Assistant Director, Special Events

Posted on 01/16/2020

Rhode Island School of Design

Providence, RI

Job Summary

The Office of Institutional Engagement (IE) at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) comprises individual, corporate, foundation and government fundraising; donor relations and stewardship; alumni, parents relations, and partners with these diverse constituents to advance RISD’s mission.

We are currently seeking an Assistant Director, Special Events to join our dynamic and collaborative team for a two-year term position. This role is responsible for the planning and logistical execution of a variety of high-profile, impactful events and special programs ranging from small gatherings to large-scale events (including Commencement), designed to support IE’s efforts to advance RISD’s mission by strengthening goodwill, engagement and philanthropy.

Essential Functions

  • Responsible for participating in the planning and execution of a yearly calendar of events for alumni, parents, donors and other key community constituents.
  • Manages and maintains a portfolio of events as directed by the Director of Special Events.
  • Collaborates with the Development and Alumni Relations offices to ensure events align with strategic goals.
  • Tracks event attendance; develops timelines and cost estimates; coordinates production of invitations and other electronic or printed materials; and oversees assigned event logistics and programs. Secures proposals and estimates from and works with vendors. Manages post-event reporting, analysis and debriefs.
  • Oversees all event budgets, provides cost-analysis and forecasting information as requested by Director of Special Events and Executive Director of Campaign Planning + Strategy.
  • Plans, manages and executes discrete aspects and elements of RISD Weekend, Founders Day, Commencement and other large-scale events both on and off-campus.
  • Prepares and oversees all aspects of event management for smaller events, such as donor gatherings, including, but not limited to event materials (briefings, research, nametags, invitations, programs, signage, etc.) budgets, staffing, and coordination of volunteer management.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience required.
  • Minimum 3 years planning and coordinating events, donor and alumni engagement activities, or comparable experience.
  • Must possess strong interpersonal skills, high EQ, and superb first-in-class customer service skills.
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively with a broad spectrum of constituents (individual donors, alumni, business leaders, public figures, college leadership, faculty and staff), within a broad range of cultural environments.
  • Knowledge of and demonstrated experience with Microsoft Office suite, Adobe Creative suite, CRM/database (Raiser’s Edge a plus), and the Google (G Suite) collaboration tools.
  • Superlative diplomatic skills.
  • Ability to facilitate relationships with vendors and to interact with a variety of constituents across all levels of institution.
  • Ability to anticipate unexpected issues and react quickly, calmly and confidently to instill trust and confidence.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects, priorities and deadlines.
  • Must be able to work independently and collaboratively with moderate supervision.

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

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