Executive Fundraising Academy

Executive Fundraising Academy

Please join us for one of our 26 Executive Fundraising Academy course offerings via webinar.   These one-hour sessions taught every other Thursday from 12pm to 1pm ET offer tips on various fundraising topics for you to gain valuable skills for furthering fundraising initiatives at your Affiliate.

Who can take a course? Courses are offered to any Affiliate CEO, staff member, Young Professional, Board member, or Guild Member. 
What topics are covered? Topics range from the Fundamentals of Fundraising to Engaging your Board in Fundraising and more. A full course list can be found below.
When are courses offered? Every other Thursday from 12pm to 1pm ET
How do I sign up? Register for courses by clicking HERE.

Have a question or a topic you'd like covered during one of our webinars?

Submit questions and topic suggestions to Caitlin Forsthoefel at cforsthoefel@ccsfundraising.com and we'll discuss it at an upcoming webinar!


Course List and Descriptions

Fundamentals of Fundraising
This course guides participants through clear action steps for establishing a traditional fundraising program.
Customized for the needs of Urban League Affiliates, this course will outline fundamental principles and best practices for solid fundraising. It will also provide an overview on the initial steps to begin or further institutionalize your Affiliate’s fundraising program.
Course Objectives:
a. Review basic fundraising principles
b. Understand how to establish your program
c. Discuss activities that are key to effective, balanced and organized fundraising
Fundraising Strategies for an Evolving Economy
This course presents current philanthropic giving trends and offers strategies for increasing fundraising revenue and building long-term sustainability. 
Course Objectives:
a. Review current trends of philanthropic giving in the United States
b. Learn what drives individuals, corporations and foundations to give
c. Develop strategies to combat the economic climate and continue to fundraise
Fundraising Writing Essentials
This course presents current philanthropic giving trends and offers strategies for increasing fundraising revenue and building long-term sustainability. Successful fundraisers possess strong and well developed writing skills. Moreover, writing for development requires focused, strategic and clear messaging. This course will review tools and resources that all fundraisers can turn to improve written documents and we will discuss common pitfalls and how to overcome them.
Course Objectives:
a. Review the writing process for fundraising documents, including proofreading
b. Understand the array of common fundraising documents and applications 
c. Discuss the top ten common writing pitfalls and best practices   
Structuring a Fundraising Plan
Creating a fund development plan is crucial to the establishment of a fundraising program for any nonprofit organization.  Participants will be provided with the essential tools to plan an annual giving program and receive information on how best to incorporate their efforts into the program to fund the strategic plan.  This course will provide key information on creating a timetable, what a case statement is and how it fits into the overall strategy and review the roles and responsibilities of volunteer leadership.
Course Objectives:
a. Review why a plan is critical and how it can be effectively used
b. Understand critical steps in the planning process
c. Discuss key elements and strategies to include in a fundraising plan
Writing a Case Statement
This course provides an overview of what a case statement is, the components of a well-crafted Case Statement, what Case Statements look like and how they are used. 
Course Objectives:
a. Review the purpose of a Case Statement
b. Understand its format and key components
c. Examine the writing process
d. Discuss its applications and uses
Social Media 
Social Media is no longer just a tool to keep in touch with friends – it’s a platform for change and for Movement building. Affiliates can use social media to connect with the community and also build awareness around critical fundraising needs. 
Course Objectives:
a. Understanding appropriate social media content and strategies
b. How to use social media to cultivate prospects into donors
c. Knowing the difference between social media for marketing and communications and social media for fundraising
Identifying, Researching and Rating Prospects
Research is at the core of successful fundraising. It is important to understand how this critical step ties into the ultimate goal of securing a gift, what research detail you need to know, and how to interpret the data compiled. In this course, discussions will introduce key research techniques, review “must see” websites, research a prospect online, and share tips for maximizing and refining your research skills.
Course Objectives:
a. List criteria for what makes a good prospect and how to gather this information about them
b. Learn how to perform standard searches on potential donors
c. Review key websites and where to find information within those sites
Developing Solicitation Strategies
Successful fundraising is inherently strategic. All gift requests must be accompanied by sound strategies that are rooted in fundamental best practices and codified steps. Understanding the Ten Steps of a Solicitation Strategy will be key to building a professional and results-oriented fundraising operation. You will learn how to turn your fundraising into a professional and results-oriented operation. 
Course Objectives:
a. Discuss the purpose and importance of solicitation strategies
b. Understand the process involved in developing and implementing solicitation strategies
c. Discuss effective tools, tips and methods for success
Building A Major Gifts Program 
A major gifts program is a key component to successful and balanced fundraising.  Major gift fundraising takes advantage of carefully developed relationships and personal requests of your very best donors making it the most effective and efficient means of fundraising.  You will learn how to incorporate major gifts into your existing fundraising strategy and how to make the most of your existing program.
Course Objectives:
a. Review principles of major gifts
b. Address strategies for prospects and the tools you need to be effective
c. Discuss strategic mistakes and which strategies work
