Employment at MSM

Job Opening:

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Director of Special Events and Donor Stewardship

Position Description

Title: Director of Special Events and Donor Stewardship
Department: Advancement
Reports To: Assistant Vice President of Advancement
Supervises:  n/a
Internal Contacts: Advancement, Media & Communications, Performance Operations, President’s Office, Provost’s Office
External Contacts: Trustees, Donors, Alumni, Vendors
Employment Status: Full-time; Exempt


One of the world’s foremost music conservatories, Manhattan School of Music is deeply committed to excellence in education, performance, and creative activity; to the humanity of the School’s environment; to preparing all our students to find their success; and to the cultural enrichment of the larger community. MSM inspires and empowers highly talented individuals to realize their potential. We prepare our students to be accomplished and passionate performers, composers, teachers, and imaginative, effective contributors to the arts and society.

As a key member of the Advancement Office, the Director of Special Events and Donor Stewardship will be responsible for organizing high-profile special events for the School. These include an Annual Gala, usually held each May in the Rainbow Room; monthly cultivation events for key constituents, including members of the Virtuoso Society patron program, such as pre- and post-concert receptions; and an array of other donor stewardship events, both on and off campus, including an annual President’s Circle dinner and a scholarship donor luncheon. In addition to event management, this position will help to advance the ongoing stewardship of MSM’s donors, including alumni, parents, foundations, trustees, and other individual donors. The Director of Special Events and Donor Stewardship must be able to seamlessly manage a busy event schedule in a calm and collegial manner and thoughtfully engage MSM donors through well-planned events that build relationships with key constituents and enhance the School’s reputation and profile on New York City’s cultural landscape.


Event Management

  • Organizes year-round special events, including the Annual Gala, patron receptions, and donor dinners and lunches.
  • Directs all aspects of special events to ensure they are well-planned, well-executed, and in good taste, collaborating closely with the Assistant Vice president of Advancement (AVP). Responsibilities include invitation design and printing, catering, seating, décor, entertainment, gifts, audio-visual, budgeting, and reporting.
  • Works closely with the Assistant Vice President of Advancement, Vice President for Advancement, and event leadership to ensure that fundraising goals are met for gala events and that all special events are organized within established budgets.
  • Tracks and reports on special events, maintaining and distributing up-to-date guest lists and revenue tracking sheets.
  • Ensures acknowledgment letters for gala gifts are accurate and timely.
  • Develops and cultivates strong vendor relationships.

Donor Stewardship

  • Oversees with the ongoing stewardship of donors, including annual and endowed scholarship and Commencement Award donors. Regularly updates donors on the recipients of their support by providing student bios, thank you letters, thank you videos, and invitations to student recitals and performances.
  • Produces compelling and attractive printed and electronic invitations and other event materials, working with graphic designers in Media & Communications and external designers.
  • Creates invitation lists, ensures the timely mailing of invitations, and tracks special event RSVPs in Excel and the Raiser’s Edge NXT database.
  • Updates the digital donor wall, and prepares donor listings for concert programs and the Annual Report.
  • Engages with donors and trustees, guest artists, alumni, and other VIPs who participate in special events. Demonstrates a high degree of cordiality and professionalism.
  • Implement a best-in-class donor stewardship program, including signage, premiums, and donor listings in the Annual Report, website, and concert programs.
  • Assists the AVP in creating and distributing strategic communications, including e-blasts, gift acknowledgements, donor newsletters, and annual reports.
  • Conceives of additional and creative ways to cultivate, engage, and acknowledge donors.
  • Reserves tickets and seats at performances for board members and other patrons.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Job Requirements

  • Minimum five years of special events experience, preferably for a performing arts or cultural institution or in higher education.
  • Ability to work at special events taking place in the evening and on weekends as necessary.
  • Creative, responsible, and entrepreneurial, with the ability to execute high quality special events that meet or exceed revenue goals. Superior attention to detail.
  • Proven ability to multi-task, to juggle multiple priorities, and to meet deadlines.
  • Excellent computer skills, including solid experience with the Microsoft Office Suite, especially Excel, as well as PowerPoint, and knowledge of Raiser’s Edge NXT or similar database management systems.
  • Courteous and diplomatic with excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to develop good relationships with donors, including board members and event chairs.
  • Strong verbal and written communications.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work well independently and as part of a team in a fast paced environment.

Contact Information

Send letter of application and résumé to:

Marc A. Day
Assistant Vice President of Advancement


No phone calls please

Equal employment and equal educational opportunity have been and will continue to be fundamental principles at Manhattan School of Music, where employment and enrollment are based upon personal capabilities and qualifications without discrimination or harassment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, the status of being transgender, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship or veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law. Manhattan School of Music does not permit retaliation against individuals who oppose a discriminatory practice or participate in an investigation.