Deputy Director of Development for Special Events

Job Type

Full Time




588 Broadway
Suite 303
New York
10012 - 3225
United States


PEN America, a vibrant and fast-paced organization standing at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a dynamic and experienced donor development professional to plan, produce, and implement fundraising and cultivation events. The Deputy Director of Development for Special Events will provide leadership in envisioning and implementing strategies conducive to securing major gifts from individuals through the promotion of high quality events that support the goals of PEN America. The position is responsible for ensuring that events are memorable, perfectly executed for guests, and meet PEN America’s mission-driven fundraising, donor cultivation, and outreach goals. The successful candidate will bring an ambitious, entrepreneurial spirit, a polished and systematic approach, and a comfort level with PEN America’s community of high profile writers, activists, and allied supporters.

This key staff member will report to the Director of Development and work closely with PEN America’s Chief Executive Officer to plan and execute signature events such as the Annual Literary Gala and Authors’ Evenings, a series of hosted private dinners at which supporters of PEN America engage with noted authors in an intimate setting. The position also will formulate new strategies to develop and promote special events for stewardship and cultivation of donors, track and act on donor feedback, tailor event invitations to maximize cultivation opportunities, manage a Development Coordinator and engage with PEN America’s various departments.

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 7000 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. The position of Deputy Director of Development for Special Events is central to PEN America’s strategies for expansion and even greater impact.


  • Work with the Director of Development to develop strategy, concepts, themes and formats and then execute fundraising and cultivation events that engage donors and prospects, meet financial goals, and support PEN America’s mission
  • Coordinate with Gala Consultant in the management of all logistical aspects of PEN America’s Literary Gala
  • Manage vendors, venues, staff, consultants, interns, and other volunteers serving roles in l Literary Gala and Authors’ Evenings
  • Coordinate and disseminate all guest research
  • Liaise with Communications Department in the preparation of all collateral and marketing materials for the  Literary Gala and Authors’ Evenings including invitation; programs; branding for solicitation materials; other print material as needed, social media and electronic collateral;
  • Collaborate with external partners, honorees, chairs, committee, board members, etc. on event cultivation, mailings, follow-up, and information sharing
  • Manage production of printed material and high volume mailings
  • Track event revenue and expense budgets, process contracts and invoices; and oversee budget reconciliation for events managed
  • Assist in the management of event committees, including  prepare materials and data in advance of meetings
  • Write talking points, event correspondence, collateral materials, social media and web outreach, solicitation and acknowledgment letters and other follow-up as necessary
  • Coordinate the staffing of all events, draft run of show and other support materials, recruit volunteers, and serve as event point person
  • Prepare financial reports for presentation to Executive Director and Board of Trustees
  • Facilitate prompt payment of contributions and pledges in cooperation with gala consultant and finance department
  • Develop and implement cultivation strategies for prospects and high-level donors involving attendance and hosting at PEN America events
  • Work with Director of Development to manage the giving strategies of individuals who enter the donor pipeline through Authors’ Evenings and Literary Gala
  • Manage and supervise Development Coordinator
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • Excellent academic credentials; Bachelor’s Degree required
  • Minimum of three years of event planning experience at a nonprofit organization, with experience in donor cultivation and stewardship
  • Record of successful event visioning, management, and execution
  • Demonstrated energy and stamina, with the ability to multitask in a dynamic and fast-paced environment
  • Ambition to strengthen and grow and already successful and substantial donor events program;
  • Excellent judgment, strong decision making and negotiation skills, and a collaborative and results-oriented approach ;
  • Commitment to PEN America’s mission and community of writers, journalists, activists, and allies 
  • Poise, polish, and discretion in all interactions with PEN America’s stakeholders including prominent authors, policy makers, and members of New York City’s philanthropic community
  • Strong writing and verbal communications skills, familiarity with brand-conscious design, and ability to compose printed and digital communications
  • Demonstrated success as a team leader and a team player engaging in both high-level strategy and mundane details
  • Enthusiasm, commitment to excellence, self-motivation, and a professional demeanor 
  • Highly organized and detail oriented;
  • Flexibility to work outside normal working hours as required
  • Strong proficiency with Microsoft Office suite including Publisher; knowledge of DonorPerfect; familiarity with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

This position is within PEN America’s Institutional Advancement team, and offers exceptional opportunity for professional growth. Diverse candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.


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

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply

To Apply: Please submit a cover letter, resume, unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. Please submit the entire application to Please use “Deputy Director Special Events” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, "Deputy Director 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.