Posted:                       Open to internal and external applicants

Reports to:                 Campaign manager

Status:                        Full-time, salaried, benefitted position

Hours of work:          Standard Monday–Friday workweek, 8am–5pm. Occasional need for weekend or after-hours work as related to events and other projects

Date needed:             October 2018

Posting expires:        Open until filled


About the Seattle Aquarium:

The Seattle Aquarium is owned by the City of Seattle and under nonprofit management. The Aquarium currently serves over 850,000 visitors and 40,000 schoolchildren and their teachers annually. Guided by its mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, the Seattle Aquarium has a realistic plan for phased growth based on record-setting attendance, membership and fundraising growth, an energized board of directors and professional management. The current annual budget is $18 million.


Position description:

The Seattle Aquarium is looking for a prospect development officer to join the philanthropy team. The prospect development officer partners with the Seattle Aquarium’s vice president of philanthropy, campaign manager and deputy director of philanthropy, with an emphasis on major gift research and prospect management in support of the Aquarium’s capital campaign and annual and long-term fundraising activities. The prospect development officer manages the planning, design, execution, and communication of a comprehensive research program to optimize donor pipelines for the Seattle Aquarium. They are a strategic partner and internal consultant to other philanthropy colleagues and to fundraisers across the organization.

The ideal candidate has a bachelor’s degree, a minimum of three years’ experience in advanced prospect research and the demonstrated ability to analyze prospect data from a wide variety of sources including experience presenting the resulting information in a clear summary for the team. The position requires excellent written and verbal communication as well as a collaborative style. The full list of qualifications is listed below.

Essential functions:

  • Proactively identifies, collects, organizes, analyzes, and disseminates information on donors, prospects and groups to enhance the ability of the Aquarium staff and board to successfully acquire their support
  • Qualifies prospects by researching and analyzing connections to other organizations, giving potential, and propensity to donate to establish priorities and strategies for successful solicitations
  • Establishes research methodologies and data gathering formats relevant to specific requests and projects
  • Disseminates prospect and donor news alerts effectively to philanthropy and executive leadership
  • Devises strategies for obtaining new prospects to ensure the ongoing development, expansion, and renewal of the prospect base, to which the Aquarium will turn for current and future support
  • Prepares detailed and up-to-date research briefings on prospects and/or groups of prospects in advance of calls, meetings and events to obtain optimal outcomes; communicates information related to donor interests, relationships and other areas that inform fundraising strategies
  • Provides board candidate research and recommends potential candidates for the nominating committee
  • Runs monthly prospect management meetings, with the campaign manager
  • Oversees research budget and communicates with vendors
  • Supports special projects and performs other position-related duties as assigned
  • Proactively anticipates and seeks out information related to the immediate research priorities of the philanthropy department
  • Participates in and contributes to the formulation of the Aquarium’s philanthropy planning as it pertains to information systems developments, the processes and procedures of prospect management, and related infrastructure support services
  • Leads department information resources, including identification and selection of sources of information and information vendors
  • Populates, organizes and maintains prospect profile electronic information files

Additional responsibilities:

  • Maintains the standards set forth by the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement
  • Promotes best practices in gathering, storing and maintaining data in the prospect database
  • Participates in training with other departments and in professional organizations (Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement, etc.) and networks with colleagues to share information
  • Keeps on top of the latest trends in prospect research and identifies new research tools and resources
  • Recommends changes to the database administrator for RE data entry procedures, new coding and production processes to maximize the utilization of data for fundraising purposes in collaboration with database specialist
  • Represents the philanthropy team in discussions with the database administrator, IT and outside consultants on the development of new or existing interface tools to streamline data collection
  • Contributes to the effort to build a culture of philanthropy throughout the organization
  • Shares information learned at training events
  • Participates in planning of donor/prospect educational and recognition events to promote interest in the Aquarium
  • Supports other philanthropy initiatives
  • Honor the rights of our donors under the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Code of Ethics
  • Performs other related duties as assigned to successfully achieve the Aquarium’s philanthropy goals and objectives as necessary

Required skills, abilities:   

  • Knowledge of fundraising principles and techniques
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze prospect data from a wide variety of sources and present the resulting information in a clear summary
  • Demonstrated proficiency in the methods of information acquisition, including use of online sources and print directories
  • Shows initiative in identifying new sources of information as they become necessary and/or available
  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Collegial, collaborative style, sense of humor, creative, high energy and customer service oriented
  • Highly organized with the ability to prioritize multiple requests and the ability to adjust to changing priorities and meet deadlines
  • Good decision-making skills, tactful, good listener, willingness to search out answers, ability to recognize when others need to be involved in activities or decisions
  • Advanced Raisers Edge or other similar donor database experience required; proficiency in using Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and demonstrated expertise and advanced knowledge of Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge database management tools, procedures, queries, importing and custom reporting methodologies
  • Proven record of accurate data entry
  • Excellent administrative skills



We will consider various combinations of relevant experience and education in order to meet minimum requirements.

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university or combination of equivalent education and relevant experience; CFRE certificate preferred
  • Minimum of three years’ experience in advanced prospect research
  • Minimum of three years of fundraising experience in advanced prospect research or a related field (competitive/business intelligence, market research or library science)
  • Prior experience with donor databases, preferably Raiser’s Edge and prospect tracking systems
  • Demonstrated ability in conducting comprehensive research and producing in-depth prospect analysis and profiles
  • Demonstrated skills in analysis, writing, organization and attention to detail
  • Knowledge of research techniques, methodology, and online and print resources, including commercial databases (Lexis-Nexis, etc.) to identify prospects through constituent list segmentation, push technology, electronic database screening and peer screening
  • Understanding of wealth indicators, market trends and interpretation of financial data
  • Strong ethical sense to handle confidential and sensitive information appropriately


Working conditions:

  • Majority of work is performed in a normal office setting. Semi-private work area with frequent interruptions
  • Sitting for long periods of time while working on a computer and phone
  • Lifting items up to 25 pounds
  • Occasionally other physically active work (loading/unloading, moving supplies/auction items, standing) needed for special events
  • Some exposure to elements as employees are located in campus environment with multiple buildings, outdoor and semi covered areas. Staff walk between Aquarium buildings and travel to external meetings with donors in all types of weather
  • Walking transport of materials between buildings
  • Candidates must be available for occasional evening and weekend work


Salary and benefits:

D.O.E. Please include salary expectations in your materials. Full-time staff are eligible for the Seattle Aquarium’s comprehensive benefits package to include medical, vision, dental, health reimbursement account, medical and dental flexible spending accounts, life insurance, short- and long-term disability, access to a subsidized ORCA pass, an Aquarium Family Plus membership and generous paid time off.

How to apply:

The Seattle Aquarium is a progressive, equal opportunity employer that values a diverse workforce. All candidates are encouraged to apply by sending a résumé and one-page letter detailing interest and relevant experience:  JOB LINK HERE

Application review will begin immediately. Please let us know if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for this job.


Must pass a background check, upon job offer, to be eligible for this position.