Director of Advancement Research

Director of Advancement Research - POSITION FILLED
Department:  College Advancement
Date:  04/09/2020


Founded in 1813, Colby is one of America’s most selective colleges. Serving only undergraduates, Colby’s rigorous academic program is rooted in deep exploration of ideas and close interaction with world-class faculty scholars. Students pursue intellectual passions, choosing among 58 majors or developing their own. Independent and collaborative research, study abroad, and internships offer robust opportunities to prepare students for postgraduate success. Colby is home to a community of 2,000 dedicated and diverse students from around the globe. Its Maine location provides easy access to world-class research institutions and civic engagement experiences.

In a period of fast-paced progress, Colby is building on its strong foundation while remaining committed to excellence, to supporting students and faculty at the highest levels, and to the College’s deep liberal arts traditions. This new chapter includes the creation of innovative academic initiatives and partnerships, strengthening the connections between the liberal arts and the professional world, revitalizing downtown Waterville, and pursuing significant capital projects for performing arts and athletics. Colby invites applicants to apply for the position of:


Division of College Advancement

Full-Time, Exempt, Salaried, Administrative Staff Appointment

As an integral member of the advancement strategy team, the director of advancement research brings a solutions-focused perspective to convert research and insights into opportunities to maximize both fundraising performance and prospect identification. This data-driven individual proactively formulates strategies, gathers intelligence, analyzes data and executes projects leveraging observations and collaborative relationships to support research outcomes and the needs of the Division of College Advancement. We encourage inquiries from candidates who will contribute to the diversity of our College, including its cultural and ethnic diversity.

  • Oversee staff and operations of the Prospect Research and Analysis (PRA) team under the supervision of the assistant vice president of advancement strategy and operations
  • Generate and analyze broad data sets, search for explanations and underlying causes, draw conclusions, and develop actionable recommendations
  • Manage and optimize processes for research, data validation, and recording using proven research methodologies and a consistent research cycle (planning and direction > collection > processing > analysis > dissemination > evaluation)
  • Conduct topical “deep dives” using data mining and intelligence gathering efforts to uncover patterns in specific giving groups for various funding priorities and strategic initiatives
  • Strategize and lead work to expand the pool of targeted donor prospects focusing on accurate identification and research methodologies to increase the effectiveness of fundraising efforts
  • Identify new fundraising opportunities by keeping abreast of local, national and/or international news and industry trends, as well as collaborating with internal colleagues across the College
  • Prepare and manage briefing materials for key meetings and events for the vice president for college advancement and Senior Staff
  • Partner with the presidential engagement officer on briefing materials through weekly meetings and calendar review
  • Hone institutional techniques for prospect identification, tracking, and documentation with PRA staff
  • Research industry standards, trends, breakthroughs, and best practices, implementing changes accordingly to meet Colby’s goals and objectives
  • Lead data collection and visualization efforts for special initiatives that do not have department owners and require cross-functional coordination, including long-term research projects and surveys in collaboration with campus partners at Colby
  • Track and provide biweekly summary reports using data visualization techniques to enhance pipeline development and highlight significant discoveries found through the research process
  • Elevate and promote the PRA team, including coordinating strategy meetings in partnership with the director of leadership gifts, routine reporting and development of highly tailored prospect strategies through in-depth analysis of existing and newly researched donor information, and trend forecasting
  • Conduct workstream analysis and generate recommendations to elevate the value and use of information provided by the PRA team
  • Foster a team culture that inspires curiosity, innovation, forward thinking while maintaining data integrity and confidentiality
  • Perform additional duties as assigned; duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice
  • Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in education and experience; advanced degree preferred
  • At least five years of relevant experience in an advancement or development office in an institution of higher learning preferred; capital campaign experience ideal
  • Highly proficient in using database applications including Raiser’s Edge NXT
  • Demonstrated professional work experience in positions requiring problem solving, business judgement, and analytical skills
  • Proven ability to develop rapport quickly, communicate effectively, and build consensus with a diverse constituency
  • Excellent social, written and oral communication, and presentation skills to clearly explain and translate complex information to a range of audiences
  • Validated management and leadership experience possessing the ability to motivate teams to accomplish shared goals and achieve high performance
  • Strong organizational skills; able to prioritize and handle multiple projects simultaneously and to work calmly under pressure of goals and deadlines
  • Working knowledge of data analysis and business intelligence technologies and capabilities such as Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, or Spotfire
  • Talent to navigate complex situations with diplomacy and discretion, building bridges between differing or competing priorities while maintaining a high level of professionalism in all circumstances
  • Proven capability to work collaboratively and build cross-functional partnerships
  • Experience working effectively and respectfully with high-level administration

Reporting to the assistant vice president of advancement strategy and operations, this position will have direct interaction with the entire Division of College Advancement team, as well as cross-campus partners.


General open office and campus environment. Position involves sitting, although frequent movement is necessary. Computer usage involving repetitive hand/wrist motion is also necessary.


Interested candidates should apply electronically by clicking the "Apply Now" button on the Colby College website. Please submit a letter of interest including salary requirements, resume, and the contact information of three professional references. Materials should be addressed to:

Director of Advancement Research - Search Committee
Office of Human Resources
Colby College
5500 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, ME 04901-8855


If you experience difficulty uploading your documents, you may submit any .doc or .pdf materials to Please do not submit duplicate materials.

A review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.
Colby is a private, coeducational liberal arts college that admits students and makes employment decisions on the basis of the individual's qualifications to contribute to Colby's educational objectives and institutional needs. Colby College does not discriminate in its educational programs or employment on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, or military or veteran’s status. Colby is an equal opportunity employer and operates in accordance with federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination. Colby complies with Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in an institution’s education programs and activities. Questions regarding Title IX may be referred to Colby’s Title IX coordinator or to the federal Office of Civil Rights. We encourage inquiries from candidates who will contribute to the cultural and ethnic diversity of our college.

For more information about the College, please visit our web site: