“” Fundraising Program course descriptions

Professional Fundraising Certificate Program

Program Information

The 12-week online Professional Fundraising Program consists of the following topics:


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Fundraising Overview

Students will explore the history, philosophy, and ethics of development and its relationship to other organization units, such as financial, external relations, legal, and administrative departments. Students will look at the big picture of how to inspire significant philanthropy for an organization.


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Prospect Research

This area of development addresses individual, corporate, and foundation research; proactive and reactive research; and the effective use of data systems to enhance efficiency and productivity. Also discussed is the selection and use of research tools to optimize efforts and effective information management.  Students will prepare a research profile and determine both capacity to give and inclination to support a specific organization.


Annual Giving

This component covers the role of annual giving, direct mail, and internet/crowd funding campaigns as well as gift clubs, matching gifts, membership campaigns, passive appeals, corporate affiliate programs, reporting, and evaluation.  You will build your own leadership giving club to maximize annual giving for an organization.

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Development Communications

Whether it is a tweet, e-newsletter, text requesting a small gift, or a multimillion-dollar proposal, someone wrote it, working with the fundraising leadership of the organization, and based on their perceptions of the words and phrases that would move the recipient to respond positively.  In this module, you will learn how to write, in many different media, in support of the fundraising efforts of a mission-driven organization like the Red Cross, Greenpeace, Oxfam, or Boston University.


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Major Gifts

This course provides an overview of topics including the continuum of giving, determining prospect pools, prospect rating, prospect strategy development, cultivation, making the ask, closing, acknowledgment, recognition, continuing stewardship, managing a major gifts staff, reporting, and evaluation.


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Planned Giving

In this module, students will investigate structuring a planned giving program; planned giving timelines; identifying planned giving prospects; gift vehicles such as annuities, trust, and bequests; assets used in planned gifts, and marketing strategies and materials.  Students will work on case studies as a way to learn this complex material.


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Foundations and Corporations

This module examines many topics including structuring an institutional support program, grant writing, staffing, networking, research, sponsorships, corporate affiliate programs, gifts-in kind, and property.  You will develop a letter of inquiry as a first step towards securing a grant for your organization.


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Capital Campaigns

Students will be exposed to various skill sets and topics critical to understanding and managing a Capital Campaign including setting goals and priorities; creating timelines; leading volunteers; staffing; marketing; creating a case statement; donor constituencies; gift pyramids; capital gift vehicles; and restricted and unrestricted gifts.


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Support Services

Support services like gift processing and financial planning play a key role in effective fundraising. Information management and communications also contribute to an effective development organization. These topics are explored in this module, along with effective volunteer management, the lifeblood of non-profit organizations both big and small. Internal and external leadership, boards of directors, special events, and volunteer leadership challenges will also be covered.  You will work on developing the case for a special event for your organization.


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Volunteer Leadership

This module is about how organizations approach volunteer leadership.  You will create a list of typical responsibilities that board members for a nonprofit organization would have, and how the board evolves as well as how to recruit them to volunteer on your behalf.


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Management and Accountability

This module addresses how development processes are managed, including gift processing; gift reporting; stewardship and donor relations; and endowment management. Also covered are ethics in fundraising; successful development communications; and managing volunteers, boards, and other key players.  You will put together a plan for how you would approach a new leadership role at a new organization.


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Fundraising Summary

You will get to apply what you have learned to actual situations that occur in the fundraising environment and you will get access to helpful professional resources.  As we wrap up the course you will put together what you learned and determine how you will use this new knowledge in your current or future profession.

Running throughout the course and punctuated with stand-alone Live Sessions with experts in the field, you will learn strategies specific to international fundraising and small shop fundraising.