Online Class: Fundraising 101

Self-paced online course presenting what's needed to get started in the fundraising world. Whether you are seeking to raise funds for your non-profit group, a worthy charity, political or religious organization, your local school or to provide community specific aid, this detailed course will provide you with everything you need to know about the basics of fundraising

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Course Description

Mastering Fundraising: Transforming Aspirations into Achievements

In today's interconnected world, the heart's desire to make a difference remains as profound as ever. Many individuals and groups have noble aspirations—supporting non-profits, championing worthy charities, advocating for political or religious causes, bolstering local schools, or extending a hand to specific community needs. However, aspirations need actionable plans, and that's where effective fundraising enters the picture.

Introducing our meticulously designed course, Fundraising 101. Tailored to elucidate the nuances of fundraising, this course aims to transform you from a passionate visionary into a fundraising maven. Although primarily crafted for beginners, seasoned fundraisers will also discover a wealth of innovative ideas backed by contemporary data and trends.

Understanding Today's Fundraising Landscape:

The landscape of charitable giving has seen a significant evolution. With the proliferation of organizations vying for attention and resources, the challenge isn't just about raising funds—it's about making your cause resonate in a cacophony of voices. Potential donors are continually inundated with requests, making it imperative for fundraisers to craft compelling narratives and employ strategic techniques. By grasping the concepts presented in this course, you'll be better equipped to convert potential hesitations of "I already contributed elsewhere" into enthusiastic affirmations like, "Absolutely, how can I help?"

Course Breakdown:

  1. Fundraising Start-Up Essentials:

    • Overview: Understand the foundational principles of fundraising.
    • Example: The significance of mission statements and how they guide fundraising goals.
  2. Developing Your Fundraising Plan:

    • Overview: Delve deep into formulating a comprehensive and flexible fundraising strategy.
    • Example: Crafting a year-long fundraising calendar with milestones and review points.
  3. Marketing Strategies for Fundraisers:

    • Overview: Harness the power of marketing to create visibility and engagement around your cause.
    • Example: Utilizing storytelling techniques to enhance donor engagement.
  4. Using the Internet and Technology:

    • Overview: Explore the digital frontier of fundraising, from online campaigns to leveraging social media platforms.
    • Example: Case study on a successful crowdfunding campaign and its components.
  5. Fundraising Events:

    • Overview: Organize and execute memorable events that drive donations and foster community spirit.
    • Example: Organizing a community marathon: logistics, partnerships, and promotional strategies.
  6. Attracting and Winning Major Donors:

    • Overview: Learn techniques to identify, approach, and secure substantial contributions.
    • Example: Curating personalized donor experiences to nurture long-term relationships.
  7. Strategies to Keep Givers Giving:

    • Overview: Delve into retention strategies, ensuring that your supporters remain engaged and invested in your cause over time.
    • Example: Implementing a monthly donor program with tiered benefits.

Each lesson is enriched with assignments, exams, and practical resources. These are curated to ensure students not only grasp theoretical concepts but can apply them in real-world contexts.

Why Choose Fundraising 101?

The art and science of fundraising is a dynamic interplay of strategy, emotion, and perseverance. Our course offers a holistic blend of these elements, ensuring that each student emerges with a toolkit, brimming with the latest techniques, ready to champion their chosen cause.

Your aspirations are noble, and with the right guidance, they're entirely achievable. Dive into Fundraising 101 and pave the way for a future where your dreams are funded, and your impact is felt. Register today to start your transformative journey in the world of fundraising.

Course Motivation

Starting out on the right foot is essential in any business proposition. Although fundraising is usually defined as a non-profit undertaking, it is still ultimately a business.

It is the business of helping others with the use of funds donated by kind and generous individuals interested in furthering a cause they believe in.
Any type of fundraising activity takes organization and early planning to be successful. There are numerous other organizations, with causes just as worthy, that are vying for the same dollars you are, so, good planning and clear goals are necessary from the very start.

Non-Profit or Tax-Exempt Status
If you have not already taken this step, or if your organization does not already have this status, it is vital that you do so as soon as possible. Obtaining non-profit status will allow your organization to secure many valuable tax benefits.

You have several options in regard to obtaining this special status for fundraising purposes.

