Detroit Zoological Society
  • Development
  • Royal Oak, MI, USA
  • Full-time

Full medical, dental and 401k benefits. Generous paid time off, Zoo membership and more!

The Prospect Research Manager is responsible for the operational planning and implementation of prospect research to support organization-wide strategic funding initiatives of the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) and is an important member of the team that works to achieve fundraising goals. He/She will effectively identify, research and evaluate current and prospective donors in relation to their capacity, giving history and interests. These activities occur through personal research and investigation; collection, organization and presentation of information and data; coordination of evaluation meetings and activities; and effective oversight of the prospect management function.

The Prospect Research Manager will support, both publicly and privately, the principles of the Detroit Zoological Society. He/She will support and enhance a clean, safe, enjoyable, and educational experience at the Detroit Zoo facilities by actively engaging in the enforcement of Customer Service Standards, and specifically by knowing and understanding the Detroit Zoological Society's "SCOPE" of service, animal care, community relations and park appearance guidelines; by enforcing safety and security policies, and following all other policies set by the organization. The Prospect Research Manager will maintain a professional manner when dealing with all constituencies and always preserve a high level of integrity, professionalism and confidentiality.

This job description is by no means all-inclusive and may be subject to change during a performance period due to the needs of the Detroit Zoological Society and its leadership. This document will be reviewed on a continual basis and will be modified as needed.

 Authority and Accountability

The Prospect Research Manager has the authority to carry out the job requirements and responsibilities and is accountable to the Director of Development Operations. The Prospect Research Manager will work closely with a variety of development and marketing staff to identify strategies to support fundraising goals related to charitable and sponsorship revenues from individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive and effective prospect management and research system, including selection and management of research tools. 
  • Proactively conduct research to identify and qualify prospects and donors (individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies) for opportunities to increase their engagement with, and support of, DZS.
  • Synthesize information and analyze data to provide interpretation, insight and recommendations regarding donor research findings, including suggested solicitors and potential gift ranges.
  • Create in-depth, easy to use biographical and financial profiles on major gift prospects for briefing staff and volunteers, producing requested research materials in a timely manner.
  • Using the DZS prospect management system, design, develop and produce reports for internal and external audiences that allow Development staff to track, manage and appropriately recognize prospects and donors throughout the cultivation/solicitation/stewardship cycle.
  • Train staff as needed on the use of research tools, collection and recording of information to ensure data integrity and consistency and support a high level of confidence in resulting profiles and reports.
  • Coordinate efforts with other donor database users to assure that information about donors and prospects is entered accurately, appropriately and consistently in the database. 
  • Create annual projected revenue/expense budget for prospect research programs.
  • Participate in DZS events and activities as required.
  • All other responsibilities and tasks as assigned by the Director of Development Operations.

Working Conditions

Regular work schedule will include modified work hours and some weekend hours during the high seasons. Also, this position may require occasional evenings and early-mornings. The work environment is generally comfortable and most work is indoors although the position may require work outdoors with exposure to seasonal weather conditions for special events, tours, openings, etc. This individual will be exposed to computer monitors and may have some exposure to outside weather conditions, as well as the output from air conditioning and heating systems and fluorescent lighting.

Physical Requirements

The position requires the individual to sit for long periods of time as well as moderate physical effort on a daily basis such as walking, bending, stooping and standing for an extended period of time. The Prospect Research Manager must also be able to use the telephone and computer and must be able to lift and move 20 pounds.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities


  • Bachelor's Degree in Library Sciences, Liberal Arts, English, Communications or similar field
  • 3-5 years experience in Prospect Research or related field
  • Comprehensive understanding of the tools utilized and the fundamentals involved with fundraising research
  • Comprehensive knowledge of Raiser's Edge 7.91 or similar relational database and software
  • Ability to produce concise research documents with attention to accuracy and detail while maintaining confidentiality
  • Inquisitive and organized with a keen sense of ingenuity, initiative and resourcefulness
  • Self-starter able to work under pressure
  • Ability to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines for multiple projects with little supervision
  • Possess strong interpersonal skills and ability to work with diverse people.


  • APRA membership
  • Experience with animal welfare and/or cultural institutions in the metropolitan Detroit area
Detroit Zoological Society
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