The Poetry Project

Executive Director


Title: Executive Director

Responsible to: The Board of Directors

Classification/Type: Exempt

Salary Range: From $70,000 to $80,000 commensurate with experience

Start Date: June 18, 2018

Deadline for Applications: December 15, 2017

Key Objectives:

  • Expand and deepen the organization’s artistic and community impact.
  • Maintain, advance, and diversify the organization’s funding base and implement sustainability measures within the organization.
  • Ensure an enduring record of excellence in programming and reputation.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders, allies, and partners to expand organization’s reach and cultivate an inclusive environment.

General Responsibilities:

The Executive Director fosters the development of the artistic and strategic vision of The Poetry Project, oversees its administration and the implementation of its programs, acts as the Poetry Project’s primary ambassador, and is responsible for its overall fiscal health. They ensure that (a) the quality and diversity of programming is consistent with the Poetry Project’s history and mission; and (b) that the organization is effective and responsive to our stakeholders and mission. Areas of responsibility include, but are not limited to: programming, personnel, budget and finance, governance, fundraising, and public relations. The Executive Director will be expected to attend some Poetry Project events, which will require some evening work.

 Specific Responsibilities:

Vision and Programming:

  • Oversee the planning and development of the Poetry Project’s artistic programs, which include live literary events, writing workshops, publications, Web site, archives, and any other forms of literary presentation and preservation the organization undertakes;
  • Work with staff to create a vision of programmatic areas and work plans for achieving organizational goals;
  • Engage Board and staff periodically in long-range, strategic planning efforts;
  • Lead program evaluation efforts and regularly assess progress toward goals.


  • Lead the Poetry Project’s fundraising efforts in consultation with the Board of Directors and the Development and Finance Committees;
  • Diversify the Project’s funding base;
  • Submit grant applications to funding agencies and foundations;
  • Cultivate paid members, individual donors, and potential funders;
  • Spearhead special fundraising and cultivation events;
  • Submit reports and payment requests to individuals, foundations and government agencies.


  • Lead human resources management;
  • Foster a safe work environment that stresses professionalism, teamwork, goal setting, and accountability;
  • Model effective communication and collaboration;
  • Establish clear job roles and responsibilities and supervisory practices;
  • Conduct annual employee reviews in a timely manner;
  • Hire administrative staff, artistic staff, auxiliary staff, and independent contractors, and ensure their orientation, training, and ongoing supervision;
  • Establish the organization’s salary structure in keeping with industry standards and in concert with the Board of Directors.

Budget and Finance:

  • Prepare the Poetry Project’s annual operating budget in consultation with the Finance Committee, and present it to the full Board;
  • Review monthly financial and cash flow statements;
  • Ensure accurate financial records, timely payments, and strict budget management;
  • Oversee the annual financial audit and distribution;
  • Negotiate and monitor agreements with partner organizations.

Public Relations, Media, & Communications:

  • Develop a public relations and marketing plan;
  • Cultivate and deepen relationships with communities, stakeholders, and media;
  • Write a Letter from the Director for each issue of the Newsletter;
  • Respond to media inquiries and media requests;
  • Oversee press releases, advertising design, and media interviews.


  • Cultivate strong Board relations;
  • Serve as the liaison between staff and board;
  • Work in partnership with the Board Chair to advance the organization
  • Develop Board meeting agendas with Board Chair;
  • Support board committees to perform effectively.


  • Demonstrated senior management experience, preferably in a non-profit arts organization, or comparable experience;
  • Thorough knowledge of poetry and the literary arts community, preferably with experience curating a reading series;
  • Strong leadership, focus and self-direction, as well as strong presentation/facilitation skills;
  • Excellent written and oral communication and outstanding interpersonal skills;
  • Proven ability to raise funds from public and private sources;
  • Facility for interacting with and building rapport amongst a culturally diverse community of audiences and artists;
  • History of building and sustaining collaborative partnerships/relationships among stakeholders and supporters.


  • Salary commensurate with skills and experience;
  • Generous vacation time and health insurance.

Other Information:

  • Appointed by the Poetry Project’s Board of Directors, the Executive Director should plan to serve for a minimum of three years subject to annual performance reviews by the Poetry Project’s Board of Directors.

How to Apply: Email cover letter, resume, and 3 references to by 6pm on December 15, 2017. In subject line please put “Poetry Project Executive Director - [Your first name and last name]”.

The Poetry Project is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants from populations underrepresented in the arts are strongly encouraged to apply. All qualified applications will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ability, age, or veteran status.

Contact Information

Cydney Pullman