Client Service Associate, East Division

Chicago, IL

Position Purpose

As an integral member of The Alford Group’s consulting team, the Client Service Associate (CSA) works across service lines to function as the primary analyst; a contributor of actionable, data-driven recommendations; a developer of engaging presentations; and a key project manager on projects serving all segments of the social sector, including not-for-profits, foundations, and impact-driven corporations. As such, the CSA is a valued member of every project team on which they serve. As a full-service consulting firm, The Alford Group provides solutions to complex problems related to strategy, fundraising, corporate partnerships, giving, impact measurement, and organizational development. The Alford Group seeks talented professionals with fundraising or philanthropic experience, as well as those with transferable consulting, communications, marketing, and/or strategic planning experience, to join our dynamic team.


Research, Analysis and Presentation

In many instances the CSA serves as the primary analyst of the primary and secondary research that forms the basis for much of the firm’s client work. Depending on the scope of the project, the CSA can be expected to perform some or all of the following functions:

  • Apply a rigorous, analytical approach to client situations to identify solutions that are grounded in evidence and experience.
  • Gather and code primary qualitative research data. Conduct thematic and quantitative analyses to draw conclusions from data gathered.
  • Design, test, and field constituent surveys. Analyze survey data. Design new ways to convey conclusions in creative visual ways and to supplement graphs, charts and tables.
  • Review materials and reports provided by clients as relates to their fundraising function, strategic plans, governance, etc. and identify weaknesses or inconsistencies with best practices and/or organizational goals.
  • Serve as a principal writer and proofreader of work product such as presentations, work plans, case statements, final reports and more.
  • Design and author high-impact reports and presentations using crisp language and engaging data visualizations.
  • Research trends, changes in best practices, products, tools, etc. to inform and improve clients’ work and/or firm methodologies and recommendations.
  • Conduct prospect research on individuals, foundations, corporations, and other funder types as appropriate.

Project Management

Successful project management is critical to producing quality deliverables on time and on budget for our clients. Managing workflow to deadlines is part of every consultant role and especially important in the CSA role. In this capacity the CSA will:

  • Work closely with project leads, project team members and other colleagues to design, plan, coordinate and contribute to the completion of high-quality client work.
  • Maintain day-to-day workflow of project tasks and deliverables in accordance with timelines and competing priorities.
  • Prompt action from clients and colleagues on tasks and deliverables to ensure timely completion.
  • Proactively communicate progress, or lack thereof, against deadlines.
  • Thoughtfully work with colleagues and clients to track deadlines, resolve issues, and address competing demands.
  • Prepare materials—such as agendas, Gantt charts, dashboards, and status reports—to support internal team and client team members in advancing progress.
  • Coordinate meeting preparation and logistics for internal and external appointments.

Business Development and Marketing

Up to 20% of the CSA’s time is devoted to supporting the firm’s business development and the marketing activities of the firm’s consulting staff. In this capacity the CSA may:

  • Research and draft content for white papers, blog posts, social media posts, etc. on topics relevant to the social sector.
  • Create proposals and presentations for sales purposes.
  • Join discovery and business development meetings to capture and interpret needs of potential clients.
  • Maintain the firm’s CRM database and generate analysis and reports.
  • Assist with Website updates.

Characteristics of a successful CSA:

  • Deadline-oriented, with the ability to anticipate client and team needs and mitigate potential roadblocks
  • Detail-oriented, with proven editing capabilities
  • Superior written and oral communication skills
  • Brings a creative eye to the development of engaging presentation of client work, including data visualizations, reports, slide decks, etc.
  • Thoughtful of the relationship between style and substance of work product
  • Adapts quickly and can work simultaneously for numerous project leads
  • Possesses strong client-team and project-team service orientation
  • Open to and comfortable receiving and giving feedback
  • Flexible and willing to handle new and different tasks, including designing and testing new methodology and tools
  • Uses qualitative and quantitative data to guide conclusions and recommendations
  • Successful working independently, as well as in a team environment
  • Experience with donor/customer relationship management software
  • Experience with survey development and other analytical and fundraising and/or project management software and tools
  • Excellent analytical, critical thinking and listening skills


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required. Advanced degree preferred in business, non-profit management, public policy, organizational development, or other relevant field of study
  • At least three years of relevant professional experience, preferably including a substantive fundraising role with a not-for-profit organization.
  • Demonstrated effective verbal and written communication
  • Advanced proficiency with MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook. InDesign or similar expertise is helpful
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the social sector and not-for-profit organizations and/or philanthropic funders
  • Ability to work occasional early mornings, evenings and weekends as required by client and firm engagements
  • Some domestic travel may be required. A valid driver’s license is essential for local travel. The CSA must be able to travel independently, locally and nationally.

Reports to:

East Division Manager


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