Development Associate

Durham, North Carolina, United States Full-time

The Center for Advanced Hindsight (CAH) at Duke, an affiliate of the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI), is Dan Ariely’s behavioral economics center at Duke University. The work of the CAH is designed to enable community members, both inside and outside of Duke, to leverage knowledge, research in behavioral economics and innovations so as to make tangible changes in the world through entrepreneurship and the application of research findings. In addition to the academic research conducted in the CAH, many of the applied social science projects are encompassed by the CAH’s two labs: the Startup Lab and the Common Cents Lab. With its personnel, curriculum, and physical space, the Center for Advanced Hindsight offers a range of programs, activities, and events that work together to enhance Duke and Durham’s thriving research and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Securing philanthropic support for the Center for Advanced Hindsight will enable Dan Ariely and his team to continue to develop and apply insights from behavioral economics to a host of real world issues, with an emphasis on improving decision-making in the health and financial domains. Such fundraising efforts will require creative coordination with existing resources and partnerships at Duke, as well as the development of new relationships.


The Development Associate is responsible for interfacing with internal development personnel at Duke and CAH staff to further fundraising efforts for the CAH. S/he will develop and implement a comprehensive fundraising program for the CAH. The Development Associate will maintain a robust knowledge of the CAH’s priorities, serving as a philanthropic thought partner and an expert in residence for the CAH team and campus-wide fundraising staff who are working with individual, corporate, government, and foundation prospects on behalf of the CAH.


The Development Associate must be an accomplished program manager – an independent, creative problem solver who is comfortable with ambiguity and has an aptitude for understanding organizational dynamics and vision. S/he must resolve diverse problems independently, build and maintain relationships with high-level academic administrators, manage complex logistics for a variety of stakeholders – including CAH staff, board members, and donors – and successfully develop, complete, and evaluate fundraising projects. The Development Associate reports directly to the CAH Principal.





Administration and Stewardship

  • Coordinate with the CAH Principal and CAH staff to develop and implement a comprehensive fundraising program for the CAH. This might include but is not limited to:
    • Identifying, articulating, and regularly evaluating a comprehensive set of giving priorities for the CAH
    • Defining the fundraising strategy for the CAH and corresponding 5-year tactical plan aimed to maximize contributions and minimize acquisition costs
    • Developing and maintaining CAH prospect lists, concentrating strategy on prospects with high capacity and affinity as well as emerging interest
    • Coordinating and monitoring CAH development travel and events
  • Make arrangements and schedule speakers and other participants for development-oriented special events and internal meetings
  • Coordinate meetings with promising donors and Dan Ariely to align with his travel schedule
  • Identify stewardship/infrastructure needs within the CAH and develop improved processes to address these needs. These might include but are not limited to:
    • Establishing methods to ensure donated funds are used in accordance with donor wishes
    • Establishing process with CAH staff regarding specific donor stewardship
    • Resolving fundraising related policy issues
  • Maintain effective recording, accounting, acknowledgement, and follow-up on CAH gifts
  • As needed, keep donors informed and educated about their investments in CAH, maintaining relationships and ensuring that donors are pleased



  • Ensure that all available opportunities for raising funds for the CAH are successfully exploited and maintained, contributing to the financial viability and overall sustainability of the organization and its programs (the Startup Lab and Common Cents Lab, in particular)
  • Write and submit proposals to individual, corporate, government, and foundation prospects, with an emphasis on unrestricted gifts from Duke alumni, Duke endowment, and friends of the lab
  • Assist CAH staff with the preparation of fundraising proposals
  • Organize fundraising activities and events
  • Design and produce all fundraising materials
  • Contribute to CAH promotional articles and publications to raise awareness of the organization’s work and mission


Development Communications

  • Communicate with fundraising staff across the University to solicit information about ongoing gift discussions
  • Collaborate with CAH staff and Duke University Development to prepare and update materials about the CAH and gift opportunities
  • Develop and execute a communications plan to routinely inform fundraisers of CAH-related news and progress toward fundraising goals
  • Maintain relationships with current and prospective donors


Reporting and Analytics

  • Drive research efforts to identify prospect pools for CAH, evaluate and analyze prospects, and monitor fundraising progress against these pools
  • Work with gift officers to prioritize, identify, and triage prospect lists; maintaining the CAH master watch list and independently qualifying and adding prospects as they emerge
  • Create and monitor performance metrics by which the success of CAH fundraising can be measured
  • Organize, produce, and disseminate periodic impact reports to CAH leadership
  • Monitor campaign gift coding for CAH gifts and participate in high-level planning around gift monitoring/tracking post-campaign


In addition to the Specific Responsibilities above, the Development Associate is required to have certain Skills and Qualifications (see below).


