Sample Essays: The Role of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

As you know, good essay writing requires exceptional preparation and experience. This sample essay is aimed to help you get them both.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a well-recognized brand in the field of non-profit initiatives directed at cancer research and treatment. Numerous researches in this field focus on underreserved and at-risk populations and provide valuable expertise for health care providers, community-based agencies and health departments. The mission of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute also focuses on increase of minorities’ accrual into clinical trials. Since the time of its foundation, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has evolved into a huge organization with numerous fundraising initiatives that pursue the aim of sustaining constant research in the field of cancer treatment. Although the overall development of this organization is quite dynamic, it faces many challenges in the process of implementing its initiatives. Many of these challenges relate to marketing efforts within the organization (Community Benefits Report, 2003).

One of the challenges presented in the Dana-Farber case (Bell, 2003) is staying focused on the initial mission of providing research in the field of child cancer specifically. As stated in the case, with the increased number of adult cancer the organization has broadened its focus on other target groups, which had both positive and negative influences: while it could generate valuable information to help several target audiences, it became harder to position the research initiatives for fundraising campaigns and therefore it now takes more efforts to attract necessary funds.

Another challenge for Dana-Farber fundraising initiatives is matching the needs of non-profit and for-profit collaboration. While some organizations donate money for unrestricted use, others require their funds to be directed at specific research initiatives, which may not be the most urgent at the moment. Therefore, obtaining and distributing funds is quite a challenging task, if the Institute is aimed at sustaining the research, while following its original mission.

Finally, when talking about cause marketing initiatives at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the considerable challenge in this case is to match the needs of commercial organizations, who partner with the Institute, while avoiding the solid focus on commercial activities and keeping the reputation and brand undamaged. This becomes quite delicate work, when it comes to accepting the funding from organizations with doubtful reputation, such as cigarette manufacturer, etc. Therefore, sometimes the organization’s management is forced to reject such donation in order to keep the reputable public name.

In order to reach the potential donors (both profit and non-profit), the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute applies various marketing practices, including organization of events, annual donation programs, telemarketing and direct mailing, win-win partnership with commercial organizations, where in exchange for donated funds the commercial organization gets free promotion and public recognition for charity activities. Besides, the Institute gets a lot of private donations ranging from $5 from event visitor to about $5000-$7000 from people, who have been indirectly affected by cancer (some of their family members or colleague could have died or suffered from disease). While the number of decent and reputable charity organizations increases, it becomes harder for the Institute to compete for winning grants and receiving donations from numerous non-profit and for-profit organizations, who expect fair values in exchange for their donations.

Thus, upon evaluation of Dana-Farber marketing efforts, it becomes evident that challenges come not from poor management or inefficient marketing campaigns, but rather from external factors such as increased competition and more strict requirements as for funds allocation and distribution. Therefore, in order to stay ahead of competition, it is crucial for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to enhance and implement further marketing efforts, while pursuing its mission and following the defined strategy. Going forward, the Institute should continue to develop local, provincial and national partnerships to achieve its goal of sustaining the cancer research. It is quite possible that narrowing its focus on adult cancer will not damage the Institute’s positioning, so this should be further investigated. Also, the Institute may consider the option of establishing a membership programs in order to open new opportunity for obtaining funds on regular basis.


  1. Bell, Marie. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Development Strategy. Harvard Business School, August 15, 2003.
  2. Community Benefits Report: Dana Farber Cancer Institute. February 28, 2003. Retrieved at:

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