The Goldie Company

Parley: September 2018 - Future Fundraiser Megan Lawlor

The Goldie Company is proud to support the careers of up-and-coming fundraisers through two scholarships for students enrolled in Humber College’s Fundraising Management program.

This month, Parley spoke with Megan Lawlor, the 2018 recipient of the Gordon L. Goldie Memorial Scholarship. Established in memory of The Goldie Company’s founder, this scholarship honours Gordon’s legacy and supports Humber College students who are on their way to creating meaningful change as fundraising professionals.

Firstly, Megan, congratulations on receiving the Gordon L. Goldie Scholarship. What brought you to Humber College for the Fundraising Management program?

My background is in kinesiology. I’m passionate about sports and health promotion, and I’ve always enjoyed working with children and youth to encourage them to be active. One of my friends recommended the Humber program – she graduated last year. In speaking to her about her experience, the program seemed like a great way to merge my interests and pursue a meaningful career.

You came to Toronto from Halifax for this program. What were you doing before you arrived at the college?

A few years ago, when I was completing my undergrad at Acadia University, I was part of a student-run program called SMILE (Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience). The program provided activities in the gym and the pool for different age groups, with a special focus on children with physical and cognitive disabilities. Working with SMILE started me volunteering. In the last couple of years, I started working with Start2Finish, an after-school program that combined literacy and physical activity. In addition, I had a job as a physiotherapy assistant in a rehab clinic and worked at one of the busiest restaurants in Halifax.

The Humber program requires that students complete an internship. Where will you be completing yours, and what do you hope to gain from the experience?

Currently, I’m part of the Stewardship and Donor Relations team at the SickKids Foundation [with Maxine Smitiuch, 2017 Kevin Allen Scholarship award winner]. We’re responsible for supporting the frontline fundraisers and continuing relationships with the donors.

Before I started at SickKids, I had a chance to do a job shadow with a major gifts officer. Until that point, as students we hadn’t really been “in the field.” It was an eye-opening and humbling experience. I had no idea how powerful it would be to spend one day learning about the Hospital’s programs and initiatives, meeting the people on the Foundation’s team, and touring the facilities.

After that day, I could really see myself supporting the cause. When you visit SickKids, you immediately understand the need and urgency, as well as the organization’s impact. As part of the team, it would be difficult not to develop a connection to the work you’re doing.

What’s next for you, Megan? What’s your dream job?

I’d like to work in an organization where I can see impact and change. Now that I’m out in the field, I’m getting a feel for how things work in functioning non-profits and starting to understand what I can bring to the table. For now, I’m planning to stay in Toronto and continue to gain experience – ideally in an organization linked to health promotion.

One last question, Megan: What are a few things you’ve learned at Humber that you’ll apply in your career?

As a fundraiser, you need to be connected to your cause. If you don’t have genuine passion for what you do, how can you encourage somebody else to care about your cause?

Humber also taught me to ask lots of questions. We were encouraged to connect with people in the sector, and they were always willing to meet or share insights. When you learn how the puzzle pieces work together, you can be a better employee and team member. That’s how you grow.