Associate Director Content Strategy and Donor Relations

Associate Director Content Strategy and Donor Relations

Associate Director Content Strategy and Donor Relations 150 150
American Friends of Cancer Research, Inc.
November 3, 2021
Job Type
Contact Name (not public)
Corinne Carroll


The American Friends of Cancer Research, Inc. is an independent US 501(c)3 registered not-for-profit.  It is organized to support unique, large-scale, global research collaborations in partnership with other scientific funders, including Cancer Research UK (CRUK), to catalyze transformational breakthroughs in our understanding of cancer that lead to new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancers.

American Friends of Cancer Research, Inc. aims to accelerate biomedical progress by supporting scientific initiatives that look beyond institutional, disciplinary and geographic boundaries through convening and supporting the world’s best researchers – the top tier from every country- in ambitious, coordinated, well-organized and orchestrated strategies focused on big problems that when solved have the potential to impact cancer survival globally, and enhance long term health and well-being.

The principal focus of American Friends of Cancer Research, Inc. will be to support flagship global initiatives often led and developed by CRUK, but with an initial primary focus on Cancer Grand Challenges, a partnership founded by CRUK and the US National Cancer Institute (NCI).  A dedicated Cancer Grand Challenges team is being established to drive the initiative in the US and UK.  In addition to Cancer Grand Challenges, American Friends of Cancer Research, Inc. will help to facilitate US-based donors interested in supporting CRUK, the Francis Crick Institute, and other initiatives and institutes associated with CRUK.

Summary of the Role’s Main Purpose


The Associate Director for Content Strategy and Donor Relations will collaborate with US and UK based colleagues to lead on the writing, designing and creation of donor materials to inspire major philanthropy.  Materials include but are not limited to case for support, gift proposals, gift opportunities, donor impact reports, gift acknowledgements, recognition and celebration, donor newsletters, event invitations, digital assets, web content, and other donor-focused communications and marketing materials.  The creative content will target donors, volunteer leaders, Board members, loyal ambassadors to generate enthusiasm for and support of the mission and vision of Cancer Grand Challenges, and its impact on our individual and collective health and well-being.

Key Responsibilities


Duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to:


  • Lead a comprehensive communications and donor relations program that engages prospective donors, demonstrates philanthropic impact, and inspires on-going support through multi-channel content and personalized communications.
  • Build relationships with a range of senior internal and external stakeholders to inform and develop communications materials, and serve as the communications expert in these conversations;
  • Develop and refine the CGC Case for Support and the ways in which philanthropy can advance the initiative and its strategic priorities through creative storytelling;
  • Develop template language and protocols for gift agreements, acknowledgements, pledge monitoring, donor recognition, and recording of donor commitments. Work closely with US and UK institutional and scientific leadership on donor communications, acknowledgments and gift agreements.
  • Develop close working relationships with CRUK colleagues across Philanthropy in donor relations, data management, CGC scientific content to ensure gift and donor management protocols align and processes are well defined for US donors..
  • Build a proposal library that includes templated language, brand design for gift opportunities with easy adaptability for customization and bespoke proposals.
  • Proactively collaborate with fundraisers and colleagues on event management, communications and marketing, campaign, to develop robust donor cultivation, stewardship strategies, donor recognition, acknowledgements, and provide strategic guidance and direction based on experience and expertise.
  • Skilled writer and storyteller using language, visuals, and examples that all audiences can relate to and understand. Conceptualize design as part of the writing assignment moving away from long form narrative to develop dynamic, impactful communications.
  • Responsible for working with CGC marketing and communications to align with brand guidelines and reflect the vision and impact of the initiative. Materials should inspire and motivate donors, respond to their interest with accuracy, attention to detail.
  • Ability to work within a matrixed organization that spans institutions and geographies to develop proposals and gift specific to the donor’s gift.
  • Ability to work across cultures and understand different expectations, norms of a diverse global community of researchers, funders, volunteer leaders, patient advocates. Ensure awareness of differences in language and culture when reporting across different localities; ensure equality and diversity are celebrated and represented as part of all decision making.
  • Proactively identify opportunities to engage donors and prospects by monitoring media, being familiar with engagement activities and events.
  • Willingness to take on other duties and responsibilities as needed in a start-up organization.

Core Behaviors


  • Relationship building – build and nurture productive relationships with colleagues at all levels of the team, at CRUK, in US, and with external stakeholders, exercising diplomacy and sophistication.
  • Planning and Organizing – highly organized with a proven ability to deliver a high standard of work consistently, and ability to manage multiple tasks against competing deadlines, effectively prioritizing work against deadlines as needed.
  • Stakeholder Management – ability to work with and communicate effectively and professionally with a wide range of audiences from internal colleagues, to organizational leaders, external collaborators and stakeholders. Strong listening skills and an ability to effective influence others.
  • Problem solving – quickly understand and grasp the priorities of AFCR, CGC, CRUK, Executive Director, Board leaders, and US team. Ability to anticipate challenges and address them quickly through proactive creative and innovative solutions in response to problems, barriers, and opportunities.
  • Agility - Comfortable with ambiguity and able to pivot as needed when work moves in a different direction. Interested in developing self and others, curiosity to learn and motivated by opportunity to be part of this new global initiative and US team.  Prepared to take on a wide variety of tasks.  Have a ‘can do’ attitude.
  • Professionalism – ability to professional engage with senior leaders; demonstrated diplomacy; ability to manage confidential information.

Team Behaviors

  • Excited by and committed to the support of global cancer research initiatives and specifically the Cancer Grand Challenges vision and mission;
  • Willing to go above and beyond what is expected to ensure this new initiative delivers on its potential and is a success;
  • Demonstrate excellent self-awareness and understand personal impact;
  • Integrate into, and work well as part of a dynamic and evolving team based across different geographic locations;
  • Respond well to and embrace change and ambiguity;
  • Provide and receive feedback to enable individual and team engagement;
  • Self-starter and able to work independently, as well as part of a team;
  • Serve as a role model for the team with integrity, and upholding CGC brand values.
  • Understanding of and experience working within a matrixed management structure.

Key Technical Skills and Experience

  • College degree
  • Significant experience in communications/content development, ideally within philanthropy
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a fast-paced environment, managing multiple stakeholders
  • Excellent administrative skills with strong attention to detail
  • Excellent written skills
  • Familiarity with design, design tools and software.
  • Demonstrated ability to problem solve
  • Strong computer skills with knowledge of databases, Excel, Power Point, Outlook and other technology tools and platforms. Strong comfort with technology and ability and willingness to learn new skills.
  • Experience managing highly confidential and sensitive information.

Due to COVID-19, all staff who were working remotely are now returning to the Boston Office in a limited, highly flexible working arrangement following current Massachusetts guidelines.  A flexible working policy is in place and can be explored for employment.

We are an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.


How To Apply

To apply for this role, please send a copy of your CV and a cover letter by email to