Research Analyst, Skoll Foundation (Palo Alto, CA)

TitleResearch Analyst
LocationPalo Alto, CA
About the Skoll Foundation
The Skoll Foundation was created by Jeff Skoll in 1999 to pursue his vision of a more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. The mission of the Skoll Foundation is to drive large-­scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are society’s change agents – creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world for the better. By identifying the people and programs already enacting positive change throughout the world, the Foundation empowers them to extend their reach, deepen their impact and fundamentally improve society.
The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship
The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship is the flagship program of the Skoll Foundation. Every year, four to six extraordinary social entrepreneurs are awarded a multi-­year grant for their work creating innovative models to spark large-­scale change. Their innovation has the potential to reduce economic disparities, increase opportunities for the disadvantaged, promote healthy communities and increase the interpersonal and intercultural understanding that is the foundation for world peace. The Foundation applies its own resources, skills and assets—augmented by its networks of investors, media and other strategic partners—to accelerate innovations and break down the barriers to social change. Over the past 14 years, the Skoll Awards program has invested in more than 111 social entrepreneurs and 91 organizations around the world.
Position Summary
The Research Analyst plays a key role in driving the selection of new social entrepreneurs each year and helps to develop a healthy, long-­term pipeline of potential Skoll Awardees. Reporting to the Director of Social Entrepreneurship and working in close collaboration with the Chief Strategy Officer, executive team, and other Skoll program and practice teams, the Research Analyst leads early due diligence into potential Skoll Awardees to ensure that the Foundation is objective, consistent, and focused on impact.
Primary Responsibilities
  • Conduct initial research and analysis on potential new Skoll Award candidates. Evaluate organizations that are new to the Skoll Awards pipeline and provide the first look into a candidate’s alignment with the Skoll Awards criteria. Research issue and organizational information, develop high-­quality analyses, and identify key questions for future rounds of due diligence.
  • Collaborate with the Skoll Awards team to determine which candidates advance in the selection process. With input from the team, apply the Foundation’s investment philosophy objectively and consistently across all of the candidate organizations being considered, while at the same time continually raising the bar in key areas, like assessing impact, year over year.
  • Design tools and processes for efficiently identifying potential candidates. Across a wide network of referral partners and sources, identifying and delivering efficient ways to ensure that the foundation is well­informed, well-­calibrated and up-to-­date in its sourcing of prospective candidates for the Award.
  • Create and deliver metrics and tools that support consistent, respectful and efficient continuous improvement of the Skoll Awards process. Partnering with the Program Manager for Skoll Awards, respectfully and responsibly communicate the Skoll Foundation’s investment philosophy, process, and results across a network of thousands of partners and potential awardees. Work collaboratively with the Analysis and Insights team to build knowledge and networks with various stakeholders such as domain experts, policy makers, funders, thought leaders, and partner organizations.
  • Conduct final onsite due diligence. Work with Skoll Foundation Principals to meet social entrepreneurs all around the world, observe their work in the field, and conduct late-­stage evaluation of Skoll awardee candidates. Present recommendations to the executive team and Board of Directors for final consideration.
Ideal Candidate
The Skoll Foundation seeks a seasoned, strategic business professional who leads with tough-­minded optimism and a global view. The successful candidate must thoroughly understand the dynamics of organizational growth, scale and investment—in both for-­profits and nonprofits. Candidates should have a balance of analytical rigor and compassion for the human condition to undertake the Foundation’s mission.
Demonstrated expertise in the evaluation of business models, financials, and data as well as strong investigative skills and a relentless attention to detail are necessary for success in this role. Critical thinking and the ability to communicate findings clearly are also essential. Knowledge of the purpose, application and limitations of formal social impact evaluation methodologies is a plus.
High potential candidates will have a pragmatic, empathetic field view, while also having the insight to recognize innovations that target real systems change rather than incremental impact. It is important that the Research Analyst be self-­aware and able to reflect on lessons learned to inform future work.
The ideal candidate is a nimble generalist with the intellectual capacity and motivation to quickly grasp Skoll’s interconnected focus areas. The Research Analyst must be resourceful and hands-­on, and driven to work in a lean, intense, results-­oriented environment with a high level of integrity, humility, and discretion. A collaborative nature, sound judgment, and a good sense of humor are also important characteristics to have.
Excellent interpersonal skills and the cultural fluency that comes from direct experience with the developing world are paramount to this role. Candidates must be effective team players and relationship builders with individuals from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. An understanding of what drives social entrepreneurs and the ability to get things done in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges are key indicators for success in the role.
The Research Analyst must be comfortable with a high degree of individual responsibility for making thorough assessments amid tight timeframes, analyzing opportunities and risk, producing high-­quality documents and graphic materials, maintaining reporting, and soliciting and incorporating feedback with the aim of continuous improvement, learning and contribution to team performance.
To learn more, please see the full position profile here.
Qualifications and Abilities
Candidates should have a minimum of 5 years of experience researching, collecting and analyzing information across multiple sectors and industries, and ideally in the context of assessing business models and/or scaling entrepreneurial organizations. Experience living and working in the developing world is highly valued. Excellent verbal and written communications skills are imperative. A Bachelor’s degree is required. An advanced degree is preferred. Must be available for international travel.
The Skoll Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. Please send your resume and a cover letter expressing your passion for the mission and your fit for the role to Melissa Merritt at

Posted by Craig Zelizer on June 23, 2015 at 6:40am
This material is cross-posted from the Peace and Collaborative Development Network, and appears to be an interesting opportunity for the Humphrey community.   This is meant for information sharing purposes only. 

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