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Certificate in Nonprofit Fundraising - Course Descriptions

Fundamentals of Fundraising

Fundamentals of Fundraising will provide students with a comprehensive view of the fundraising landscape. From understanding what a culture of philanthropy means to understanding the motivations of donors, students will become familiar with direct mail campaigns, annual giving programs, special events, the role of stewardship and how volunteers and board members fit into the puzzle.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain why a culture of philanthropy in an organization is critical to fundraising success – and how to create one
  • Be able to articulate what donor-centered fundraising is and how it operates in real-life
  • Have a solid grasp on the donor cycle and how basic moves management works
  • Understand the critical role an annual giving program plays in the foundation of a successful development plan
  • Understand the best practices around direct mail campaigns
  • Understand the motivations for giving by donors – including how donors differ based on generation, gender, and ethnic background
  • Understand the critical role stewardship plays in the relationship with donors and what the essential elements of a strong stewardship program include
  • Describe the role of special events in an overall development program
  • Understand the critical role volunteers play in fundraising success – including the role of the Board of Directors in a robust development operation

After this course, you will have created the following for your professional portfolio:

  1. Sample direct mail pieces – letters, response elements, envelopes
  2. Sample thank you letters and other stewardship pieces
  3. Sample special event proposal
  4. Board of Directors fundraising agreement


Fundraising Process: Planning, Writing, Budgeting (part 1)

We will explore the ins and outs of budgeting and finance in nonprofits and examine how to create productive working relationships throughout the organization.  You will learn how to craft a development plan and you will see how to analyze and synthesize data into a useful planning document.   We will hear from a grant maker about their point of view on the importance of financial information in grant requests and proposals.    We will also learn about special events and  how to maximize their impact from a revenue point of view and as messaging and cultivation platform.    

Learning Objectives

  • Articulate the integration of an organization’s mission, strategic plan and development plan and the roles of the Board, the Executive Director and the development team within the process.
  • Have a clear understanding of the elements involved in a comprehensive development audit and how an audit can help an organization achieve success
  • Understand basic budget and forecasting techniques
  • Know how to prepare a development plan and be familiar with a variety of development plan templates

After this course, you will have created the following for your professional portfolio:

  1. An interview with a CFO
  2. Development Department Expense Budget
  3. Revenue Projections and a Gift Chart


Fundraising Process: Planning, Writing, Budgeting (part 2)

We will explore key writing skills for development professionals such as case statements, grant proposals and marketing communications, with a focus on organizational "storytelling". Rounding out this class, students will learn about corporate relations, cause related marketing, and in-kind donations. 

Learning Objectives

  • Articulate the role of a case statement and how to create one that’s effective for a variety of donor perspectives.
  • Understand the basic tenants of grant writing and the grant process.
  • Be able to create marketing materials that support fundraising success. 
  • Understand the changing landscape in corporate relations and cause related marketing.

After this course, you will have created the following for your professional portfolio:

  1. Sample Case Statement Outline and Executive Summary
  2. Sample Letter of Intent
  3. Sample Grants Plan/tracking tool
  4. Marketing Brochure template including "Fast Facts"


Digging into Fundraising

Peel back the layers of major gift fundraising and become familiar with key tools such as discovery appointments, creative cultivation, solicitation negotiation and impact stewardship to see how these concepts apply to today’s fundraising environment. You will learn primarily about major gifts, planned giving, moves management and thoughtful stewardship. The course will include hands-on, videotaped role plays of solicitations.


After this module, you will be better able to:

  • Articulate how you can use metrics to analyze and strengthen fundraising
  • Understand the role of research in the pursuit of major gifts
  • Be able to explain the core reasons donors make major gifts to an organization and how to solicit and steward key donors for your organization or any size non-profit
  • Describe effective cultivation tools and how moves management works
  • Explain the basic planned and estate giving options available to donors
  • Understand the role of capital campaigns, special projects, principal gifts and endowments as tools for effective major gift fundraising
  • Demonstrate how to ask a donor for gift commitments and close gifts


After this module, you will have created the following for our professional portfolio:

  • Bequest ask role-play rubrics (one each from instructor and classmate)
  • Top ten thank-you phrases of your own creation
  • Cultivation touches for 5 of your top prospects
  • Ask role play rubrics (one each from instructor and classmate)


Donor Data Management Basics

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the vital role the "back office" plays in fundraising success.
  • Learn best practices for managing donor data.
  • Learn best practices for identifying, researching and managing major gift prospects.

After this course, you will have created the following for your professional portfolio:

  1. Sample data entry documentation
  2. Sample tax receipt language
  3. Sample reporting menu
  4. Sample prospect profile


Practicum and Assessment

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