Central Park Conservancy

Director of Prospect Research

To Apply

The Central Park Conservancy has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:

Debbie Farrell, Sr. Director of Leadership and Development, Harris Rand Lusk
122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY  10168


Please put “Central Park Conservancy” in the subject line of your emailed application

The Central Park Conservancy (CPC) is a private, nonprofit organization that manages Central Park under a contract with the City of New York and NYC Parks. Each year, more than 42 million people visit Central Park and the Conservancy’s role is to ensure that the park remains a beautiful, clean, and accessible global destination.  The Conservancy restores and maintains the Park’s 843 acres of landscapes, buildings and water bodies, and engages the community.  It is also responsible for raising the majority of the Park’s more than $85 million operating budget. Since its founding in 1980, the organization has overseen the investment of more than a billion dollars toward the health of this precious City resource.

The CPC is poised for significant growth, is preparing for a major campaign and needs to build infrastructure for prospect identification, research and management. This will lead to a more robust Development department and enable the Conservancy to capture innumerable new opportunities to deepen and broaden its base of support and build a sustaining board and major gift pipeline.

The Director of Prospect Research (DPR) will be the dedicated in-house research professional and will weave prospect identification into the current development program while at the same time building operations and infrastructure to support the CPC’s organization-wide prospecting and research efforts. The DPR will work with Conservancy leadership on a strategic prospect research framework that will include technology, systems and ratings, and prospect management, including prospect identification, prioritization, and portfolio assignment. Bringing analysis and data insights, the DPR will transform raw data into digestible, actionable information for the development team. The DPR will collaborate with the Development and the Women’s Committee teams to identify and rate prospects, produce timely research on potential donors, and help track contacts and proposals in the database. The ideal candidate is naturally inquisitive and has strong strategic and tactical data management and development skills. A deep knowledge of the New York City philanthropic community and the ability to recognize trends in the greater philanthropic community is critical.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Work with the VP of Development to develop and implement an organization-wide program for prospect management, including prospect identification, prioritization, and portfolio assignment
  • Together with the Director of Individual Giving, Director of Corporate Giving, Director of Institutional & Planned Giving, and the Women’s Committee, identify, prioritize, and consider engagement steps appropriate for top prospects, in order to achieve fundraising goals
  • Collaborate with development team to advise on defining donor portfolios and creating effective research-based strategies for leadership-level and planned giving prospects
  • Identify new prospects for annual, campaign and special project support, as well as leadership for fundraising events on an ongoing basis
  • Perform research on donor prospects and prospective Board members
  • Develop protocols for organization-wide prospect research including tracking requests from staff and following up on deadlines to ensure timely completion
  • Incorporate industry best practices to ensure the integrity of development data and reporting and efficient stewardship and prospect management initiatives.
  • Prepare accurate, detailed biographical summaries on individuals and organizations to determine prospects’ relationships with the Conservancy, interests, and giving capacity.
  • Develop a rating system for prospects in database and create protocol for data entry
  • Participate in the planning and execution of annual, capital and other campaigns
  • Prepare guest-list briefing memos for Central Park Conservancy events as needed
  • Create sophisticated PowerPoint presentations, extensive lists, mail merges and reports using Raiser’s Edge and Microsoft Excel to present specialized research for meetings and campaign events


  • Bachelor’s degree; minimum of 5 years’ experience working in a strategic fundraising position in prospect research, or research-based donor strategy development
  • Demonstrated experience in devising and operationalizing new systems of data management within a complex organization
  • Expertise in prospect research, development, library research or information related field
  • Knowledge of resources available to prospect researchers and the ability to apply those resources in an organized and purposeful manner.
  • Experience in facilitating organizational change and development within a dynamic institution.
  • Commitment to and passion for the work of the Conservancy
  • Ability to investigate, analyze, and synthesize large quantities of data into a user-friendly and concise format for organizational use
  • Ability to identify philanthropic patterns, tendencies, and relationships among individuals, corporations and foundations
  • Analytical skills and experience interpret financial information for the purposes of wealth assessment (SEC filings, real property files, financial and legal disclosures, etc.)
  • Proven ability to conceptualize and develop proactive prospecting methodologies to support organizational goals, including data mining, sophisticated constituent database queries, etc.
  • Experience working with a CRM
  • Integrity and discretion when working with personal donor details
  • Demonstrated excellent oral and written communication and presentation skills
  • Superior organizational skills with ability to prioritize and manage multiple, diverse, competing tasks
  • Ability to collaborate and work with a team as well as anticipate and solve problems as they arise
  • Strong project management skills and problem-solving skills and demonstrated ability to work in a demanding environment

All positions at the Central Park Conservancy are filled without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law. All are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit https://www.centralparknyc.org/

122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY 10168