Comprehensive Fund Development Capstone

Nonprofit organizations are being asked to do more with less. Increasingly, economic forces and competition for shrinking sources of funds require organizations to adopt professional fundraising practices. The Comprehensive Fund Development Capstone is the last step to earning the Comprehensive Fund Development Certificate. Four fundraising courses listed below must be taken prior to applying for the capstone. 

Business people gathered around table with documents

The certificate program consists of four fundraising courses and a capstone course. These courses and capstone will provide you with a broad understanding of the fundraising role as well as implementation of best practices within your organization. The four fundraising courses must be taken prior to applying for the capstone. The capstone course is offered in the spring semester each year. 

The Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership has designed a certificate program to assist individuals and organizations as they pursue growth in fundraising knowledge and skills. The Comprehensive Fund Development Certificate is useful for fundraising professionals to develop a well-rounded understanding of the profession, and it will help other nonprofit professionals and volunteers learn the fundamentals for successful fundraising.

By completing the certificate program, you have the opportunity:

+ To build a customized program to meet your individual needs by selecting your own fundraising courses

+ To work with an AFP master instructor to learn the elements necessary for a successful fund development plan

+ To develop a fund development plan for your organization

+ To expand your professional network by working with an assigned mentor on the fund development plan


Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
CPNL7000.S18.1 Jill Pranger

INSTRUCTOR: Jill Pranger

Instructor: Jill Pranger

Job Title: Founder and President

Organization: Pranger Philanthropic

Certifications: Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE)

Jill Pranger, ACFRE, founder and president of Pranger Philanthropic, has 30 years of professional fundraising and not-for-profit management experience. Since founding the business in 2003,  Jill has worked with organizations across the Northeast region. Additionally, Ms. Pranger is an internationally sought-after trainer and keynote presenter in the areas of fundraising, the not-for-profit sector, organizational management and development, philanthropy, business networking, and working with volunteers. In 2006, Ms. Pranger earned her ACFRE designation, an advanced certification held by only 100 people in the world. Jill is an Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Master Teacher and was the recipient of the 2006 Fundraising Executive of the Year Award from the AFP Genesee Valley Chapter, Rochester, New York. As a volunteer, she serves on the ACFRE Certification Board and the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy. She is a past board member of AFP International, AFP Great Smoky Mountain Chapter, Big Brothers / Big Sisters of Greater Rochester, and Lilac City Toastmasters. She is past president of the AFP Genesee Valley Chapter, the Junior League of Rochester, and Rochester Hearing and Speech Center, and has 35 years of continuing volunteer service with the American Red Cross. Prior to establishing Pranger Philanthropic, Ms. Pranger worked as a fundraising professional with the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, Highland Hospital Foundation, Planned Parenthood of the Rochester/Syracuse Region, Seneca Park Zoo Society, and National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Term: Spring/Summer 2018

Note: You must complete four prerequisite courses before applying for the capstone. The capstone is the last step to earning the Comprehensive Fund Development Certificate. View Courses & Capstone tab below.

  • Current professional fundraisers within nonprofit organizations
  • Current program staff members

The certificate program consists of four fundraising courses and a capstone course. These courses and capstone will provide you with a broad understanding of the fundraising role as well as implementation of best practices within your organization. Participants have five years from the time the first Comprehensive Fund Development course is completed to finish all four classes and apply for the capstone. For more information, visit the Comprehensive Fund Development Certificate page. 

Fundraising Courses

Participants must complete four of the fundraising courses listed below before applying for the capstone.

The Art of Fundraising I: The Fundamentals

+ The Art of Fundraising II: Advanced Principles and Practices

+ Board Fundraising

Communication for Nonprofits 

Comprehensive Annual Giving

Donor Relations: Maintaining Strong Relationships with Your Donors

Fundraising Analytics: Leveraging the Power of Data

Major Gifts and Planned Giving: The Fundamentals

Proposal Writing

+ Strategic and Success Stewardship

Campaign Planning and Management


In the Comprehensive Fund Development Capstone, focus on management issues and special topics in fundraising operations. This final step in the certificate program provides the opportunity to tie the different components of the four required courses together while also offering additional content.

Learning Objectives:

  • To learn the role of fundraising operations within a nonprofit
  • To understand how an effective fundraising operations team works
  • To gain practical experience by completing the practicum project

The Capstone course includes a total of eight hours of additional content presented through three online class sessions and a final class session that provides the opportunity for you to present your fund development plan to the lead instructor, fellow cohort participants and your mentor. The fund development plan is an individual project that requires you to submit a written document along with the presentation. 

Application Process

To begin the application process, you must submit the following completed forms: the program application form, résumé or curriculum vitae and essay question responses.

Once all required documents have been received, completed files will be reviewed after the application deadline. Decisions regarding admittance into the program will be made by an admissions committee and applicants will receive an official decision letter within two weeks from the review period.

Applications received after the deadline will be considered on a space-available basis, after the initial group of applicants has been considered.

Application Deadline: Friday, December 16, 2016.

Please note that you can fill out the application form on your computer, then print it out and submit it to our office with the items listed in the application.

Mail completed applications to:

Rice University
Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies
Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership
PO Box 1892 - MS 550
Houston, TX 77251-1892


Submit via Email to:

For additional information regarding the application process, please contact our program coordinator at 713-348-6009 or via email at for further assistance.

Fees and Financial Information

Individual Course Pricing: $225 - $400 (discounts available for AFP members)

Capstone Course Pricing: $900 (discounts available for AFP members)

Alternative Payment Options

Payment plan options are available for the Capstone course by request. Payment plans will not be granted after the start of the program. Contact the program coordinator for the required forms needed to request this option.

Refund Policy

No refunds will be issued on or after the start date of the program. Fees will be refunded in-full when enrollments are canceled in writing ten (10) business days before the program start date. For enrollment cancellations submitted in writing less than two weeks before the program start date, a 20 percent processing fee will be deducted from the overall refund.

For more information, visit the Comprehensive Fund Development Certificate page.