Importantly, the Development Associate must be comfortable doing both the nitty-gritty day-to-day work and tackling big questions, thinking through complex higher-level strategic issues and skillfully managing relationships. They must be equally comfortable taking direction and working independently.


Skills and Qualifications

  • Excellent oral and written communication and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and strategically with diverse constituencies to achieve shared success; Ability to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds
  • Capacity to influence and/or guide others toward achieving a goal or solving a problem
  • Strong sense of organizational awareness and ability to use this to strategically achieve objectives
  • High level of comfort with ambiguity and an ability to respond to change and commit to decisions under pressure
  • Resilience and persistence in the face of failure
  • Ambition, creativity, and resourcefulness
  • Strong customer service orientation
  • Strong attention to detail and follow-through
  • Ability to work independently and self-motivate with minimal supervision, while managing multiple projects at once

  • Project and data management skills; analytical and problem solving skills
  • Proficiency in MS Office Suite programs
  • Productive, timely, and responsible, with organizational and prioritization skills
  • Thrives in a team environment and builds relationships with individuals at all levels
  • Ability to work in changing environments and shift priorities when needed, adjusting rapidly to the evolving needs of CAH researchers and projects

  • Ability to recognize their own limitations and ask for help when needed
  • Ability to meet strict deadlines and work in a timely manner, keeping CAH leadership up to date with progress


Other (preferred):

  • Working knowledge of social science
  • Familiarity with the research of Dan Ariely and/or the Center for Advanced Hindsight
  • Commitment to continuous learning; Curiosity and a passion for inquiry
  • Led an organization in college
  • Has earned a degree or certification in Charm
  • Opinionated about coffee and/or tea
  • Has a hobby or two


The CAH is interested in people with different backgrounds; some of the things that would be useful but not required are a background in psychology, a passion for testing hypotheses, and an overwhelming desire to help people make better decisions.


The above statements describe the general nature and level of work being performed by individuals assigned to this role. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and duties required of the Development Associate.



  • Work requires communications, analytical and organizational skills generally acquired through completion of a bachelor's degree program
  • Graduate degree preferred but not required



  • Work requires the ability to plan and administer programs and direct program activities within a specific functional area, generally acquired through a minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience
  • Fundraising experience required




What is the Center for Advanced Hindsight?

The Center for Advanced Hindsight is Dan Ariely’s behavioral economics lab at Duke University. We are interested in how and why people make a wide range of decisions, and how certain forces influence our thoughts and behavior. Our research focuses on the faulty assumptions of rational decision making, and strives to unveil how people make decisions in the real world – all kinds of decisions, from what inspires us to work those extra hours, to how much we are willing to spend on black pearls, to what we choose to eat for lunch.


Broadly, our primary research interests include decision-making, thought, preferences, and behavior in the domains of:

  • Health
  • Finance
  • Morality
  • Social and environmental influences on behavior


What About Duke?

Duke has been named as a best place to work by several publications and organizations, including Carolina Parent, Computerworld, The Scientist, and the American Association of Retired Persons, among others. The organizations recognizing Duke represent a diverse range of interests, from family-friendly and preventive health to the needs of IT professionals and academic researchers.


Duke’s comprehensive benefits package includes paid time-off (vacation, holidays, sick leave), health, dental, vision, disability and life insurance, retirement, educational assistance, and support for professional development and training. As an employee of Duke University you would also enjoy numerous discounted services such as health club memberships, movie tickets, dining, and entertainment.



The CAH is a unique working environment, and has acquired a reputation for hosting activities like spontaneous pancake parties, snow cone shindigs, or a lab-wide Color Run. The space is filled with color and hanging chairs, a “Thinking and Dreaming” room, and the occasional art exhibit as a part of our Artistically Irrational series that bridges the gap between the worlds of Art and Science. The lab boasts an airborne remote-control shark, mini hydroponic garden, and the occasional pet sea creature. Not to mention onsite espresso and an ever-changing selection of scrumptious snacks. The work environment is flexible, always evolving, and moves at a pace that even the most highfalutin startups have a hard time keeping up with, and we embrace the momentum with an impassioned sort of grace. It’s not the lifestyle for everyone, but if this sounds appealing, then the CAH might just be the perfect place for you.


Our lab members are as diverse as our daytime activities, with backgrounds ranging from academia to advertising, from public policy to software development. Our work is highly creative and collaborative, and we don’t hesitate to ask for help or to help our peers. And yes, we do walk around in our personalized lab coats that function purely as fashion accessories.