Senior Manager, Special Events

PEN America
New York, United States
Competitive Salary
Apr 29, 2021
May 28, 2021
Employment Type
Full Time

PEN America, a nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a dynamic and experienced fundraising events professional to serve as senior manager of special events. As part of our development department, the senior manager will lead, produce, and execute the organization’s annual galas and other fundraising and cultivation events, build and steward relationships, and develop sponsorship partners. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated track record of planning large-scale galas as well as providing oversight to small- to mid-sized events. Important attributes include accountability, organizational skills, creativity, and comfort with juggling multiple timelines and projects calmly and strategically.


The position is part of a seven-member team of fundraising professionals committed to advancing the PEN America mission. This is a full-time in-person position based in the New York office. The position is temporarily remote due to guidelines provided by health authorities, but applicants should be available for daily in-office work starting in September 2021 if it is safe to do so.

The senior manager’s primary responsibilities include managing all aspects of PEN America’s annual New York Literary Gala as well as assisting with the Los Angeles LitFest Gala. The senior manager will also have oversight of PEN America’s Authors’ Evenings and be the staff member assigned to plan and implement these events. These fundraising events generate almost $3.5 million and welcome over 2,200 guests annually.  The senior manager also is accountable for providing support for attainment of organizational fundraising targets, including assisting with donor development activities and general development operations. The senior manager works directly with the chief development officer in managing all aspects of these key fundraising and cultivation events, conducting solicitations, securing sponsors, and event program management and will supervise the special events manager.

The successful candidate will be driven, organized, and meticulous, with a polished and systematic approach and with experience supervising at least one direct report. A comfort level interacting with PEN America’s community of high-profile writers, activists, and allied supporters in person, virtually, and in written communication is crucial for this role.  Please note that this a fundraising role in the setting of a non-profit organization with meeting of revenue targets and donor engagement central to success;, and candidates should have appropriate experience beyond event planning in a commercial context.

PEN America is a fast-growing organization with a vital mission to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. We have a membership of more than 7,500 authors, journalists, editors, poets, essayists, playwrights, publishers, translators, agents, and others from the writing profession, as well as an even larger network of devoted readers and supporters who join with them to carry out PEN America’s mission. This position is central to PEN America’s strategies for expansion and even greater impact.

Candidates representing diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.



    Oversee all logistics in planning the annual galas, and provide oversight for the year-round Authors’ Evenings series In collaboration with the chief development officer (CDO) and with the support of the special events manager, develop and implement cultivation and stewardship strategies for major prospects and high-level donors who have participated in PEN America events In collaboration with the CDO, develop strategies for fundraising events to engage donors and prospects, meet financial goals, and support PEN America’s mission Manage all logistical aspects of fundraising events, including, but not limited to:
      Oversee event consultants Liaise with donors, venues, staff, interns, and other volunteers serving roles  Oversee and coordinate preparation of all collateral and marketing materials, including invitations, programs, solicitation materials, “ask” letters, other print and digital material as needed, and updates to the website Process contracts/invoices and ensure budget reconciliation Create and maintain documents to track progress of event, as well as all event revenue and budgets Coordinate details with all special guests and attendees Coordinate staffing of all events, draft run of show and other support materials, recruit volunteers, and serve as event point person
    Oversee research and development of corporate sponsors




    Minimum of four years of fundraising and event planning experience at a nonprofit organization Superb written and verbal communications skills, copyediting and proofreading skills, familiarity with brand-conscious design, and ability to compose flawless digital communications Demonstrated success as a team leader and a team player engaging in both high-level strategy and mundane details Demonstrated energy and stamina, with the ability to multitask in a dynamic and fast-paced environment Ambition to strengthen and grow an already-successful and substantial fundraising events program Excellent judgment, strong decision-making and negotiation skills, and a collaborative and results-oriented approach Commitment to PEN America’s mission and demonstrated ability to connect with donors linked to our community of writers, journalists, activists, and allies Experience with human rights and/or arts and culture fundraising a strong plus Experience with developing corporate sponsorships a plus Strong proficiency with Microsoft Office suite, including Publisher; familiarity with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, or Canva; familiarity with Raiser’s Edge a plus

Salary and Benefits: PEN offers competitive compensation and benefits, commensurate with experience.

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter, resume, unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. A cover letter must accompany the resume to be considered for the position. Please submit the entire application to Please use “Senior Manager, Special Events” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Senior Manager, Special Events – Jane Doe”). Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

PEN America is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices, and in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

No phone calls, please.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

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