IFF, Research Associate in Chicago; accepting applications now

The application deadline for this job posting has passed. Although you can still view the information no new applications for this job are currently being accepted.
Reference: JOB36543
Application deadline: CLOSED

Reports to: Director of Research


The Research Associate will work independently and be a member of a team responsible for applied research projects that inform the allocation of resources, policy and practice. The Research Associate participates in the planning and implementation of research projects: prepares, analyzes and evaluates data using statistical software (SPSS); designs and produces maps using Geographic Information System (ArcGIS) software; and prepares documents, reports, briefs, charts, and graphs that describe and interpret findings.

The Organization

One of America’s leading nonprofit community development financial institutions (CDFIs), IFF strengthens nonprofits and their communities through lending and real estate consulting that helps these organizations plan, finance, and build facilities that are critical to their success. Founded in 1988, IFF has total assets of more than $215 million and serves nonprofits working with low-income communities and special needs populations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. IFF has a staff of 58 and offices throughout the region.

The Research Department produces high-impact applied research to inform, guide and influence decision-making of state, regional, municipal and nonprofit organizations.

Staff contributes its extensive business experience with an unrivaled connection to the mission of IFF and the nonprofit clients it serves. IFF is looking for candidates with a commitment to the work it does and can demonstrate their creativity, detail-orientation, diligence, efficiency, enthusiasm, flexibility, organization, thoughtfulness, and sense of humor.

Responsibilities of the Position

Identifies, researches, compiles and evaluates datasets, background information and/or public policy relevant to applied research-consulting projects and IFF initiatives.

  • Assists in the design and implementation of qualitative and quantitative data collection instruments and applied research-consulting projects.
  • Researches, procures and analyzes large and small public, proprietary and subscriber datasets relevant to IFF initiatives, including census data, demographic estimates, administrative data, such as school enrollment and nonprofit client data.
  • Manages data collections from clients (foundations, nonprofit corporations and government agencies) for applied research-consulting projects. Reviews research proposals, methodologies and data requests to complete data collections.
  • Evaluates the quality, consistency and accuracy of data, and completeness of datasets. Prepares, processes and analyzes data, using Excel, SPSS and ArcGIS--independently and in consultation with supervisor.
  • Maintains statistical and bibliographic databases relevant to IFF initiatives and research-consulting projects. Conducts and annotates literature reviews.

Presents findings visually, orally and in writing, as appropriate. Contributes visual and written materials to reports, publications and proposals

  • Designs and produces maps, charts and graphs that describe and interpret findings, and efficiently and effectively reveal spatial and statistical relationships.
  • Designs and produces maps for internal and external audiences, for IFF initiatives and IFF clients, and for reports and proposals, as needed.
  • Writes portions of reports, briefs and analysis that describe and interpret findings.
  • Clearly communicates knowledge and findings of research projects to internal and external clients, and represent the Research Department and IFF in a professional manner.

Assesses status of projects, identifies actual or potential problems with data or research projects, and facilitates solutions--in consultation with supervisor.

Responds professionally to feedback from clients, team members and management.

Participates on staff inter-departmental teams to complete multi-disciplinary research projects that provide solutions to internal IFF initiatives and to clients.

Maintains required job knowledge and skills and core professional competencies. Attends and participates in required educational programs and staff meetings. Develops and completes annual professional development plan--in consultation with supervisor.

Desired Skills and Experience

Experience: At least three years relevant experience in a research-related, economic or community development, public policy, nonprofit or government administration position preferred.

Special Knowledge & Skills: Demonstrated ability to analyze descriptive and inferential statistics, including demographic, healthcare, educational, housing or economic data.

  • Familiarity with major issues in the fields of housing, public education, community development, food access, community assets, social and human services and healthcare, and specialized knowledge in one or more areas.
  • Ability to focus on details and data concurrent with analysis of systemic and organizational implications of research projects.
  • Advanced critical thinking skills, exhibited by the ability to take information from a wide variety of sources and synthesize/analyze the information in the context of a research project.

Demonstrated experience using evaluation methodology and the application of research results in organizational decision making.

Demonstrated proficiency and experience in GIS (ArcGIS), Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and statistical software programs (SPSS, R, SAS).

Demonstrated knowledge and experience of research principles and applied research design.

Ability to communicate research findings visually, in writing and orally.

Ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Unusual Physical Requirements: Minimal regional travel may be required. Occasional evening and weekend work may be required.


Master’s Degree or Ph.D. preferred, in urban planning, public policy, economics or social sciences.


To apply, submit a cover letter, resume and qualifications to:

John Kuhnen
Chief Administrative Officer
One North LaSalle, Suite 700
Chicago, IL 60602
No phone calls