Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (MRFRS), a nationally recognized leader in ensuring the health and welfare of feral and domestic cats and kitten through proactive, compassionate, no-kill programs, is seeking a dynamic and dedicated Executive Director in its next phase of growth and development.
Now located in Salisbury, MA, the organization began in Newburyport in 1992 when a group of caring citizens decided to address the problem of homeless cats along the Merrimack River. Its original mission was TNR (trap-neuter-return), a process of trapping homeless cats, spaying or neutering them and returning them to back to their location to be fed and maintained by caring volunteers. As progress was made, and the waterfront cats were under control, MRFRS looked for other ways to improve the lives of cats and to support the people who care about them.
Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society just celebrated its silver anniversary, and in those 25 years the organization has had a significant impact on feline welfare and overpopulation in eastern and central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Today, MRFRS is one of the region’s most respected animal welfare organizations. Some of its notable accomplishments include the following.
- Adoption of over 20,000 homeless cats and kittens from its free-range (indoor) cat shelter in Salisbury, MA.
- Support for cats with feline leukemia. MRFRS was one of the first organizations in the country to develop a program for these special-needs cats.
- Sterilization of over 54,000 cats since 2008 on the Catmobile, a mobile spay/neuter veterinary van that services eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.
- Significant reduction of the feral cat population through free Sunday spay/neuter clinics, to date serving 13,000 cats from around New England.
- Access to public rabies vaccine and microchip clinics that allow cat and dog owners to obtain legally-required vaccinations and permanent identification.
- Medical support through two donor-funded programs, including one for feral cats (Captain Courageous Fund) and one for cats from low-income households (FARS).
- Care for life program for cats with special needs that are placed in foster care and given life-long treatment for their medical needs.
MRFRS employs 15 staff (full- and part-time) and is supported by over 200 volunteers and foster homes. The organization has an 8-member Board and an operating budget of over $1 million, with revenue obtained from donations, programs, grants, corporate sponsorships, and bequests.
The new Executive Director will have the opportunity to shape and lead the organization in the following ways:
Strategic Planning and Vision- Establish a strong and mutually-supportive partnership with the Board, and work with the Board to assess current and future needs of the organization, through development of a strategic plan.
Organizational Structure and Leadership- The Board of Directors recognizes the need to transition from one that has been very hands-on to one that is responsible for organizational governance and oversight. Work with the Board to establish clear boundaries between Board, Executive Director, and staff. Work with the Board and staff to develop a new and more robust organizational staffing structure that supports these boundaries. Work in partnership with the Board to further build and develop the Board of Directors.
Fundraising- Design a long-term fundraising plan. Build a stronger development program and increase revenues from annual, leadership, planned, and foundation giving, while expanding current fundraising initiatives.
Facilities and Infrastructure- MRFRS’ existing facilities (shelter and business office), no longer fully meet the needs of the organization and the organization’s technology infrastructure is outdated. The new Executive Director has the opportunity to lead this process, including leading a capital campaign.
Staffing- MRFRS has a committed and passionate staff. Attract and retain a strong, passionate, and committed staff to execute the organization’s mission and activities. Engage and empower staff in three locations (shelter, Catmobile, and main office).
Day-to-day Operations- Oversee the daily operations to ensure that all state safety policies, licensing protocols, and OSHA regulations are followed. Maintain awareness of current trends and best practices in animal welfare and use those to ensure that MRFRS continues to be a well-respected, high-quality, feline welfare organization.
Communication- Foster strong personal relations with the community and with other local and national animal welfare organizations and effectively communicate the organization’s mission, accomplishments, and services to the public.
The Executive Director will be thoroughly committed to MRFRS’ mission. The ideal candidate will have proven skills and experience in leadership, non-profit management, and organizational development. Other qualifications include:
- Bachelor’s degree required. Advanced degree a plus.
- 3 or more years of senior organizational leadership and management experience, managing and supporting senior staff, strategic planning, financial management, organizational growth and expansion.
- While not required, the ideal candidate will have previous animal welfare experience, particularly at the management level.
- The ability to build positive and trusting relationships with staff, Board, clients, volunteers, and funders.
- Experience in development, with the proven ability to steward major donors and oversee annual, leadership, planned, and foundation giving. Experience in running a capital campaign a plus.
- Strong written and verbal communication skills; able to build effective systems of communication throughout the organization; a persuasive and passionate communicator, who can work effectively with a wide variety of audiences.
- Ability to attract, coach, manage, inspire, and retain high-performing teams that include both paid staff and volunteers.
- Capacity to lead a $1 million organization. Able to set and manage an organizational budget and to communicate financial information across a wide audience.
- Excellent problem-solving skills. Ability to juggle multiple projects and work with a variety of stakeholders, in a calm, consistent, and timely manner.
- Ability to cultivate strong Board engagement, recruitment, and development and an ability to think strategically about organizational needs.
- Mature and responsible, with a demonstrated passion, professionally or personally, for animal welfare and an interest in professional involvement in the animal welfare community.
Send resume and cover letter to Jeff@Jeffkatz.org