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Director, Advancement Special Events & Operations – National Geographic Society

Company Name: National Geographic Society
: Washington, DC
Type: Full Time

Job Description:

The Global Special Events team of the National Geographic Society is responsible for developing and producing high quality, impactful events that use the power of convening to drive programmatic outcomes, further visibility for our executives, programs, and talent, and build donor loyalty and philanthropic support. The team collaborates with National Geographic Society staff and Disney to develop programming that brings our mission to life, complements our programmatic, outreach, educational, and philanthropic strategies, and creates meaningful connections among attendees.

The Director of Advancement Special Events and Operations is responsible for creating and developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be used by the Advancement Special Events (ASE) team and working in collaboration with the Signature Events team to roll them out across the Global Special Events (GSE) department. This role will also be responsible for mapping, planning, and executing the strategy for mission-centric, regional donor events hosted by the National Geographic Society. Working in partnership with the Leadership Giving, Corporate and Foundations and Membership teams this position is responsible for designing elevated experiences for philanthropic stakeholders of the Society, including the Board of Trustees and members of signature affinity groups, The Director will also be responsible for premier donor events, including but not limited to Alfalfa and ATW Jet Trips, as well as overseeing the strategy for Donor Engagement at Signature Events and regional donor events. This role reports to the Senior Director, Advancement Special Events.

Responsibilities Include

Create Standard Operating Procedures, Project Management Tools, and Budgeting for the ASE Department (40%)

  • Streamline processes and procedures for event planning within the ASE team and sharing best practices with the broader GSE team, when appropriate
  • Create and implement a budget spreadsheet to be used across the ASE team that feeds into the overall GSE budget.
  • Monitor the ASE budget monthly and flag any concerns to the Global Special Events leadership team
  • Work with Sr. Director and ASE Managers during budgeting season to create, inform and develop an annual ASE budget that complements and fulfills the goals laid out by Advancement Leadership and GSE.
  • Will serve as ASE department lead in the absence of the Senior Director
  • Work in collaboration with the Signature Events Team to develop and roll out new SOP and management tools to be used across the Global Special Events team.

Oversee the Regional Donor Event Strategy (20%)

  • Develop, own and execute a robust annual calendar of events which educates, informs and inspires stakeholder audiences at Regional Donor Events
  • Manage the calendar for upcoming and developing Regional Donor Events working with the Sr. Director to ensure budgeting and bandwidth of the team are considered for all events.
  • Work with colleagues in Advancement to develop a yearlong calendar of events and maintain the calendar.
  • Monitor enterprise calendars, scheduled programming, and mission moments/messaging. Leverage programming, talent and assets and integrate into events as appropriate (i.e. film screenings, museum exhibitions, magazine features, NG Live programs, book signings, and special appearances by channel talent) to create elevated, bespoke experiences and provide VIP access to premier donor audiences.
  • Working with the Senior Director to inform scheduling and staffing of the Regional Events Calendar. The Director will be expected to lead the planning on 3-5 regional events per year.
  • Working with the Senior Director, plan a strategy for Donor Engagement at annual Signature Events, develop the strategy prior to handing it off to a manager to execute.

Manage International Explorers Festival and Premier Donor Events (20%)

  • Manage logistics and event production for the annual International Explorers Festival and all Premier Donor Events (not including Board Meetings). Premier Donor Events consist of high touch, high profile events that the organization hosts. These events could be annually, biannually or special “one off” events.
  • Exercise budget discipline by making cost-effective decisions and carefully monitoring expenses and revenue throughout the planning process to adhere to established budgets.
  • Partner with donor and Explorer hosts to design the experience and plan programming to illuminate NGS’ mission and impact.
  • Direct coordination of multi-day programming and logistics, high-profile speakers, venue logistics, audio visual production, security protocols, supervision of support staff, travel and vendor logistics.
  • Research venues and vendors, drafting Requests For Proposals, as needed. Negotiate contracts in a manner that is consistent with industry best practices and protects the Society’s interests.
  • Draft and edit marketing materials to promote immersive donor expeditions consistent with NGS brand standards, including invitations, program booklets, agendas, websites, online registration forms and travel questionnaires, trip reminders and other guest communications.
  • Brief executive leadership on key event updates and insights throughout the planning process, soliciting feedback and obtaining necessary approvals. Pull registration data from CVENT and distribute bi-weekly RSVP reports to Advancement and other internal departments.
  • Work with the Advancement Operations team to ensure data in Raiser’s Edge is accurate to support donor pipeline development.

Manage Pre-Trip Activities in DC in collaboration with National Geographic Expeditions (20%)

  • Develop programs for 8-9 annual pre-trip briefing days for travelers at NGS headquarters with a program that engages, activates and inspires travelers by showcasing the mission work of the Society.
  • Monitor NG Expeditions schedule of trips and ensure members of NGS’ senior leadership team, or other Talent are scheduled to make remarks or participate, as appropriate.
  • Program speakers by providing a run-of-show framework, program summary, talkers and questions for Q&A. Coordinate speaker travel as needed. Ensure that visual speaker presentations meet the high standards of the National Geographic brand.
  • Lead onstage production of programs including running rehearsals, managing talent, preparing moderators, hosts, and speakers, reviewing and advising on verbal and visual presentations, and collaborating with technical production leads.
  • Plan and oversee the execution of all logistics including catering, set-up, audiovisual, etc.
  • Manage NGS staff involvement at Welcome Dinners, including senior leadership team remarks at each dinner and seating of NGS advancement and leadership staff strategically based on guests/RSVPs.

What You’ll Bring

Educational Background

Bachelor’s degree

Minimum Years And Type Of Experience

10+ years of relevant event programming, production or VIP travel experience with 3+ years of management experience. Experience with managing events for high net worth donors preferred.

Necessary Knowledge and Skills

  • Proven success managing complex events and producing talent for stage
  • Adept at managing complex revenue and expense budgets and forecasting expenses
  • Excellent writing, interpersonal and communication skills; proven ability to communicate clearly and concisely to various audiences, including high-level donors and executives
  • Firm grasp of event industry standards, practices, and business principles
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to deliver results while managing competing priorities under tight deadlines
  • Proactive, self-starter with an entrepreneurial mindset
  • Ability to work independently on projects and as part of a team
  • Flexibility to attend evening and weekend events, as well as travel domestically or internationally for extended periods (3-10 days at a time)

Desired Qualifications

  • Previous experience working with travel/destination management companies and/or coordinating travel (domestic or international) for VIP audiences is preferred
  • Familiarity with CVENT, Social Tables, Google Office, Microsoft Office Suite is desired

The salary range for this position is $130,500 – $155,000.

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