Job Posting: Senior Associate Director of Research (Santa Clara University)

Senior Associate Director of Research

University Relations


Requisition Number (please reference): 1001111

For information about the benefits offered by Santa Clara University, please visit:


Santa Clara University is a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley, offering its 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s, Ph.D., and law degrees.

Distinguished by the highest retention rate and ranked second among all master’s universities in the West by U.S. News and World Report, Santa Clara University is California’s oldest operating institution of higher-education. The University is focused on creating an academic community that educates citizens and leaders who will build a more just, humane, and sustainable world.


The Senior Associate Director of Research works most closely with the Assistant Vice President of Development for Principal Gifts, the Vice President for University Relations and the President’s Office to identify and qualify high-level ($5 million+) prospects and trustees for the University. As part of the Research team, the Senior Associate Director also works with all members of the Development Office and other University divisions to support fundraising efforts.

I. Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Identify new prospects by keeping abreast of local, national and/or international news and industry trends as well as collaborating with internal colleagues. Develop and hone techniques for prospect identification, tracking and documentation.
  2. Establish a data-driven prospect management and tracking program to help guide the identification, cultivation and solicitation of the University’s highest level donors in an organized and timely way.
  3. Preparation of in depth research reports of principal gift prospects to be used for presidential and vice president briefing needs. The ability to assess and communicate principal gift prospects’ philanthropic capacity and wealth events through these reports is expected.

II. Specific Responsibilities

  1. Review daily, weekly and monthly publications to uncover timely information about alumni and friends, higher education, philanthropy, and business trends, with an eye to potential principal gift level ($5M+) prospects. Disseminate and document information effectively.
  2. Respond expeditiously to inquiries from the AVP for Principal Gifts, the VP for University Relations and the President’s Office; prepare concise written reports to determine financial assets, potential of philanthropic support, areas of interest, and other University affiliations or relationships. Interpret biographical and financial information on individuals, corporations and foundations, based on development staff?s fundraising strategies and objectives.
  3. Identify, evaluate and improve Research processes which may include data mining/prospect identification, communication systems, recommending documentation, and tracking and reporting procedures.
  4. Create a process to analyze development officer portfolios with the goal of placing the right prospects with the right gift officers, optimizing the distribution of constituents to maximize gift yield.
  5. With fundraisers, organize and participate in prospect review meetings, and develop fundraising strategies.
  6. In conjunction with the Director, establish best practices in prospect research. Communicate with other researchers by means of vendor training, membership and participation in national and state professional organizational memberships, conferences and email lists.
  7. In the Director’s absence, the Senior Associate Director represents the Director in meetings and in the day-to-day management of the department.

III. Qualifications

  1. Minimum 5 to 7 years of proven, documented, successful years of experience of prospect research experience or combination of research and fundraising experience required, preferably with an academic, medical or major research institution.
  2. Mastery of current prospect research techniques, methods and resources, including online databases and Internet sources, and a demonstrated ability to adapt to future technologies. Excellent computer skills; proficiency in using advanced functions of word processing, database management and reporting, Excel spreadsheets, web resources, and finance systems.
  3. Appreciation of the role of prospect research, analytics, and relationship management in a sophisticated development program.
  4. Ability to formulate productive partnerships with fundraisers and external constituencies. Strong customer-service focus, and a proven ability to work patiently, persuasively, and effectively with a wide variety of people.
  5. Exceptional verbal, interpersonal, communication, writing, research, and editorial skills, preferably demonstrated in an academic setting; ability to synthesize information and compose clear and effective prose. Strong writing and editing experience; gift proposal or other fundraising writing experience preferred. Advanced written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills, including skill to produce information that is appropriately presented and effectively received by target constituencies.
  6. Ability to carry out multiple projects simultaneously and with maximum independence.
  7. Proven record of accomplishment demonstrating initiative, creativity and effectiveness.
  8. Ability to exercise discretion and maintain confidentiality.
  9. Demonstrated leadership experience, particularly with cross-departmental teams desired.
  10. Experience managing and coordinating complex projects that have multiple tasks with competing deadlines. Superior organizational skills; a work style that is thorough, accurate, and detail-oriented; the ability to follow through on projects.
  11. Ability to coordinate and implement initiatives that deepen the level of understanding of and commitment to the institution and enhancing its resources, reputation and relationships.
  12. Proven ability to anticipate needs, identify and analyze a variety of issues, including problems, making recommendations and/or taking action to resolve or prevent them.
  13. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent required.
  14. Understanding and appreciation of the vision and values of a Jesuit Catholic educational mission.
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