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1 Mar 2021

Full-Time Researcher

Third Plateau – Posted by Third Plateau Sacramento, California, United States

Job Description

At Third Plateau, we know the power of diverse teams. To this end, we seek to reach a broad and diverse pool of applicants for each role to ensure our final candidates are not a homogenous group in terms of demographics or experience and have designed our application process (detailed at the bottom) in a way that recognizes and decreases our own implicit and explicit biases. You can read more about our commitment and ongoing work related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) here. We welcome, encourage, and recruit applicants of all backgrounds to apply.

Third Plateau is committed to providing equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to their race, color, age, religious creed, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics.




Position Overview: Third Plateau, a multi-disciplinary social impact strategy firm, is growing! We are looking for a self-directed professional to serve as a Researcher on our Research, Evaluation, and Learning Team. Under the guidance of Third Plateau’s Senior Researcher, the position will primarily focus on the implementation, analysis, and presentation of research, evaluation, and learning projects for Third Plateau’s diverse set of clients. The Researcher will also be expected to lead and attend client meetings, present and share findings in a way that is actionable, and help manage client relationships. Top candidates will have experience in conducting and synthesizing quantitative and qualitative research, be exceptionally strong writers, be able to work under tight deadlines, be able to juggle multiple assignments simultaneously, and be hungry to learn and continuously improve.


Application Deadline: Rolling, first review March 15, 2021

Start Date: ASAP (preferably April/May 2021)

Location: California (Bay Area or Sacramento preferred but not required)

Starting Annual Salary: $75,000, with additional compensation through bonuses

Benefits: In addition to collaborating with an incredible team of social impact professionals, benefits include:

  • Premium health, dental, and vision insurance
  • Retirement plan with employer matching
  • Unlimited routine time off
  • Wellness program ($500/year to invest in your personal wellness)
  • Professional development and curated team learning opportunities
  • Cell phone reimbursement ($60/month)
  • Please note that we are currently working from home until it is deemed safe to return to the office setting. During this time, Third Plateau is covering at-home internet expenses (up to $50/month).



Third Plateau is a multi-disciplinary social impact strategy firm with an aim to create a world with abundant and equitable opportunity for all. We partner with people and organizations with game-changing ideas to improve the world, and we help them maximize their impact. Our values are at the center of everything that we do:



We seek big challenges because we know those are the ones worth tackling. We bring our A-game and entrepreneurial mindset into everything we do, relentlessly pursuing excellence and refusing to accept the status quo. We take smart risks and push ourselves and those around us to think expansively.


We are intensely curious. We question everything. We experiment. We are voracious consumers of information from a variety of sources and disciplines because we understand that knowledge is absolutely essential for effective innovation. We are researchers, investigators, and explorers.


Relationships are at our core. Through empathy, we develop deep and authentic connections with those around us. We curate our networks with intention because when the right people are connected with the right ideas, great things are bound to happen.


It’s not enough for us to change the world; we’re going to have a blast while we do it. If we’re not loving life while driving impact, we’re doing it wrong.


We work in five main ways:


Social Impact Strategy

We partner with social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, public entities, and other mission-driven organizations around the world on program design, business planning, community engagement, strategic planning, and development strategy. We also partner with funders to provide capacity-building support to their grantees.

Philanthropic Advising

We advise individual donors, foundations, and companies on making their philanthropic giving more meaningful, strategic, and impactful; and we help funders think more expansively about their potential social impact.

Foundation Management

We help private, family, and independent foundations become more effective by providing back-office support, managing grants, and overseeing the financial administration and accounting of their operations.

Research & Evaluation

We support nonprofits to design meaningful metrics, conduct impact audits, and research and analyze market landscapes.

Leadership Development

We empower individual leaders and teams to unlock their potential through executive coaching, team coaching, culture setting, and board development.


Third Plateau was founded in 2011 and is a dynamic and growing firm. We currently have 22 team members and are currently hiring for multiple positions; we anticipate being a team of 27 by mid-year. We have offices in Sacramento and the Bay Area, and remote employees in Florida and New England.

Our projects focus on a wide range of social issues, including but not limited to: poverty alleviation, education, health and wellness, racial and gender justice, climate change, international development, civic engagement, Indigenous rights, and Jewish community impact.



