Jobs: Executive Search

Executive Director, Coastal Humane Society/Lincoln County Animal Shelter

Brunswick, Maine
Oct / 4 / 2017


Located in beautiful, vibrant mid-coast Maine, the Coastal Humane Society/Lincoln County Animal Shelter (“Coastal”) is a top-performing animal welfare shelter in northern New England, focused on the care and protection of cats, dogs, birds, and rodents.

Founded in 1950, Coastal has:

  • Provided compassionate care for tens of thousands of animals
  • Found stable homes for animals whose new families benefit from the relationship as much as pets do 

In 2016, Coastal merged with the Lincoln County Animal Shelter. The merger resulted in serving an additional 25 towns and over 1,500 additional animals each year. With 40+ communities now in its organizational family, Coastal’s mission encompasses 151,000 people within a 1,000-square-mile geography in five counties.

Coastal board, staff and volunteers are passionate and committed to the exceptional care and protection of animals. Known for first-class care and innovation, Coastal was the first shelter in Maine with a dedicated full-time shelter veterinarian. The organization’s extraordinary live release rate of 96% is among the highest in the country. This is in sharp contrast to national statistics, which indicate that 50% or more of dogs and cats are euthanized at shelters throughout the 50 states.

  • In 2016, approximately 3,500 animals were sheltered and adopted from Coastal’s two shelters. The organization hosts a daily average population of 350 animals in-house, and average 125 animals in foster homes. Numbers grow significantly during kitten season.
  • Coastal’s community outreach helped an additional 1,500 animals and their families through key programs, such as the pet pantry, low-cost clinics assisting with medical care, and spay and neuter assistance. Coastal helps communities with animal hoarding situations, provides veterinary care to feral populations, and provides shelter to pets of individuals in transition, such as the homeless and victims of domestic violence.
  • Coastal will soon launch a state of the art veterinary Mobile Surgical Unit (MSU). The result of a generous anonymous matching donation, a grant from the Petco Foundation, and individual contributions, the MSU will bring vital, compassionate surgical care to the virtual ‘front door’ of sick animals, sparing them the trauma of traveling long distances that can compromise surgical outcomes.
  • Since 2013, Coastal has rescued almost 3,800 animals from Southern shelters via the SPRINTER van.

Coastal employs 44 staff (full- and part-time) and engages 240 volunteers, plus animal foster families. The organization has a 12 member Board of Directors and an Advisory Board of 20 members. Coastal’s annual operating budget is $2,034,000, with a mixed revenue base of donations and foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, municipal contracts, fees for service, special events, and retail income. The organization operates Creature Comforts Thrift Store in Boothbay Harbor that which grosses over $100,000 annually. The organization has approximately $5,000,000 in assets.


The new Executive Director will join Coastal at a pivotal juncture. The organization is a learning organization, one poised for transformative change and committed to excellence. The new Executive Director has the extraordinary opportunity to shape and lead the organization into its next and greatest chapter.

Capital Campaign. In 2010, Coastal engaged the Humane Society of the United States to provide a full audit of its facilities, operations and organizational structure. The results of the audit confirmed that new facilities are vital to Coastal’s sustainability. The Coastal team performs exceptional work across four aged facilities (two shelters, one administration building, and one thrift store) with poor technological infrastructure. The Campaign, still in its quiet phase, is the organization’s number one strategic priority. To date, the Board of Directors and staff have raised $1.5 million. The new Executive Director will have the resources necessary to successfully complete the Campaign, including the hiring of the organization’s first Development Director, the engagement of its Board of Directors, and the support of an experienced Campaign consultant. Fifty percent of the new Executive Director’s time is expected to be spent on the Capital Campaign, building a strong development infrastructure for ongoing donor engagement, including annual appeal, special events, legacy giving, foundation and corporate sponsorship.

