B15, Birmingham
£23,699 - £25,458 per year
Permanent, Full-time
Job description

Job Summary

Are you passionate about getting to know our most successful inspirational alumni or finding the right donors for our remarkable campaign projects?
We are now looking to recruit a new Research Assistant to join our outstanding Research Team. The role will be varied and will primarily focus on the identification of fundraising and volunteering prospects and support the existing fundraising team to manage their prospect pools. The post holder will also be expected to lend specialist support to projects through the development, analysis and communication of robust data-led intelligence. Whilst supporting the wider office, the Research Assistant will assist with event profiles, bespoke research requests as required and have the opportunity to shadow more senior members of the Research team on projects across the department. 

We are an ambitious and successful research-intensive University (one of the top 100 research-led universities globally) and have produced 11 Nobel Prize winners, including three who received their awards in 2016.  Academics here are tackling some of the world’s most pressing global challenges such as antibody testing and Covid-19, the impact of climate change on our woodlands and forests, issues caused by migration and displacement, the rise in youth mental health issues, and the prevention of needless maternal deaths in the developing world. Our students come from nearly 150 countries and our flagship outreach programmes mean that almost 25% of our student population come from disadvantaged backgrounds, one of the highest proportions in the UK. Philanthropy has always played an important role in shaping the University, most recently in 2015 when we closed the Circles of Influence Campaign, which raised £193 million, making it the largest HE fundraising campaign outside Oxbridge and London. Through ‘Birmingham In Action’, philanthropy will continue to play a vital role in delivering projects to change lives locally, nationally, and internationally.

Main Duties

Located within the DARO Insight and Operations Team, the Research Assistant will assist with:

Identifying fundraising prospects:

•    Responsibility for identifying and evaluating potential and existing fundraising prospects, both individuals, corporates, and charitable foundations in the UK and internationally, through desk-based research using online sources (e.g. LinkedIn/Companies House) and query our department database.

Wider fundraising research support:

•    Supporting events: Working pro-actively with the Research Officer to liaise with key event stakeholders (e.g. fundraisers), compile data for event profiles, and where necessary update attendee data onto the departments’ database to tight deadlines. Additional tasks include reviewing event data to identify new prospects and highlighting new prospects to relevant fundraisers.
•    Writing profiles: Research and complete detailed profiles on fundraising prospects to a high standard in line with strategic needs of department/fundraiser, and in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

Pool/portfolio management:

•    Responsibility for organising quarterly pool meetings with Fundraising Relationship Officers (FROs) and feeding back on meetings to the Research Team/department stakeholders.
•    Utilising our database to review and analyse data relating to the FRO fundraising portfolios and effectively extracting and communicating relevant data using written and visual methods at quarterly pool meetings. 
•    Responsibility for completing follow up actions/ activity after pool meetings, and filing and archiving key documents for future use after meetings.

Data maintenance:

•    Responsibility for adding and updating key information on prospects, donors, and alumni on the departments’ database in accordance with the Data Protection Act (e.g. LinkedIn profiles and executive summaries).
•    Responsibility for specific data work including monitoring and reviewing the quality and numbers of new fundraising prospects for fundraisers to contact and evaluating prospects that have been contacted and disqualified by fundraisers. Where necessary the post holder will be asked to support the wider department with maintaining the database and with database training.

Other Research Team functions:

•    Responsibility for managing CRM database research requests: The post holder will monitor, action, and complete automated research requests submitted via departments’ database. Requests can include updating prospect details or reviewing prospect referrals from colleagues.
•    Supporting bespoke research requests: Working agilely with the Research Officer to respond to and complete detailed, bespoke research requests from department colleagues and University stakeholders to a high standard, and tight deadlines. The post holder will be expected to manage multiple requests at any one time, liaise with stakeholders requesting information, and utilise different research methods.
•    Responsibility for data and administrative tasks for prospect pool meetings with senior fundraisers.
•    Undertaking due diligence: screening for ethical and reputational risk, prospect tracking, and data analysis where necessary.
•    Undertaking other proactive projects that align with departments’ strategy to agreed deadlines (e.g. producing factsheets about new/growing industries that fundraising prospects work in).

Person Specification

Required Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications, Experience 

•    Experience and/or understanding of fundraising prospect research or undertaking research in a professional or academic capacity (e.g. market research, academic research, evaluations of projects/services).
•    Excellent IT skills, including competence with all aspects of MS Office. Word and Excel at an intermediate level would be an advantage (as supported by qualifications/training certificates or demonstrable experience gained from within the workplace). Basic knowledge and experience of using social media platforms like LinkedIn would also be beneficial.
•    Understanding and/or experiences of databases, ideally fundraising or education-based databases (e.g. Blackbaud CRM; Raisers Edge), as well as experience maintaining sensitive data to a high standard, and an awareness of the UK General Data Protection Regulations.
•    Experience providing high quality customer service and building relationships with colleagues and/or customers.
•    Understands the importance of equality and diversity in the workplace.
•    Ability to identify and respond to equality and diversity issues in line with relevant policies and procedures.
•    Experience working in busy environments, with multiple stakeholders and deadlines. Work relating to events would be desirable.
•    A basic understanding of the UK Higher Education sector/fundraising and experience of working in or with large, complex organisations.
•    The post holder should have a good level of general education to at least degree level (or equivalent qualification).

Investigation, analysis and research

•    Strong analytical and research skills. This includes the ability to collect and assess information or data rapidly utilising a wide range of sources (e.g. company websites), identifying key points, and drawing conclusions.
•    Good problem-solving skills and the ability to take initiative and think laterally and creatively.
•    Strong attention to detail and accuracy when completing work.

Planning and organising

•    Excellent organisational skills as demonstrated by the ability to prioritise tasks in order of importance and urgency and manage one’s time to complete work to agreed deadlines.
•    A high degree of initiative, personal judgement, resourcefulness, flexibility, and a self-motivating approach. 
•    Experience of working to deadlines, with multiple stakeholders, and on multiple projects at any one time.
•    Ability to adapt and respond to changing or last-minute tasks or projects.

Communication & collaboration/teamwork

•    Strong verbal, written, and presentation skills. Ability to create and present detailed or complex work in a persuasive way through different mediums (e.g. visually, written, verbal), for different audiences. Ability to judge the appropriate level and format of information required for different purposes and different audiences.
•    A high level of discretion is required when dealing with information of a confidential nature.
•    Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively both in a team and independently.
•    Personal confidence, independence and determination to succeed as an individual and as part of a team.


•    Strong sense of professional integrity.
•    Willingness to learn and develop new skills/ research techniques.
•    The ability to be adaptable and flexible when dealing with change and uncertainty.
•    Interest in working in fundraising and areas relating to DARO’s fundraising campaign (e.g. environment/access to education).


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University of Birmingham

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Refreshed on: 27 June 2021
Closed date: 07 July 2021
Job ref: 56294
Tags: Fundraising, Business Development

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