Michigan Opera Theatre, a non-profit organization, is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Michigan Opera Theatre is supported by private donations, foundation and corporate grants, the State of Michigan through the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal Agency.

For information on how to become a volunteer at Michigan Opera Theatre, visit Volunteer.

Special Events Manager

Position Title:           Special Events Manager
Department:              Patron Services
Status:                       Full Time, Exempt, Salaried
Reports to:                 Chief Patron Officer


Position S

The Special Events Manager manages and is responsible for the success of signature fundraising events for Michigan Opera Theatre to support the organization in raising revenues. These signature events include the annual Opera Ball, Bravo! Bravo!, marketing events, community programs, and pre- and post-performance events throughout the year. With direction from the Chief Patron Officer and support from staff in all affected departments, the Special Events Manager crafts event-based fundraising plans to meet revenue goals of individual events, and works with the entire organization in executing events and related fundraising plans.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Plans fundraising events in coordination with management, vendors and volunteers. Responsible for event logistics including venue, communication, vendor, staff and volunteer matters. Ensures all fundraising events are within budget, meet financial objectives, and appropriately represent Michigan Opera Theatre to the donor community.
  • Works with and supports volunteer leaders
  • Collaborates with Patron Services and Operations to produce successful events. Tracks and communicates progress, uses benchmarks and performance measures to meet goals.
  • Crafts strategy for and oversees logistics, vendor management, collateral, mailings, and look and feel of event.
  • Develops event-based fundraising strategy, working with team members to identify pipelines and to execute strategy.
  • Oversees solicitation strategy for events, including invitations, pledge collection, and gift processing.
  • Manages seating, registration, and financial reporting for all special events.
  • Manages a personal portfolio of individual relationships, learning and understanding their philanthropic missions, and working with them to determine the best sponsorship opportunities possible.



Outcome Oriented – Capacity to meet or exceed goals consistently; ability to parse large projects into achievable sub goals; ability to effectively peer-manage a team, as project leader, from start to finish to achieve goals. 

Relationship Management – Initiates and manages internal and external relationships effectively in ways that maximize benefit to the organization; develops transactional relationships into mutually beneficial partnerships; demonstrates leadership presence when working with partners.

Communication – Engages, persuades and inspires others through effective communication methods; effectively adapts style to situation and audience; engages others through active listening; develops tailored messaging and storytelling that integrates data and emotional appeal.

Project Management, Leadership and Teambuilding – Manages events from planning through execution as a project team lead, by engaging, aligning and managing diverse teams of staff, volunteers and stakeholders from across the organization to achieve a common goal.



  • Four-year degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience required.
  • 3 years’ experience in event planning or event-based fundraising required. Non-profit experience strongly preferred.
  • Proficiency with a donor database management system is necessary. Strong skills using Microsoft Office, and the internet are required.
  • A passion for opera, dance, and the arts is strongly preferred
  • Must work evenings and weekends as scheduled and be present at every event..
  • Demonstrated proficiency with event production principles and practices.
  • Demonstrated experience working with fundraising volunteers and board members.
  • Demonstrated experience working with event vendors, including event management companies, rental companies, graphic designers, printers, production teams and mail houses.
  • Ability and skill to exercise tact and diplomacy in dealing with others and to establish and maintain cooperative working relationships.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and leadership ability to create effective collaborations among various levels of staff to bring complex projects to completion.
  • Ability to work effectively in a team environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, prioritize work and independently manage multiple, diverse and competing priorities while meeting deadlines; plan and develop meaningful objectives; and integrate the work of special event fundraising into overall patron department goals.
  • Strong problem solving skills and demonstrated ability to work under pressure
  • Consistently excellent judgment and strong decision making capability.
  • Experience preparing and managing event budgets (expense and revenue). 
  • Ability to multi-task and change course on short notice when priorities change.
  • Strong capacity to analyze and solve problems.
  • Exceptional writing and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent customer service skills.
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail. Ability to prioritize work effectively and to follow tasks through to completion.
  • Key Relationships: Board of Directors, specific event committees and task forces, all external relationships with major donors and community partners, and especially other members of the staff of Michigan Opera Theatre.


Note: Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time.

In the performance of their respective tasks and duties all employees are expected to conform to the following:

  • Perform quality work within deadlines with or without direct supervision.
  • Interact professionally with other employees, patrons, volunteers, artists, vendors and the general public.
  • Work effectively as a team contributor on all assignments.
  • Work independently while understanding the necessity for communicating and coordinating work efforts with other employees and organizations.

Interested parties should submit a resume including references along with cover letter by email to jobs@motopera.org, or to: Chief Patron Officer, Michigan Opera Theatre, 1526 Broadway, Detroit, MI 48226.

Part-Time Opportunities

Maintenance, Ushers, Bar Staff and Security

To apply for part-time maintenance, security, bar staff or staff usher positions, please pick up an application at the security desk at the Madison Avenue stage door entrance.

All other applicants–please send a resume to:

Human Resources
Detroit Opera House
1526 Broadway
Detroit, MI 48226

Or fax to: 313-237-3412.


Thank you for your interest in Michigan Opera Theatre and the Detroit Opera House.