Fundamentals of Fundraising

August 18 – September 27


This course highlights the critical role that the Annual Giving Plan (AGP) will play in the development of a not-for-profit organization. Too often, this fundraising tool is undervalued and improperly leveraged to obtain best results. However, when adequately designed, the AGP should be the foundational keystone of a not-for-profit’s fundraising strategy. This module, designed for Executives, Fundraisers and Board Members, outlines roles, relationships, as well as core methodologies, and explains how they can best be implemented in the scope of both individual and joint activities.

Specifically aiming at growth, this module focuses on best-practices in creating, monitoring, and implementing the AGP from both fundraising and Board Management perspectives. It draws attention to common mistakes made by not-for-profits and offers up strategies to avoid these. It also emphasizes the importance of consistent program monitoring and evaluation and outlines relevant methodologies to ensure that the AGP remains in touch with the dynamic reality facing the not-for-profit’s specific evolution.

The module gives an overview of the strategic planning fundamentals involved in running a not-for-profit fundraising program. It is designed for Fundraisers and Executives, but also for Entrepreneurs, family-run businesses,and small not-for-profits interested in solidifying basic knowledge of fundraising and Board Management.

Class A: Introduction to Annual Giving for Executive Directors (ED)
  • The Annual Giving Plan as the foundation of the fundraising program;
  • Useful to fundraisers and Executives;
  • ED must create, monitor, and implement AGP by developing a workplan with Director of Annual Giving (AG);
  • AG Director must determine key indicators to watch (i.e. number of donors, dollars raised, average gift size, percentage of goal raised, this year’s progress versus last year’s progress);
  • ED must advocate on behalf of this AG program to the Board Members; and
  • ED must try to involve the Board Members and get them to invest in the program.
Class B: Introduction to Annual Giving for Development Directors (DD)


Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Six Common Pitfalls in AG progress
Part 3: Evaluating where you are: Seven key areas
Part 4: Your plan
Part 5: Strategies for growing your Annual Giving Program
Part 6: Grow number of donors and dollars each year
Part 7: Role of your board in the AG Program

Class C: Introduction to Annual Giving for the Board
  • Backbone of fundraising;
  • What is an AGP? – A comprehensive set of annual fundraising programs designed to solicit funds each year, which in the aggregate repeat annually and support general operating purposes.  Typically AG programs grow incrementally over time both in numbers of donors and in dollars;
  • Misconceptions: (1) The AGP is benefit off mail-ins → AGP is about recurring income; (2) AGP is sole responsibility of specific AGP staff → Role of Board is to review, modify, assess, evaluate, invest in, and monitor plan, make your own gift, actively participate in supporting AGP;
  • List of questions you may want to ask your donors included in supporting documents;
  • Board is critical in ensuring capacity of organization to achieve its mission.

Return to the The Fundamental Series.

Professor Brenda Ellington Booth

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