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Executive Director, Santa Barbara Humane Society


ORGANIZATION:    Santa Barbara Humane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals    

LOCATION:              5399 Overpass Road  Santa Barbara, CA  93111

REPORTS TO:         Board of Directors


The Santa Barbara Humane Society is an independent non-profit dedicated to the welfare of animals. Specifically, the organization strives to provide a safe haven for homeless dogs and cats until forever homes can be found for them; educate people about humane treatment of animals; reduce the numbers of unwanted animals; and rescue animals in need.


Santa Barbara Humane Society (“SBHS”) opened its doors in 1887 and is one of the three oldest animal welfare agencies in California. Today, as it celebrates its 130th anniversary, the SBHS occupies a five-acre site just west of Santa Barbara and serves several communities in South Santa Barbara County with extensive services and programs.  These include:

  • Sheltering animals in need
  • Companion animal adoptions
  • Spay/Neuter Clinic
  • Humane Education Center
  • Boarding Kennels
  • Large Animal Holding Center and Corral
  • Humane Investigation
  • Animal Rescue

Although the SBHS has grown throughout the years, it still holds on to its roots by maintaining the original Beck Family Farmhouse, home to the first owners of the property, where the administrative offices of the SBHS are located.  Because of its dedication to the animals in its care throughout the decades, the SBHS has benefitted from community support allowing it to build its membership base to more than 5,000 individuals. Many non-members also have benefitted from its spay/neuter and education programs.

The uniqueness of the SBHS is evident from its multi-building campus, enclosed outdoor areas for dog exercise, coops for poultry and aviary rescue, and indoor-outdoor boarding facilities. Enrichment activities for the animals in its care are vast and include “play groups” for the adoptable dogs so they can become more socialized with other dogs, daily walks along trails throughout the five-acre SBHS property, and enclosed outdoor cat perches for daily warmth and sunshine.

An important program of the SBHS is large-animal rescue. Wildfires are all too common in the rural areas of Santa Barbara, and the SBHS is often called upon to help rescue horses and other livestock affected by these fires. With their horse trailers and well-equipped response van, the field service agents answer these calls efficiently and effectively.

The SBHS accepts owner-relinquished animals and animals transferred from other humane societies throughout the region. SBHS also has received animals from farther afield, most recently as a result of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.  The SBHS also offers animal cremation services to the public.

The on-site SBHS Clinic offers low-cost vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries for SBHS members and the general public, and provides veterinary care for the shelter animals. It also provides limited support to another local non-profit organization operating a mobile pet clinic providing spay/neuter surgeries in low-income neighborhoods.

As a member of the Santa Barbara Animal Services Advisory Committee, the SBHS partners with other animal welfare agencies in the area to help solve problems that affect animals throughout the community.


This is an exciting time for the Santa Barbara Humane Society. The Board of Directors is seeking a highly qualified leader and manager to establish the SBHS as the frontrunner animal welfare organization in Santa Barbara County. The new Executive Director will have an opportunity to suggest strategic changes in program focus, outside relationships, and internal management arrangements.

He/she will have the opportunity to review policies and procedures for each department and propose changes.   

In addition, the new Executive Director will be asked to reassess the SBHS organizational structure to ensure that he/she is able to provide staff leadership while devoting needed attention to community issues and relationships.

The Santa Barbara Humane Society is a financially sound organization with a strong endowment. Interest generated from these funds is part of the revenue stream for the annual budget. However, the Board would like to increase outside revenue to allow provision of additional services. In leading this membership-based organization, the new Executive Director will need to increase memberships as well as consider new funding streams like foundation and corporate grants, and institute a structured planned giving program.  Further, the new Executive Director will be able to develop new and exciting programs and services to further increase earned income for the SBHS.

The Board is ready to pursue an organizational strategic plan.  As part of this plan, the SBHS must develop new avenues for procuring animals for adoption. As with many other humane societies in the nation, the number of incoming animals available for adoption has decreased. A comprehensive plan for transferring animals must be put in place so that the SBHS remains a major source for animal adoption.

As stated above, the physical structure of the SBHS facility is unique in that it is situated on five acres and encompasses multiple buildings. Some of these areas are ready for renovation and restoration. The new Executive Director will have the chance to undertake much needed upgrading of these facilities and grounds. With increased signage and updated structures, community awareness will grow and increased foot traffic will result in more animals finding homes.

