Director of Development Research

Northampton, Massachusetts
Jul 17, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Director of Development Research

Office of Development

Smith College

Smith College is accepting applications for the Director of Development Research.  Reporting to the Associate Vice President for Development, the Director manages a comprehensive program of prospect research, prospect management, predictive modeling, and data analytics providing an effective pipeline of donors in support of the college’s fundraising priorities. Additionally, the Director leads strategic efforts to expand the college’s base of gift support utilizing best practices and emerging technological tools to identify and support donors throughout the fundraising lifecycle; manages research analysts who work in partnership with teams of front-line gift officers, delegating partner assignments, special research requests, and predictive modeling projects. Oversees and participates in the preparation of briefing materials for visits with prospective donors by the President, Vice President of Development, trustees, senior college officials, development staff and key volunteers; and participates in prospect review meetings; recommends cultivation, solicitation and stewardship strategies.


Donor Research and Predictive Modeling:  Lead proactive efforts to bring forward new alumnae, parents, and friends prospective donors for gift officer assignment and special fundraising projects. Oversee research team in using Web-based search techniques, proprietary electronic databases, vendor contracted screenings, data mining resources, predictive modeling, and other emerging techniques.  Develop further capacity on the team to undertake projects involving predictive modeling, forecasting, reporting, data mining and statistical analysis to guide donor identification, engagement, solicitation and stewardship. Set research department priorities and coordination of projects.

Responsible for the robustness, thoroughness, and integrity of the college’s prospect rating and management systems. Undertake financial analysis of prospects and donors’ wealth indicators to assess potential philanthropic capacity. Provide wealth assessment information that is readily useful for frontline fundraisers.

Ensure that research team provides priority attention to presidential, major gift, and planned giving prospects. Oversee and improve processes for producing biographical profiles for one-on-one meetings, small gatherings, and larger Development and OAR events. Identify and oversee research on prospective leadership volunteers, including board of trustee nominees, and alumnae awardees.

Produce, analyze and interpret data to drive fundraising strategies. Advise in building and reviewing gift officer portfolios and in guiding gift officers in prioritizing prospects based on giving capacity, interests, and readiness. Collaborate with Advancement Systems to maintain, update, and analyze the constituent database. Employ constituent relationship management tools as useful to prospect research and prospect management.

Administrative: Safeguard confidentially of constituent information at all times.  Establish and regularly review standards of ethics and confidentiality regarding the handling of donor information.  Train staff and colleagues to implement these standards.  Participate in professional associations including APRA and NEDRA.

Serve as a key member of the Development Directors group responsible for management of and planning within the division. Update colleagues on current and emerging trends in Research, as well as in philanthropy, and wealth capacity.  Hire, onboard and mentor research staff.  Manage the research operational budget and vendor relationships.  Performs other duties and college committee service as assigned by the AVP for Development.


Education/Experience:  Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 5-7 years of development experience or an equivalent combination of education/experience. Relevant advance degree a plus. Experience in a higher education setting preferred. Advanced expertise conducting prospect research using standard and emerging research methodologies is required. Experience with an integrated relational database and constituent relationship management system. Experience developing predictive and segmentation data models highly desired. Experience applying the standards of the Association of Professional Researchers in Advancement (APRA) Statement of Ethics. 

Skills:  Comprehensive knowledge of fund-raising principles and strategies. Expert in query and analysis techniques and tools used to retrieve, manipulate and report on information stored in database systems. Versatile in Microsoft Office Suite (with advanced Excel skills); Google products (Gmail, calendar, docs, etc.); and demonstrated skill or ability to learn quickly technology tools, including Banner, Salesforce CRM, Cognos, Tableau Data Visualization software, Blackbaud wealth screening products, and Relationship Science. Working knowledge of financial information systems.  

Handle extremely sensitive information with confidentiality and tact. Excellent organization, communications, and interpersonal skills, ability to work independently as well as to lead a team and motivate others.  Strong leadership skills and ability to delegate and foster independent development of staff. Ability to motivate self and others and to execute several disparate projects simultaneously. Maintain effective working relationships with diverse group of colleagues.

Strong verbal and writing skills and demonstrated experience as a manager of staff and student workers. Ability to collaborate, build alliances, and achieve results. Strong active listening skills, ability to negotiate positive outcomes.  Deep understanding and appreciation for liberal arts education in a women’s college setting. Commitment to continually improve quality and efficiency.  

Review of application will begin immediately.  To be considered for this position, apply on-line at

Smith College is an EO/AA/Vet/Disability Employer

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