You may already know Darren McLeod.
I’d be willing to bet that if you’re in the nonprofit field anywhere in Canada, you've met him.
Darren is the executive director of the New Brunswick Medical Education Foundation. It’s Canada's only nonprofit organisation to provide return-to-service medical education scholarships for New Brunswick medical students.
He’s connected. He’s kind. And he’s one of our longest-standing AFP New Brunswick Chapter members.
Join us in a walk down memory lane with Darren. We’ll chat about how he got into the nonprofit field in the first place (and why he’s stuck with it for so long!)
Chris (AFPNB): You began your career in marketing and communications. How did you make the move to fundraising and development roles?
Darren: I got my first crack at a fundraising role at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. I had already been volunteering on a couple of committees when I was offered the role of manager development and marketing. That contract became a full-time job for almost three years. So, it was my first real foray into fund development.
My job was all-encompassing. I was in charge of all special events, galas, member events... At one point I had the gift shop in my portfolio. It was a little crazy…
Chris (AFPNB): Laughing
Which leads nicely into my next question: What has kept you in this dynamic industry? What do you love about fundraising?
Darren: I really enjoy the personal interaction. Building stewardship for donors and connecting people to a cause they care about.
I love the donor engagement component of development work. There are donors that I connected with early in my career that I continue to work with.
Chris (AFPNB): So it's about relationships...?
Darren: Oh, yes. Hugely about relationship building and understanding donors’ interests. What compels them to give. Finding ways to nurture that relationship and build on it. Staying in touch and making them feel valued.
I've built a network of friends across the province and the country who are like-minded and work in philanthropy.
Chris (AFPNB): Has your AFP membership helped you expand your network and grow in your career?
Darren: Absolutely! In particular, I really value conferences - when we could go to the national conferences, that is.
Conferences have been game-changing in areas I was trying to learn more about - whether it was topics like planned giving or DAFs (donor-advised funds).
They’re a chance to learn from others who have been in the business for years, or who are fresh and have a different focus on the power of philanthropy and what it means.
Darren suggested an AFPNB fundraising mini-conference in the near future. It sure would be great to meetup, get introduced to new friends and new ideas, and re-connect with our old pals.
What do you think? What are your thoughts on future professional development sessions? We’d love to hear your opinion. Your feedback in this short survey will help us as we complete our activities plan for 2022 and beyond.