The Researcher will serve as an integral part of the Third Plateau team. Under the guidance of Third Plateau’s Senior Researcher, the Researcher will primarily focus on qualitative and quantitative research, data collection and analysis, and writing, and will be required to rapidly shift from project to project in a way that maximizes learning and cross-pollination across our work. Potential projects include, but are not limited to:


  • Conducting research and determining methods and methodologies to best answer clients’ research questions;
  • Facilitating, coding, and synthesizing information from interviews;
  • Building and analyzing surveys;
  • Desk research on a variety of topics including client markets, landscapes, and issues in various fields;
  • Supporting quantitative and qualitative evaluations;
  • Executing donor prospect research;
  • Analyzing philanthropic investments over time;
  • Preparing and presenting research to clients in creative and engaging ways; and
  • Providing research operations support across projects.


The Researcher will be a critical thinker. We don’t know everything, and we know you don’t know everything – yet we live in a world flush with information. This position requires intense curiosity, an ability to ask the right questions, good listening skills, an eagerness to learn, an open mind, resourcefulness, a commitment to rigor, and an ability to find, evaluate, and assimilate qualitative and quantitative information. To be successful in this role, you need to be highly “information literate,” knowing how and where to find information, and how to assess it for accuracy and credibility.


The Researcher will apply the most effective and efficient ‘ways of knowing’. Learning questions are part of many of our projects: How do organizations tend to approach systems change? What are the latest developments in land and water policy for Indigenous Peoples in the United States? What are the best practices in leadership development for teens? When faced with questions like these that require research to answer, we turn to our Research, Evaluation, and Learning Team to identify and develop the most relevant and appropriate research methods to answer the question, and to make sound methodological justifications for using them. There are a multitude of different ‘ways of knowing’, and we expect you to become knowledgeable about the range of possible approaches and skilled in effectively selecting and applying them to our work.


The Researcher will be a top-notch communicator. The Researcher will be charged with collecting and synthesizing large amounts of qualitative and quantitative information and communicating the key findings and recommendations in a compelling way. We expect you to be a concise and efficient writer, a strong copy editor, and able to produce client-ready work with little-to-no editorial oversight. We also expect you to think outside of the box—we look to our Research, Evaluation, and Learning Team to think creatively about how to communicate and socialize research findings through written, visual, and real-time mediums in accessible, engaging, and actionable ways for our diverse set of clients.


The Researcher will be a do-er. The Researcher will be responsible for producing a high-volume of critical research and writing for our clients. We expect you to be excited by and capable of taking initiative and ownership of your projects, asking questions and leveraging our diverse team, and demonstrating how-to thinking and a knack for getting things done.




To be successful in this job, you will excel in the following key areas:



You have a strong technical background and understanding of social science research, evaluation, and/or policy research. You understand and apply these with rigor appropriate to an academic context and are able to communicate and utilize them in a way that is flexible and appropriate to colleagues, clients, and practitioners from a wide variety of non-research backgrounds.


Nuanced thinking

You don’t see the world in black and white. You tend towards constructive skepticism, but you are careful not to veer into cynicism. You’re able to take in and triangulate diverse perspectives and information and can understand the limitations to what can be known and asserted from the information you have.



You stay on top of your work, can handle many moving parts with ease, and have a habit of building sound processes where there were none before.


Attention to detail

You strive for perfection and have a mind that can simultaneously focus on the big picture while also caring deeply about the smallest details of a project.



You are an exceptionally strong and creative communicator. You can translate complicated information into accessible insights. You’re a capable facilitator and interpersonal communicator – verbally, visually, and in writing.


Learning quickly

We don’t expect you to know everything, but we do expect you to be a quick and perceptive learner and to acknowledge what you don’t know.



You collaborate effectively in a cross-functional team. You find ways to contribute that work for you and add value.


Calmness under pressure

You thrive in a fast-paced work environment and can stay relaxed and focused when juggling many projects and deadlines, including when they arise at the last minute.


Interpersonal ability

You must be able to build trust and goodwill with team members and our clients. You’re the kind of person who knows how to get along well with others and anticipate their needs. You thrive when working efficiently and collaboratively across teams.



You are ambitious and creative, and you are excited about the idea of building something meaningful. You notice problems and want to find ways to solve them. You are excited to be a part of creating a solution.


Other important things to note:


  • You will need to bring an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a willingness to speak up when you see us fall short. This is a major focus of ours and expect it to be of yours, too. Top candidates will firmly believe that diversity of experiences and voices leads to better outcomes, and they will have demonstrated a consistent commitment to this belief both personally and professionally.


  • Researchers take varying amounts of autonomy in their projects. You will need to be equally comfortable leading project components as you are in plugging into an existing structure.


  • We are a small company that embraces a start-up attitude. Third Plateau is going to continue its significant growth over the coming years, and we are looking for someone who wants to grow with us.


  • We are committed to delivering the highest quality of work, and we want you to be You should be able to work in a fast-paced environment, while also having fun and integrating self-care in whatever ways are meaningful to you.


