Research Associate

Posted by The Cleveland Foundation ; Posted on 
Jobs - DEADLINE :  
Research Associate


Research Associate

Position:                            Regular, Fulltime, Exempt

Department:                    Advancement

Reports to:                       Senior Director of Development and Philanthropic Initiatives

Supervises:                       N/A 

Summary:  In collaboration with advancement team colleagues, the Research Associate identifies, organizes, analyzes and disseminates, in various formats, information on potential donors to ensure that team members are provided the information and resources necessary to solicit gifts and to cultivate and steward  relationships with an inclusive and diverse portfolio of donors.

Responsibilities and Expected Outcomes: 

  • Proactively research, identify and analyze individuals and appropriate entities to assess giving potential, propensity to donate, and connections to foundation initiatives or the NEO community to provide philanthropic services, gift planning and development colleagues with comprehensive information for solicitation and cultivation activities.
  • Regularly prepare detailed research reports on prospects for the advancement team to keep colleagues apprised of potential prospects.
  • Provide detailed biographical information for candidates under consideration for leadership positions on committees or boards of the foundation.
  • Work with the Development Officer to enter new prospects in the donor database to ensure the ongoing evaluation and qualification of the foundation’s prospect base. Regularly update database with information gathered through prospect research and/or provided by members of the advancement team.
  • Identify and manage the information sources used by the advancement team and maintain relationships with information vendors to ensure access to the most relevant and resourceful data.
  • Assist in the overall coordination of the development activities, working proactively with the Development Coordinator. Assist with advancement team and foundation events and initiatives as requested, including those focused on racial equity and inclusion.
  • Assist with the implementation of special-interest fundraising group projects, meetings, events, and outreach for the development team. Monitor new initiatives and qualify results, i.e. data analysis of increased levels of participation and/or giving among target groups.
  • Assist the Development Officer with research and data analysis of foundation donors that are non-fundholders. Stay well informed as to current foundation programs and initiatives and grantees to assist in the process of tying individual prospect interests back to the foundation and surrounding community.
  • Monitor and research national trends in the nonprofit and community foundation field. Develop a network of relationships with other research professionals to share best practices and benchmarking data.
  • Serve as a resource for PowerPoint presentations for the development team and SVP of Advancement.
  • Identify potential funders for foundation priorities at both the local and national level and assist with proposal submission and reporting requirements as needed.

Essential Qualifications, Credentials and Technical Skills required: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in a field related to research, communications, nonprofit management, business or similar with one to three years of experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to research individuals and other funding sources through on-line resources (Lexis Nexis, WWW, etc.) and other electronic and print sources of information.
  • Ability to organize, analyze and disseminate a diverse and sizeable range of data with efficiency and great attention to detail to a variety of audiences. Exceptional writing skills.
  • Ability to understand, include and collaborate successfully with a diverse group of individuals internal and external to the organization.
  • Ability to be resourceful and independent, while maintaining a team-based, collaborative approach to work.
  • Demonstrated customer service orientation and ability to take a proactive role in team efforts; promote cooperation and collaboration between team members and encourage open communication in multidisciplinary teams.
  • Commitment to racial equity and inclusion in all areas of work.
  • Flexibility to adjust to changing priorities and tight deadlines.
  • Demonstrated competency with regards to a variety of technology including all Microsoft Office components, database programs, zoom/video conferencing technologies, etc.
  • Proactive nature with the ability to anticipate needs and seek out information related to immediate priorities.
  • Ability to handle sensitive and confidential information appropriately and with discretion.
  • Grant writing experience or a keen interest in grant writing activities and initiatives.
  • Desire to become familiar with the ethical standards detailed by the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA).
  • Regular and reliable transportation is required to ensure the ability to work consistently in the office and for offsite events and other obligations related to the Research Associate position.

 Other experience desired: 

  • Knowledge around the key issues and initiatives addressed by the foundation and the surrounding community.
  • Familiarity with the philanthropic environment in northeast Ohio.


The Cleveland Foundation exists to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of Greater Cleveland.  The ability to carry out our mission and to foster our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion can best be pursued if our workforce, grantees, donors, partners and governing body are inclusive of individuals of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and perspectives.

We believe that diversity encompasses, but is not limited to, age, color, education, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental abilities or characteristics, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and/or other characteristics that make an individual unique.

The Cleveland Foundation is committed to equal employment opportunities for all.


The Cleveland Foundation makes internal pay equity a priority for individuals across all positions.  Based on the foundation’s salary program, estimated annual salary for this position may be anywhere between $50,000 and $65,000, based on the academic, professional and community experiences and credentials of a candidate.  The foundation offers an exceptional benefits package including medical, dental, vision, identity theft, and life and disability coverage, a comprehensive wellness program, an employee assistance program, a fully vested 403(b) retirement plan, ten paid holidays and, for exempt positions, 15 days of vacation and 12 sick days, prorated the first year of service based on date of hire.


If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit your resume and cover letter here by March 31, 2022. We regret that we cannot respond personally to each applicant.

Note: The Cleveland Foundation is currently working mostly remote until April 4, 2022, when we will return to the office on a more consistent basis. The Cleveland Foundation requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide valid proof of vaccination, unless a documented medical or religious exemption is approved.  All information provided will be kept strictly confidential.