Assistant, Special Events (Nonprofit Development)

PEN America, a growing nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a highly organized and energetic special events assistant to join a growing development team. This role is core to PEN America’s two major fundraising initiatives: the PEN America Literary Gala and Authors’ Evenings. The ideal candidate is a self-starter, highly organized with high attention to detail, and an interest in working in the special events field. This is a full-time position based in New York and reports to the senior manager of special events.

The special events assistant’s primary duties include assisting with the planning and execution of all fundraising and cultivation events, correspondence and processing acknowledgement letters, and reconciling donations and coordinating efforts with the finance department. Professionalism, confidentiality, and discretion are fundamental to this role.

The special events assistant will have the opportunity to make a critical difference in an organization and department that is quickly expanding, and that engages with leading literary figures and important national and international issues. The successful candidate will have exposure to every aspect of nonprofit fundraising, with significant opportunities to develop a portfolio of skills in development and special events and to gain increased responsibilities and advancement over time.


  • Track all donations and accurately record in event spreadsheets
  • Manage events module in Raiser’s Edge, including updating donor records to track attendance
  • Manage Donorbox forms for current and past events
  • Assist with processing all donations as needed
  • Assist with the creation and execution of all event materials including save the date invitations and sponsorship forms, as well as create Canva graphics and upload images to WordPress as needed
  • Draft communications to co-chairs, committee members, and supporters
  • Send mail merge communications as needed
  • Track responses of all donors
  • Draft meeting agendas and take notes
  • Manage and prepare mailing lists for printer and digital mailings
  • Manage event timeline
  • Assist with organizing co-chair and committee meetings
  • Arrange travel needs for honorees and special guests
  • Assist with journal ad submissions
  • Assist with financial reconciliation of events with the senior manager and finance department


  • At least one year of special events experience in a nonprofit or equivalent experience
  • Raiser’s Edge experience a plus
  • Strong ability to communicate in writing in a range of forms and contexts
  • Ability to handle relationships with stakeholders with tact and maturity
  • Ambitious work ethic and ability to work both autonomously and as part of departmental or cross-departmental team
  • Exceptional organizational skills and the ability to prioritize multiple tasks, with zealous attention to detail
  • Exemplary capacity to maintain confidentiality and discretion
  • Passion for the mission of PEN America

Salary and Benefits: PEN America 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. Please submit the entire application to [email protected]. Please use “Special Events Assistant” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Special Events Assistant – 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.