  • Fluency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) is a must. It is a plus to have experience with:
    • Statistical analysis software (i.e. SPSS, R, Stata, etc.);
    • CAQDA software (i.e. MAXQDA, InVivo, Dedoose, etc.);
    • Survey building platforms (i.e. SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, Qualtrics, etc.); and
    • Data visualization and business intelligence platforms (i.e. Tableau, PowerBI, etc.).


  • Professional experience is required; two to five years of experience is recommended.


  • Other qualities we are looking for include confidence, self-awareness, willingness and ability to travel (once COVID-19 ends), passion, leadership, and curiosity.


  • Skills that would be great but are not necessary include graphic design and web development. Past experience with nonprofits, foundations, governments, or mission-driven companies is a plus.




Please submit your application using the following form as soon as you can, with the first review starting March 15, 2021:


Application Form: https://airtable.com/shrBDXXiCfWpeh46o


The form will require the following information:


  • Your full name
  • Your phone number (including area code)
  • Your email address
  • Where you heard about this position (optional)


You will also be required to upload two SEPARATE documents:


  1. A one-page PDF that answers two questions (and one optional question):


  • Why do this position and firm make sense for the next step in your career?
  • How are you uniquely qualified to enhance the Third Plateau team and our work?
  • OPTIONAL: How will the different pieces of your identity contribute to this team and work? Please share as much detail as you feel comfortable sharing to help us create a team that represents a diverse set of identities.


Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well, here’s the big catch: you cannot use proper nouns in your response. Yep, you read that right. You are not allowed to mention by name what schools you’ve gone to, the names of organizations you’ve worked at, or who your paternal great grandmother was. Instead, focus on the substance of what you’ve learned, how you’ve developed, and how you can contribute to Third Plateau. (“Third Plateau,” by the way, is the only proper noun you are allowed to use in your 1-pager.)


Please save this proper noun-free PDF with the following title structure: Researcher –Cover Letter [seven-digit phone number with no dashes]. Your seven-digit phone number (i.e., your phone number WITHOUT the area code) will be used as an internal identification number to help keep your application anonymous during the review process.


  1. Your resume with the following modifications:


  • Your seven-digit phone number (i.e., your phone number WITHOUT the area code), with no dashes, in the place of your name.
  • Remove any reference to your home address and email.


Please save this name-free PDF with the following title structure: Researcher – Resume [seven-digit phone number with no dashes] Your seven-digit phone number (i.e., your phone number WITHOUT the area code) will be used as an internal identification number to help keep your application anonymous during the review process.


We are working hard to build a blind review process that minimizes implicit and explicit biases from the hiring process, so welcome to the latest iteration of our experiment to do just that! Please note that if your application does not follow the specific directions outlined above, it is possible that it will not be considered. We hope you can get creative and have fun with it!


Once applications are submitted, on a rolling basis, a Third Plateau team member will notify top candidates of next steps.




Interested in applying? Want to know more? Not sure if Third Plateau is the place for you? We’re here to help! We will be hosting an informational webinar on Wednesday March 3rd from 4pm – 5pm PT with members of our current team to help you get a sense of how we think about our work and engage together. It is also an opportunity to ask any questions about the firm or position to help you decide if Third Plateau could be a great place for you to work. The Q&A will be anonymous and not directly impact hiring decisions.


You can register for the webinar via this link.



Can’t make the webinar? We will post the recording on our website, and you can submit questions to jo**@th**********.com.



As part of our efforts to broaden and diversify our applicant pool, a third party is collecting optional, anonymous data from applicants. This data will be shared in the aggregate with Third Plateau leadership and will be used to help us learn about the ways in which our applicant pool is diverse and whether our efforts of recruiting diverse talent are paying off.


To participate in this optional survey, please go to the following link:



Important notes:

  • This survey is anonymous – it will not ask for your name, email, or phone number at any point
  • This survey is optional – you are not required to share your information, and not doing so will have no impact on your candidacy for the position moving forward
  • This survey is run by a third party – HR to Go, a third-party HR consulting firm will be administering this survey on a platform outside of Third Plateau. HR to Go will only share aggregated results with members of the Third Plateau team. At no time will individual-level data be shared.


Thank you for helping us become more data-informed as a firm!


Third Plateau is committed to providing equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to their race, color, age, religious creed, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics as may be protected by applicable law.



To view additional openings, please visit our job board at https://www.thirdplateau.com/jobs.





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Job Types: Full-Time. Job Tags: DEI, Research, and social impact. Salaries: 60,000 - 80,000.

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