Ligia Peña

Poste occupé:
Global Legacy Manager
Greenpeace International
Type de formation (1):
Formation universitaire (Maitrise)
Programme de formation (1):
masters in international politics
Types de professionnel-le:
Professionnels-les dans les OBNL et OBE
Secteurs d'organisation:
Environnement et développement durable
Types d'organisation:

Can you present yourself?

My brief bio reads: Ligia Peña, M.Sc., CFRE, MInstF is the Global Legacy Manager at Greenpeace International where she drives Greenpeace’s global legacy strategy and manages a community of practice of legacy managers in 14 countries. She’s a seasoned presenter internationally and she’s the author of the ‘Small Shop Fundraising’ chapter in the 2nd volume of Excellence in Fundraising in Canada. When she’s not geeking out on legacy related things, she’s either knitting, cooking or planning her next trip. You can follow her adventures using #GlobetrottingFundraiser on Twitter and Instagram, as well as her blog with the same name.

What brought you to work in the philanthropic sector?

I started volunteering for INGOs when I was in high school and I always found fundraising very easy and fun. This continued in university. I studied international politics with the hope to work as an international development specialist but in the end, fundraising got a hold of me and I never looked back.

Can you define and explain what your activity and/or position consists of within your organization?

As the Global Legacy Manager I drive the global strategy for donations in will in the organization. The work is two-fold:
1. I manage a community of practice of legacy managers in 14 different offices around the globe (a total of 18 difference fundraising markets). I do capacity building, support them in developing their legacy strategy, develop tools to increase global legacy revenue.
2. I work with senior management teams (fundraising, finance, organizational, communications directors and EDs) to help increase investment in legacy giving or to develop legacy programs in new markets around the globe.

What is your professional education? Is it relevant in the context of your philanthropic involvement?

I have two B.A (political science and languages with a minor in public policy), I completed a masters in international politics. I will be pursuing a PhD in Business (on legacy marketing).While the connection may not be direct or obvious to some, I believe my academic path has helped me a lot in my career. Political science is a multi-multi-disciplinary field of study that encompasses politics, economics, sociology, anthropology, public policy, and marketing. In fundraising, we must be understand all these elements in order to be responsive to the environment and adapt our strategies.

Talk to us briefly about your professional background?

I started fundraising professionally (meaning being paid) in 2002. I was Director of Communications and Fundraising at the YMCA of Greater Montreal (now called of Quebec). I oversaw all fundraising and communications for the whole association and for the Foundation. My position was abolished and I worked for an international consultancy until they transferred their offices to Paris. That is when I started my own consulting firm, servicing small nonprofits. I had my business for 5 years until I started missing working in an organization. I then became the Director of Philanthropy at Canada World Youth for a one-year contract. From there I was Director of Development at the MOSD Foundation. After nearly three years, I found my dream job at Greenpeace International where I have been since March 2016.

What are the challenges and issues related to your position in philanthropy?

Sadly the biggest issue is that there is still a lot of discomfort in the sector in regards to donations in wills. In my organization there is a focus on donations where cash will be received immediately. This means that the level of investment in future gifts is minimal in comparison to investments in acquisition channels.
It is a very frustrating issue that is happening in the entire sector. My counterparts in other INGOs are facing similar situations.

How would you define philanthropy today? How does this definition influence your working methods?

There are so many angles to this question, it’s difficult to have one definition.
In simple terms I’d define it as a means to effect change in society through the generosity of kind and thoughtful individuals around the globe. This definition has made me work from a place of gratitude and abundance. By that I mean it has made me more patient, understanding and giving because other’s generosity inspires me.

What advice would you give to someone who wishes to pursue a career in your profession/activity?

IIf you are selfless, creative, innovative, dedicated, humble and wholeheartedly committed to your organization’s goals, then by all means, welcome to the sector. If however you wish to do this type of work for personal gain, then go work in the private sector. We do not need people like that in the nonprofit sector. I’m sorry if this is harsh but individuals like that pride our sector.

Anything to add?

If you wish to have more details, I’m am happy to meet in person.

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