Careers at the Aspen Institute
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Aspen Institute employees come from a wide range of backgrounds and possess a unique blend of education, skill, and policy experience. We recognize that our people are our vital resource and we value their knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment. At the Aspen Institute we offer competitive salaries and a wide variety of benefits to our employees and their families.

If you would enjoy working in a dynamic environment and are looking for an opportunity to become part of a stellar team of professionals, we invite you to apply online today.

Program Assistant, Aspen Words

Department: ARTS
Location: Aspen, CO

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Since its founding in 1949, the Institute has been driving change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most critical challenges facing communities in the United States and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.


Aspen Words

Aspen Words (AW) was founded in 1976 as a literary center based in Aspen, CO. A program of the Aspen Institute, its mission is to encourage writers, inspire readers, and connect people through the power of stories. AW’s year-round programs include Summer Words, a writing conference and literary festival; Winter Words, a speaker series presenting the best of contemporary literature; the Aspen Words Literary Prize, a $35,000 annual award for fiction with social impact; as well as a writers-in-the schools program and writing residencies. For more information, visit

The Position: Program Assistant

Aspen Words seeks a highly organized, solutions-oriented Program Assistant capable of juggling multiple programmatic and administrative needs. The role includes general administrative, development, communications and program support to Aspen Words staff and program participants as required. Our team expects the Program Assistant to have stellar interpersonal skills and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment, as well as possess a strong interest and commitment to the Aspen Words mission. The Program Assistant role will provide the right candidate with a unique opportunity to make his or her mark through interesting and creative work that has substantive social purpose.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Salary Range: $41,400 - $50,400

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Serve as primary liaison to Aspen Institute Accounting department and produce requests for payment forms for processing invoices for speakers, vendors and other entities. Responsible for collecting signed contracts and W-9’s
  • Spearhead all office management, maintaining office supplies and operating equipment, and providing materials for staff and board meetings
  • Assume primary responsibility for AW’s banking needs, including making regular bank deposits and processing related paperwork with the Aspen Institute Accounting department
  • Assume primary responsibility for the use and maintenance of information systems, including databases such as Salesforce fundraising software
  • Assume responsibility for processing ticket revenue and paperwork for all events and programs for AW
  • Review contracts and coordinate with Due Diligence and other Aspen Institute departments as needed
  • Maintain relationship with IT regarding computer/technical problems
  • Manage volunteers for various projects
  • Assume primary responsibility for AW’s postal needs, including mailing packages and letters and stuffing envelopes as required
  • Copy edit and proofread correspondence and outreach materials


Program Responsibilities

  • Arrange for logistical elements of AW programs, particularly logistics for the following programs: Summer Words, Winter Words, Writers in Residence, Youth Programs, Writers in the Schools, Aspen Words Literary Prize. Duties include:
    • Planning, tracking, and execution of the Annual Benefit Dinner
    • Coordinating Professional Consultations for Aspen Summer Words, including all scheduling and communication with visiting agents and editors
    • Tracking 150+ book submissions for the Aspen Words Literary Prize, verifying eligibility and answering inquiries from the publishing community
    • Booking travel, drafting contracts and itineraries for visiting talent
    • Supporting the scheduling and logistics behind youth programming
    • Managing all RSVPs and logistics for donor events
  • Assist with correspondence regarding logistics for AW Events and disseminate to participants and to staff; prepare staffing schedules for events
  • Prepare follow-up materials related to events


Development Responsibilities

  • Serve as primary Salesforce user for AW, manage data entry for all programming and development, and act as liaison to the Aspen Institute Office of Institutional Advancement team
  • Maintain databases for AW, including researching donors’ contact information and updating addresses
  • Run reports, including mailing lists, from Salesforce
  • Research foundations and potential donors and report to Managing Director
  • Assemble materials and write copy for grants and fundraising proposals
  • Coordinate fundraising appeals with other staff
  • Work closely with other staff to solicit in-kind program donations
  • Maintain meticulous records of donor interactions, giving and acknowledgements
  • Write gift acknowledgements and steward donors, including regular communication and delivery of books and other items


Principal Interactions
Works closely with all AW staff. Routinely interacts with conference attendees and handles outside requests for information.


Desired Knowledge, Education and Experience

  • A college degree is desirable
  • Superb communications skills over email and phone are essential, as well as strong customer-service instincts
  • Excellent writer with experience drafting copy for marketing or fundraising purposes
  • Experience interacting with donors or VIP patrons with discretion and professionalism
  • Excellent computer skills, particularly Microsoft Office Suite and web-based platforms for data and document management.
  • Ability to navigate, quickly learn and troubleshoot a variety of technology platforms, such as Salesforce and other CRM platforms used for registration and constituent management
  • Strong administrative skills —the ability to plan, organize, and follow through with staff and a variety of constituencies
  • Customer service orientation: patience, listening, resourcefulness
  • Impeccable attention to detail
  • Good interpersonal skills, including a desire to learn


Level of Authority

  • Non-supervisory position
  • No budget authority


To Apply

To apply, please submit a resume and a cover letter articulating your interest in the position and explaining how your capabilities and experience match our candidate description above. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

Local candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please note that applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we are not able to provide status updates to candidates. If you are selected for an interview, a member of our team will reach out via email.

To learn more about the generous health, retirement and other benefits offered by the Aspen Institute, please visit our website.

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.

The Institute has implemented a mandatory COVID vaccination policy for all employees who will work at one of our physical locations, attend any of our in-person events or travel on behalf of the Institute. Staff unable to be vaccinated may request an exemption under certain circumstances.

Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also have the ability to meet the regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.

Thank you for your interest in Aspen Words. We look forward to receiving your application!




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