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Canines for Service
Wilmington, North Carolina

Category: Executive officer
Field of Interest: Social services

Job Description:

TITLE: Executive Director

REPORTS TO: Board of Directors 

POSITION: Exempt/Full Time

Canines for Service located in Wilmington, North Carolina seeks a visionary, passionate, innovative Executive Director with proven nonprofit leadership and management skills; experience in expanding and developing nonprofit organizations; demonstrated experience working with an engaged and dedicated Board of Directors; experience in and a passion for canine service programs; experience building relationships to sustain and grow collaborations, partnerships and funders and experience demonstrating cross cultural competencies.

Canines for Service (CFS) is changing one life, four paws at a time. Its mission is to empower people with disabilities to achieve greater independence and enhanced quality of life through the services of specially trained assistance dogs. CFS trains service dogs to assist veterans with mobility limitations, PTSD and/or TBI as well as non-veterans with mobility limitations. There are distinctions between service or guide dogs, sometimes known as assistance dogs, and therapy, emotional support or companion dogs. A service dog has legal access to accompany the person wherever they go; a therapy, emotional or companion dog DOES NOT have legal access.

PRIMARY FUNCTION: The Executive Director is responsible for implementing and tracking the organization’s strategic plan in support of organizational mission and goals. The Executive Director provides leadership and support to the Board of Directors in attaining and allocating resources and establishing program development, oversight and evaluation. The Executive Director provides leadership and direction to staff in carrying out the key roles assigned to them.

Position Summary: The Executive Director is responsible for working with the Board of Directors to maintain an effective organizational structure and necessary operational capacity to ensure the success of all agency functions. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, ensuring that all programs are delivered and evaluated in keeping with best practices, emerging research and community opportunities, and potential innovations; expanding CFS’s influence within the larger community; hiring, training and evaluating staff; developing robust and diverse funding strategies and managing the organizational budget; coordinating meetings with the Board of Directors, attending all regular meetings of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and ensuring compliance with pertinent laws and regulations.

The Executive Director (ED) ensures the long-term sustainability and effective execution of the CFS mission. The ED is the organizational leader, who must have a strong working relationship with staff to oversee all of the work of the organization, including programs, finance and funding. The ED’s key responsibilities include fundraising and collaborating with local governments, nonprofit partners, developers and other community partners.

KEY ROLES: (Essential Job Responsibilities):


  • Support the organization’s mission and principles
  • Work with Board to define future growth and vision for organization
  • Provide leadership and direction to ensure the effective operation and delivery of programs within the organization and community
  • Ensure the implementation of programs, services and activities that meet the requirements of all grants and funding
  • Ensure establishment of and adherence to policies and procedures
  • Provides an open-door policy for employees

Resource & Partnership Development

  • Ensure the annual budget is funded and organization has adequate cash flow
  • Oversee the creation of financial development plans and participate in cultivation and solicitation visits with development staff and board members
  • Create and maintain strategic alliances with community leaders and local officials 
  • Develop collaborative partnerships with other youth serving organizations, members, parents, families, funders and community organizations

Marketing and Public Relations

  • Increase visibility of programs, services and activities
  • Help create and implement a Marketing and Communications plan
  • Develop and maintain good public relations

Strategic Planning

  • Help create and oversee a strategic planning process that results in the development and implementation of a quality strategic plan
  • Ensure and oversee the identification and evaluation of opportunities for improvement and plans for improvements

Resource Management

  • Ensure development, implementation and monitoring of the annual budget in collaboration with financial management staff and Board Finance Committee 
  • Ensure all necessary administrative and operational systems are in place to support effective operations 
  • Ensure productive and effective staff performance ensuring growth and success

Board Relations

  • Ensure active participation by Board members and support effective Board roles and functioning
  • Oversee staff liaisons to Board committees to ensure they are provided with the information and support necessary to fulfill their objectives


Equity and inclusion

  • Maintain board and staff emphasis on the importance of equity and inclusion

Communications, relationships and fund development

  • Develop metrics that demonstrate organizational competence and achievement
  • Build relationships with community partners to optimize organizational effectiveness

Organizational infrastructure and resources

  • Build/maintain a strong, competent staff and ensure they are provided with the resources and support necessary to be successful in their jobs
  • Develop board competence and encourage greater board leadership


  • Required:
    • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
    • Minimum 7 years of non-profit management
    • Minimum 5 years of fund raising
  • Preferred:
    • Master’s Degree from an accredited college or university in relevant field, such as Business Administration, Public Administration or Non-Profit Management. 
    • Minimum 5 years in animal service industry
    • Experience working with veterans or is a current veteran
  • Proven leadership skills, including negotiation, problem solving, decision making and delegation
  • Expertise in strategic planning
  • Past success working with a board of directors
  • Commitment to quality, outcome-based programs and data-driven program evaluation
  • Demonstrable success in fundraising
  • Excellence in organizational management and time management with the ability to coach staff, manage, and develop high-performance teams
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal skills
  • Action-oriented, entrepreneurial, self-directed, adaptable, and with an innovative approach to business planning
  • Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people
  • Basic knowledge of asset management including financial resources and property

It is the policy of CFS to provide equal opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual preference, age or disability.

SALARY: Commensurate with experience


Armstrong McGuire & Associates, based in Raleigh, NC is conducting this search. To apply, click on the link to the Canines for Service position profile at You will see instructions for uploading your cover letter, resume and professional references. Finalists will be asked to provide a writing sample.  In case of any technical problems, contact

Review of candidates will begin immediately and continue until the position has been filled.