Director of Special Events and Donor Stewardship
Assistant Vice President of Advancement
Advancement, Media & Communications, Performance
President’s Office, Provost’s Office
External Contacts: Trustees,
Donors, Alumni, Vendors
Employment Status: Full-time;
One of the world’s foremost music conservatories,
Manhattan School of Music is deeply committed to
excellence in education, performance, and creative activity; to the
humanity of the School’s environment; to preparing all our students
to find their success; and to the cultural enrichment of the larger
community. MSM inspires and empowers highly talented individuals to
realize their potential. We prepare our students to be accomplished
and passionate performers, composers, teachers, and imaginative,
effective contributors to the arts and society.
As a key member of the Advancement Office, the Director
of Special Events and Donor Stewardship will be
responsible for organizing high-profile special events for the
School. These include an Annual Gala, usually held each May in the
Rainbow Room; monthly cultivation events for key constituents,
including members of the Virtuoso Society patron program, such as
pre and post-concert receptions; and an array of other donor
stewardship events, both on and off campus, including an annual
President’s Circle dinner and a scholarship donor luncheon. In
addition to event management, this position will help to advance
the ongoing stewardship of MSM’s donors, including alumni, parents,
foundations, trustees, and other individual donors. The Director of
Special Events and Donor Stewardship must be able to seamlessly
manage a busy event schedule in a calm and collegial manner and
thoughtfully engage MSM donors through well-planned events that
build relationships with key constituents and enhance the School’s
reputation and profile on New York City’s cultural landscape.
- Organizes year-round special events, including the Annual Gala,
patron receptions, and donor dinners and lunches.
- Directs all aspects of special events to ensure they are
well-planned, well-executed, and in good taste, collaborating
closely with the Assistant Vice president of Advancement (AVP).
Responsibilities include invitation design and printing, catering,
seating, décor, entertainment, gifts, audio-visual, budgeting, and
- Works closely with the Assistant Vice President of Advancement,
Vice President for Advancement, and event leadership to ensure that
fundraising goals are met for gala events and that all special
events are organized within established budgets.
- Tracks and reports on special events, maintaining and
distributing up-to-date guest lists and revenue tracking
- Ensures acknowledgment letters for gala gifts are accurate and
- Develops and cultivates strong vendor relationships.
- Oversees with the ongoing stewardship of donors, including
annual and endowed scholarship and Commencement Award donors.
Regularly updates donors on the recipients of their support by
providing student bios, thank you letters, thank you videos, and
invitations to student recitals and performances.
- Produces compelling and attractive printed and electronic
invitations and other event materials, working with graphic
designers in Media & Communications and external
- Creates invitation lists, ensures the timely mailing of
invitations, and tracks special event RSVPs in Excel and the
Raiser’s Edge NXT database.
- Updates the digital donor wall, and prepares donor listings for
concert programs and the Annual Report.
- Engages with donors and trustees, guest artists, alumni, and
other VIPs who participate in special events. Demonstrates a high
degree of cordiality and professionalism.
- Implement a best-in-class donor stewardship program, including
signage, premiums, and donor listings in the Annual Report,
website, and concert programs.
- Assists the AVP in creating and distributing strategic
communications, including e-blasts, gift acknowledgements, donor
newsletters, and annual reports.
- Conceives of additional and creative ways to cultivate, engage,
and acknowledge donors.
- Reserves tickets and seats at performances for board members
and other patrons.
- Performs other duties as assigned.
- Minimum five years of special events experience, preferably for
a performing arts or cultural institution or in higher
- Ability to work at special events taking place in the evening
and on weekends as necessary.
- Creative, responsible, and entrepreneurial, with the ability to
execute high quality special events that meet or exceed revenue
goals. Superior attention to detail.
- Proven ability to multi-task, to juggle multiple priorities,
and to meet deadlines.
- Excellent computer skills, including solid experience with the
Microsoft Office Suite, especially Excel, as well as PowerPoint,
and knowledge of Raiser’s Edge NXT or similar database management
- Courteous and diplomatic with excellent interpersonal skills
and the ability to develop good relationships with donors,
including board members and event chairs.
- Strong verbal and written communications.
- Self-motivated with the ability to work well independently and
as part of a team in a fast paced environment.