Research Speicialist - UBC

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Job Summary

The Research Specialist delivers decision-ready information to support complex fundraising and alumni engagement strategies at the University of British Columbia. This position has significant responsibility for identifying major gift prospects and quantifying the value and potential of the donor pipeline. This research role is a key part of the team to growing philanthropic support for the University and aids in enhancing alumni engagement.

Organizational Status

The Research Department is a partner in development and alumni engagement, creating and sharing knowledge to mobilize successful donor and alumni relationships that advance the mission of the University of British Columbia.

Reports to: Director, Research & Prospect Analytics.

Works with: Development and Alumni Engagement staff; Research Analysts, Research Specialists and student research assistants.

Contacts: UBC staff involved in fundraising and alumni engagement; members of DAE Services; external prospect research professionals.

 Work Performed

  • Provides information and recommendations to support complex fund-raising approaches, strategies, and proposals that drive decisions and actions. Rates the potential of donors and prospective donors by assessing financial, business, and personal information, affinity to UBC, community engagement, corporate and social connections, interests, and potential risks. Writes reports and financial summaries to support the cultivation and solicitation of major donors.
  • Identifies individuals and organizations with potential to make a major gift or assume a volunteer leadership position at the University and suggests opportunities to engage them.
  • Analyzes industry, business, and financial news targeted to development and alumni engagement priorities. Creates customized newsletters that communicate relevant information to key parties in a manner that guides decision-making.
  • Develops an understanding of faculty fundraising priorities. Attends prospect and donor strategy meetings and recommends research strategies and approaches.
  • Maintains the database in relation to prospect research and management information.
  • Maintains and uses social media accounts for relevant professional online communities such as LinkedIn.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.         

Supervision Received

Works independently and under the general supervision of a Research Analyst.

Supervision Given

May supervise junior staff and/or student employees.           

Consequence of Error/Judgement

Inaccurate, inappropriate, or untimely information or analysis could lead to poorly planned or erroneous cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies, potentially directing staff towards unproductive activities thereby limiting UBC's ability to meet its development and alumni engagement goals. Poor judgement could lead to the alienation of donors, embarrassment to the University and its senior administration and the loss of significant financial support to the University.           


  • Undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline. 
  • Minimum of 2 years related experience or the equivalent combination of education and experience.  Preferably within a fundraising context, or the equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience working in a university environment is an asset. Understanding of key information sources including securities filings, property records, corporate and news databases, social media platforms (Linked-in, Twitter, etc.), and constituent/customer database systems. 
  • Knowledge of development, the donor lifecycle, and alumni engagement activities.
  • Exceptional organizational skills and ability to manage a diverse range of assignments and projects with high efficiency, attention to detail, and follow through. Highly accountable for achieving results. Often working under deadline.
  • Able to analyze and interpret complex business and financial data, identify trends, make connections, and interpret patterns. Excellent written and verbal communications skills. Strong business writing skills.
  • Ability to handle sensitive and confidential information appropriately and with discretion and commitment to ethical fundraising and research practices.
  • Good computer proficiency in work processing, email, spreadsheets, and web/database searching.
  • Resourceful and independent but able to work as part of a team and contribute to shared objectives.
  • Strong interpersonal and negotiation skills.
  • Foreign language research ability would be an asset, especially reading knowledge of Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French, or Punjabi.

To apply

Submit cover letter and resume via UBC HR staff careers page:

Closing date

May 7, 2019