Swarthmore College — Director, Advancement Events

Swarthmore College is a highly selective liberal arts college located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, whose mission combines academic rigor with social responsibility. Swarthmore has a strong institutional commitment to inclusive excellence and nondiscrimination in its educational program and employment practices and encourages candidates who will further advance the goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive community. As one of the nation’s finest institutions of higher learning, Swarthmore College is global in outlook and draws students from around the nation and world. The 425‐acre campus is a designated arboretum, complete with gardens, rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails in the Crum Woods.

Who We Are:

We are a team of talented relationship builders with the shared mission of connecting, engaging, and supporting our Swarthmore College alumni and families.

We are committed to the following:

  • Creating opportunities in everything we do that connect Swarthmore alumni, students, and the wider Swarthmore community;
  • Developing programs valued by our alumni, families, and students who will become our future alumni;
  • Building enduring and mutually beneficial relationships that inspire conversational, experiential, volunteer, and philanthropic engagement;
  • Taking risks and championing new and creative ideas; and
  • Strengthening the College’s reputation and advancing its mission.

The Opportunity:

The Director, Advancement Events provides direction, management, and hands-on work in developing and growing Swarthmore’s Advancement events, experiences, and activations. A builder, collaborator, and effective manager, the Director will bring applied experience with the tools, practices, and approaches of engagement to bear within the thriving academic culture of this liberal arts undergraduate community. In addition, the Director is responsible for growing the Alumni and Family Programs department, including increasing constituent engagement, promoting the needs and mission of the College through events and experiences, and implementing best practices in the field.

Swarthmore values intentional community building by creating spaces for dialogue that foster intellectual curiosity and meaningful connections. The Alumni and Family Programs team contributes to this ethos and the educational mission of the College by engaging alumni, parents, and friends in the life of the College.

In partnership with and reporting to the Senior Director, Marketing and Donor Relations, the Director will anticipate constituent needs, use insights to craft responsive offerings, and shape the organizational capacity and shared expectations necessary to deliver positive and meaningful community connections consistently. The Director will maintain an effective and efficient network of services that maximizes the use of campus resources to the most significant benefit of the College. In collaboration with the Advancement division, the Director will establish common pathways for alumni, donors, and families to fully access all opportunities across the division to contribute, participate, and lead. As the manager of one person, the Director demonstrates the capacity and self-awareness to translate their genuine care for colleagues’ success into professional relationships that activate the team’s creativity, growth, and individual outperformance.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Lead a creative team that provides hands-on, full-service event design and production of all Advancement events to engage alumni, families, and donors with the College and actively encourages participants to support the College’s goals and priorities.
  • In collaboration with the appropriate advancement colleagues, direct strategic project planning, creative direction, logistical support, customer service, and execution of all Advancement division events, including but not limited to Alumni Weekend, Garnet Weekend, volunteer meetings, presidential events, fundraising and prospect events, donor relations and stewardship events, affinity and regional engagement events, networking events, reunion events and activities, and virtual programs.
  • Organize and facilitate planning meetings to develop event project plans, concepts, themes, and strategies.
  • Draft overall budget and expense projections for approval by the program manager; monitor costs to control expenses once approved.
  • Create an event planning timeline for all production and administrative tasks and oversee its implementation and use.
  • Identify and scout creative venues that enhance the mission and message of off-campus events.
  • Build and cultivate effective working relationships with external vendors and cross-campus partners.
  • Manage relationships with all on-site staff and vendors and serve as their primary on-site staff contact for each event.
  • Serve as Advancement liaison with the Swarthmore Events Management, Dining Services, Housing, and Facilities offices, and ensure their participation in on-campus events.
  • Oversee event registration and invitation process, ensuring a seamless user experience.
  • Coordinate all back-of-the-house logistics including but not limited to security, rentals and catering load-in, wait staff, etc.
  • Create ideas and proposals for event menus and décor; work with the event manager, venue manager, and catering manager on all food and beverage planning.
  • Create ideas and proposals for all entertainment features.
  • Oversee all vendor services and negotiate costs for décor, lighting, florals, transportation, security, etc.
  • Suggest and make arrangements for event-specific giveaways, if applicable.
  • Establish, implement, and ensure compliance with event policies, procedures, and protocols, including event briefs.
  • Ensure the efficient tracking of event participation in the CRM.
  • Assure all events and activities reflect a consistent image of the College and deliver a high-level and quality constituent experience.
  • Collaborate closely with colleagues within Advancement and across College departments to ensure events and activities reinforce appropriate College and Advancement messaging.
  • Direct and implement digital and print communication initiatives in collaboration with the Marketing and Donor Relations and College Communications teams.
  • Hire, coach, manage and motivate a team dedicated to engagement events.
  • Serve on the Advancement Leadership Committee.
  • Collaborate with other members of the Advancement Leadership Committee, under the direction of the Assistant Vice President of Alumni and Family Programs, to improve the effectiveness of the Advancement division.

Who You Are:

  • High level of experience and expertise around event design, planning, and execution and who is also excited by being part of the strategy and efforts to grow and cultivate meaningful relationships for the organization.
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion; culturally competent in issues such as racial, cultural, religious, sexual, and gender identity.
  • Flexibility and initiative, as well as the ability to work independently, combined with the skills for thriving in a team environment.
  • High professional and ethical standards for handling confidential information.
  • Ability to organize and complete multiple tasks simultaneously with close attention to detail and prioritization to meet deadlines.
  • Excellent written, oral, and interpersonal skills; personal solicitation experience is valued.
  • Excellent technical skills, including knowledge of database research and maintenance and staying ahead of changing technology, and recommending solutions to meet the department’s needs.
  • Demonstrated ability to build effective and collaborative relationships with various constituents, including students and volunteers of all ages.
  • Ability to be a self-starter and simultaneously work independently and in a team environment on several projects.

What You Bring:


  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • A minimum of eight (8) years working in institutional advancement or equivalent professional experience.
  • Must be able to travel and work evenings and weekends as needed.


  • Advanced degree.
  • Experience working in a college or university setting, especially in a comprehensive fund-raising campaign environment.
  • A sense of humor and a deep appreciation for private liberal arts education.
  • Successful supervisory experience focused on setting priorities, managing, and motivating a diverse team.
  • Superior written and oral communication skills, including imaginative and persuasive writing and articulating the value of higher education.
  • Ability to authentically engage and inspire others as a representative of the Advancement Office.

What You Will Get:

You’ll work at one of the world’s most renowned liberal arts Colleges, with incredible benefits, a stunning 420-acre campus, and a hybrid work environment. You’ll join a passionate, creative, and supportive team who works hard while having fun. You will be supported, heard, and respected with the opportunity for professional development and engagement in campus life. You will be encouraged to bring new ideas to the table and will be considered a thought-partner in order to advance innovation and spread joy. If you are excited about this role, we want to hear from you!

For more information and to apply, please visit: https://careers.swarthmore.edu/cw/en-us/job/495081/director-advancement-events
For full consideration, submit applications including resume and cover letter by February 27th.

Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.