PEN America, a dynamic organization of writers and their allies celebrating and defending free expression, seeks a director of national outreach to be a key liaison with diverse PEN America communities as we expand programming to locations across the country. This hands-on leadership role will mobilize PEN America members and other supporters to address threats to free expression, engage with literature, and link PEN America’s mission to issues of regional concern. The director of national outreach will administer funding to support this activity in a range of communities, and will develop local leadership and partnerships toward a sustained nationwide presence for the organization.

This position will build our new PEN Across America initiative now active in more than a dozen cities and regions. The role will work with PEN America members and partners to develop approaches to today’s challenges in arenas including press freedom, civil discourse, creative expression, and inclusiveness through public programs, awareness campaigns, and other constituency-building activities. In addition to envisioning the continued possibilities of this work and delivering PEN America’s community engagement funding, the director will participate in the promotion of programming models, tool kits, content development, and audience-building strategies to ensure vibrant and ongoing engagement at the local level.

The director of national outreach will work collaboratively with PEN America’s director of membership and the membership and outreach team, as well as engaging with the breadth of the organization including free expression and literary programs, communications, and development departments. Entrepreneurial drive, creative tactics, and a tenacious approach will be important to success, which will be measured by the meeting of goals for building new PEN America entities, increased visibility and activity levels of PEN America in new locations, and successful cultivation and stewardship of donors. A high-energy, problem-solving approach is crucial, as is the ability to represent PEN America and its mission to new audiences.

The role is central to PEN America’s growth as a national organization, and offers significant opportunity for professional development within this high profile initiative. The ideal candidate will have an affinity for work across varied regions and experience in event planning, outreach and media relations, and project management and logistics. This candidate will likely have an involvement or interest in literature, keen awareness of political and social justice issues, and the ability to envision and drive an ambitious program while patiently addressing the details.


  • Conceptualize and execute a strategy to engage a wide range of members and partners in PEN America activities, leading to expanded activity and participation in new regions of the country and stimulating organizational growth
  • Design and implement grant funds supporting varied activities by new PEN America communities that span the range of literary and free expression programming
  • Empower and equip PEN America communities for partnership building, outreach and media relations, project management, event production, and fundraising
  • Identify and assist emerging PEN America leadership and infrastructural opportunities in a range of locations nationwide to sustain ongoing initiatives
  • Integrate PEN America communities engaged through national outreach with organizational communications channels, including social media, the website, and email lists
  • Develop opportunities to mobilize PEN America members in established and new regions in mission-supporting activist responses to threats to free expression
  • Isolate lessons from new regional activity and integrate with broader PEN America strategies
  • Participate in marshalling resources to support and expand these initiatives, including through identification of funding opportunities, engagement with individual and institutional donors, and preparation of proposals


  • Five years of relevant work experience in community-level engagement, project development and management, and capacity building in the nonprofit sector
  • Demonstrated commitment to PEN America’s mission to advance free expression and affinity for the literary community and/or human rights activism
  • Track record as energetic self-starter with ability to work independently and as part of a professional, fast-paced team
  • Experience in transforming programming ideas into successful multidimensional programs
  • Commitment to building diverse alliances and promoting dialogue that embraces and responds to varied communities and views
  • Strong research, writing, and communication abilities, including the ability to create user-friendly resources
  • Experience in fundraising, including proposal development and donor stewardship
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and ability to think creatively and expansively and work with individuals and organizations representing a wide range of views and experiences
  • Demonstrated organizational, project management, and volunteer management skills
  • Willingness to travel regularly within the United States (approximately 25 percent)

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

To Apply: Please submit a cover letter and resume to [email protected]. Please use “Director of National Outreach” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Director of National Outreach – 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.