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Science Writer/Proposal Writer, Donor Relations

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Massachusetts, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Oct 12, 2021

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Position Type
Fundraising, Donor Relations
Other Fields
Employment Type
Full Time
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Science Writer/Proposal Writer, Donor Relations

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Brookline, MA

Full Time

Job ID: 25500



This position is remote through early September. Effective Monday, September 13th, this position is considered remote, up to 1 day in the office at 10 Brookline Place, Brookline, MA each week. DFCI guidelines state that employees must reside in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island.


Since its inception, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has placed a unique emphasis on all forms of research relevant to the eradication of cancer while, at the same time, providing cutting-edge and highly compassionate comprehensive patient care. Science Writers translate the latest accomplishments from our outstanding group of investigators into visionary proposals that highlight philanthropy’s game-changing potential, as well as lay-friendly, compelling narrative reports that demonstrate to donors the impact of their gifts.

Our Science Writers are a key link between our dedicated oncologists, scientists, fundraisers, and donors who comprise the wide Dana-Farber community. Science Writers take complex information and communicate it clearly, concisely, and accurately to explain key concepts to Institute donors. Science Writers also interpret some of the foremost challenges in cancer care and research in order to convey scientific insights that are both deep and broad.

Embody Dana-Farber’s Core Values: Impact; Excellence; Compassion & Respect; and Discovery every day. Add value to the Dana-Farber community by seeking opportunities to collaborate across the Institute.  Foster an ethical, positive, results-oriented culture founded on open communication.

Dana-Farber is pursuing an ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort to change the future of cancer research and care: The Dana-Farber Campaign. This $2 billion campaign is the largest in the Institute’s history and one of the largest ever in the U.S. focused solely on cancer. Philanthropy raised through The Dana-Farber Campaign will accelerate the Institute’s strategic priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, exceptional expertise, and essential opportunities—helping us prevent, treat, and Defy Cancer.



Resume and cover letter required with application submission.

Located in Boston and the surrounding communities, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a leader in life changing breakthroughs in cancer research and patient care. We are united in our mission of conquering cancer, HIV/AIDS and related diseases. We strive to create an inclusive, diverse, and equitable environment where we provide compassionate and comprehensive care to patients of all backgrounds, and design programs to promote public health particularly among high-risk and underserved populations. We conduct groundbreaking research that advances treatment, we educate tomorrow's physician/researchers, and we work with amazing partners, including other Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospitals.



  • Thoroughly research and understand all aspects pertaining to a specific portfolio of reports, including basic science, research programs, patient care, and cancer treatment centers at Dana-Farber. This includes reading, analyzing, and interpreting press releases, scientific papers, results from clinical trials, and content from technical lectures;
  • Plan and write compelling long-form narrative reports as assigned that convey the impact of philanthropic giving. Work closely with frontline fundraisers to develop appropriate tone, content, and donor approach;
  • Draft high-quality $1M+ scientific proposals to raise critical funds for priority areas of research and patient care; as with report writing, this work involves a high degree of independent project management, critical thinking skills, and the ability to work hand-in-hand with frontline fundraisers to create a strategic vision and tone for the overall piece;
  • Work closely with colleagues across teams to craft, edit, and review a range of Campaign-related materials that provide a big-picture view of the importance of philanthropy, Dana-Farber’s leadership in the field both nationally and globally, and more
  • Skillfully conduct interviews with clinicians, investigators, and cancer care professionals to elicit new perspectives, scientific context, specific accomplishments, incremental and major results, direct quotes, ideas on how to approach reports, proposals, campaign-related materials, and other priority materials;
  • Juggle multiple urgent, competing priorities and collaborate closely with senior leaders across a highly matrixed environment to meet yearly key performance indicators;
  • Help colleagues understand and translate detailed complex scientific concepts, share important research findings, and prepare written interpretations of data and other information for a primarily lay readership;
  • Work closely with the Senior Associate Director, Donor Relations and frontline fundraisers to conduct interviews with donors and faculty, and write short donor profile stories celebrating new major gifts for the donor newsletter, Impact;
  • Assist the entire Division with reaching financial goals;
  • Assume other duties as necessary.



  • Reports to Senior Associate Director, Donor Relations
  • There is no supervisory responsibility for this position
  • This individual will work with a variety of individuals throughout the Institute, and collaborate with the members of the Donor Relations team and other Philanthropy staff



  • Bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, science writing, science journalism, or related field preferred; advanced degree preferred
  • Minimum 3-5 years of experience preferred



  • The Science Writer must be able to express ideas clearly and logically and should love to write;
  • Curiosity, a broad range of knowledge, and perseverance also are necessary;
  • The Science Writer must first understand the science, and then translate that knowledge accurately into a form that is both interesting and intelligible to the donor;
  • A proven ability to work both collaboratively and independently, and produce high-quality work on deadline is required;
  • The Science Writer must be comfortable managing multiple projects, priorities, and deadlines;
  • Strong customer-service orientation to understand and assist a wide range of internal stakeholders is required;
  • The Science Writer must commit to the highest standards of customer service and professionalism.

This position will evaluate current programs and create and execute approved plans to expand and diversify the donors and participants for the events assigned in order to broaden our donor base and create even more inclusive events. Experience with diverse donors is a plus.




We’re stronger together.

In the Division of Philanthropy, we believe in the power of different voices. We encourage authenticity and diversity of every individual within our community. Our collective voices – donors, volunteers, staff, and patients alike – allow us to work together towards a world without cancer. Committed to being a place of inclusivity, belonging, and change, these are our core values.



The above information on this description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification.  It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job.  Requirements are subject to possible modification to reasonably accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities.  This document does not create an employment contract, implied or otherwise, other than an “at will” employment relationship.


External and internal applicants, as well as position incumbents who become disabled as defined under the Americans With Disabilities Act, must be able to perform the essential job functions (as listed) either unaided or with the assistance of a reasonable accommodation to be determined by management on a case-by-case basis.


DFCI offers a competitive benefits package including generous healthcare and retirement plans, at minimum 3-weeks’ vacation time in addition to 9 paid holidays, a flexible work environment, and work/life balance. We also provide an array of professional development opportunities.*

*All benefits subject to Institute changes

We’re hiring! Learn more ( about working in the Division of Philanthropy and view all open positions.

At Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, we work every day to create an innovative, caring, and inclusive environment where every patient, family, and staff member feels they belong.  As relentless as we are in our mission to reduce the burden of cancer for all, we are equally committed to diversifying our faculty and staff.  Cancer knows no boundaries and when it comes to hiring the most dedicated and diverse professionals, neither do we. If working in this kind of organization inspires you, we encourage you to apply.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is an equal opportunity employer and affirms the right of every qualified applicant to receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, national origin, sexual orientation, genetic information, disability, age, ancestry, military service, protected veteran status, or other groups as protected by law.

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