Special Events Manager

Posted on 08/05/2022

Rhode Island School of Design

Providence, RI

Rhode Island School of Design is seeking a two-year term Special Events Manager to join its Institutional Advancement Department (IA). This is an exciting opportunity to lead the operational planning, logistics, and execution of the events for alumni, parents, donors, and other key community constituents both on campus and in regional major markets. RISD students and alumni are diverse, coming from a wide range of geographic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds, representing all forms of diversity. The ideal candidate must be culturally competent and thrive in a campus environment that advances principles of social equity and inclusion, environmental and climate justice, and equal access to resources and opportunities. The incumbent must also recognize diversity and inclusion as central to excellence.

The Special Events Manager in Institutional Advancement (IA) is responsible for supporting the planning and logistical execution of a variety of high-profile, impactful events and special programs. These events range from small gatherings to large-scale events (including Commencement + Reunion Weekend), designed to support IA’s efforts to advance RISD’s mission by strengthening goodwill, engagement, and philanthropy.

Institutional Advancement (IA) is responsible for engaging RISD’s alumni, parents, students, and donors in meaningful ways. IA cultivates and stewards relationships and raises money from a variety of sources to support the priorities of the college. These priorities correspond to strategic initiatives and institutional needs.

Essential Functions

  • Responsible for the operational planning, logistics. and execution of a yearly calendar of events for alumni, parents, donors, and other key community constituents both on campus and in regional major markets, as assigned by the Director.
  • Maintains a discrete portfolio of events as directed by the Director of Special Events. Collaborates with the Development and Alumni + Family 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; manages event logistics and program; secures proposals and estimates from and works with vendors; and manages post-event reporting, analysis and debriefs.
  • Oversees all assigned event budgets, provides cost-analysis and forecasting information as requested by the Director of Special Events and Executive Director of Campaign Planning + Strategy.
  • Partners with the offices of Advancement Communications and Advancement Services to request, build and execute event invitations and events registration forms. Manages all guest correspondence, registrations and follow-up.
  • Prepares and oversees all aspects of event management: event materials (briefings, research, nametags, invitations, programs, signage etc.) budgets, catering menus, staffing and coordination of volunteer management and proofing of events materials, sites and communications.
  • Conducts research for potential event venues and event supplies; secures quotes and/or bids; attends site visits as necessary.

Additional Functions

  • Staff and support key RISD campus events, including but not limited to the annual Celebration of Scholarships dinner, professorships dinner, RISD Weekend, Founders Day and Commencement + Reunion Weekend.
  • Complete other related duties as required.


  • Must possess strong interpersonal skills, high EQ and superb first-in-class customer service and communications skills.
  • Demonstrated expertise in the use of Microsoft Office, Adobe, CRM/database, and Google Apps (G Suite) and Asana, or similar project management collaboration tools. Knowledge of events registration modules a plus.
  • Superlative diplomatic and communication skills, including an 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.
  • 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 needs and to react quickly, calmly and confidently so as to instill trust and confidence.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects, priorities and deadlines.
  • Capability to work independently and collaboratively with moderate supervision.
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively with a broad spectrum of divisional and institutional colleagues, within an environment that values diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Minimum of 3 years of planning and coordinating events, donor and alumni engagement activities, or comparable experience.

The successful candidate will be required to meet our pre-employment background screening requirements.

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.

To apply for this job please visit risd.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com.