Deputy Director, Development

PEN America, a nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a dynamic and experienced fundraising professional to serve as the deputy director of development. The deputy director will be responsible for qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of prospects and donors; oversee the accurate tracking of data; and the planning of fundraising events.

The ideal candidate will have a strong track record of increasing revenue, building donor relationships, organizing large-scale galas and smaller events, is personable, highly organized, and accountable, and is comfortable juggling workload demands and timeliness calmly and with poise under pressure.

This is a full-time position based in the New York office. It reports to the chief development officer.

The deputy director’s primary responsibilities include building a portfolio of major gift prospects and supporting the chief development officer, in cultivation efforts and other details related to fundraising, overseeing the New York Literary Gala and Author’s Evening series, as well as assisting with the Los Angeles LitFest Gala. The deputy director will also oversee the annual giving, donor communications,  and other general development operations. The deputy director works closely with the chief development officer in managing all aspects of key fundraising and cultivation events, conducting solicitations, securing sponsors, and event program management.

The successful candidate will be ambitious, organized and meticulous, with a polished and systematic approach and a comfort level with PEN America’s community of high-profile writers, activists, and allied supporters.  

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 strongly encouraged to apply.


  • In collaboration with the CDO, 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 and event consultants, develop strategies for fundraising events, primarily the Literary Gala and Authors’ Evenings, 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 the event consultants
    • Liaise with vendors, 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, and electronic collateral, as well as updates to the website
    • Collaborate with external partners, honorees, chairs, committee, board members, etc. on event cultivation, mailings, follow-up, and information sharing
    • Oversee development, production, and distribution of all event related materials
    • Process contracts/invoices and oversee budget reconciliation, and pledge payment for all events
    • 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
    • Coordinate the staffing of all events, draft run of show and other support materials, recruit volunteers, and serve as event point person
  • Identify and coordinate hosts and authors to maintain a minimum of 40 annual Authors’ Evening dinners. In coordination with the development assistant, oversee all logistics including maintaining guest lists, guest research, and communications with guest/host/author


  • Minimum of six 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 printed and 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
  • Strong proficiency with Microsoft Office suite including Publisher; familiarity with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator; familiarity with Raiser’s Edge

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 [email protected] Please use Deputy Director of Development” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Deputy Director of Development – 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.

About 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 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.