One Organization, Multiple Sites and Communities. Coastal is in the process of merging Coastal Humane Society and Lincoln County Animal Shelter, each representing diverse geographic and socio-economic communities and working at different sites with poor technology for communication. The next Executive Director will lead the staff and volunteers in establishing a unified culture, upgrading technologies, and successfully bridging divisions within administration/operations and across sites. Additionally, the Executive Director will develop a strong cross-functional senior management team to manage daily operations, build and reinforce buy-in and mutual accountability in all departments, and increase community engagement across all Coastal communities. The Executive Director will also partner with the Board of Directors to strengthen board governance and develop succession plans for tenured leadership.

Strategic Vision and Financial Sustainability. This is a two-part priority. The next Executive Director will partner with the board of directors to achieve long-term financial sustainability first by establishing an 18-month goal to maximize current revenue streams, manage costs, and balance the operating budget. Second, the Executive Director will lead the organization in a longer-term strategic planning process to envision and seize Coastal’s future beyond the Capital Campaign - this includes identifying new business opportunities within the changing field of animal welfare best practice, assessing competition regionally and nationally, confirming or modifying the business model, and potentially rebranding.


Coastal is seeking a down-to-earth, personable, vision-oriented leader who will enthusiastically tell the organization’s story. The ideal candidate is a passionate advocate for animal welfare and for the people and families who contribute to the animals’ wellbeing. The candidate is excited to work with the Board of Directors to transform an organization grounded in best practice and to use an array of development techniques to expand financial resources.

The candidate brings in-depth experience managing in a nonprofit environment, has helped to grow organizations by building on peoples’ strengths, and is able to focus externally while not losing sight of the organization’s operational needs. The candidate is skilled at ensuring plans are well executed. Practiced in change management, the candidate understands that achieving sustainable change requires thoughtfully engaging diverse stakeholders - including staff, volunteers, the board, committees, donors, local governments, adoptors, and the communities served.

The ideal candidate can move seamlessly from a staff meeting, to a major donor meeting, to working a shift at the shelter in peak season, to representing Coastal on the morning show at the local television station. The candidate has a direct and transparent communications style, is optimistic, and laughs frequently.


  • 10+ years of senior leadership preferred in a growing, best-in-class organization, preferably in Development and Fundraising and/or at the Executive Director level;
  • Demonstrated passion, professionally or personally, for animal care and protection;
  • Comfortable and effective in the “Chief Fundraising Officer” role and comfort/enjoyment in stewarding major donor relationships and closing significant asks. Successful track record in development, preferably in a Capital Campaign, and a full understanding of donor engagement and development;
  • Successful experience managing organizational change;
  • An effective manager who can build and reinforce buy-in and mutual accountability;
  • A proven capacity to coach, manage, and develop high-performing teams in the delivery of high quality, interdisciplinary programs within operations and the community;
  • The ability to manage operational issues across multiple locations and facilities and to follow through on execution;
  • Demonstrated business savvy, financial and budgeting skills, and ability to communicate financial information across different audiences;
  • Fluid and first-rate written and verbal communication skills; the ability to translate complex data into a compelling narrative for a variety of audiences;
  • Proven ability to cultivate strong board engagement, recruitment and development, gained as a staff person or board member.

Approximate annual salary range: $90,000 - $110,000


This search is being conducted by transition consultant Cathy Kidman in partnership with Jodi Dowling, Executive Search and Recruitment Manager for TSNE MissionWorks. Interested candidates should submit a resume and thoughtful letter of interest online.

Apply online here.

Electronic submissions sent through this link are preferred. All submissions are confidential.

Please include in your cover letter where you learned of the position and a description of how your qualifications and experience match Coastal’s mission, vision, and strategic priorities. 

Review of materials and interviews of appropriate candidates will begin immediately. Resumes and cover letters will be accepted until the position is filled.

As an organization that serves diverse populations, Coastal is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages women, people of color, immigrants, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, and people of all ages to apply.