Prospect Research Volunteer



Since its inception in 1984, the Surfrider Foundation has evolved into one of the largest non-profit grassroots organizations dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.

The Surfrider Foundation seeks dependable, detail-oriented volunteers who enjoy and succeed at research to conduct research and develop background profiles on individuals, foundations, and corporations that are prospects to provide major philanthropic support for the organization’s work.

This unpaid position provides an excellent opportunity for students with an interest in the not-for-profit sector to gain hands-on experience for their resumes; to acquire an understanding of how not-for-profits identify and secure funding for their programs; and to be a key contributor to the Surfrider Foundation’s success.  The position also provides an opportunity to learn from seasoned Development professionals in a collegial and supportive environment, and to participate in flexible hours on and off-site from the Surfrider office as appropriate.

The Prospect Research Volunteers will be expected to:

  • Use online and other resources to research prospects’ financial capacity, charitable interests, funding guidelines, relevant biographical information, and existing or possible connections to the Surfrider Foundation’s work.
  • Condense research into well-written, concise profiles on prospects based on a combination of data from the Surfrider Foundation database, documentation found online, and other sources per the guidance of Development staff.
  • Demonstrate strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrate discretion with donor information that is sensitive/confidential.
  • Adhere to high standards for accuracy.  The information provided by volunteers will be used by senior staff and board members for strategy development and preparation for donor meetings. Accuracy is therefore critically important.
  • Show resourcefulness in tracking down relevant information to inform staff fundraising strategies.
  • Succeed in a deadline-driven environment.


  • Enrollment in the junior or senior year of a Bachelor’s degree program, or higher level of education.
  • Administrative, research, and/or not-for-profit experience.
  • Independent access to the Internet and, potentially, online research sources such as Lexis-Nexis and other subscription databases through a university library or other resource.
  • Inquisitive and sharp mind; aptitude for analyzing and interpreting data which could include tax returns, property records, SEC filings, etc.).
  • Proven writing skills.
  • Excellent computer skills: internet search engines; data retrieval services (e.g. LexisNexis); MS Word, Excel.
  • Ability to act with sensitivity and discretion while working with highly confidential donor information.
  • Flexible attitude: the ability to work productively in a team environment and independently, and the willingness to shift priorities per the guidance of staff supervisors.
  • Interest in fundraising and/or not-for-profit management.
  • An interest in environmental issues.

Please submit a resume, brief letter of interest, and two writing samples demonstrating a narrative synthesis of information to:

Tara D’Andrea, Associate Director of Development at

*No walk-ins or calls will be accepted, thank you for understanding.