Director of Advancement Events
Saint Joseph’s University
Director of Advancement Events
The Director of Advancement Events is responsible for the overall creation, management, coordination and supervision of events sponsored by the Advancement Division of Saint Joseph’s University. This individual acts as a strategic team member who is involved with events from conception to completion ensuring that the event environment enables the University to achieve the highest level of stewardship and engagement.
The Director provides leadership, direction and mentoring to the Associate Director and to all colleagues within the division who manage or support events so these consistently reflect the University’s brand experience in addition to cultivating and stewarding donors and alumni of all giving and involvement levels.
The Director is personally responsible for the planning, logistics and implementation of annual fundraising events as well as Presidential events. The Director is also responsible for coordination of campaign events and celebrations, unique donor recognition celebrations, including groundbreakings and dedications, as well as cultivation events and private donor events.
The Director acts as an event planning consultant and resource to campus partners, and especially for the President’s Office and Dean’s offices, as requested.
Duties and Responsibilities:
- Oversee the planning and execution of Advancement events from start to finish, creating the optimal environment for fundraising, friend-raising and messaging. This includes, but is not limited to coordinating with members of the Advancement staff to determine budget for the event, appropriate venue, workable timeline and logistics of the event. Use expertise to select a balanced menu that appeals to all guests, including those with special needs and restrictions that can be served within the desired timeline of the event. Choose decor and flowers to compliment the event, within the set budget. Arrange for photography and technology suitable to the event.
- Plan the logistics for greeting and moving guests, as well as for proper security and transportation essentials. Organize any musical needs and ensure the proper volume is maintained throughout the event. During the planning phase it is imperative to use prior event experience and knowledge to proactively anticipate and avoid potential issues. Throughout the event, resolve any conflicts that occur promptly, unobtrusively and concisely and with the best interest of the University and its guests in mind. Solutions should demonstrate a clear understanding of University policies. The Director should have the confidence and ability to make discreet and immediate decisions while remaining composed and professional.
- The Director must be able to communicate clearly and effectively, both in writing and verbally with all members of the University community, including the President, trustees, cabinet, donors, alumni, parents, vendors, facilities, catering, security, as well as external vendors utilized for University events. This individual oversees the collaboration between other team members and creative and print services colleagues as well as outside vendors to develop printed materials for events – including, but not limited to save the dates, invitation suites, response vehicles, event programs, posters, sponsorship acknowledgments and donor recognition and stewardship. The Director also partners with Communications colleagues to coordinate electronic materials as needed and develops timelines for event marketing and materials. These materials should always incorporate the brand and messaging of the Jesuit, Catholic Mission of the University.
- Coordinate the logistics of large mailings with the mail house, utilizing best practices for each mailing. This requires an understanding of postage options and rates, payment arrangements and requirements, mail house procedures and parameters.
- Establish and maintain good working relationships with campus partners such as facilities, IT, security and catering as well as vendors such as florists, photographers, audio visual providers, and venue contacts, allowing the University to benefit from special services and discounts. The Director balances the needs of the University with the requirements of the partners and vendors to ensure the best possible outcome for the University.
- Negotiate the most favorable contracts possible for SJU with vendors, internal and external, to create high-end events that meet the needs of the office of Development and Alumni Relations while remaining within set budget. Responsible for the review of all event contracts on behalf of the division, and for making changes or enhancement recommendations, if needed, before they are sent for signature.
- Create and maintain a budget for each event, track deposits and payments in accordance with contracts and agreements. Review and verify accuracy of invoices ensuring that all expenses are within the set budget. Serve as vendor contact when University payments are delayed and finesse and facilitate delayed payments to the satisfaction of the vendors’ accounts payable departments.
- This position also provides consultation, guidance and mentoring to the Alumni Relations Department for such events as Hawkfest and Reunion Weekend, 50th Reunion Weekend, Alumni Award Celebrations and numerous other events. Knowledge of these events and past experience provides valuable insight into proactive planning and conflict resolution.
- The Director is required to attend many events in order to supervise the logistics, oversee the food service, specific needs of guests and if needed, problem solve. While managing each event, the Director gauges the flow of the event, accuracy of timelines, service, food quality and guest reaction. These observations are then used to provide feedback at wrap- up meetings and evaluate improvements and strategy for future events, to ensure continuous quality improvements. Since most events occur on nights and weekends, there is a great deal of evening and weekend work required, in addition to the regular work hours.
- Oversees and manages an events staff that support the planning and execution of events.
- Provide leadership, training and direction to colleagues via the Event Planners Group. This group meets monthly to discuss best practices, strategies for partnering with campus colleagues, industry trends and to share education and experiences. The Director provides robust educational opportunities via varied guest speakers, venues and agenda content at each meeting. The Director serves as a resource and is available for personal engagement and advice as needed.
- Research and order specialty donor gifts, host gifts, event giveaways, etc. Collaborate with President’s Office to determine appropriate gifts and provide leadership during the distribution process. Provide guidance to other advancement areas regarding awards and gifts. When budgets allow, maintain a supply of items to be used as gifts.
- Investigate, visit and gather information on venues. Serve as a resource for our division regarding area venues.
- The Director may be called upon to actively participate in special projects as they arise.
- The Director must balance numerous events in various stages of development and execution concurrently and must be adept at prioritizing tasks from multiple units, often under pressure from colleagues, vendors and campus partners as well as deadlines set for each project. This position requires a tremendous amount of flexibility and an extremely keen attention to detail.
Physical Requirements and/or Unusual Work Hours:
Standing, Computer literacy required. Evening/weekend hours required periodically (especially during academic year). Some travel required.
- BA required.
- Progressively responsible experience in event planning in a college/university setting essential.
- A background in coordinating special events is critical.
- Strong interpersonal skills and ability to establish effective relationships with major donors and prospects essential as are excellent organizational, oral and written communication skills.
- Masters preferred.
On-line applications only. Please provide a letter of application/interest and resume. For a complete description of position responsibilities, qualifications, and to apply, please visit: https://jobs.sju.edu/postings/19016.
Saint Joseph's University is a private, Catholic, and Jesuit institution and expects members of its community to be knowledgeable about its mission and make positive contributions to that mission. Saint Joseph's is an equal opportunity employer that seeks to recruit, develop and retain a talented and diverse workforce.