Ronnie Plasters

Vice President of Advancement Learning

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

Biography

Ronnie Plasters is a Vice President of Advancement Learning at GG+A. His role includes developing learning opportunities and educational programs focused on fundraising, constituent engagement, and strategic communication to support clients and their philanthropic initiatives. He brings more than 15 years of experience to this position, with expertise in fundraising management and training; board development; philanthropic education; strategic planning; and executive coaching. 

Along with consulting, Ronnie teaches and researches at Indiana University’s (IU) Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, where is also completing his doctorate.  He was recognized as the Ph.D. instructor of the year for his contributions to courses in philanthropy and civic engagement, experiential philanthropy, religion and philanthropy, comparative perspectives, and more. In addition to authoring a chapter of the Giving USA report for three consecutive years, he has also conducted qualitative and quantitative research with key organizational partners across the charitable sector. Prior to his time at IU, Ronnie served as the Director of Philanthropy at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, California. There, he increased the fundraising productivity of a seven-person team; doubled event revenue; elevated event attendance by 50%; and directed the organization’s largest capital campaign, for which he managed his own portfolio and  helped raise 80% of the campaign goal during the quiet phase. 

Earlier in his career, Ronnie held several leadership positions in higher education, including Development Director of Principal Giving at the University of California Berkeley; Associate Director of Leadership and Major Giving at the University of Chicago; and Regional Admissions Director at North Park University. Among his achievements, he created and executed a comprehensive, strategic fundraising plan for the division of Equity & Inclusion at UC Berkeley, collaborating with fundraisers to secure multiple five-and six-figure gifts. He also directed premiere reunion programs that generated more than $11 million in support at UChicago, and advanced admission and fundraising objectives at North Park, helping the University to exceed its enrollment goals by 20%.  

Ronnie will complete his Ph.D. in philanthropy at Indiana University in 2024 and earned his Certificate of Fundraising Management (CFRM) from the Lilly Family School. He also holds an M.A. in theology from the University of Dayton, and a B.A. in psychology from Wheaton College. He is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), as well as the Academic Programs and Assessment Committee (APAC), and was a past panelist and regional conference board member for CASE District 5. Ronnie is also a member of  the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), and the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR). He was named to the Young Leaders Board at the Chicago Community Trust and was a founding board member and vice president at Ron DeJesus Dance. Ronnie currently serves as a volunteer mentor for first-generation college students with the Peninsula College Fund,  and is a board member at DMF Youth, a nonprofit that uplifts students through dance, fitness, and life skill development. 

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