Director of Prospect Research and Management

May 2024 | Hybrid / Fairfield, CT
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Fairfield University is seeking an accomplished, strategic, and goal-oriented Director of Prospect Research and Management to join the University Advancement division.

About Fairfield University

aerial view of Fairfield University

Only 50 miles from New York City, Fairfield University is 200 acres of innovation and inspiration on Connecticut’s southern coast – a values-based, student-centric, outcomes-focused Jesuit Catholic University committed to cultivating mind, body, and spirit through a 500-year-old Jesuit tradition, one of the oldest and most successful academic traditions in the world.

Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1942, Fairfield University is a coeducational institution of higher learning that prepares students for leadership and service in a constantly changing world. Fairfield’s primary objectives are to develop the creative intellectual potential of students and to foster insight, empathy, critical rigor, and a determination to serve and promote justice.

Since its inception, Fairfield has grown from a small liberal arts college with an inaugural class of 300 male undergraduate students into a coeducational university of nearly 6,000 students, both undergraduate and graduate. Today, Fairfield is a growing and highly competitive university that has earned a reputation for educational excellence and has been consistently recognized as one of the top institutions in the Northeast. The University is now emerging onto the national stage with professional schools and programs that are consistently ranked among the best in the country. In March of 2024, Fairfield’s women’s basketball team qualified for the NCAA tournament, driving excitement for their students, family, alumni, and friends across the country and beyond.

In the Jesuit tradition of serving urban communities and opening access to education for all, Fairfield also welcomed its first cohort of 47 students at their new, second campus in Bridgeport, CT in the fall of 2023. Fairfield Bellarmine offers a two-year associate degree while providing strong professional preparation and enhanced academic support to low-income and first-generation students in Bridgeport and surrounding Connecticut communities. With the generous support from community partners and friends of Fairfield University, all Bellarmine students can attend on nearly full scholarship. By 2025, Fairfield Bellarmine is expected to welcome a new class of 100 students from Connecticut.

Diversity & Inclusive Excellence

The Fairfield University community is committed to respecting and valuing one another, finding the common good rooted in us all, and working collaboratively to achieve their potential as a modern Jesuit Catholic institution. Fairfield aspires to be an inclusive, welcoming community that is representative of an ever-changing and diverse global populace. Through radical hospitality, Fairfield welcomes and invites all into the learning community, and is dedicated to pursuing shared standards of excellence in teaching, learning, scholarship, and service.

About Philanthropy at Fairfield University

Fairfield University students blowing bubbles

The University Advancement division, comprised of nearly 50 staff members, includes Development, Annual Giving, Alumni Relations, Athletic Development, Special Events, Advancement Operations, Advancement Finance, and Advancement Technology & Information Services. The Development department is led by the Senior Associate Vice President for Advancement and includes Major Gifts, Planned Gifts, Parent Engagement & Philanthropy, Corporate Relations, Prospect Research & Management, and Stewardship.

This comprehensive, highly experienced, goal-oriented, and innovative team utilizes industry best practices and SMART goals to create, implement, and execute programs and initiatives to exceed goals. University Advancement prides itself on its collaborative “can do” attitude, inquisitive spirit, and its reputation for excellence and mutual cooperation with campus partners.

During the 2023-2024 fiscal year, Fairfield hit a record 21% alumni participation rate and raised a total of $28M.

Since 1985, University Advancement has completed three capital campaigns and is now in the early stages of a new, comprehensive campaign, expected to launch in the near future.

About the Position

Reporting to the Senior Associate Vice President for Advancement (SAVP), the Director of Prospect Research and Management (the Director) will be an integral member of the Advancement team and will play an important role in campaign planning activities. The Director will define, implement, and manage the prospect research and management program and will leverage innovative analytics to maximize the potential of the University’s overall prospect pipeline to ensure the success of the campaign and all fundraising efforts. Using industry best practices, the Director will develop, implement, and streamline business processes, including those relating to prospect research, portfolio development and management, and fundraiser performance metrics. The Director will lead, develop, and manage a staff of two and will work collaboratively with the Assistant Vice President, Advancement Operations & Campaign Director, and the Senior Director of Advancement Technology & Information Services to ensure the work of the departments is coordinated to maximize prospect and fundraising opportunities.

Key Responsibilities

  • Students at Lantern PointProvide strategic leadership for the Prospect Research and Management department by articulating, implementing, and achieving the department’s strategic vision and annual work plans and goals, in alignment with University Advancement’s current and long-range fundraising and campaign goals.
  • Develop and implement proactive strategies to execute dynamic wealth and propensity reviews, discover new major gift pipeline prospects (alumni and parents) and young alumni prospects, and identify new sources of funding (corporations, family foundations, and community members) for priority initiatives, and ensure timely assignment of newly identified prospects.
  • Develop robust fundraiser portfolios containing the strongest prospects and utilize industry best practices to develop and implement strategies and processes to rate, identify, assign, and track leadership, major, principal, and planned gift prospects.
  • Develop strong relationships with Directors of Development and other fundraisers to provide regular consultation, strengthen and review prospect portfolios, and ensure the appropriate number of prospects are assigned to support fundraising priorities.
  • Manage and implement an effective prospect management and tracking system, to help ensure prospects are moved efficiently and successfully through the fundraising cycle and to create fundraising performance metrics and other management reports.
  • Meet regularly with the SAVP to review management reports and analyses, discuss progress toward division, department, and individual goals, and anticipate future prospect needs.
  • Lead the Prospect Research and Management team of two by utilizing and achieving SMART goals for the department and staff, and developing staff members’ skill sets through mentoring, coaching, and training.
  • Work closely with and collaborate with the Senior Director of Advancement Technology & Information Services on cross-departmental projects. This will include assessing the department’s technology needs, including predictive modeling and data analytics.
  • Contribute to high-level strategic discussions relating to campaign goals, prospects, portfolios, and pipelines, by providing analyses, reports, and other input for decision-making. This includes developing and overseeing a system of regular analysis of prospect portfolios and providing strategic information on individuals, family foundations, and corporations to development officers and senior leadership.
  • Work effectively with division and campus colleagues to advance the mission, vision, and strategic priorities of University Advancement.
  • Effectively manage the department’s annual operating budget.
  • Develop and implement policies and standards for donor/prospect research projects to ensure data collection conforms to ethical principles, confidentiality requirements, FERPA regulations, and public information laws.
  • Participate at an appropriate level in professional associations such as APRA, AHP, and/or CASE to increase knowledge and skills and to stay abreast of industry trends and concerns; train staff in research methodology and the most efficient and economical means to utilize resources.
  • Serve as the principal authority on prospect research and philanthropic trends.

Key Qualifications

  • fairfiled university basketball gameA minimum of seven years of demonstrated experience in prospect research, prospect data analytics, prospect management, and managing research efforts.
  • A minimum of three years of experience in a leading role, managing a staff of prospect researchers in support of fundraising and alumni relations activities and goals.
  • Strong analytical, organizational, and communication skills.
  • Understanding of major gifts fundraising practices and best practices in prospect research.
  • Experience utilizing data modeling and data analytics.
  • Demonstrated experience with Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge, NXT, and Research Point.
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office, PowerBI/Power Pivot, and cutting-edge research tools.
  • Proven leadership skills and the ability to motivate and manage a team.


The starting salary for this position begins at $120,000 annually, commensurate with the candidate’s experience, skills, and professional track record.

Fairfield University provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

If you are interested in being considered for this search, please use the form below to submit your cover letter and resume in confidence.

Sajana Blank

Senior Consultant

Development Guild DDI

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