Employment Opportunities

External Relations & Development Manager

The CIS is Australia’s premier independent think tank.  Our mission is to produce, disseminate and promote reasoned, non-partisan, fact-based practical research that supports individual liberty and responsibility, free enterprise, limited government and the rule of law.  The CIS is not directed by the latest political or social trends.  We work to develop long term solutions to the big policy issues.         
Our independence from government funding, consulting work and grants make the CIS an extremely rare organisation in Australia.  This independence means that building strong relationships that lead to strong personal involvement and financial support for the CIS is critical.
The CIS has an exciting opportunity for a person who is passionate about our mission, enjoys connecting with people and organisations and is prepared to assist with selling the message.  The person has to have the skills to leverage relationships, excite people about the CIS mission and assist the Executive Director in achieving the fundraising goals.
The person will be responsible for researching, analysing and approaching funding sources for CIS projects and programs; helping the Executive Director develop strategies to build CIS relationships within the business community; building and strengthening relationships with current and future supporters; assisting researchers in reporting to PAF’s and foundations.

In general applicants must have:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills with proven ability to liaise, and consult confidently and professionally with donors, staff and other stakeholders at all levels
  • Exceptional written communication skills with experience in developing proposals and writing funding letters
  • High level ability to think both strategically and tactically about the relationships between potential funders and fundraising goals and work with CIS senior management to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Well-developed planning and organisational skills with the ability to prioritise your workload, meet deadlines and work under pressure if needed
  • A proactive approach to fundraising and relationship building
  • Happy to ‘muck in’ when needed and be a team player
  • The mindset that enjoys dealing with administrative details and would relish the recording and linking of individual and organizational relationships
  • Great attention to details

The role will involve:

  • Helping maintain current funders and identifying prospects who could be more significant funders.
  • Building the prospect list and implementing actions such as meetings, letters and functions for the appropriate person eg. ED, a board member or a researcher
  • Implementing and continually update the recording and reporting on all prospects and all current funders
  • Identifying possible new foundation funding
  • Working with researchers to develop and write prospectuses when required
  • Writing foundation progress reports
  • Working with the board in any capacity they require
  • Working with the ED and his EA to organise meetings, activities etc

Your skills & experience will include:

  • Experience in coordinating fundraising or relationship based programs (or similar) and proven success in donor/customer cultivation and stewardship
  • Proven high level ability in formulating a strategic plan and action plan
  • Ability to establish and monitor budgets
  • Experience working with excel databases and CRM programs
  • A demonstrated ability to use data and segmentation to tailor communications and drive response
  • A demonstrated ability in creating compelling donor proposals and stories

If you believe you have the skills and the passion for a role in development management and have a strong commitment to the ideals of the CIS please send your CV and a cover letter to Jenny Lindsay at jlindsay@cis.org.au telling us what you could offer in the role.

Salary will reflect the person’s level of experience and the job will remain open until we find the right candidate.

Research Fellow –  Indigenous Program

We are seeking a public policy expert with experience or involvement in Indigenous affairs to join our research team and take over the leadership of our Indigenous Prosperity Project. This position will suit a person with a passion for researching and promoting market-based solutions for public policy issues.The work done by the CIS is both rigorous and practical and the person we are looking for is someone who will be able to manage a research project, engage with the media and policy community to communicate the findings and propel changes in thinking on important policy issues. An understanding of the support structures in place for Indigenous people and a knowledge or involvement in Indigenous social and economic programs would be advantageous. The Indigenous Prosperity Project is a research program focused on identifying the practical measures that will enable Indigenous communities to improve their economic outcomes and bring about meaningful and sustainable change. As part of this research, we are looking at how a more enabling environment for Indigenous enterprise could be created, and which models of support and corporate partnerships work most effectively in which context.

The project is well underway and has already had an impact with reports such as Mapping the Indigenous Program and Funding Maze and Evaluating Indigenous Programs: A Toolkit for change.

The program structure is in place and research topics decided upon, though there is some flexibility in how the research is carried out.

The position is based in Sydney and we are looking for someone to start as soon as possible.  The role is currently full-time but we will consider strong part-time candidates.

Role and Responsibilities

  • Undertake research projects and develop evidence-based policy recommendations presented in multiple formats (reports, commentary and multimedia).
  • The candidate must have clear ideas for the development of research reports and be able to set and meet research deadlines
  • Communicate the research work to CIS supporters, business, government and the general public through meetings, public presentations, media work and speeches.
  • Articulate CIS policy positions through media appearances, speaking at events and interviews on television and radio.
  • Write opinion pieces for hard copy and online newspapers and blogs.
  • Contribute articles to CIS publications such as POLICY magazine and our web-based newsletter ‘ideas’.
  • Engage with supporters on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Ability to work well with a small team.

Qualifications and Background

  • A postgraduate qualification is highly desired. However exceptional candidates with lower level degrees will be considered. Proven skills in statistical analysis and research analysis will be looked at favourably.
  • Previous writing experience, including opinion pieces, journal articles or online publications (ideally substantive research-based pieces).
  • Demonstrated experience in public policy development, preferably within government or think tanks, or within academia, business or the volunteer sector.
  • Strong interest in contributing to the debate around public policy issues.
  • Strong communication skills particularly with media.
  • Good analytical skills.
  • A genuine interest and understanding of the philosophical direction of The Centre for Independent Studies.


  • Salary will be commensurate with experience
  •  Interstate or overseas applicants must be able to move to Sydney.Written emailed applications only. Please include a cover letter addressing the position criteria, your CV and three referees.  If you would like to discuss the role before applying please call Simon Cowan on 02 9438 4377.
    Email: scowan@cis.org.au


A small number of short-term unpaid internships are available throughout the year. If you would like to be considered for a position during 2017 please send in your CV and a cover letter and we will add you to the waiting list and contact you when a position becomes available.

We select interns on three main criteria:

1. That the intern is studying in a field that we have a research interest in or that they are prepared to be involved in the project we offer them which may not be directly research oriented.
2. That a mentor within the CIS is available to work with the intern. We have found that the experience is less than satisfactory on both sides if there isn’t a real project to be worked on and real support for the intern.
3. That you are available to work at our office at 131 Macquarie St Sydney

Please send your CV and a cover letter explaining why you would like to intern at the CIS. We would also like to know your availability. For your information, we have had interns who have worked with us for 12-14 weeks for 1 day a week and others who have worked 2-3 days a week over a shorter period of time in holiday periods.

Please send your application to Jenny Lindsay jlindsay@cis.org.au