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Vice President, Research (Cambridge, MA or San Francisco, CA)

The Center for Effective Philanthropy
Massachusetts, United States
$230,000.00 - $230,000.00
Closing date
Dec 2, 2022

View more

Position Type
Philanthropic Advisors, Research
Employment Type
Full Time

Do you believe rigorous research can have a great impact in the real world and serve as a catalyst for change? Are you inspired to transform research into practical recommendations that can inform philanthropic practices and help foundations, other grantmakers, and individual donors more effectively tackle societal issues?

Do you believe philanthropy is most effective when research findings are used as tools to inform approaches and practices that enhance its impact?

Are you driven to implement rigorous research methodologies and data-informed analyses to bring about results?

Are you inspired to learn from CEP’s audience and create accessible research products that serve their needs? Can you be a voice and advocate for what effective philanthropy looks like, making the case for the value of philanthropy and its role in strengthening communities and addressing pressing challenges?

Do you enjoy building teams and working across disciplines?

If so, we invite you to keep reading to explore the opportunity to create, lead, and facilitate the adoption of actionable research to make an enduring difference in the philanthropic sector and beyond.

The Vice President for Research defines the organization’s research agenda and has leadership and oversight of all aspects of research projects related to the effective philanthropic practices for both philanthropic foundations and major individual donors. This includes conceptualization, design, execution, analysis, writing, presentation of research results, and speaking and writing publicly on behalf of the organization. The VP for Research helps to fundraise for research initiatives. In addition to managing a research team of six, the VP for Research also works closely with other members of the CEP staff as needed. The VP for Research is a member of the organization’s senior staff and reports directly to the President.


Key responsibilities include:

Defining and managing the execution of CEP’s research agenda by:

• Identifying new areas and topics for research.

• Designing and managing research projects.

• Ensuring the utility, quality, and rigor of research questions, methodologies, data analyses, and reporting of findings.

Externally representing CEP by:

• Writing about CEP’s work for sector and mainstream publications.

• Presenting CEP’s work at key national, regional, and local speaking engagements and conferences.

• Developing and maintaining external relationships.

• Elevating the discussion on what it means to be a good grantmaker or donor and the barriers that impede effectiveness.

Managing and collaborating with teams and contributing to strategy by:

• Overseeing a team of six.

• Working closely with the programming and external relations team on the production, dissemination, and promotion of research reports and insights.

• Advising assessment and advisory services team and the YouthTruth team on a variety of research-related topics, such as data analyses and survey design approaches.

• Advising on CEP’s organizational strategy.

Supports fundraising for CEP’s research by:

• Developing research ideas and proposals for project funding.

• Identifying and cultivating potential funders, working collaboratively with the President and the Vice President for Programming and External Relations.

• Developing and maintaining relationships with funders.


The ideal candidate will be an experienced professional with the following skills, qualities, and experience:

• At least 10 to 15 years of research experience in roles demanding exceptional analytical skills and writing research reports based on quantitative and qualitative findings for use by nonacademic audiences.

Demonstrated mastery of basic (e.g., including t-test, chi-square, analysis of variance and linear regression) and advanced (e.g., factor analysis, multilevel modelling) quantitative methodologies. Firm understanding of methodologies and data analyses with the ability to manage expert researchers.

• Proven ability to develop complex and robust surveys and interview protocols.

• Excellent people management skills, with the ability to effectively supervise a team, be a mentor to others, and act as someone who works to develop team members towards organizational and career success.

• Exceptional project management skills, with the ability to work collaboratively in teams and manage multiple projects with complex deliverables in a fast-paced environment.

• Aptitude for learning new methods of analysis and data analysis programs.

• Ability to quickly build relationships and comfortably interact with high-level senior executives.

• Experience mentoring or teaching research and data analysis skills.

• The highest level of personal integrity and commitment to rigor and excellence.

• A work ethic consistent with CEP culture: sharp attention to detail; track record of being highly organized, responsive, and team oriented; ability to accurately set goals and consistently meet commitments; proven success in a dynamic environment.

• Transparency, honesty, accountability, self-awareness, and continuous learning and self-reflection.

• A strong and positive leadership presence and the ability to act as a compelling spokesperson for CEP and its research, humility, and integrity are all a must.

• An advanced degree with a slight preference for a doctorate degree in related field (e.g., economics, education, sociology, political science, psychology, sociology, etc.).


The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) is a nonprofit organization that offers independent analysis of data on the practice of philanthropy and, at the same time, serves as a powerful voice for the importance of good grantmaking and giving practices. Put simply, CEP provides data and influences philanthropic funders – foundations, other grantmakers, and individual donors – to enhance their effectiveness.

CEP’s work includes conducting assessments that gather actionable feedback from key stakeholders, undertaking data-driven research, providing customized advisory services to funders, facilitating thought-provoking events, and publishing incisive commentary on the CEP blog. CEP also disseminates its insights through speaking engagements, the Giving Done Right podcast, media, videos, trade journals, social media, and other vehicles.

CEP received its initial funding in 2001 and has offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California. CEP has a staff of 60 and an annual budget of $14 million. CEP staff values its work culture, which emphasizes empowerment, accountability, teamwork, collegiality, diversity, and mutual respect.


At CEP, we strive to balance in-person time with flexibility and the needs of each person, their team, and the larger organization. We believe culture, communication, trust, training, and certain kinds of creative work benefit from in-office interactions – and we believe that the flexibility of remote work also has many advantages. Staff are in one of our two offices at least two days per week, and everyone enjoys the option to work fully remotely from anywhere four weeks per year. The Vice President for Research could be based in either office.

For more information on The Center for Effective Philanthropy, please visit


The annual base salary for this position is $230,000. In addition, this role is eligible for a competitive Performance-Based Incentive Compensation.

Nominations and applications, including cover letters and resumes, should be sent to the attention of Paul Spivey at

The Center for Effective Philanthropy is an equal opportunity employer. CEP does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, national origin, age, military service eligibility, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or any other category protected by law. CEP strongly encourages and seeks applications from women, people of color, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

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