Saturday, August 6, 2016

So, I have a job at Boston University in the Development and Alumni Relations’ Research.
You can read my cover letter for my application, to get a sense of how I described both my previous experience from working during college and my current experience of working part time. I can go into more detail on the experience of writing dozens of cover letters or provide a tableau of them if it would be helpful. I spent a lot of time tailoring my cover letters to the position I was applying to. Often I went line by line between my resume and the job requirements. Certainly, working as a temp gave me a sense of how Boston University described its goals, such as their focus on the current campaign fundraising goal or wiki-databases. But most of the cover letter was focused on the tasks listed in the job posting.
Research coordinator positions can cover a broad range of tasks, especially as clinical research coordinators, development research coordinators, and project research coordinators have completely different areas of focus. A decent description of my job can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook. I find the handbook to be really helpful for both salary and responsibility descriptions. Reading the descriptions, I often direct my focus on duties based on whether the position is in federal, non-profit, academic, or profit.

Fundraising managers typically do the following:

  • Manage progress towards achieving an organization’s fundraising goals
  • Develop and carry out fundraising strategies
  • Identify and contact potential donors
  • Create and plan different events that can generate donations
  • Meet face-to-face with highly important donors
  • Apply for grants
  • Assign, supervise, and review the activities of staff
Neither my job duties nor my salary are quite so expansive. Maybe with a promotion! My job is a mix of the above and an Administrative Service Managerposition. I do a lot to maintain records and the daily running of the office.
My research coordinator position focuses on the research needs of the Development researchers, researchers who focus on identifying potential donors and tracking the likelihood of giving. I also cover some tasks similar to a clinical research coordinator in that I manage several large subscription and database services. I do also manage the budget for the department with the oversight of the director and the assistance of the sourcing and procurement teams. Unlike a clinical research coordinator, I don’t have to balance research grants; that falls to another member of the Development team. Managing paper files is also a large part of my job. These paper files are used by researchers and prospect managers to find information on previous correspondence, promises to give, and fund updates.
Really, these paper files are a very large part of my job. Data and record keeping are critical for financial and privacy reasons. I’d really like to improve some aspects of the record keeping. I do my best to pay attention to how people use the files I’m in charge of, so that I can be vigilant for changes that could be helpful and cost-effective.
What can be strange is that I’m very used to academic and non-profit workplaces due to my experience at MIT and at museums in D.C. and Boston. But Boston University is not only a different place; I’m in a different position within the higher education field. The Development field is kind of a mix of these two areas, the lofty goals of funding new research to solve big problems and the lowly limited budgets found outside of industry. Plus, fundraisers do brush elbows with donors and travel to meet international parents, but researchers type away and pour over FEC filings. I do like the work, especially the balance of personality and workplace found by going across some of these boundaries.
Another part of my job?

Snacking!