Harvard University — Assistant Director, Research


Reporting to the Associate Director of Research. Performs in-depth research and analysis on prospects. Conceptualizes and develops proactive prospecting methodologies to support fundraising objectives. Analyzes, interprets and summarizes complex financial disclosure documents for purposes of wealth assessment. Experience in international research preferred. Acts as a resource for junior level researchers. Uses specialized electronic resources to gather and analyze information and works with confidential as well as publicly accessible information, with a view to assessing donor interest and viability. Develops focused research profiles, prospect lists, identifies networks and analysis of philanthropic interests for fundraising staff University-wide. Proactively identifies opportunities for prospect identification and qualification, and may help lead group projects to carry out strategies. Uses in house and external resources to identify new prospects. Interprets biographical and financial information on individuals, corporations and foundations based on fundraising strategies and objectives. Keeps abreast of current events, philanthropic trends and Harvard’s fundraising objectives. Experience with BSR Advance preferred.


  • Expertise with rating methodologies and analysis
  • Proven experience with accurately and efficiently analyzing complex financial disclosure documents, real estate and other wealth indicators for the purpose of determining accurate University Capacity Ratings. Experience with private company valuation and valuation of options, as well as analysis of hedge funds, venture capital and private equity for the purpose of determining estimated wealth and indentifyng upcoming wealth events.

Ability to prioritize

  • Apply knowledge and experience with various research outcomes, as well as direct communication with fundraisers to assess prioritization and recommend research strategies. Independently manage workload.

Time management

  • With the endless availability of electronic resources, one of the most difficult things to learn is to know when to stop researching. The Assistant Director will apply extensive knowledge of resources to know when reasonable efforts have been exhausted.

Project Management

  1. Ability to create, lead and manage and analyze research-driven projects from inception to presentation of results.

Push back with solutions

  • Identify opportunities for more effective and efficient alternatives to fundraiser requests when appropriate.

Problem Solving

  • Independently analyze problem and identify options for resolving.


  • Provide research guidance and mentorship for Research Analysts. Set a good example through actions.


  • Actively and regularly identify and qualify new prospects. Identify independent and/or team projects that would help in prospect identification and qualification. Get on the agenda of fundraiser meetings when appropriate.


  • Clear and succinct written and verbal communication.

Independent thinker

  • Ability to come to sound conclusions independently. Rational, logical and efficient thought process.

Strong presentation skills

  • Comfort and confidence with presenting research-related projects, issues or opportunities at various meetings

Self starter

  • Actively identify opportunities for adding value and following them through to conclusion

Team Player

  • Actively participate in research meetings, offering solutions or strategies when appropriate.

Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university required. Minimum of four years of research-related experience required, preferably in a development, library, academic, or legal environment. All candidates for Assistant Director must have solid working knowledge of complex financial SEC documents for purposes of wealth analysis. Strong interpersonal skills required.

Ability to use extreme discretion when working with highly confidential information required. Proficiency at planning and setting meaningful objectives, integrating the work of prospect research into overall advancement goals. Ability to understand, communicate, and promote the strategic plan of the department. Development experience preferred. Proficiency with business terms, documents, and practices preferred. Proficiency with wealth indicators and ability to locate and analyze complex financial disclosure documents required. Requires sound judgment, strong self-direction and self-motivation. Demonstrated ability to collaborate with people at all levels, and willingness to function as part of a team. Knowledge of specialized fee-based research databases helpful. Proficiency at formulating an online search strategy required. Excellent writing and organizational skills; excellent computer skills; ability to prioritize and analyze confidential information with discretion required. Strong attention to accuracy and detail required. Ability to multi-task on different projects and initiatives. Ability to work under strict deadlines.


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