Stanford University Writer/Editor, Direct Appeal and Donor Communications (Writer 2) in Stanford, California


Note: Not all unique aspects of the job are covered by this job description.

Can you tell a great story? Tailor messages for diverse audiences? Use the power of storytelling to connect with donors and inspire philanthropic support? Then you could be the ideal candidate for this Senior Development Writer/Editor position, focusing on direct appeals and donor communications.


Reporting to the Communications Manager within the Communications and Stewardship group in Stanford’s central Office of Development, this position is part of a team of several writer/editors. As a member of this team, s/he is responsible for writing and editing direct appeals as well as other marketing collateral targeting the university’s donors, prospective donors, alumni, parents, and friends.

S/he will serve as a core member of the team producing direct appeals and creating other marketing collateral for The Stanford Fund, the university’s annual fund for undergraduate education. Other projects will include a broad range of marketing collateral for major- and principal-rated donors such as gift proposals, white papers, case statements, website copy, letters from the president and deans, and event collateral.

The ideal candidate is a superb writer and copy editor with a deep understanding of the principles and practices of direct marketing.


  • Work in regular collaboration with The Stanford Fund, Direct Marketing, the Parents’ Program, and other partners within the Office of Development to develop targeted communications strategies.
  • Research, write, and edit content for marketing communications projects, including a high volume of direct appeals.
  • Understand and analyze trends and best practices in direct appeal creation and distribution, making salient recommendations to internal partners to drive results.
  • Tailor written material for diverse audiences and a variety of channels. Edit content provided by other sources, and adapt and repurpose as needed.
  • Incorporate feedback and manage reviews by various internal and external clients.
  • Manage production of own stories, publications, and communications projects, and adhere to deadlines. Set and track project schedules and budgets.
  • Work closely with in-house design, online, and video teams, e.g., organizing raw content and channeling reviewer feedback. Maintain records on internal spreadsheets and databases.

* - Other duties may also be assigned



Education & Experience:

  • Bachelor's degree and five years of related experience, or a combination of education and relevant experience.
  • Experience writing direct appeals and producing marketing copy for nonprofits strongly preferred. Experience with digital communications a plus.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Proven success in copywriting for print and digital media, including both long- and short-form content.
  • Proven ability to present, write, edit, and organize thoughts in a clear, concise, and well-organized manner. Flawless copy editing and proofing.
  • Ability to change voice and writing style to fit a particular audience and purpose.
  • Firm understanding of web technologies and applications, including social networking, social media tools, and current communication trends.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and able to interact effectively with a diverse array of people, including senior leaders.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Ability to manage and prioritize multiple deadlines.
  • Excellent time management skills.

Additional Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Include:

  • Deep understanding of direct marketing principles and practices.
  • Ability to translate marketing research data into actionable marketing opportunities.
  • Solid project management/production management experience, including working closely with clients and designers and overseeing complex projects. Ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously, coordinate the roles of various projects contributors, set priorities and schedules, and meet deadlines with a minimum of supervision.
  • May also assist in developing video and online projects.

Certifications and Licenses:



  • Constantly perform desk-based computer tasks.
  • Frequently stand/walk, sit, grasp lightly/fine manipulation, and use a telephone, writing by hand.
  • Occasionally reach/work above shoulders, grasp forcefully, and sort/file paperwork or parts, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh up to 10 pounds.
  • Visual and auditory acuity, including color vision required.

* - Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of his or her job.


Occasional work on evenings and weekends.


  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.
  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.
  • Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University’s Administrative Guide,

Please include three writing samples with your resume and cover letter. Further samples will be requested as needed.

Final offers of employment are contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

There is no relocation assistance provided for this position.

Stanford is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Job: Communications

Location: Office of Development

Schedule: Full-time

Req ID: 74553

Job Grade: 4272