Job Overview


About the Agency

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is a component of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).  The position of Staff Assistant is located in SAO's Office of Advancement and External Affairs.  This position provides technical and administrative support to staff members in the areas of advancement and external affairs.


Duties may include but are not limited to:
Administrative Support:

  • Compiles data for reports with responsibility for drafting text, recommending graphic design, and providing statistical tables.
  • Tracks all correspondence, facsimile, reports, etc., and follows-up to ensure timely action and response.
  • In coordination with staff or supervisor, arranges for meeting, contacts participants, assembles correspondence, records, reports, and other materials.
  • Prepares travel authorizations, vouchers, and miscellaneous vouchers, prepares requisitions, and complies data for budget submissions, etc.

External Relations:
  • Coordinates mailings for invitations and tracks responses.
  • Works cooperatively with advancement staff in overseeing layout and copies prior to submitting mailings for invitations, solicitation packages, and correspondence.
  • Assembles solicitation packages.
  • Prepares preliminary drafts of correspondence, etc.
  • Maintains and updates personal biographical and gift information for program rosters and for use in assessment of constituents’ participation patterns.
  • Ensures materials are current and makes necessary arrangements for updates.
  • Assists in drafting and proofreading correspondence, presentations, brochures, etc.
  • Assists with escorting guests as assigned.
  • Assists with logistical preparations for special events including food and beverage service, decor, lighting, sound and music, protocol, seating, invitations, etc.

Gift Processing
  • Ensures new gifts/payments/pledges are properly recorded by the Office of Advancement and External Affairs.
  • As assigned, coordinates with the SI Office of the Gift Registrar to resolve discrepancies, to verify that information is current and accurate, and to reconcile records between SAO, the central office, and the Office of the Comptroller and the Treasurer. The incumbent notifies the supervisor of discrepancies that warrant higher level attention.
  • Is responsible for preparing deposit documents for all gifts received and ensuring that all records are properly annotated within advancement records.
  • Identifies, organizes, and provides information on areas of donor interest, and drafts profiles of prospects and complies findings for consideration by advancement staff.
  • Maintains and updates personal biographical and gift information for program rosters and for use in assessment of constituents' participation patterns.

Events Coordination:
  • Assists in the planning of SAO events such as selected scientific symposia, special high-profile Observatory lectures, and Congressional visits.
  • Recommends vendors, transportation and accommodations; coordinates implementation details from room reservations, to requisitions and vendor contracts.
  • Assists in the design of event invitations, programs, posters and other materials.
  • Tracks and reports all expenses for each event and compares to budgets and estimated expenses.

Travel Required

  • Occasional Travel
  • Occasional travel required

Relocation Authorized

  • No