Ali MacLeod

Ali MacLeod - Composed by John C Grant ( Traditional composer from Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Ali MacLeod, currently holding the position of Head of Fundraising at The National Trust for Scotland, shares her remarkable journey into the world of fundraising, highlighting the challenges faced, lessons learned, and the profound impact philanthropy can have on causes close to people’s hearts.

Born and raised in a quaint village in the West Highlands of Scotland, Ali’s foray into fundraising began when she stumbled upon a Fundraiser role advertisement after completing her university studies. Ali’s enthusiasm and dedication landed her the role of Senior Fundraiser with the British Red Cross for the North East & Northern Isles of Scotland. This marked the beginning of a fulfilling career that evolved from her earlier experiences as a volunteer fundraiser.

Ali reflects on the greatness of fundraising, emphasizing the opportunities to work with inspiring individuals, meet diverse personalities, and explore places she wouldn’t have visited otherwise. Most rewarding for her is the privilege of enabling donors, regardless of the contribution size, to make a meaningful impact on causes and projects they are passionate about. Ali considers fundraising an exciting and fulfilling profession that brings daily rewards.

Acknowledging the inherent challenges in fundraising, Ali discusses the need for adaptability and resilience. Unforeseen circumstances, such as emergency appeals or unexpected events, demand a prompt and well-coordinated response. Ali emphasizes the importance of effective communication and timely action, especially in times of uncertainty, to ensure the continuity of support for those in need.

Ali shares a notable case study—the Save Our Scotland emergency fundraising appeal for the The National Trust for Scotland in 2020. With the pandemic forcing the closure of all sites and a projected loss of £28-£30 million, Ali led a collaborative effort to create a comprehensive multi-channel campaign. The appeal, developed and executed in just three weeks, raised an impressive £3.5 million, providing focus and momentum during a challenging time.

The Save Our Scotland appeal serves as a turning point in Ali’s career, reinforcing the importance of long-term strategies and teamwork. It underscored the value of patience and confidence in the fundraising process, validating the foundations laid over the years. Ali highlights the significance of pushing boundaries while maintaining trust in established processes.

In a humble acknowledgment, Ali expresses gratitude to key individuals who played instrumental roles in her career. From Anne O’Neill at the British Red Cross to Mark Astarita, Charles Duncan Rice, and Lori Manders, each mentor and supporter took risks, provided encouragement, and offered opportunities that shaped Ali’s trajectory.

Ali MacLeod articulates why fundraising is the perfect career for her. “It is the extraordinary opportunity to empower individuals to make a difference in causes they care about, creating a positive impact on others.” Ali’s journey stands as an inspiring narrative of dedication, resilience, and the transformative power of philanthropy.

Ali MacLeod was a guest speaker at the 2024 Burns Supper at the Bachelors’ Club, Tarbolton.

Ali MacLeod - Composed by John C Grant ( Traditional composer from Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

A guide track for ‘Ali MacLeod’ is available below for listening: -

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Associated Collections: -
2/4 Bagpipe National Trust for Scotland Reel The Fowk Collection