Development Research Associate

Location: Headquarters, Washington, DC
Department: Development
Supervisor: Director of Philanthropy


The Research Associate is an integral member of the Development team, providing crucial support to Defenders of Wildlife’s mid-level and major gifts work by providing comprehensive research and informed analysis of donor prospects and potential prospects. Primary tasks include managing a proactive research strategy and conducting prospect research to grow Defenders’ universe of major donors ($10,000K+), and Leadership Council donors ($1,000--$9,999, in collaboration with the major gift and mid-level Philanthropy Directors and the Vice President of Philanthropy. The ideal candidate will be familiar with utilizing a wide range of research resources such as iWave, Nexis for Development, NOZA Search and FoundationSearch, and can demonstrate a proficiency at summarizing and translating data and information into concise written documents.


  • Manage prospect research strategy through coordination with the Director of Philanthropy (Mid-level giving).
  • Identify and analyze prospect research needs and provide timely, actionable research results to reach department goals. Draft, review and edit philanthropic research documents, including prospect briefings and biographies and event research.

  • Liaise with Philanthropy Directors prior to donor visits to target geographic area and identify high quality visit prospects.

  • Support research efforts by helping to identify new prospects by reviewing large donation notifications, current sustaining members and legacy members.

  • Coordinate relationships with vendors including iWave and LexisNexis and initiate periodic iWave screenings by communicating with assigned representative. Analyze, segment and create targeted prospect lists for more in-depth research from wealth screening results.

  • Maintain accurate research tracking reports including current prospect lists. Ensure that all research is being properly moved through the pipeline and reviewed by front-line fundraising staff.

  • Keep prospect research training system up to date to include technical aspects. Share best practices and provide training to colleagues as needed.

  • Maintain a high level of knowledge and use of current CRM system, Revolution Online: ROI and other systems critical to the management of research data. Maintains up-to-date knowledge of advancements in current and new technologies.

  • Knowledge and understanding of the development, fundraising and relationship mapping cycle and where prospect research fits within that system.


  • Education: Bachelor’s degree (B.A./B.S.) or equivalent in related discipline

  • Experience: Three+ years of relevant development/database management experience

  • An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.

  • Other:

  • Strong technological aptitude with advanced skills using Microsoft Word, Excel and database software.

  • Detail-oriented with strong organizational skills

  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to interact with both management and support staff

  • Ability to take ownership of a process and to use problem solving skills to resolve issues

  • Strong professionalism with the ability to function efficiently in a busy environment

  • Expected to work independently and/or as a team member with initiative, motivation, flexibility, organization and attention to accuracy of projects and tasks

  • Ability to manage multiple projects independently


  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so. 


  • General office working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.


  • Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures.  We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places.

  • Visit Our Values and Diversity page to learn more about who we are and how we operate.


  • Up To $59,000 



Interested applicants should complete an application for employment. Please reference Development Research Associate in your subject line and submit your completed application, a letter of interest and resume to us via e-mail at:


It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.

All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.