Foundation Relations Administrator

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, CA 920371002, USA
  • Apr 07, 2022
Full time Development/Advancement/Fundraising

Job Description


Application Instructions:

Please include a cover letter describing your experience and expertise in relation to this position. Excluding this information could disqualify you from further consideration.


The Foundation Relations Administrator (FRA) supports the development activities and foundation proposals assigned to the Senior Director, Foundation Relations (SDFR), the Senior Director, External Relations (SDER), the Director, Foundations Relations (DFR) and the Associate Director, Foundation Relations (ADFR). Supports the Senior Grants Administrator (SGA) to ensure compliance with grant requirements determined by each respective foundation. Assists with gathering research and financial data from scientists, Research Accounting and Grants to assist in the preparation of proposals and annual reports. Writes cover letters, stewardship and thank you letters. Drafts leadership remarks and has a general understanding of Salk science to assist in preparing pitch decks and presentations. Manages special projects and handles logistics for assigned programs and events. Interacts with all levels of the organization, including senior management and faculty, board members, major donors and foundations and other members of the community. Works with venue staff and internal/external vendors, arranging travel and transportation, processing and tracking event expenses and interacting with individual donors and foundation executives. Assists with evening and weekend donor events, as needed.



Foundation and Proposal Administration (30%)

Researches and identifies new individual and foundation prospects for assigned initiatives, programs, research areas and campaign needs. Provides outreach and makes introductions; forwards to SDFR, DFR and ADFR as appropriate.

Tracks all upcoming proposal deadlines, pending proposals and notifies appropriate units in a timely manner.

Drafts cover letters and organizational language for proposals, reports and foundation online portal. Tailors to constituent needs and submits for final approval by SDFR, DFR and ADFR.

Researches and reviews donor background for reports, correspondence and phone calls.

Enters and updates all proposal and report submission deadlines into Salesforce database. Works with Development Services team to track missing payments.

Works with SGA to review and compare narrative and financial reports to grant agreements to determine accuracy and compliance.

Coordinates the retrieval of required narrative reports from Communications, faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and relevant administrative staff.

Coordinates receipt of awards and contract documentation; maintains proposal, funding and stewardship records in database systems; and prepares scheduled reports.

Coordinates creation of impact reports and assists team with special donor recognition projects.

Helps to recommend effective ways to optimize prospect plans in database; enters and tracks next steps to develop long-term strategies.

Provides funding opportunity synopsis and forwards to SDFR, DFR and ADFR as appropriate.

Creates quarterly calendar report for Grants Development and shares with SGA to request assistance with proposal requirements. Identifies and makes recommendations of assigned donors/prospects to maximize fundraising results on behalf of the Institute's priorities.

Serves as liaison between the Foundation Relations team (FRT) and outside entities, including multi-million-dollar foundations, donors and prospects, high-level community leaders, governmental and community contacts, volunteers and business executives.

Program and Event Administration (30%)

Proactively and independently manages logistical and coordination duties associated with assigned programs.

Acts as liaison to staff, faculty, donors, leadership and other Salk units including Communications, Finance, IT, Events and Facilities with regard to logistical and administrative aspects of program management.

Serves as liaison between Salk and outside entities, including foundations, donors and prospects; high-level community leaders, governmental and community contacts, volunteers and business executives.

As a member of the team, builds trusting relationships with donors, prospective donors, faculty and staff by attending appropriate meetings and lunches, making donor calls when necessary, being present and professional at donor events.

Partnering with Development Services, identifies and qualifies potential contributors to assigned programs through examination of past record of contributors and knowledge of community through database research and analysis.

Coordinates background research on prospective donors to ultimately qualify for gifts, working closely with Development Services. Enters and tracks next steps to develop long-term strategies. Helps to recommend effective ways to optimize prospect plans in database and facilitates and track activities accordingly.

Provides full range of event support for assigned programs. Includes dinners, meetings, site visits, salon events and special events on the Salk campus and at off-site locations, such as donors' homes. Handles meeting and event logistical tasks, including drafting correspondence, executing mailings, working with Salk Events staff for catering and decor needs, establishing relationships with vendors and invitees, processing payment requests, arranging travel, tracking and reconciling event budgets, entering event data and preparing collateral and name tags. Serves as volunteer liaison and day-of coordinator, as necessary.

