Fundraising Certificate Programs Online

Online Fundraising Certificate Programs

Individuals who are interested in developing the skills needed to be effective fundraisers can choose from a number of online certificate programs. These certificate programs may involve completing three or four specific courses during a semester or completing a detailed program that lasts up to twelve weeks. Online courses typically offer flexible study schedules, with students opting to work on their programs during weekdays, weekends or evenings.

Admission Requirements for Online Fundraising Certificate Programs

Online fundraising certificate programs do not typically have any academic guidelines. Strong communication skills are important and will be an asset when completing coursework. There are some options for individuals to complete a graduate certificate program in fundraising. Those programs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree; however, this article's focus is on general certificates that can be pursued without postsecondary education.

Online Fundraising Certificate Program Coursework

An online fundraising certificate program may cover a wide range of topics, including how to manage funds that are donated and how to effectively communicate with potential donors. A foundation of courses that explore the most common and effective strategies for fundraising is important and students will want to ensure they develop a strong understanding of different fundraising strategies.

Fundraising Methods

There are some strategies for raising funds that are more effective than others. A course in fundraising techniques will provide students with a clear understanding of the most effective ways to raise funds. This type of course may also involve developing a practical fundraising strategy to demonstrate proficiency in the skills taught.

Major Gifts

One of the ways that non-profit agencies maintain revenue is by securing long-term donors who provide significant donations to their organization. A course in major gifts can help students understand how to build a base of donors who provide major gifts to their organization. This course also helps students assess their communication skills and develop the skills needed for soliciting major gifts.

Capital Campaigns

When organizations have a specific objective they may need to raise a lot of money to achieve their goal. An example would be a non-profit facility that needs to fund building renovations. A course in this topic prepares students to develop a capital campaign and to understand how to manage that campaign from start to finish. Strategies for engaging public support, as well as the organization's support, are explored.


This course could also be called accountability and management. Fundraisers have a responsibility to not only build donor lists, but to maintain good relationships with existing donors. A course in sustainability can prepare students for managing ongoing relationships with donors and ensuring that the donors see the value in their contributions so that they continue providing donations to your organization. This course also provides a general foundation for some ongoing strategies for fundraising, such as online donation opportunities.

Planned Gifts

Some individuals have large amounts of wealth and are seeking options for organizations to leave money or resources to. A course in planned gifts provides insight into the benefits of inheritance donations and how to establish an inheritance donation. This course helps students prepare to talk to people about sensitive financial matters and how to use a planned gift to create a legacy. Examples include things like memorial scholarships.

How to Choose an Online Fundraising Certificate Program

When programs are available online they may be offered a set times with instruction via live tutorials or they may be accessible for independent study. Most fundraising certificate programs that are available online offer students flexible study schedules. It's important that students ensure the program meets their scheduling needs and covers the range of topics that are suited to their objectives. In some cases, earning a certificate also means earning Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credits. These credits will apply towards the total needed to pursue the CFRE credential. Individuals interested in completing the CFRE credential will want to ensure that their fundraising certificate qualifies towards CFRE educational credit requirements.

Career Options with a Fundraising Certificate

A fundraising certificate is not usually sufficient on its own for a career in fundraising. Those with a bachelor's degree or relevant work experience may complete a certificate program to expand their skills and pursue opportunities to become a major gifts coordinator, a professional fundraiser, a development director or a fundraising consultant.

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