  • You can go directly to the IRS and begin the procedure yourself.
  • You can hire an attorney who specializes in obtaining non-profit status to accomplish this task for you, or
  • You can peruse the many Internet sites that walk you through the process or take care of the paperwork for you.
If you decide to take on the task yourself, be sure to read the IRS FAQ on the subject, which has been provided in the Resources section of this lesson. Most organizations choose to hire an attorney for this task as it takes the difficulty and potential of delays caused by inaccurate or improper filing out of the equation. Others use companies such as Legal Zoom to guide them through the process with great results. The choice is yours; however, be sure to research all your options carefully before deciding.
Define Your Mission 
So, you have your non-profit status (or it is in the works) and you're ready to get started with the meat of earning money for your cause. Well, before you pick up the phone and start asking for donations, you need to first complete some paperwork. This is an important component of building your organization into a legitimate and donation-worthy group.
Let's start this paperwork trail with the backbone of all businesses--The Mission Statement.
You may know the particulars of exactly what you are trying to accomplish, but can you clearly and definitively explain it to someone else? Can you succinctly sum up in a few sentences what your goals are with your fundraising campaign? If not, now is the time to sit down and create a written definition of what you are trying to do. Your grammar does not have to be perfect, you can always edit later on, or hire a professional to do so, the important thing is to just jot down the main ideas you are trying to convey. Once you have those elements perfected, you can then take those ingredients and create a more defined and refined case statement.
Your mission statement does not have to be very long, one or two short paragraphs should do the trick, it will later be used to create your case statement, which is the more involved document.
Having trouble getting started? Keep it simple--write three words that define your organization. Expand those three words into three active sentences which explain your fundraising vision. From your sentences try to develop a full paragraph that would briefly tell another person what your organization is about.
Making Your Case Statement: A case statement is a clear and decisive document that explains your organization's initiative in writing. If you have written a clear mission statement it will be much easier to create this more exacting document. There are two types of case statement, Internal and External.
External Case Statement

This is the document that you will ultimately be showing to potential donors. It will be a description of your organization that you may leave with others so that they can learn more.

Internal Case Statement
This document is used in-house as a reference tool. It includes everything in your external case statement plus other information about your organization such as services it will provide, any special features it possesses, worthy achievements and future plans. Your organization's internal case statement will be the basis for all supporting documents that will spring forth from it, such as: telephone scripts, emails, letters, brochures, newsletters and press releases. You should spend considerable time perfecting this document and adding to it as your organization evolves. If you feel that writing is not your forte, hire a professional to use your mission statement to create one for you.
If you plan to take on the task of creating an internal and external case statement yourself there are several excellent Web sources listed in the resources section of this lesson that provide sample case statements. Use these samples to get ideas for your own organization, but be sure to not duplicate them exactly. You will want to set your group apart from others in order to build a unique identity within the fundraising world.
Setting Your Group Apart
It is assumed that you have given serious thought to why your particular fundraiser is needed prior to continuing forward with your goals. If groups who raise funds for the same cause as yours already exist, we hope that you have established that a competing group would be a welcome addition. The reason you decided that your fundraising efforts are truly needed and/or required must become your organizations defining character.
Today's savvy donors want answers. They want to know why they should give their hard earned dollars to you in addition to (or instead of) other groups. It will not further your cause to be vague about your goals or melt into the crowd. Write down those things that set your group apart, write down why your fundraising mission is clearly important and allow that to set the tone when communicating with potential donors. Are you raising funds for a local school? Then tell your neighborhood donors how this will uniquely benefit the community they live in. Are you organizing a food drive before Thanksgiving when three other groups are doing the same? Tell potential donors why your group is needed when others already exist; what is special about your fundraiser or organization? Be specific!
Building Your Team
Odds are that you already have at least a few people on board who are willing to help and take part in your endeavor. If you don't, you had better sit down and go over your address book and start making calls. Fundraising is not a venture for one person alone! Even smaller efforts need at least one extra set of hands. If you try to do it all on your own, you will burn out very quickly and defeat your purpose. That said, there are several things to keep in mind when building your fundraising dream team:
  • Don't be afraid to ask family and friends to assist, hey, what are friends for?
  • Don't hem people in, take what they can offer. You may have a relative or friend who cannot devote many hours to your cause, but they might be willing to create a flyer or brochure for you during their lunch break.
  • Take out an ad in the local paper or post one in a grocery store, (or other high traffic area), calling for like-minded volunteers.
  • Build your expanded team from your nucleus. If you have a small group together ask them to call upon their friends and families to help.
  • For larger fundraising efforts it may be necessary to pay specialized individuals to assist. Be sure to narrow down those things that absolutely can't be accomplished by the volunteers already on your team.
  • Keep the "work" atmosphere fun. High morale is key in keeping your unpaid helpers happy.
  • Thank those who do agree to volunteer often and lavishly; let them know that their help is greatly appreciated.
  • Celebrate milestones and accomplishments with a pizza party or some other small gesture of festivity, (perhaps even donated by a local business!).


Organizing Your Team
No one wants to devote several hours of their week standing around wondering what the heck is going on! Before you even begin planning your fundraising campaign, you must have a meeting with your group. Be sure to have your mission and case statement ready and provide copies for all involved. The first meeting should have a clear directive--who will be doing what. It is up to you to have a precise list put together before hand of what will be needed to accomplish your fundraising goals. Get input from your team on who is qualified to do certain jobs. If several people are qualified you may be able to split the work between them or create a "mini-team" of two or three. Don't be discouraged if you end up with jobs on your list that no one seems qualified for; these may be the things you will need to hire that expert for, or get out there and rustle up another volunteer with that specific skill set.

