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Assistant Director, Philanthropy

American Friends of Cancer Research, Inc - Cancer Grand Challenges
Massachusetts, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Feb 5, 2022

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Position Type
Executive, Fundraising, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Donor Relations, Fundraising Administration, Grant Seeking, Major Gifts, Prospect Research, Programs, Community Outreach, Grant Administration, Program Administration and Management, Administrative, Public Relations and Communications
Other Fields
Employment Type
Full Time
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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 and 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 in 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, with an initial primary focus on Cancer Grand Challenges, a partnership founded by Cancer Research UK (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 Cancer Research UK, Francis Crick Institute, and other initiatives and institutes associated with CRUK. 


American Friends of Cancer Research, Inc. seeks an energetic and experienced philanthropy professional to join its growing team. The Assistant Director, Philanthropy will work closely with the Senior Associate Director, Philanthropy and the Executive Director to assist in executing on the US and international philanthropy program in support of Cancer Grand Challenges and other initiatives. The Assistant Director, Philanthropy will be responsible for leading annual giving and leadership giving efforts with a portfolio that is focused on corporations and foundations as well as individuals with capacity below $1M. This role will lead on prospect identification, engagement, cultivation, and solicitation; build and support an advisory council of annual giving donors; develop and support philanthropy events in collaboration with the Associate Director, Events & Engagement; assist in maintaining a comprehensive database; support the philanthropy team and scientific leadership with briefings and prospect research as necessary; and collaborate with the Associate Director, Content Strategy to leverage communications for donor audiences. The Assistant Director is an integral member of the growing AFCR team in the US; we are looking for a driven, team-oriented individual who is excited to be part of building a new global initiative and working together to reach ambitious philanthropic goals. 


  • Identify, engage, cultivate and solicit a portfolio of annual and leadership gift prospects, with a strong focus on corporations and foundations as well as individuals with capacity below $1M, to support CGC and other initiatives. Management of the portfolio includes identification and qualification working closely with prospect research teams in US and UK; engagement and cultivation working with scientific and institutional leaders as well as the Associate Director, Events & Engagement; and stewardship of the prospect through the full life cycle of giving and renewal and ensuring pipeline movement. 
  • As Cancer Grand Challenges is a new initiative, this philanthropy professional will manage the development of an annual giving program, leveraging key content in collaboration with the Associate Director, Content Strategy and the CGC Communications team; and build an advisory council to increase volunteer involvement of donors and grow broad community of supporters.
  • Work with colleagues across Cancer Research UK to advance gifts to CGC at leadership gift level and below based on identified gift opportunities matched with donor interest. Collaborate with Associate Director, Events & Engagement to determine fundraising opportunities (eg. sponsorships) for key CGC events such as the Annual Summit and Future Leaders Conference.
  • Own, develop and maintain strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders; including researchers, institutional leaders, and volunteer leaders, by communicating with them regularly, writing briefings and coordinating engagement that will lead to gifts.
  • Partner with CGC operations, research and communications team based in the UK to keep abreast of the initiative’s progress, key updates and messaging.
  • Input and maintain clean, accurate prospect and donor data to enable Philanthropy team to efficiently fundraise and report on outputs to volunteer and institutional leadership.
  • Support philanthropy team and institutional/scientific leaders with prospect research and meeting preparation/follow up including drafting briefings and meeting notes.



  • 3-5 years’ experience in fundraising especially gifts for science, health and medicine. Knowledge and understanding of fundraising best practices.
  • Thorough working knowledge and understanding of fundraising, donor relations, or business development concepts, principles, techniques, procedures and practices.
  • Highly organized with a proven ability to set and deliver to a high standard consistently with competing and demanding deadlines.
  • Curiosity to learn and develop, motivated by the opportunity to be part of this exciting new global initiative.
  • Excellent stakeholder management skills and ability to work with and communicate effectively and professionally with a wide range of individuals from internal colleagues, institutional leaders, and external collaborators, stakeholders and donors.
  • Thorough project management skills. Prepared to take on a wide variety of tasks. Have a “can do” attitude and a demonstrated ability to problem solve.  Ability to anticipate challenges and address them quickly.
  • Experience working in a fast-paced environment, managing multiple and complex projects;
  • Excellent project management and organisation skills with strong attention to detail;
  • Excellent writing skills;
  • Demonstrated analytical skills and the ability to problem solve;
  • Strong computer skills with knowledge of databases (Salesforce encouraged), Excel, Power Point and other technology tools and platforms. Strong comfort with technology and ability to learn new skills.
  • Ability to deal with ambiguity and to navigate new territory, setting a clear path and establishing new protocols.


  • Excited by the opportunity to build a US non-profit, and the vision of Cancer Grand Challenges;
  • Willing to go above and beyond the position description to ensure this new initiative 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, cultures, and legal frameworks;
  • Respond well to and embrace change and ambiguity;
  • Provide and receive feedback to enable individual and team development;

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

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.

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