Member Spotlight: Laura MacDonald, CFRE

Laura MacDonald, CFRE, President, Benefactor Group

Tell us a little about your organization. Mission? Population you serve? What do you like most about working there?  

We are a full-service consulting firm with a team of 15 professionals. Our mission is to “serve those who serve the common good ™”. In addition to serving great clients all around the country, the firm’s stature has also given me the opportunity to participate in national initiatives, such as the creation of Giving USA© each year.

How long have you been an AFP member, and what has your involvement been?

I first joined in the late 1980’s, I believe. I’ve served on the local board and spoken to local chapters and regional and national gatherings. I was honored to be selected Fundraising Professional of the Year. I’ve also written articles for Advancing Philanthropy.

What do you consider the most valuable part of your AFP membership?
The organization’s adherence to ethical standards.

How long have you been in fundraising, and how did you get into it?      

In the mid 1980’s I switched from a position in corporate communications (senior writer-producer for Wendy’s). I joined a consulting firm that sent me around the country to write campaign cases for support and supervise the production of campaign marketing materials. I stayed there for 12 years and then went to Ohio State’s development team during the “Affirm They Friendship” campaign. I founded Benefactor Group in 2000.

What is your favorite part about living/working in Columbus? Favorite place to go?

As much as I travel, I am always delighted to come home to Columbus. It’s such a livable city – with all of the arts & culture, sports, and amenities of larger cities, but without the traffic and other hassles.

Tell us a fun fact about you that other AFP members wouldn’t know.

I am an avid angler (fly fishing) – a passion I picked up when I worked on the campaign for the Fishing Hall of Fame.

What has been your biggest success in your career?

Attracting a great team that has helped build a successful firm working with exciting, impactful clients.

What has been your biggest learning opportunity in your career?

When the firm was invited to join the Giving Institute in 2009, we had an opportunity to tap into a deep reservoir of thought leadership and a network of talented colleagues.

Where would you take your dream vacation?

Wherever my husband, daughter/son-in-law, and four grandchildren are gathered! The perfect spot would be next to a mountain stream brimming with trout, with hiking trails and great restaurants nearby.

What is one thing your organization does really well?

Strengthen nonprofit organizations – whether we’re developing fundraising strategy, finding the right talent, optimizing technology, or working with boards.

Do you have a favorite book/blog/podcast/etc. that has been very helpful in your career that you’d like to recommend?

Well, Si Seymour’s “Designs for Fundraising” is still a classic after 50+ years. For something more contemporary, I’m quite taken with the work of the behavioral economists working on the Science of Philanthropy Initiative, especially Dr. John List.


Posted October, 2018