Some other points to help keep your team organized:

  • Be forthcoming; do not "selectively" provide information to your team.
  • Keep everyone involved.
  • Welcome ideas and suggestions.
  • Audio record meetings, or, at the very least, assign one person to act as "secretary" and write down decisions made during meetings.
  • Set up a regular meeting schedule to ensure that everyone stays current on progress and goals.
  • Train new incoming volunteers well. Take the time to get them up-to-date on what has transpired so far and introduce them to the rest of the team.
  • Be sure to handle personality conflicts between team members promptly and with care to avoid hurt feelings, or worse, the loss of a helpful volunteer!
  • Gently let your volunteers know if they are off track or confused about their particular job.
  • A sense of humor goes a long way; don't be too stringent with your "rules."


Facilities, Equipment and Technology
First and foremost a gathering place is of utmost importance. For small groups or focused, infrequent campaigns, your home or a volunteers home will serve the purpose, or, alternatively, the place of "business" for whom you're are raising funds if a school, church, synagogue or other such organization. Medium sized groups can inquire at local places of worship (the denomination is not important) to find out if they rent basement space or rooms to non-profits. Other options are private/political halls such as a local VFW, ethnic club or Rotary club who owns or rents space and are willing to allow you paid or free access to their headquarters. If your group is larger and your efforts more involved, it might be worth the investment to rent an office space to serve as headquarters. Be sure to ask landlord's if they offer rent discounts for non-profits!

Once you have a meeting place designated and secured, be sure to provide your volunteers with provisions that they will need to accomplish their tasks. The most obvious and simple are notepads and pens, refreshments, and use of bathroom facilities. However, depending on how involved the fundraising campaign or group is you may also want to consider some of the following:

  • Access to telephones with multiple lines
  • Computers with Internet access and printers
  • Copy and fax machines
  • Basic office supplies, such as: file folders, paper clips, pens, paper, staplers, printer ink, postage, envelopes and the like
  • Software such as Microsoft Office, MS Publisher or Adobe Acrobat


Make a list of the equipment and technology items you think you will need. This list may become more extensive as your development plan (Lesson Two) becomes more defined. As a basic reference use the list above. Browse your local Office Supply store and Internet supply stores to get the best prices on larger items.


Fundraising 101: Transform Passion into Action

Fundraising can seem daunting. Maybe you've heard "I already donated" more often than "Of course, I'll contribute!" Whether you aim to support a charity, religious organization, local school, or community project, success demands more than just passion.

Enter Fundraising 101, a streamlined online course tailored for both novices and those with prior experience. Through self-paced, comprehensive lessons, you'll gain a deep understanding of:

  1. Essential start-up strategies
  2. Crafting effective fundraising plans
  3. Innovative marketing techniques
  4. Leveraging digital tools and platforms
  5. Organizing impactful events
  6. Engaging major donors effectively
  7. Keeping long-term donor relationships thriving

Why enroll? Beyond mastering fundraising, you'll hone organizational skills, boost self-confidence, influence positive change, and maybe even discover a new career avenue. Don't let fundraising intimidate you. Register for Fundraising 101 today and pave your way to meaningful impact.

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.5 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(1,018 votes)

Lesson 1: Fundraising Start-Up Essentials

Creating a mission statement. Building and organizing a team. Obtaining non-profit status. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Fundraising Groups; Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete: Assignment Lesson 1
  • Assessment: Lesson 1 Review

Lesson 2: Developing Your Fundraising Plan

Evaluate your strategies and goals. Ascertain your assets. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 Review

Lesson 3: Marketing Strategies for Fundraisers

Receiving grants, using the media, mailings, and phones. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 Review

Lesson 4: Using the Internet and Technology

Creating a website. Using emails and business software for fundraising. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 Review

Lesson 5: Fundraising Events

Special events and selling products to boost fundraising. 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 Review

Lesson 6: Attracting and Winning Major Donors

Organizations must be reputable to attract major donors. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 Review

Lesson 7: Strategies to Keep Givers Giving

Don't forget to say thank you! Keeping an accurate database. Additional lesson topics: How to Write a Winning Proposal 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Lesson discussions: What is your opinion of this course?; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 Review
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe fundraising start-up essentials.
  • Develop a fundraising plan.
  • Describe marketing strategies for fundraisers.
  • Describe and plan fundraising events.
  • Summarize best practices for attracting and winning major donors.
  • Determine strategies to keep givers giving.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Fundraising 101
Course Number: 32862
Lessons Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars (1,018 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas.
Last Updated: November 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.5 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $120.00 U.S. dollars

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