Assistant Director of Special Events


The Innocence Project works to free the innocent, prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair, compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone. Founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, the organization is now an independent nonprofit. Our work is guided by science and grounded in antiracism. Since our inception, the Innocence Project has used DNA and other scientific advancements to prove wrongful conviction. To date, we have helped to free or exonerate more than 200 people who, collectively, spent more than 3,600 years behind bars. Our efforts have led to the passage of more than 200 transformative state laws and federal reforms. Today, the Innocence Project continues to fight for freedom, drive structural change, and advance the innocence movement. To learn more, please visit


The Assistant Director of Special Events is responsible for leading Development department events in order to reach the department’s annual fundraising goals and to advance donor outreach, engagement, and cultivation. The goal for event fundraising in FY ‘23 is $2.3 million.

The Assistant Director of Special Events reports to and works collaboratively with the Director of Individual and Major Giving, and works closely with the Chief Development Officer as well as other internal departments (especially Communications) to ensure events are financially and programmatically successful, on-message, and respectful to exonerees and those still fighting for justice.

All Innocence Project employees must embrace, respect and value the rich diversity of perspectives and experience of a diverse and heterogeneous staff. We recognize and appreciate that our work is better for having varied participants and thought partners.

We are interested in every qualified candidate who is eligible to work in the United States. However, we are not able to sponsor visas.

While the Innocence Project has supported remote work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently committed to a hybrid workplace with mandatory two days per week in-office. All staff are currently provided a private workspace with a closed-door for the time being.


The ideal candidate is a determined self-starter, experienced in planning and executing a range of fundraising and cultivation events down to the last detail, and thrives in a fast paced environment. This person is great at forging and maintaining relationships, both internally and externally, and is an excellent collaborator across departments. They understand and embrace the mission of the Innocence Project.


Co-lead the Annual Benefit and Fall Event (with the Director of Individual and Major Giving and event management firms, co-vision and lead all aspects of our two signature events, A Celebration of Freedom and Justice and Jazz for Justice.)

  • Partner with the Director of Individual and Major Giving and other IP Leadership to develop the vision for these events, build the event leadership, and manage the honoree nomination and outreach process.
  • Partner with the Director of Individual and Major Giving and the Deputy Communications Officer to conceptualize and draft fundraising materials, then manage the design and development of all paper and digital materials, including the save the date card, invitation, event program, and benefit ad journal
  • Oversee the creation of the event website and fundraising platform and manage their implementation.
  • Partner with the Director of Individual and Major Giving and other Development team members to create an outreach list and solicitation strategies for major donors, law firms, corporations, and other prospects likely to support these events; formulate and implement a donor recognition program.
  • Manage all mailings and email solicitations, especially for table buyers, honoree guests, and leadership.
  • Partner with Director of Individual and Major Giving, Executive Director and Social Work team on seating and table arrangements for all attendees.
  • Lead program meetings with Communications department.
  • Serve as the primary liaison with the event management firm.
  • Work with the Social Work team to develop an invitation list of exonerated clients and other local exonerees or those still seeking justice. Oversee and coordinate the logistics of exoneree travel.
  • In conjunction with the Communications team, develop live gala program, including event slideshow, speeches, and script materials honoring and accurately representing the exonerees’ experiences.
  • Recruit event volunteers and oversee their assignments.
  • Manages all aspects of the event Text-To-Pledge or other night-of ask platforms.
  • Manage event expenses and revenue portion of gala budget including pledge follow-up, reconciliation with finance, acknowledgement/tax-letter coordination, and audit documentation.

Oversight of Speaking of Innocence Series, and Regional and Affinity Group Events

  • With the Director of Individual and Major Giving, plan and manage virtual events and work collaboratively to engage donors and others to ensure ongoing support. Specifically, manage the monthly Speaking of Innocence online cultivation series for major supporters and prospects.
  • Plan and execute regional fundraising and cultivation events; work with local hosts to respond and support their needs and presentations.
  • In conjunction with the Executive Office, revive and coordinate Lawyer’s Committee events.

Management of Team Innocence Project NYC Marathon

  • Create outreach materials to recruit runners.
  • Manage team application process and event website/social media presence.
  • Organize the team lunch and recognition plan.
  • Follow up on outstanding pledges and sending thank yous to the runners
  • Organize other similar events such as the Five Boro Bike Tour.

Other Special Event Opportunities

  • Work closely with the Deputy Communications Officer on the overall organizational strategy and implementation of events, some of which may not be directly Development related (anniversary events, film screenings, book events, policy gatherings and digital events presentations, etc.)
  • Seek out and respond to new and emerging event opportunities that can raise revenue and visibility for the Innocence Project, including events where the Innocence Project may be honored.


  • Bachelor’s degree and a minimum 7 years of relevant professional experience, including at least three years involved with Special Events.
  • Knowledge of MS Office and Google suites, and fundraising databases such as Salesforce, Pardot, Funraise, and its integrated programs preferred; comfortable working with technology with minimal IT support
  • Must be legally authorized to work in the U.S.


  • Strong interpersonal, diplomacy, and communication (verbal & written) skills; ability to interact effectively and sensitively with a wide variety of people of diverse professional and cultural backgrounds including exonerees. Superior skills in organization, planning and attention to details.
  • Professional presentation, patience, ability to maintain calmness under pressure and a high level of personal and professional confidence and presence.
  • Flexible, self-reflective and collaborative work style, and comfortable in an atmosphere of transition and growth.
  • Ability to juggle multiple tasks in high-pressure environment.
  • Ability to work independently, be self-directed, assess priorities, and take initiative to excel without significant supervision.
  • Must be able to work with groups of diverse individuals in respectful, equitable, and inclusive ways.
  • Enthusiasm for the work of the Innocence Project and for social justice, including a demonstrated commitment to public interest.
  • Shares values of equity, excellence, collaboration, humanity, integrity, respect, and accountability.


The salary for this position is highly competitive, and the Innocence Project offers an excellent benefits package, including health, dental and vision insurance, Flexible Spending Account, 401k plan with company-match.  The office is currently operating on a hybrid schedule (partly remote, partly in office). While on this hybrid schedule, the Innocence Project provides company-paid transportation benefits.


The Innocence Project considers the diversity of its workforce to be vital to our organization’s success in meeting its mission. We strongly encourage applicants from all cultures, races, educational backgrounds, life experiences, socio-economic classes, sexual orientations, age, gender, and physical abilities to apply. Individuals with personal connections to the criminal legal system are strongly encouraged to apply.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is our policy not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, familial status, marital status, predisposing genetic characteristics, actual or perceived domestic violence victim status, unemployment status, caregiver status, or any other category protected by law. 


Please upload a cover letter expressing your interest in the role and the organization’s work, and a resume titled with your name (last name. first name. cover letter/resume). Only applications with cover letters will be considered complete applications. Information submitted through this secure site is kept confidential. Due to the large volume of applications, we are unable to give applicant updates by phone or direct email.


**Applications for this position will be considered on a rolling basis until the post is filled.** 

LOCATION:  New York City 

SALARY RANGE: $95,625 – $112,500

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