Executive Director

October 2019 | Boston, MA
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Samaritans seeks an Executive Director to oversee the organization, provide leadership and strategic direction, and be the national face of the organization.

About Samaritans

Samaritans-5kFor 45 years, Samaritans, Inc. has been devoted to reducing the incidence of suicide by alleviating despair, isolation and suicidal feelings among individuals in their community through a process known as befriending. Volunteers, who are selected, trained and supported by a dedicated professional staff, provide compassionate and non-judgmental support free of charge 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Samaritans is known for its innovative approach to serving the community and provides a full range of suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention services. An extended community education and outreach program increases the public knowledge on this issue. Phone, text and chat-based crisis services are provided to support those in distress. Support groups and personal visits assist people and families impacted by a suicide loss in their grieving and healing process.

Issues around mental illness and suicide still carry a stigma in society. Samaritans has worked hard to raise awareness and focus on engaging the whole community in caring for itself in a positive and proactive way. The focus is on hope, working towards the greater good, and making sure that people in despair know where to turn for support.

In order to reach teens at risk, Samaritans launched a new texting service in 2016 that has been highly successful in communicating with youth who might not otherwise connect with more traditional helpline resources. Programs at senior centers and assisted living facilities help raise awareness of the risks of depression and isolation that the elderly can experience, and suicide prevention workshops were provided by Samaritans as part of Boston Public School’s anti-bullying efforts.

The organization has made four initiatives a major priority:

  • Continually serving more people – ensuring the capacity exists to support every person in need
  • Leverage technology to deliver more services – ensuring efficiencies and enhanced quality throughout all services
  • Continue to partner and collaborate to increase service delivery and educate the public
  • Build a strong financial foundation to support the growth required to meet the ever-increasing demand for services

Samaritans’ staff and volunteers are able to celebrate the positive and lifesaving work that occurs each and every day because of the organization’s programs and outreach. Strong leadership and philanthropy are vital to the current and future ability of this growing organization to keep the focus on hope and support and to provide the services that make communities healthier and happier.

About the Position

Samaritans-call-centerThe incoming Executive Director will join a vibrant, life-saving organization that is financially sound and ideally positioned for growth. They will partner with the Board of Directors and senior staff in setting a course for its future. 

The three pillars of Samaritans’ work—Community Education and Outreach, Grief Support Services, and a 24/7 Crisis Helpline—are firmly in place. Community Education and Outreach and Grief Support Services have an especially strong presence in the Greater Boston region.  Samaritans is striving towards a stronger presence in central and western Massachusetts. The incoming Executive Director will be expected to design and implement a strategic plan to make this a reality and to help save lives across the Commonwealth. 

2024 marks Samaritans’ 50th anniversary. This represents a key moment in its life cycle and an opportunity to energize philanthropic support. Samaritans will look to the Executive Director, in collaboration with the Chief Development Officer and members of the Board of Directors, to develop a case for support that will energize current and future donors and set the stage for a capital campaign. The Executive Director leads a 25-person staff and is responsible to the Board of Directors, through its chair, Mr. Mark Horgan.

Initial priorities for the new Executive Director include:

  • Becoming fully immersed in all things Samaritans: history of organization, gain deep understanding of all services, review and analyze organization’s financials, review of strategic plan, evaluate fundraising past and present fundraising goals and outcomes, etc.
  • Build relationships with and understand roles of staff, board, and other key stakeholders
  • Work with staff and board to evaluate near, mid and long-range programmatic and financial goals
  • Meet with specific leaders at Massachusetts State House
  • Becoming well-educated in the field of mental health and suicide and particularly, Massachusetts’ history and trends as it relates to suicide prevention

After three months, the new Executive Director will meet with the Board to review progress, communicate observations and discuss next steps towards achieving Samaritans’ overarching goals of increased services. 

Key Responsibilities


  • Lead and inspire a highly skilled 25-person staff. Ensure a productive and supportive environment for all members of the staff
  • Develop a productive and highly collaborative relationship with the Board of Directors and Samaritans Council
  • Establish strategic direction for Samaritans and the successful implementation of annual plans
  • Revise, update and implement Samaritans’ strategic plan to align budgets and resources with emerging priorities
  • Establish annual budget and organizational goals that represent growth in the delivery of services and increase Samaritans’ capacity to serve more people
  • Refine Board recruitment and governance process
  • Represent Samaritans, its mission, and its values credibly and professionally to external audiences, including members of the Massachusetts State House and corporate leaders
  • Recruit highly effective Board members who also have philanthropic capacity and inclination
  • Represent the organization within the suicide prevention field at city, state, regional, national and international levels

 Fundraising and Communications:

  • Articulate a vision of philanthropy which inspires and motivates donors, volunteers, and staff
  • Collaborate with the Chief Development Officer on the creation of a comprehensive annual fundraising plan
  • In collaboration with the Board of Directors and Chief Development Officer, design and implement a 50th Anniversary Campaign plan
  • Take an active role as a frontline fundraiser with a focus on high four- to six-figure individual and corporate and foundation gifts
  • Build a case for investment in the major gift fundraising function and infrastructure
  • Ensure philanthropic goals are aligned with strategic goals
  • Serve as an ambassador/spokesperson on the topic of suicide prevention and the full range of support services
  • Work with staff to deepen and refine all aspects of communications – from web presence to external relations with the goal of creating a stronger brand
  • Make effective and persuasive presentations to Board, staff, volunteers, donors and others

Management of Financial, Human Resources and Systems:

  • Invest in staff development that enables continuous learning, professional development and increases staff retention
  • Track progress of service expansion and evaluate program components. Communicate progress to the board, funders, and other constituents
  • Monitor annual budget and ensure operating expenses are within budget
  • Ensure accuracy, integrity, and timeliness of all financial accounting and reporting

Key Qualifications


  • Eight plus years in a senior leadership role
  • Evidence of excellent strategic thinking, problem solving, and communication
  • Extremely strong business sense and acumen
  • Strong financial skill set
  • Evidence of having developed and operationalized strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth
  • Proven track record of leading staff, board of directors and volunteers towards a common goal
  • Fundraising experience reflecting an ability to engage and solicit a wide range of prospects and stakeholders
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills and at ease with public speaking
  • Ability to set priorities and effectively manage time

Professional/Personal/Emotional Intelligence Characteristics

  • Genuine commitment to Samaritans’ mission and cares deeply about the field of mental health
  • An appetite for being the public face of Samaritans
  • Adept decision-maker
  • Highly empathetic and disciplined
  • Unwavering commitment to quality programs
  • Innovative, action-oriented, entrepreneurial and highly flexible
  • High level of emotional intelligence, including an understanding of grief and loss

Preferred Qualifications

  • Corporate experience is highly desirable
  • Master’s degree preferred
  • Major gifts success with high net worth individuals
  • Background in the Human Services Sector


All qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:


Lorraine Sahagian
Senior Consultant
Development Guild DDI

For more information about the Samaritans, please visit https://samaritanshope.org/


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