Engaging and Cultivating Prospects
Cultivation allows a new or potential donor to learn more about the local Affiliate, build interest, and are an important piece of the prospect development process.  In this session, discussion is centered on how to engage prospects, cultivate interest, and coordinate cultivation results.
Course Objectives:
a. Understand how to engage prospects with timely introductions to key leadership
b. Learn about various types of cultivation activities such as site visits and receptions
c. Discuss timing, planning, and preparation for cultivation events
Conducting an Effective Briefing Meeting
You have cultivated a prospective donor, but are not quite ready to ask them for a gift. Conducting a briefing meeting is an important step as you prepare to solicit contributions for your Affiliate. It will allow you to get to know your donor, what their interests are and the amount in which they are prepared to contribute. If done correctly, an effective briefing will set the stage for a successful solicitation. 
Course Objectives:
a. Discuss purpose and value of briefing prospective donors
b. Explore the importance of “knowing your prospective donor”
c. Determine appropriate materials for use during a briefing meeting
d. Discuss how to use materials when briefing prospective donors
e. Identify effective protocol following a briefing meeting
Writing Effective Proposals for Individuals
A well organized and compelling proposal is a powerful tool in securing a transformational gift.  When well-crafted and used properly, a proposal helps control the solicitation, inspires the donor, and communicates the information you want them to know.  In this course, you will learn the key ingredients to a winning proposal, how best to use this resource to convey the movement’s mission and what format may be right for your next ask.
Course Objectives:
a. Discuss purpose and value of proposals
b. Review common proposal formats and key elements
c. Explore how to create proposals for individuals
d. Discuss how to use proposals when soliciting gifts 
Working With Charitable Foundations
Foundation grant making is a unique process unlike any other kind of philanthropy. Often times, Foundations have strict missions and corresponding guidelines that determine where money is spent, and it is our job as fundraisers to understand these processes well and be detail oriented in our approach. While writing for Foundation Grants is important, it is not the only aspect of working well with charitable foundations. 
Course Objectives:
a. Review the grant-seeking process and understand long-term cultivation strategies for Foundations
b. Discuss the most effective methods of managing foundation relationships and approaching foundations for funding
c. Learn tips to drafting successful grant applications
Writing Winning Grant Proposals
Grants writing is an important skill for any fundraiser. If you can find the language that effectively captures the work of your Affiliate in limited words, you can refine and reapply for future grants.  It is essential that all development professionals understand the key messaging of their Affiliate, and how to adjust this to the needs of grant making foundations without losing your own identity.  
Course Objectives:
a. Understand the key elements of a successful grant proposal and what makes each so important
b. Identify when in the foundation relationship to submit a grant proposal
c. Discuss common mistakes and best practices to put forward the best proposalReview the grant-seeking process and understand long-term cultivation strategies for Foundations
Managing Prospect Relationships (Moves Management)
Developing relationships is an integral part of successful development. Professional and organized management of such relationships from cultivation to solicitation is even more important to your success as a fundraiser, and what is typically called “moves management”. Internalizing a moves management program should be your base platform from which you can then personalize fundraising.  
Course Objectives:
a. Understand how to manage prospect relationships
b. Discuss how to implement a Relationship Management program
c. Gain tools to manage your program and effectively advance donors toward their next ask
Soliciting and Closing a Major Gift 
Soliciting a major gift requires finesse, practice and a lot of ground work.  Participants will engage in an interactive discussion about the solicitation process, including preparation and the actual meeting.  During the course, there will also be discussion on strategies for closing a pending gift request. 
Course Objectives:
a. Understand how to prepare for an “ask”
b. Review the entire request process including the opening conversation, making the case, the gift request and
    handling responses
c. Discuss how “no” can be the beginning of the conversation towards a contribution
Donor Stewardship
Donor stewardship is defined as the process by which an organization seeks to steward or engage a donor for future long-lasting philanthropic support.  Processing and acknowledging a donor’s generosity is an important and fundamental step in this process.  You will learn about this critical component of fundraising by discussing recognition and acknowledgement as well as the policies needed for this process.
Course Objectives:
a. Understand the stewardship cycle and values of stewardship
b. Understand the key elements of accountability
c. Learn best practices for donor acknowledgement
d. Determine ways to implement and incorporate critical elements of stewardship into current development
Fundraising with Board Members and Volunteers
One of the keys to a successful individual giving fundraising program is having an engaged Board.  In order for you to fully engage your board in the fundraising process, they must all be donors.  Many of them will also be key solicitors of your major gift prospects.  This course will teach you the steps to evaluate and grow your board and their fundraising capacity.  
Course Objectives:
a. Learn how to evaluate your current Board of Directors
b. Understand the key steps to create, grow, and sustain a dynamic leadership team
c. Recognize how volunteers can enhance fundraising efforts. 
Developing an Effective Board: Identification, Recrutiment and Orientation
