Development Assistant/Special Events

Development Assistant/Special Events

Reports to: Special Events Coordinator
Department: Development
Employment Status: Full-time (35 hours per week)
FLSA Status: Non-exempt

Start date: September, 2021
Last Updated:  August 8, 2021

Who We Are

Penland School of Craft is an international center for craft education offering residential workshops, residencies, community education programs, and exhibitions. Located on 420 acres in the NC Mountains, Penland has 16 teaching studios and 57 historic and contemporary buildings. We are an equal opportunity employer with a staff of 70. Penland operates with a $44 million endowment and an annual operating budget of $6 million. We are located about an hour northeast of Asheville, NC. Our mission supports individual and artistic growth through creative practice and discovery.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

We believe that equity, diversity, and inclusion are essential to fulfilling our mission. We want to inspire and nurture the human spirit, and we value the perspectives and contributions of all people. We want the Penland experience to include varied ideas, world views, and personal characteristics. Penland is committed to being a community that welcomes and respects everyone regardless of age, ability, ethnicity, race, religion, philosophical or political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, nationality, geographic origin, and socioeconomic status. We are committed to providing an environment free of discrimination.

Position Summary

The development assistant – special events is a professional position with an administrative role in coordinating and assisting with Penland’s fundraising, stewardship, and cultivation. The development assistant reports to the special events coordinator and collaborates with the development team, staff, and volunteers. The position requires assisting with the planning and coordination of the Penland Annual Benefit Auction; support of artist relationships/art sales activities; assistance with all auction-related records maintenance; participation in departmental planning, and administrative support of the development office. 

Primary Responsibilities

Manage Contributed Artwork

  • Coordinate all aspects of the art appeal, including developing the artist solicitation list, preparing and mailing donation letters, overseeing follow-up activities with artists, and tracking all information regarding donations using Excel and Raiser’s Edge software.
  • Manage intake and tracking of artwork and maintain accurate records to ensure appropriate acknowledgment of artist contributions.
  • Manage packaging and storage of artwork.
  • Prepare artwork to be photographed during Photo Week. Organize all aspects of Photo Week and serve as the on-site staff contact for volunteers. 


  • Research/identify and solicit corporate sponsors. This may include cold-calling potential donors.
  • Help maintain relationships with sponsors. 

Advertising and In-Kind Donations

  • Research and solicit catalog advertising and in-kind gifts using phone and email. This may include cold-calling potential donors.
  • Coordinate all advertiser and in-kind donor communications, including solicitations, follow-up, billing, late notices, and thank you letters.

Development Support

  • Support the Development Team with data entry and database management, filing, and other administrative tasks.
  • Assist with donor acknowledgment and stewardship process, including mailings, calls, email correspondence & pledge reminders. 
  • Performs additional duties as assigned.


  • A general understanding of the field of Craft. 
  • Excellent customer service skills are essential; must be comfortable with telephone and in-person communications with artists, patrons, advertisers, instructors, students, and staff.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with diverse groups of individuals.
  • Ability to manage large amounts of information. Attention to detail and accuracy are essential. 
  • Strong knowledge and technical fluency in Google Suite, Microsoft Word, and Excel.
  • Exhibit excellent organizational, time management, and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to work within deadlines and under pressure in a fast-paced environment.
  • A demonstrated interest in the arts/arts management is important.
  • Experience with development office work is preferred but not required. Please indicate if you have experience with Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge or other fundraising software and Greater Giving or other auction software.
  • Able to accommodate a flexible work schedule.

Physical Demands

The employee is regularly required to work at a computer. They must frequently use their hands to manipulate or touch objects, tools, and controls; they must be able to speak fluently, hear, and see (including close vision). The employee will need to navigate areas of the campus with uneven terrain successfully. The employee must be able to lift and move objects weighing up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision.


This is a full-time, year-round, benefits-eligible position.  The starting wage for this non-exempt position is  $14.00 and negotiable based on the applicant’s skills and experience they bring to the position. This is a 35-hour week position and will occasionally flex to 40-hours or see overtime. Employees at Penland enjoy competitive pay, attractive benefits, and a lively, creative work environment. 

To Apply

The position will remain open until filled; however, the initial review of applications will consist of applications received by August 30, 2021. We are hoping to have a candidate that can start in September.  Send cover letter, résumé, and contact information for three references, addressing relevant experience and interest in the position to Alyse Ostreicher, Human Resources Manager, Please include Development Assistant as the subject of your email.

We look forward to hearing from you!