Nonprofit organizations across the United States vie for knowledgeable and skilled fundraisers, resulting in a steady demand and a strong job market. This graduate certificate is designed to strengthen fundraising experience, knowledge and skills of professionals currently working or seeking employment in nonprofit organizations.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that projected job growth in the United States will increase 15 percent between 2016 and 2026 -- 7 percent higher than the average growth rate. Average salaries for those employed in fundraising are significantly higher than those in other positions within nonprofit organizations. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics there are more than 1.5 million registered nonprofit organizations – nearly all dependent on raising contributed income through fundraising efforts.
Educational institutions, health, human services, relief agencies, arts, and religious organizations are all reliant on donated funds to serve their beneficiaries, therefore, knowledgeable fundraisers are needed to direct these efforts.
Gear up with our graduate certificate, and embark with confidence in a career in fundraising.
The Graduate Certificate in Fundraising is open to qualified applicants who have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the United States or abroad.
The GRE is not required for admission to this program.
Applications must include:
- Resume. Please include a resume which notes your education, professional and volunteer experience, accomplishments, and qualifications for graduate study.
- Statement of Purpose. Compose a statement of purpose which explains why you wish to pursue your certificate in Fundraising and Development.
- Writing sample (optional). If you are not currently enrolled in a degree program at the University of Kentucky, please submit a writing sample (3-6 pages). Writing samples may include researched essays, marketing or fundraising materials, planning documents or journalistic work.
Applications are accepted for the Graduate Certificate in Fundraising and Development on a rolling basis for fall, spring, and summer semesters. Applicants will receive a decision letter within two weeks of the submission of all application materials. The final deadlines for admission are as follows:
- Fall: July 15
- Spring: December 1
- Summer: April 1
Core Curriculum (10 credit hours)
- AAD 521: Nonprofit Board Governance
The concept of governance is critical in the nonprofit sector. Governing boards are a vital component for the success of nonprofit organizations. AAD 521 Nonprofit Board Governance is designed to provide an understanding of how a nonprofit is governed through a volunteer board of directors. In this course, students will explore the fundamentals of governance, trusteeship, and leadership in nonprofit organizations, with special emphasis on the legal, fiduciary, and ethical responsibilities of nonprofit boards. In addition, students will discuss some of the challenges of board governance in the 21st century and ways to make their leadership role more effective.
- AAD 625: Financial Management for the Arts or AAD 626: Financial Management for Fundraising
AAD 625 Financial Management for the Arts
Financial management is a central function of successful arts management. It is the foundation in which human, physical, and financial resources are maintained and monitored. In the nonprofit sector, the relationship of “mission to money” is a key conceptual framework that must be understood by arts managers and will be emphasized in this course. In addition, arts managers are the source of financial information to both internal and external stakeholders, and successful financial analysis is essential for sound strategic planning and governance. This course guides students through key topics of financial management including accounting practices, time value of money, interpreting financial statements, creating mission-driven budgets, analyzing cash-flow, and managing investments.
AAD 626: Financial Management for Fundraising
Financial management is a central function of successful nonprofit management and fundraising. It is the foundation in which human, physical, and financial resources are maintained and monitored. In the nonprofit sector, the relationship of “mission to money” is a key conceptual framework that must be understood by nonprofit managers and will be emphasized in this course. In addition, fundraising managers are the source of financial information to both internal and external stakeholders, and successful financial analysis is essential for sound strategic planning and governance. This course guides students through key topics of financial management including accounting practices, time value of money, interpreting financial statements, creating mission-driven budgets, analyzing cash-flow, and managing investments.
- AAD 640: Principles of Fundraising
Most nonprofit organizations earn more than half of their total annual revenue from contributed sources, including funds from businesses, foundations, government, and individuals. This course will examine how each of these entities are identified, researched, cultivated, solicited, and stewarded, in context of the organization's fundraising cycle. Students will learn practical development techniques such as crafting a case for support, how to identify government and foundation grant programs, the basics of planned giving, donor research and solicitation plans, and carrying out both fundraising and stewardship events. The philosophies and theories that underlie the concept of charitable giving will also be examined, as will the ethical considerations inherent in the development process. During this course, students will identify, work closely with, and write a complete strategic development plan for a nonprofit organization of their choice.
Electives (3 credit hours)
- AAD 542: Grant Writing for Nonprofit Organizations
The competitive grant proposal process is the ultimate exercise in organizational capacity, yet the process itself can be elusive. In AAD 542 Grant Writing for Nonprofit Organizations, students will develop proposal writing, development, and research skills. Specific topics will include writing style and format, advanced analysis of tone, institutional prospect research, program design, strategic planning, building a case for support, identifying funding sources, creating the letter of intent, evaluation, sustainability, organizational capacity, and grant writing ethics. During this course, students will identify, work closely with, and write a complete grant proposal for a nonprofit organization of their choice.
- AAD 555: Fundraising: Identifying and Cultivating Individual Donors
Building on the general fundraising knowledge from AAD 640, this course will help students develop the necessary skills for soliciting contributions from individuals by focusing on the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and acknowledgement of contributions to arts organizations. Students will learn how to identify potential donors and create a "case for giving" that aligns with the arts organization’s mission before creating targeted fundraising campaigns. The course will also include creative and effective methods of retaining donors. Students will not only be thinking about how to present an "ask" to potential arts donors but actually demonstrating it through real-world activities.
- AAD 740: Fundraising Techniques
This course will explore how the development theories examined in AAD 640 Principles of Fundraising are organized into actionable fundraising techniques and products. Students will continue working with their chosen organization from AAD 640 to create the many projects conceived in the strategic development plan. Emphasis will be placed on fundraising device creation, goal setting, case development, the donor-centric communication style, prospect identification, pre-campaign testing, campaign execution, practicing the major gift ask, and donor stewardship devices. The course will also cover how these campaigns are supported by planned giving methods, databases, and web-based applications, as well as related legal and ethical issues.
- AAD or other courses selected in consultation with advisor and by departmental approval
Federal Financial Aid and Certificate Programs
Please note that federal financial aid is not available for certificate programs, but other financial resources may be available on the Financial Aid page.
State Authorization & Licensure
If you plan to complete a University of Kentucky online program while living outside of Kentucky, you should check the Out-of-State Students page to determine if the University of Kentucky is authorized to provide this program in your state of residence. If you plan to use the degree to seek licensure, you should also determine if the degree meets the educational requirements for licensure in your state.