Laura MacDonald, President of Benefactor Group, is a certified fundraising executive with more than 27 years’ experience in nonprofit leadership, fundraising, and philanthropy. She has served as the vice president and creative director of a national fundraising firm, chief development officer in arts and higher education, and as a key volunteer for community organizations.
Read on to learn more about Laura and what drives her to serve…
Tell Us About Yourself
As I reflect on my journey—from television production to corporate communications to development officer to consultant—the common thread seems to be storytelling. Today, we help our clients connect their inspiring stories of impact with a donor’s passions.
How did you get involved in serving nonprofit organizations?
Initially it was a job opportunity after I was laid off from a corporate position during a down economy. But I quickly realized that my skillset was a good fit and found the work with donors and organizations endlessly inspiring.
What inspires you to serve the common good?
I suppose it is rooted in the values my parents instilled (empathy, service) and enhanced by the opportunity to work alongside colleagues and clients who are generally acting on the “better angels of their nature.”
One word that best describes how you work?
Where can someone find you when not at work?
On a good day, you’ll find me fly-fishing: wading in a trout stream, losing track of time, and catching a few fine fish.
What everyday thing are you good at that might surprise people?
My husband Kirk and I enjoy cooking (and eating!).
What are you currently reading, or what do you recommend?
Recently, I rediscovered Khan Academy. I know a course like “statistics” may not sound captivating, but it’s an opportunity to learn that feels more like a brain-game and Sal Khan’s voice is so soothing!
What’s some good advice you’ve received recently?
“Don’t do that” – something a good friend said when I described a distracting business opportunity I was considering. Sometimes the things we say “no” to leave us more open to the opportunity to say “yes”.
What gives you hope for the future of philanthropy over the next 5 years?
We’ve had a continuous stream of smart, driven interns in our office. Someday they’ll run the development offices and consulting firms that shape fundraising. And recently, I sat alongside a younger couple as they made the largest gift of their lives—and I saw a wonderful journey ahead for them as philanthropists.
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