Manager, Special Events

PEN America

Full time

Mar 27

This job is no longer accepting applications.

PEN America, a nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks an experienced and highly organized fundraising events professional to join our development department. The special events manager will lead, produce, and execute the organization’s Authors’ Evenings series, assist with organization of the gala and cultivation events, and build and cultivate relationships, including corporate sponsorships. The ideal candidate will have a strong track record of organizing a succession of small- to mid-sized events and be creative, accountable, and capable of juggling multiple timelines and workload demands with poise under pressure.

The position is of a seven-member team of fundraising professionals committed to advancing PEN America’s 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 special events manager’s primary responsibilities include all aspects of PEN America’s Authors’ Evenings, which are traditionally in-person dinner parties with celebrated writers hosted in private homes around New York City. During the pandemic, these have become virtual evenings. The manager will be responsible for the development of each event; correspondence with all parties before and after each event; and tracking of all data, including financials. These events are held year-round. Additional responsibilities include assisting with the planning and orchestration of the annual galas. The manager works directly with the senior manager of special events, with oversight by the chief development officer (CDO) in carrying out all aspects of these key fundraising and cultivation events, conducting solicitations, securing commitments, and event program management.

The successful candidate will be ambitious, organized, have excellent follow-through and a polished and systematic approach, be able to draw on awareness of writers in the literary world, and be able to comfortably converse with supporters, writers, celebrities, and activists.

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 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.


Identify and coordinate hosts and authors to maintain a minimum of 40 annual Authors’ Evening dinners

Oversee all logistics, including maintaining guest lists, guest research, and communications with guest/host/author

In collaboration with the CDO and senior manager, develop strategies for fundraising events (primarily Authors’ Evenings) to engage donors and prospects, meet financial goals, and support PEN America’s mission

Manage all logistical aspects of PEN America’s Authors’ Evenings, including, but not limited to:

Liaise with donors, venues, staff, interns, and other volunteers serving roles

Coordinate preparation of all collateral and marketing materials, including invitations,  programs, branding for solicitation materials, other print material as needed, electronic collateral, and updates to the website

Oversee development, production, and distribution of all event-related materials

Process contracts/invoices and ensure budget reconciliation

Create and maintain documents to track all event revenue and budgets

Write talking points, event correspondence, collateral materials, social media and web outreach, solicitation and acknowledgment letters, and other follow-up as necessary


Minimum of three years of fundraising and event planning experience at a nonprofit organization

Superb written and verbal communications skills, copy editing and proofreading skills, familiarity with brand-conscious design, and ability to compose digital communications as necessary to the event

Demonstrated success as a team player engaging in both “big picture” thinking 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.


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 “Manager, Special Events” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Manager, Special Events – Jane Doe”). Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the f...