Board effectiveness can be the deciding factor in the success of the Affiliate. Board leadership and participation in fundraising is essential, and as the Movement strengthens its fundraising capacity and goals, so must it raise expectations of Boards to help lead. The most successful non-profit institutions have developed, active, engaged, generous, giving board members. Learn how to build up your board!
Course Objectives:
a. Discuss the purpose, roles and responsibilities of nonprofit boards
b. Explore elements of developing effective boards
c. Discuss fundraising expectations of board members and why it is an important component of board service
d. Review best practices for nonprofit boards
Donor Recognition
Donor recognition is essential for effective and strategic fundraising. Donor recognition, when done well, recognizes donors’ generosity in a meaningful, visible and often permanent form, displays your affiliate’s benefactors publicly and privately, and is critical for the proper stewardship of donors. Personal and thoughtful appreciation is the first step in laying the foundation for future gifts. 
Course Objectives:
a. Evaluate how recognition opportunities should be considered when preparing to ask for a gift
b. Examine giving councils and their role in donor recognition and stewardship
c. Understand appropriate “pricing” and gift recognition policies
Managing, Soliciting and Recognizing Corporate Partners
Corporate philanthropy is unique and also limited. Over the last 30 years, corporate giving has remained flat in relation to the proportion of total philanthropy in the United States, constituting roughly 5% of total contributions year on year. Put this in perspective that corporate profits have risen over the years, while philanthropic giving does not rise with it proportionately. The Movement has a long history of partnering with corporations for sponsorships and philanthropic gifts.  
Course Objectives:
a. Gain an understanding of corporate philanthropy
b. Explore what drives corporate giving
c. Analyze how a corporate request is different from other gift requests
d. Share best practices for closing and recognizing corporate gifts
Creating a Development Budget
Creating a development budget is an important step in ensuring the sustainability of your fundraising program for your Affiliate.   Participants will be provided with the essential tools to develop both simple and complex development budgets and receive information on how to benchmark throughout the year to monitor your budget.
Course Objectives:
a. Review the basic budgeting process
b. Understand what factors to consider when budgeting
c. Discuss how to use benchmarks to monitor and review your budget
Fundraising with a Staff of One/Limited Resources
Every non-profit strives to utilize its resources wisely.  This course reviews the key elements of a fundraising and development program and their implementation over time in a non-profit.  The course discusses the use of volunteers, outside vendors, and how to best utilize staff time to realize maximum fundraising potential.  Participants will be provided with sample organizational charts that describe the building process from a staff of one to an entire development department.  
Course Objectives:
a. Understand which fundraising methods are most effective and how to make others more effective
b. Discuss where to invest for greatest fundraising success
c. Review the best use of volunteers in development programs
Upgrading Existing Donors
The best prospects for your organization are current donors.  This course will discuss the “cultivate, brief, ask” process and how to utilize this process with appropriate education to upgrade your donors to major gifts.  In this course you will learn what the typical donor path is to a major gift and the strategies to move each of your donors to give the most significant gift for your Affiliate.  
Course Objectives:
a. Review specific donor characteristics at various giving levels
b. Learn how to analyze a donor’s readiness for advancement
c. Determine how to move current donors through a donor pipeline effectively
d. Discuss organizational benefits of good moves management and tracking systems
e. Talk through an example of a donor’s journey through the process
Making the Most of Annual Giving
The first donation to most organizations from individuals comes through the Annual Giving Program.  In order for an organization to have a robust group of donors, it must have an effective annual giving program.  This course will walk the learners through the annual giving process from donor acquisition to the migration to major gifts.  
Course Objectives:
a. Review the key elements to an Annual Fund Program and how to make each one effective for your Affiliate
b. Learn how to integrate your annual fund efforts to upgrade donors
c. Discuss effective approaches and best practices in donor acquisition and renewal. 
Preparing for a Campaign
Most organizations identify the need to go through a significant capital or leadership campaign at some point in their growth as an organization.  In order for a campaign to be run effectively, an organization must take the appropriate planning and organizational steps before they begin the campaign themselves.  This course will review the steps necessary to prepare for a major fundraising campaign for an Affiliate.  
Course Objectives:
a. Understand the policies and programs that must be in place before beginning a campaign
b. Review the strategic planning necessary for a campaign.
c. Explore the feasibility study process and how it is best used for successful fundraising
d. Review best practices for campaign preparation and what pitfalls to avoid.  
Making the Most of Year-End Fundraising Campaigns
A strategic, year-end campaign is critical to the success of your fundraising program. It is one of the most important fundraising activities you'll undertake all year. With limited resources, many deadlines, and giant to-do lists, many of our affiliates miss out on major opportunities to run a successful and effective year-end fundraising campaigns. This course offers a simple 7-week planning process that won't overwhelm you, but will help you plan, execute, and maximize the final fundraising weeks of the year. 

Course Objectives: 
a. Review simple steps to planning a year-end fundraising campaign. 
b. Understand how to implement your campaign plan. 
c. Learn how to leverage your year-end fundraising success in the New Year.