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Advancement Systems and Research Specialist

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Nov 4, 2022

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Job Title: Advancement Systems and Research Specialist
Department: Advancement
Location: Remote
Reports To: Associate Director, Advancement Systems and Research
Supervises: N/A


Context: At the Sierra Club, we believe in the power of togetherness. Together, we remain committed to the fight for a healthy climate built on a foundation of environmental, racial, economic, and gender justice – a future where all people benefit from a healthy, thriving planet and a direct connection to nature. As the climate crisis and deeply entrenched systemic racism all fuel inequity, we will continue to fight for a bold, transformational agenda that recognizes the interconnectedness between our planet, our humanity, and our democracy. By recognizing that our destinies are tied, we continue to name that all things are fundamentally connected, and the overlap between ecology, race, gender, and representative government will move to either advance our collective humanity or to oppress it.

Sierra Club is comprised of staff across the country and a network of volunteer leaders and local chapters that support our grassroots engagement. We are also proud to be a unionized employer, with two labor unions representing more than half of our employees.


Scope: The Advancement Systems and Research Specialist is an integral member of the Sierra Club’s Advancement team.  Under the supervision of the Associate Director of Advancement Systems and Research, the Advancement Systems and Research Specialist will lead the process to identify, research, and manage campaign prospects to ensure campaign fundraising and annual budget goals are met.  They will play an integral role in developing and setting the overall strategy and direction for prospect development at the Sierra Club, especially as it relates to major gifts.  They will provide in-depth biographical and financial research in order to further the Sierra Club’s relationships with donors.  This person will also identify and analyze philanthropic trends at the Sierra Club and within the larger environmental space to inform strategy.  Additionally, they are responsible for coordinating research efforts with the Advancement Associate team to ensure the best possible prospects are under active management.  The Advancement Systems and Research Specialist will partner with the Associate Director and departments across the Advancement Division to ensure system architecture enhances and supports prospect management and effective tracking of key performance indicators by developing process improvement techniques and policies.


Job activities include but are not limited to:

  • Ensures organizational fundraising goals are met by managing the campaign prospect pipeline including identifying, researching and tracking new donors and prospects.
  • Develops and evaluates strategies that can be used by the entire division to more effectively identify the next best prospects from our existing donor base, including developing and applying internal modeling scores. Utilizes internal and external data analysis tools to achieve this goal.
  • Identifies new and masters existing prospect development and analytic tools to facilitate their work.
  • Conducts strategic, in-depth biographical, philanthropic, and financial research on top campaign donors and prospects, often in collaboration with others across Advancement and the rest of the organization.
  • Aggregates, analyzes, and communicates key data on potential prospects, to inform donor and prospect engagement strategies. Documents data obtained through research, data mining projects, and analysis in the appropriate fields within Salesforce.
  • Identifies, recommends and implements prospect development best practices and strategies to advance the organization’s mission and ensure Advancement goals are met.
  • Participates in portfolio reviews and donor strategy meetings to facilitate cross regional collaboration and ensure top prospects are under active management. Leads this process in the absence of a campaign consultant.
  • Manages vendor screening initiatives and verifies external wealth ratings of leadership gift prospects.
  • Acts as the in-house expert on trends in environmental philanthropy.  Monitors external news sources for proactive insights into our donors and the broader environmental philanthropic community.
  • Drafts and implements process improvements and documents policies and procedures to ensure system architecture facilitates a high functioning major gifts program.
  • Presents findings of various research projects, process improvement initiatives, system architecture updates, etc. to Advancement Staff to ensure knowledge is shared across the division and improvements are adopted and implemented by staff.
  • Responds to requests in a timely manner and works collaboratively across teams.
  • Performs due diligence research in accordance with the Club’s gift acceptance policies.
  • Acts as a liaison between Advancement Systems and Research team and Advancement  Associates.  Provides research support and guidance as needed.
  • Manages vendor relationships as they relate to prospect research.
  • Creates and maintains prospect development reports and dashboards for use by advancement leaders.
  • Creates and maintains various job related audit reports to ensure accurate usage of the database.
  • Ensure data quality by following, establishing, and regularly updating quality assurance protocols, processes, and documentation.
  • Manage internal stakeholder prospect development requests.

The successful candidate must have the following skills and experience:

  • Prior prospect development experience with a major gifts team or within an institutional campaign at a non-profit organization.
  • Experience using and maintaining data in a relational database, while partnering with major gifts, planned gifts, chapter fundraising teams, IT and others.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to use tact and diplomacy in dealing with confidential and sensitive matters.
  • Deadline driven and detail oriented.
  • Strong organizational skills, ability to establish priorities, and ability to work effectively with diverse groups of people.
  • Equity Analysis and Practice. You are aware of your group identities and how they have shaped your life and experiences at work. You have an analysis of how racism and other forms of oppression in society impact relationships, systems and culture. You bring experience and skills for working effectively with colleagues across group identities and position/role.

The strongest candidates will also demonstrate the following experience, skills and competencies:

  • Experience using Salesforce with a major gifts team or within an institutional campaign at a non-profit organization.
  • Four or more years of prospect development experience with a major gifts team or as part of an institutional campaign at a non-profit organization.
  • Experience establishing and/or evolving a prospect development program with a major gifts team or an institutional campaign at a non-profit organization.
  • Advanced research skills and knowledge of LexisNexis for Development Professionals, Foundation Center, WealthEngine and other prospect development tools.

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this position is $71,000-$74,000 non-negotiable.

This position is represented by a collective bargaining unit and is subject to the terms and conditions of the contract between Sierra Club and Progressive Workers Union or Sierra Employee Alliance, depending on location.

The Sierra Club offers a competitive salary package commensurate with skills and experience plus excellent benefits that include medical, dental, and vision coverage, and a retirement savings 401(k) plan.

This is a category 5 exempt, represented position.

Sierra Club is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization. Sierra Club employees are not eligible to participate in the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

Sierra Club values the expertise and talents of foreign nationals. Sierra Club sponsors both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas when certain criteria are met, based on immigration laws and organizational needs. Such sponsorship is at the discretion of the Department Head and Sierra Club Human Resources in consultation with the employee’s manager. The Sierra Club cannot guarantee the approval of a visa petition. The Sierra Club is an equal opportunity employer committed to workforce diversity.


To Apply

This position does not have an undergraduate education requirement. If you choose to include your education history, please remove your schools from your resume. You may leave your degree (e.g., “B.A. Philosophy”), but please remove any undergraduate and graduate school names.

This anonymous process is aimed at opening this opportunity to more candidates, reviewing applicants on performance assessments and mitigating bias in the decision-making process.

Lastly, we are intentionally not asking for a cover letter, so please do not send one in with your application.

We are accepting applications until the position is filled.

Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.



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