Philanthropy University Online

Fundraising: How to Connect with Donors

Dr. Thomas Wolf, Principal at WolfBrown, Former Founding Director, New England Foundation for the Arts
A free course from Philanthropy University
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The Course

Far too often organizations see donors through the distorted lens of retention rates and giving capacity. When it comes to fundraising, organizations must remember that relationships are a two-way street. The best fundraisers engage their donors in a multitude of ways: they build relationships, identify common interests, listen, and show gratitude.

Through this course, students will learn the ins and outs of fundraising from a seasoned fundraiser. Based on the instructor's book "How to Connect with Donors and Double the Money You Raise," the course will show successes and reveal failures that will expose the nuances of effective fundraising practices. Learners will then apply the knowledge and stories learned from the class to the practices of their own organizations' development teams.

What You'll Do:

  • Identify and practice communications skills that help you connect with potential donors.
  • Learn to make smart decisions regarding your organization's funding strategy, processes, outreach, and priority.
  • Complete weekly assignment including writing a grant proposal.
  • Complete a final project in one of the following fundraising areas: capital campaigns or deferred giving.

Weekly Topics:

  • Week 0: On-boarding and Team Formation
  • Week 1: Building Relationships
  • Week 2: Following Conventions & Overcoming Fears
  • Week 3: Correcting Mistakes & Handling Disappointment
  • Week 4: Is Your Organization Ready for Fundraising?
  • Week 5: Preparing for Different Types of Funding
  • Week 6: Proposal Writing


Approximately 2-3 hours per week watching videos, reading book excerpts, participating in class discussion, and completing individual and/or team assignments. You will need a computer that allows you to watch the video lectures and provides the ability to upload all your assignments.

Statement of Accomplishment:

*To receive a Statement of Accomplishment, you will need to complete 4 of the 6 assignments.

More Information:

Philanthropy University is a non-degree, diploma or credit granting initiative powered by Berkeley-Haas. Philanthropy U is the concept developer and sponsor of the initiative. Learners are not entitled to earn college or other academic credit.