Finally, more proactive marketing and public relations efforts are needed to better inform the public about the wealth of programs and services offered by the SBHS.  These inroads have begun, but it will also be the Executive Director’s job to pursue new channels of outreach including increased visibility on television, newsprint and especially social media.


Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for the oversight of the SBHS, which includes administration of all programs and services.  The Executive Director will develop and oversee an annual budget of $2M (two-million dollars). Additionally, the Executive Director is responsible for the strategic processes of the organization, managing and developing a talented paid staff of 27 and more than 60 volunteers.  

The Executive Director will assist the Board in the execution of strategic directions and policy in the fulfillment of the organization’s mission. This individual is responsible for the overall management and operation of the SBHS in compliance with Board-adopted policies and with all applicable local, state, and federal regulations and laws. The Executive Director takes a leadership role in initiating and maintaining community relationships and securing the operating and investment funds necessary to sustain current and future operations.




In conjunction with the Board of Directors, provide vision and direction for the future growth of programs, policies and procedures for the SBHS.  In collaboration with the Board, provide support in all its activities; suggest direction toward the achievement of the SBHS mission, philosophy, and strategy; provide guidance, stability, support and collaboration to a staff of talented professionals; and in conjunction with the Board, draft long-range and strategic plans to ensure that goals and objectives of the SBHS are successfully achieved.  

Guarantee that staff is well informed of decisions that affect them and the organization, and ensure that directives, policies, and procedures are explained and communicated clearly and concisely. Develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure sound management, administrative and fiscal practices in every department; ensure that staff understands the vision and direction of the SBHS and that in return they will be able to develop and mature in their roles and responsibilities; lead by example and maintain the highest professional standards and practices for the SBHS.

Oversee the SBHS budget and business plans and ensure sound fiscal management and capital allocation.  Maintain and implement fiscal policies and procedures in accordance with Board directives. Oversee and guide the policies for the investment of fiscal resources for the organization to achieve reasonable returns.

Serve as lead spokesperson for the SBHS and effectively represent its goals and mission to individuals, private foundations, government leaders, the media, sponsors and donors in order to attract the widest interest and support.  Ensure that the SBHS is represented locally, regionally and nationally at coalitions, membership organizations and other humane field associations. 

Establish short- and long-range objectives and work plans, research and evaluate potential programs for the SBHS in consultation with other staff, based on Board-approved strategic plans and goals; develop and implement new programmatic activities and capitalize on opportunities for new service areas to increase revenue and awareness.

Demonstrate development skills to cultivate current donors and to reach a new population of donors. Establish fundraising guidelines so as to determine new, creative fundraising opportunities and earned revenue sources in order to secure the SBHS’s financial position. Research development opportunities with individuals, foundations and corporations. Begin a structured planned giving program thereby adding financial security to the SBHS.


We seek a highly experienced leader and manager with demonstrated vision and passion for the humane and ethical treatment of animals. A successful track record of strong innovative and inclusive leadership, which will facilitate open communication to harmonize staff, the Board and the other constituents with whom he/she will interface, is sought.

Experience in a senior leadership role where he/she has either reported directly to or worked closely with a Board of Directors is expected. The ideal candidate will bring strong and successful leadership of an animal welfare/control agency or other nonprofit organization if there is a demonstrated level of both passion for, and involvement with, an animal welfare organization. The person we seek should demonstrate a balance between creative thinking and management acumen as well as the ability to assess and maintain policies and procedures for moving an organization to a new level of excellence. Qualified candidates will have exceptional interpersonal skills and will be able to relate to all constituencies.  This individual has demonstrated success in building and sustaining coalitions toward the achievement of goals.

The successful candidate will have financial management experience as well as demonstrated accomplishments in membership growth as well as fundraising, including experience building a planned giving program for individual donors.

We seek an exceptional communicator who can demonstrate a successful background in external relations, including experience speaking with the media in a variety of situations. This person will be articulate and passionate about the humane treatment of animals and will welcome and respect the multiple perspectives and groups that demonstrate an active interest in animal welfare.

An understanding of business principles applied to a nonprofit enterprise, including a background of good budget management, is necessary. Personnel management skills that include an ability to work collaboratively, listen, provide feedback, build morale, delegate, “roll up one’s sleeves” and make decisions are essential.

The candidate should be motivated by the best interests of the organization and will bring high emotional intelligence.  Demonstrated success managing change, planning, forecasting and determining courses of action is needed.

An undergraduate degree from a four-year college or university is desired. Evidence of a passionate commitment to the proper care of all animals is required. CAWA credential is helpful.


The Santa Barbara Humane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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