Senior Manager, Membership

PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide, seeks an innovative, energetic, and highly organized senior manager for our national Membership initiative. This is a full-time position based at PEN America’s New York City headquarters and reports to the Director, National Outreach and Engagement.

PEN America’s strength lies in its membership—which includes a nationwide community of novelists and nonfiction authors, journalists, editors, poets, screenwriters, essayists, playwrights, publishers, translators, agents, and other literary professionals, and an even larger network of devoted readers and supporters who join with them to carry out PEN America’s mission.

The senior manager will help develop and implement strategies for attracting new members and retaining existing ones. They will be responsible for implementation, with a focus on increasing members and measurable diversification. In this role, the senior manager will manage the membership team, inspiring, supporting, and directing them in executing the elements of the departmental portfolio. The senior manager, in collaboration with PEN America leadership, will set ambitious goals for the department and ensure they are met; manage the budget; and contribute expertise and vision to the wider organizational strategy. The senior manager will supervise at least one full-time staff member.

The role will maintain and build the ranks of professional and reader membership, systemizing acquisition and retention and identifying routes to enhance the membership experience. The senior manager will be familiar with, and apply, best practices for membership organizations and identify opportunities to make PEN America increasingly central to Members and the broader literary community. This may include bringing literary supporters to engage in PEN America’s advocacy, spearheaded by the organizations and/or coalition partners, and stewarding relationships. 

The senior manager will be responsible for developing and executing member engagement initiatives, including participation in events, campaigns, and mobilizations that enrich the experience of members. The senior manager will also establish revenue objectives for membership annually and be responsible for reaching them. The senior manager will produce membership communications, organize annual member events, and representation at conferences and festivals, ensure contemporaneous inputting and maintenance of clean data and records relating to membership, and manage support to membership committees.

Entrepreneurial drive, an ability to build relationships, creative tactics, and a tenacious approach will be important to success in this role, which brings to life a key pillar of PEN America’s strategic plan. They must also be comfortable in an organization that defends the right to free expression of all, regardless of ideology or political affiliation, while retaining a focus on raising marginalized voices. 

The incumbent should be flexible and fleet in spotting opportunities for partnerships and programming, and energetic in representation of PEN America in all its dimensions.

In alignment with PEN America’s current policy, all applicants should be available to work in the office in person at least three days per week. This policy is subject to change. This position requires regular weekday and weekend out-of-state travel.


  • Lead and manage all aspects of the membership departmental strategy, including programs, projects, staff, and budget
  • Design and execute effective membership acquisition and retention strategies; set and meet targets for membership and membership revenues
  • Ensure continued, measurable progress in the diversification of PEN America membership, especially with regard to race and age
  • Advance departmental fundraising and donor stewardship through prospecting, cultivation, preparation of proposals, reports, and updates
  • Execute events, campaigns, initiatives, and mobilizations that enrich the experience of PEN America Members
  • Develop and oversee membership communications, recruitment messaging, marketing, incentives, and programming that expands the essentiality of PEN America to its members
  • Direct PEN America participation in conferences, festivals, and other opportunities to raise organizational profile, recruit members, and engage with sources of prospective members, including publishing houses, literary partners, and allied organizations
  • Engage PEN America’s Board, leadership, and staff in supporting membership growth strategies
  • Integrate members and membership strategies into other PEN America program areas, including PEN America’s website and federal and state advocacy, fundraising, and communications
  • Implement processes for managing membership and national engagement data

All PEN America staff are considered to be stakeholders in the development of our shared organization. As such, staff play a role in varied activities within the workplace as part of their job responsibilities. These may include committees or task forces to work on office issues, diversity and inclusion, strategy projects, training, or other initiatives.


  • Minimum of at least five years of demonstrated professional experience relevant to PEN America’s mission to advance free expression – including of those individuals and groups with whom they may disagree, an affinity for the literary community, and an expressed interest in justice and human rights activism
  • Relevant work in strategic membership building, community engagement, project development and management, and capacity building
  • Experience in transforming strategy and programming ideas into successful multidimensional membership initiatives, with a background in implementing and evaluating impact frameworks
  • Deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness through proactive approaches, including building diverse alliances and promoting dialogue that embraces and responds to varied communities and views
  • Track record as an energetic self-starter with the ability to think creatively and collaboratively, and to work independently and as part of a professional, fast-paced team
  • Exceptional writing, research, design, and communication skills, including the ability to quickly create engaging content targeted toward specific audiences
  • Knowledge of free expression issues at both national and local levels, with expertise preferred in regions outside of New York City, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles
  • Experience in fundraising, proposal development, and membership stewardship
  • The ability to conduct weekday and weekend out-of-state travel and event programming outside of traditional work hours
  • Familiarity with WordPress and Raiser’s Edge is preferred but not required

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and full benefits. The salary range for this position is $78-85k, commensurate with experience. Candidates whose expectations are outside this range are welcome to apply, as PEN America is open to considering talented individuals at varying stages of their careers. PEN America’s benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision health insurance, paid time off, 10 paid holidays, pre-tax commuter benefits, and a 403b retirement plan.


Please submit a cover letter and resume to [email protected]. Use “Senior Manager, Membership” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Senior Manager, Membership – Jane Doe”). Please also share where you heard about this position in the body of your email. 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. 


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.