Assists with creation and organization of event invitation list to reach donor and prospects. With direction, requests mailing lists, including criteria, from Development Services; schedules collateral development meetings with Communications; ensures timely updates to Salesforce outreach/engagement calendar.

On behalf of the FRT and SDER, reviews ER mailing lists and invitations, Donor Honor Roll, etc. for accuracy of team's assigned donors and prospects.

Working with the Prospect Research Analyst, coordinates prospect and event briefings in preparation for upcoming meetings and events. Conducts preliminary biographical research, submits briefing requests and follows up to ensure timely and accurate reports provided to the FRT and SDER.

Arranges VIP visits involving board members, committees and faculty with the ultimate goal of strengthening the principal gift-level donor pipeline through the engagement of faculty leaders. Suggests and assembles materials for site visits and travel.

Provides proper and timely event follow-up, working with Development Services to ensure event data is recorded and used appropriately. Maintains database of information on the outcome of each project and the status of event attendees. Manages events budget reconciliation and ensures timely and accurate payments.

Reviews, extracts and maintains data on prospects and donors in the database. Researches, analyzes and prepares reports on giving, including statistical information and giving histories.

Monitors "Open Tasks" reports and is responsible for timely and accurate fundraising database entries, including general contact reports, event registration, actions, tasks, deadlines and proposals. Follows up with directors to ensure up-to-date, accurate information in preparation for Frontline Fundraisers meetings.

Creates and maintains individual and team dashboards in Salesforce database.

Maintains limited submissions report for review by ELT/CSO office.

Fiscal and Administrative Support (20%)

Provides high-level administrative support to SDFR, SDER, DFR and ADFR. Includes complex calendaring, making travel/meeting/event arrangements, recording meeting notes, running errands and copying/scanning documents as necessary. Books meeting rooms and communicates meeting information to participants.

Analyzes information from incoming documents and a variety of other sources to ascertain importance to the department. Prioritizes information and briefs SDER and DDRS so that appropriate action is taken. When needed, provides background or policy-related information. Makes suggestions for resolutions or independently resolves issues whenever feasible.

Regularly checks office supply inventory and places orders in accordance with budget allocations and Salk policies and procedures. Acts as liaison to Procurement for orders. Ensures items are received and reconciled against ledger.

Monitors unit's office equipment, including computers and printers. Troubleshoots technical issues to determine whether additional service is required. Acts as liaison to IT and Facilities Services for all repairs and maintenance.

Prepares accounting forms, including accounts payable, independent contractors and maintenance agreements, purchase requisitions of supplies and equipment, cash advances, travel, reimbursements and budget adjustments. Completes monthly credit card reconciliation for SDER.

Processes invoices for assigned programs, including checking for appropriate data (fund and account numbers). Routes for required approvals, copies as needed, sends to Finance for processing and follows up to ensure timely and accurate payment.

Completes weekly and monthly budget review and audit-ready reconciliation for assigned budgets. Reviews posted expenses and estimates spending for remainder of the fiscal year. Ensures accuracy of all reports before seeking approval. Maintains comprehensive filing system of all financial records.

Serves as designated point of contact when SDFR, SDER, DFR and ADFR are unavailable.

Writing and Communications Liaison (20%)

Drafts, researches and prepares high-level correspondence briefings, follow-up and other materials for leadership and faculty when necessary. Ensures accuracy of all documents using extreme attention to detail.

When appropriate, assists with drafting various communications, including donor solicitations, leadership remarks, website copy, gift acknowledgements and other general and fundraising documents for review by the FRT or SDER. Drafts and edits copy for brochures, memos, letters and speeches. Ensures that briefings are formatted correctly, contain required and appropriate data and are received in a timely manner.

Establishes regular communication and coordination serving as a liaison with communications/marketing in support of FRT and SDER fundraising programs, including collaterals, website content and donor recognition at all levels.

Gathers information to understand the science and research being conducted at Salk to assist in preparing pitch decks and presentations. Coordinates the development of multimedia materials for public presentations.




