Special Events Manager

First Stage / Milwaukee, WI

FIRST STAGE is committed to dismantling structures that may prevent ALL people from applying for  employment with us. FIRST STAGE celebrates the richness of our world by cultivating Equity, Diversity  and Inclusivity as they inspire the creativity that nurtures great art, artists and audiences.

FIRST STAGE is an equal opportunity employer and as such, we consider individuals for employment  according to their abilities and performance. Employment decisions are made without regard to race,  age, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, physical or mental disability, marital or  veteran status, or any other classification protected by law.

Special Events Manager Job Description 

Classification: Year-round, 40 hrs/week, Non-exempt

Salary Range: $30,000 – $35,000

Reports to Development Director

Position Description 

The Special Events Manager will lead all aspects of First Stage’s fundraising, cultivation and stewardship  events with the goal of increasing income from current fundraising events, researching possible new  revenue-generating opportunities, and supporting community events. The Special Events Manager will  play a key role in developing and deepening relationships with donors and champions in the Milwaukee  area and beyond.


Signature Events: (Make Believe Ball & Wine Tasting & Dinner)

∙ Plan and execute all necessary details for two signature events proactively and with detail by  leading all aspects of events including; management of volunteers and committees, event  logistics, sponsorship coordination, live and silent auctions, raffles, etc…;

∙ Work in collaboration with Development Director, Grants Manager, Annual Campaign &  Development Database Manager, Development Interns, First Stage staff and volunteer  committees to execute all elements of First Stage’s events and ensure fundraising goals are  met;

∙ Organize and facilitate event committees;

∙ Serve as contact person for volunteers, venue, creative team, staff, etc.;

∙ Serve as primary contact and negotiate contract for Venue, Mobile Bidding Software,  auctioneer, etc…;

∙ Research and develop event sites, and train staff on virtual event platforms and mobile bidding  software;

∙ Develop and implement event timelines and budgets;

∙ Support committee members and volunteers in solicitation efforts through acquiring and  maintaining auction databases, guest and sponsor prospect databases, prospect and attendee  research;

∙ Track event reservations and oversee event communication, including pre-event information  and follow up survey;

∙ Work with Annual Campaign & Development Database Manager to ensure accurate entry in  Tessitura, invoicing and acknowledgement;

∙ Work with Development Director to optimize Corporate support;

∙ Work with Marketing team to create a cohesive marketing, promotion, and collateral design  plan for all special events.

Other Events:

∙ Fundraisers/Cultivation Events: Manage event logistics of various fundraisers/friend-raisers— including ImpACT Event and Grandparents Brunch; and possibly develop new events as the need  arises;

∙ Stewardship Events: Manage event logistics of Stewardship events, with support from  Development Director and Annual Campaign & Development Database Manager; ∙ Corporate Events: Assist Corporate Donors with special events at the theater, or otherwise, as  they relate to sponsor benefits;

∙ Bard-o-thon: Work with Young Company Director to support the Bard-o-thon; including setting  goals, encouraging students and providing fundraising information, setting up fundraiser profiles  in fundraising platform, supporting the final presentation, as needed;

∙ Assist Marketing department with creation of event websites and event marketing/press efforts.

UPAF Coordination:

∙ Performers/speakers events: Work with team to identify young performers and assist them in  preparing their performance materials;

∙ Set up the First Stage UPAF Ride for the Arts team;

∙ UPAF Internal Campaign: Lead coordination of First Stage’s workplace giving campaign for UPAF  donations;

∙ Serve as contact for speaking engagements, ticket requests, special performances and  management of volunteers.


∙ Be an active and engaged team member in supporting the overall Development Team goals; ∙ Work with Development Team on the Annual Impact Report and triannual Donor Newsletter; ∙ Work with team members to identify, cultivate and steward donors;

∙ Participate in development meetings and provide agenda items, as needed; ∙ Attend monthly all staff meetings;

∙ Provide support for task forces and special projects, as needed;

∙ Oversee special event intern or provide tasks for general development intern, as needed; ∙ Attend show previews and openings and various afterhours meetings, as needed; ∙ Other duties, as assigned.


The most successful candidate will have some experience managing a large event, and if not as a  fundraiser, will have experience in a leadership position that requires high attention to detail, budgeting  and negotiating, creating and maintaining a timeline, meeting deadlines and exceeding goals.

This individual will use creativity and effective communication and collaboration skills to lead committees and staff; be self-motivated with a desire for continuing education; have a passion for  theater arts and arts education; and demonstrate a commitment to being a positive force in the  organization.

∙ Experience in fundraising event leadership or similar management position; ∙ Must be accurate and precise with a high attention to detail;

∙ Ability to manage and organize multiple projects in a fast-paced environment; ∙ Ability to prioritize responsibilities and meet deadlines;

∙ General understanding of fundraising process;

∙ Advanced proficiency in Microsoft Office including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook; ∙ Experience working in databases;

∙ Ability to work with a diverse group of staff, students and volunteers;

∙ Demonstrated interpersonal skills – ability and willingness to collaborate with community members, businesses, and staff members;

∙ Ability to clearly communicate verbally and in writing—as it relates to delegating tasks and  collaborating with others;

∙ Open to working occasional evenings and weekends, as needed;

∙ Driver’s License or Access to public or reliable transportation;

∙ Most of this job requires sedentary work, but you will be required to lift up to 25 up to chest  occasionally and may need to kneel, squat or twist occasionally;

∙ Ability to pass a background check in accordance with state and/or Federal laws.


First Stage offers a mission you can stand behind, excellent benefits and a positive work environment.  First Stage provides a competitive benefit package that includes but is not limited to the following: year round health/dental/vision coverage, generous healthcare reimbursement arrangement, life insurance,  short term and long term disability as well as a 403(b) plan. Salary is commensurate with experience.

About First Stage First Stage is Milwaukee’s premiere non-profit theater for young people and families  currently in our 34th season. First Stage is a nationally acclaimed professional theater company drawing  annual audiences of more than 120,000 people. First Stage’s production season includes five mainstage  shows at the Todd Wehr Theater, as well as our First Steps and Young Company Series of productions – a total of more than 400 performances annually. First Stage also offers theater-in-education programs,  serving 20,000 students in classrooms annually throughout southeastern Wisconsin, and the First Stage

Theater Academy, the largest and most high-impact training program of its kind in the nation, teaches  “life skills through stage skills” to nearly 2,000 young people ages 3 – 18 each year.

For more information about First Stage visit www.firststage.org

To Apply Please send cover letter and resume by May 1, 2021 via email to Nancy Clarkin, Development  Director at nclarkin@firststage.org or by mail to: Nancy Clarkin First Stage 325 W Walnut St Milwaukee,  WI 53212. Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted.