at United Nations Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Senior management overall very conscious of day to day work environment, creating an overall 'team' feeling, offering great benefits both tangible and intangible. But specific working conditions within individual departments or grant-funded projects vary wildly. Your mileage may vary depending on your department / project chief.

    Cons

    Some projects / groups better managed than others. Morale can be sky high in some groups, dead low in others. Cliquishness is a big problem in some areas.

    Advice to Management

    Topmost level senior directors should look more closely at how staff are managed to ensure equality of treatment and opportunity.


  4. "UNF Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at United Nations Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    UNF offers a competitive benefits package
    The Foundation recruits well, so the staff is talented
    The UNF name carries weight in Washington (and the non-profit space in general)

    Cons

    Professional development opportunities are somewhat limited, particularly for entry-level positions. Senior management says they are working to improve this.
    Depending on which team you work for, work/life balance can be hard to maintain.

    Advice to Management

    Having a more formal process in place for professional development would be great. Offering support for classes and/or training is one option.


  5. Helpful (6)

    "Great Name"

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

    I worked at United Nations Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The UN Foundation has a really great name. They have moved offices to a really nice facility and you get to rub elbows with a lot of people and high profile partners depending on the team you are on. The benefits package is pretty amazing, particularly if you have a family to support.

    Cons

    There is no real sense of work-life balance and the culture for junior staff doesn't reflect the more organized culture amongst senior staff and executive management. There is a big problem with professional development as well as poor management. Other reviews have mentioned poor management and that should be emphasized, there are a majority of senior staff members who are prone to finger pointing and create a culture of hierarchy. It wasn't uncommon for colleagues to admit being put in very questionable situations. Though the benefits may be great, you may not get the opportunity to really use them depending on the team you work on.

    Advice to Management

    Be more proactive when staff come with complaints, office bullying is not uncommon.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "GI was hired as a consultant for the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) team in the Secretary General's office."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Consultant On SE4ALL in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Consultant On SE4ALL in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I was able to work on the frontlines of international policy making alongside the foremost policy makers in the world.

    Cons

    Our team was hired last minute to avoid salary costs. Since we were paid daily rather than hourly, 18-20 hour days were not uncommon.

    Advice to Management

    Attendees of the 1st Annual SE4ALL Forum rated the event as a "C", not bad for a first attempt but thought it was rather disorganized and frantic, reflecting the attitude of the team leading up to the launch of this important international conference. And I think we probably had to spend more money on having everything last minute rush, weekend delivered than could have been saved by hiring the team with enough time to create a quality end product.


  7. "Well respected organization. For junior staff, a good place to learn and set up next job."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits are really strong. Nice offices in a great location. Smart and interesting coworkers that can really make you feel like part of the family. Opportunities to meet and work with really interesting people. Great place to learn and make connections.

    Cons

    Very limited advancement opportunities. Organization is in a transitional phase so direction can be unclear at times. A lot of variation and willing between teams. Depending on team, there can be limited opportunities to apply what you're learning.

    Advice to Management

    Work to clarify vision and direction during this transitional phase. Might try to focus on employee retention and advancement opportunities.

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Good place to start, but not to stay"

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

    Pros

    I started here as an intern and worked my way up, I was with the organization for almost three years. It was a great place to start and I was able to make good connections with other organizations and individuals. The name of the organization carries more weight that the actual work that is produced. Beautiful office space.

    Cons

    Incredibly bureaucratic, and does not encourage creativity or new ideas. The organization is run like a company and it shows at all levels and fails to uphold the values it says it stands for. Upper management has little to no respect for junior staff. The work environment is very toxic resulting in very high turnover.

    Advice to Management

    Embrace new and creative ideas, or else you will lose the people that bring diversity and fresh ideas to the organization.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Working with UNF was the Worst Experience in my Career"

    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
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at United Nations Foundation full-time

    Pros

    The company has great name recognition because of the United Nations. When mentioning this company's name in conversation, most people do not hear you say the "Foundation" part of the company title and assume you are the United Nations. UNF's name carries more weight that the work that is produced. The company has great benefits and If you come from a culturally diverse background, you will fit in here.

    Cons

    I was excited to join the United Nations Foundation. They seemed very mission driven and from the outside seemed like they are genuinely making a difference in this world. I am a professional who has been recognized for my hard work and dedication but when joining UNF, there was no learning curve. They expect you to jump in there and know everything with minimal training. The department I worked in was timing me in my first week. How is one supposed to learn while being timed? The office gossip is also a put off. The people employed there engaging in office gossip and office politics make you question if these are the same people trying to make a difference in the world. Upper management doesn't really have respect for junior staff nor do they care about the hard work put in. If your mental health is important to you and if you want to be happy where you work, i would not recommend this company.


  10. Helpful (6)

    "UNF treats its employees well, but campaigns are poorly integrated within the UNF umbrella."

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

    I have been working at United Nations Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Management treats its employees very well with generous benefits and work-life balance.

    Cons

    If you are working on a specific campaign, you're experience will depend largely on the Executive Director and your team. UNF has a lot of very young people with limited work experience, but lots of enthusiasm. UNF doesn't seem to provide much training for EDs to improve their management skills.

    Advice to Management

    UNF should consider more rigorous evaluation of Executive Directors and provide them with training to improve their skills. Also, management should consider creating more jobs at upper levels to allow people to grow with the Foundation.


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