The twelve-week online Certificate in Professional Fundraising consists of the following twelve modules:

  • Foundations of Fundraising

    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. The values of goal setting, priorities, timelines, leadership, communication, and the creation of strategic and operational plans based on organizational vision are also covered.

  • Annual Giving

    This component covers the role of annual giving, direct mail, and telemarketing campaigns, as well as internet campaigns, gift clubs, matching gifts, membership campaigns, passive appeals, corporate affiliate programs, reporting, and evaluation.

  • Capital Campaign

    Topics covered include 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.

  • Individual Major and Leadership Gifts

    Topics covered in this component include the continuum of giving, determining the prospect pools, prospect rating, prospect strategy development, cultivation and marketing, making the ask, closing, acknowledgement, recognition, continuing stewardship, managing a major gifts staff, reporting, and evaluation.

  • Planned and Estate Gifts

    In this component, 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.

  • 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.

  • Corporate and Foundation Fundraising

    Topics covered in this component of the program include structuring an institutional support program, grant writing, staffing, networking, research, sponsorships, corporate affiliate programs, gifts-in kind/intellectual, and property.

  • Technology-enabled Fundraising

    Social networking, micro-targeting and new online engagement tools with solicitation functions have all changed the face of fundraising. In this component, students explore how to harness the web to enhance and boost current development efforts. Various web-based strategies for fundraising are investigated including what they are, how they can help an organization, and how these strategies are best implemented.

  • Support Services and Volunteer Leadership

    Prospect research, gift processing, and stewardship all play a key role in fundraising. Information management and communications also contribute to an effective development organization. These topics are explored in this component, along with effective volunteer leadership, the lifeblood of non-profit organizations. Internal and external leadership, boards of directors, special events, and volunteer leadership challenges are also explored.

  • Management and Accountability

    This topic 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.


System Requirements and Materials

You will need access to a computer and the internet. The following system requirements are needed to successfully complete the program. Click for system requirements.

There are no required textbooks for this course.


Scheduling Details

Boston University offers this program three times per year. The Spring session starts in January, the Summer session starts in May and the Fall session starts in September.