Since 2002, The San Diego Foundation has supported development and fundraising training for local nonprofit leaders, most recently, in partnership with the Fundraising Academy at the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University.

In May, the first class of students graduated from the Academy. These students, with backgrounds spanning from staff and board members to volunteers, learned essential fundraising tools that will help improve the success of their respective nonprofit organizations.

What is the Fundraising Academy?

The Fundraising Academy is a certificate program providing more than 80 hours of specialized training to students advancing their applied knowledge of nonprofit fundraising principles.

The program is designed to enhance fundraising skills for individuals, groups and organizations. Specifically, students increase their capacity to strategically identify opportunities for funding, execute cause-selling techniques, develop major gifts and organize planned giving.

If you could share one fundraising tip with other nonprofit professionals, what would it be? Let us know in the comments below!

What can students expect to learn?

The Fundraising Academy teaches how to:

  • Evaluate the state of the nonprofit field as it pertains to opportunities and gaps in the areas of development
  • Examine basic principles of fundraising while considering ethical and organizational factors
  • Analyze negotiating and cause-selling styles in order to evaluate their situational effectiveness
  • Articulate multiple approaches to development strategy in order to confront and address complex needs
  • Practice “making the ask” and cause selling techniques
  • Utilize emerging technology, presentation skills and communication in face-to-face, alternative and virtual environments
  • Compare and contrast strategies of soliciting major gifts and planned giving
  • Identify the needs and resources associated with financial and legal requirements of fundraising
  • Develop professional skills that enhance opportunities and increase possible vehicles for fundraising

How is The San Diego Foundation Involved?

The San Diego Foundation provides a grant to the Fundraising Academy that underwrites a substantial amount of the participation cost for San Diego nonprofit professionals and volunteers that have a current fundraising role.

The program, valued at several thousand dollars, costs only $650 per student.

Currently, The Foundation has committed support for two more years of underwriting, and we encourage staff and board members of nonprofit organizations to take advantage of the subsidized cost of the program.

With more than 10,000 nonprofits in San Diego County, it is critical to perfect your organization’s most powerful stories and diversify your giving opportunities to meet donor needs. The Fundraising Academy provides an excellent opportunity to think through key strategies and develop collaborative relationships with other nonprofit organizations.

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If you could share one fundraising tip with other nonprofit professionals, what would it be? Let us know in the comments!