The Breakthrough Institute is an energy and environmental research center based in Oakland, California. Our work is premised on the belief that humans can protect nature by using technology to limit the negative impacts on the environment. Basically, we envision a world that is good for both people and nature. We achieve this goal through our three focus areas: energy, conservation, and food and farming. We’re a great team to join. Here’s why.

1. Do a lot. You will get the chance to play an integral role in fundraising and event planning. You will gain first-hand experience working on everything from logistics to content creation to event production on a mix of events with diverse topics. Plus, you’ll get to support the development efforts that make them possible.

2. Learn from the best in the business. You may not have heard of us, but we guarantee you have heard of the ideas that have originated from our research. We convene a powerful network of social scientists, journalists, scholars, academics, innovators, and entrepreneurs. As a part of the team, you will get to learn from the thought leaders and influencers in energy and the environment.

3. Brilliant coworkers who love what they do. We are in this for the same reason – to make a positive impact on the world around us – so we build each other up, support each other, and put our mission above our egos. We’re a friendly and collaborative group. That means you will be able to learn and work with a wide variety of people and skills.

Development Associates

We’re looking for a Development Associate to join our team. This is an entry-level position, will report to the Operations Director, and will be responsible for:

  • Working with senior staff and assisting with implementing development strategies by compiling donor briefings, preliminary research on prospective donors, sending acknowledgments, scheduling meetings, creating reports, and database management.
  • Helping write and manage grant reports and proposals with the Deputy Director, keeping track of foundation funding cycles, and be a primary contact for all individual donors and foundations
  • Coordinating donor stewardship and prospect cultivation, including funder communications and scheduling development meetings for the executive director and deputy director
  • Performing other tasks related to development and fundraising needs
  • Traveling locally and nationally for events as necessary
  • Assisting senior staff with other administrative duties as they arise

Qualities you should possess:

  • Openness to implementing unconventional and innovative ideas.
  • Be a team player.
  • Be self-starting, resourceful, and organized.
  • Have the ability to manage multiple projects and meet deadlines.
  • Be a proactive problem solver.
  • Have strong attention to detail.
  • Have excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • A willingness to learn.

Preferred experience:

  • Bachelor's degree with 1-2 years of related work experience in development.
  • Familiarity with Raiser’s Edge or other CRMs.
  • Comfort with Google applications (Gmail, Google docs, calendar, etc).
  • Comfort with Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • Comfort with outreach to donors, event guests, external stakeholders, etc.


Salary is in the $40 - 45K range. Excellent health insurance, paid leave, cell phone reimbursement, and commuter benefits. We are located in downtown Oakland, right above the 12th Street Oakland BART station.

Does this sound like you? If so, apply here.

Send a thoughtful letter of interest, resume, and three references (name, affiliation, email, and phone number) to Grace Choi at jobs[at]thebreakthrough[dot]org. Use the subject line “Name - Development Associate.” No phone calls please.