  • 3-5 years of work experience with a proven track record in high-level coordination and administration, building relationships and assisting with strategic planning.
  • Demonstrated work experience in writing/editing general correspondence and miscellaneous documents as well as experience with drafting and editing briefings, donor profiles, proposals and other documents in a fundraising context.
  • Proven experience interacting successfully with high-level donors, prospective donors, executives, faculty, staff and community leaders.
  • Demonstrated experience with executive-level calendaring and interacting successfully with high-level donors, faculty and community members.
  • Demonstrated experience in gathering, researching and analyzing information and recommending or implementing appropriate solutions.
  • Demonstrated experience providing strong customer-oriented service and assistance.


  • Knowledge of the principles and processes of professional fundraising.
  • Development experience with an emphasis on foundation and individual giving programs
  • Experience with on-line proposal submission systems commonly used by foundations and other philanthropic organizations. .
  • Demonstrated experience in producing fundraising or other relevant executive-level events and knowledge of principles and practices of events management.
  • Experience utilizing major online databases in fundraising, nonprofit institute environment and other reference sources.
  • Demonstrated success in recruiting and working with volunteers.
  • Prior experience in a larger (500+) nonprofit organization.




  • Bachelor's degree in relevant field or equivalent combination of education and experience.




  • Strong demonstrated organizational skills with ability to prioritize daily operations and projects in order to meet rigid deadlines to ensure smooth workflow and handle multiple tasks simultaneously, often working under pressure with frequent interruptions while exhibiting extreme attention to detail and maintaining a high degree of accuracy at all times.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills to communicate and interact in a positive, politically correct and effective manner with diverse and demanding clientele, including senior management, faculty and other staff using a high degree of tact, diplomacy and discretion, with emphasis on flexibility and professionalism.
  • Proven analytical skills to evaluate information, procedures or situation, define a problem or objective, identify relevant concerns, recognize alternatives and formulate logical and objective conclusions.
  • Strong sense of ethical conduct and demonstrated ability to maintain confidentiality in all matters including those relating to sensitive donor relations issues.
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills to prepare reports, summaries, correspondence, briefings, personalized letters and other materials and to dialog clearly and effectively in professional conversation.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the philosophy of quality service and group process with proven aptitude for working as part of a team.
  • Ability to communicate extensively and persuasively to be collaborative, facilitative and to accomplish goals in a timely manner.
  • Ability to make sound independent judgments and to complete tasks with minimal direction.
  • Strong demonstrated ability to provide critical analysis, with proven ability to research and present summaries in a succinct manner using realistic expectations.
  • Ability to understand Salk science to convey research to donors and while preparing written materials, including proposals
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully plan, implement and manage fundraising events.
  • Ability to build effective relationships with individuals at every level, including donors, prospects, board members, senior leadership and members of the community.
  • Ability to research, gather and organize information to produce concise reports using relational databases; ability to research topics and summarize findings.
  • Ability to execute basic budget reconciliation and prepare financial and expense reports.
  • Proven ability to work with independence, maintain confidentiality and anticipate problems and needs of department, taking necessary actions to mitigate potential negative effects and proactively assisting where possible.
  • Ability to use a high degree of tact, diplomacy and discretion while exercising good judgment with individuals at all levels in person, in writing or by phone with diverse and demanding clientele, with emphasis on flexibility, professionalism and resourcefulness.
  • Ability to be goal-oriented, self-motivated, reliable, detail-oriented, articulate and poised and to possess personal integrity and sound judgment.
  • Ability to make excellent decisions and to employ mature judgment under demanding conditions and/or when confronted with frequently changing priorities.
  • Demonstrated skill in using personal computers and a wide variety of software packages for presentations, written communication, data processing and electronic communication (MS Word, Excel, www, Outlook, Power Point and Visio).
  • Demonstrated ability to operate office equipment proficiently, including printers, copiers, scanners, etc.


  • Experience in Salesforce or similar fundraising database.
  • Knowledge of the proposal development process and/or experience in assembling and writing complex reports such as stewardship reports and operational plans involving prospect and project research using analytical skills in editing to end-result.



  • Able to work a flexible schedule based on workload and deadlines.
  • Ability to travel locally and work after hours to assist with donor events.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute's background investigation.
  • Must sign an employee confidentiality agreement.
  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.


Application Details

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