Fundraising Operations Certificate

The complex nature of development requires fundraisers and executives to recognize the importance of fundraising operations to achieve continued success. Earn Rice's Fundraising Operations Certificate in one year.

The Fundraising Operations Certificate consists of six online courses and a capstone course. These courses and the capstone provide participants with a thorough understanding of fundraising operations functions.

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  • Professionals who work in operations roles for nonprofit organizations
  • Professional staff within a nonprofit organization seeking to advance in their careers

Why Apply?

  • Earn the Fundraising Operations Certificate in one year
  • Work with a mentor on a practicum project directly impacting your organization (capstone)
  • Understand best practices in reporting and utilizing information for decision support
  • Learn about a variety of data analytics techniques
  • Utilize ethical prospect research and analysis with database management and integrity

Program Benefits:

By completing the individual classes as part of the certificate program, participants have the opportunity:

  • To understand how prospect management effectively works with gift officers and best practices in reporting and utilizing information for decision support
  • To gain awareness of the strategies, techniques, and tools of the analytics professional and learn basic data analytics techniques that can be incorporated into any organization.
  • To learn the essentials of database management and data integrity by utilizing ethical prospect research, analysis and reporting

In the capstone course, participants focus on management issues and fundraising operations specialties. In addition, participants work with an assigned mentor to complete a practicum project which may directly benefit their organization.

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Program Completion Requirements:

Once you have successfully completed all six online fundraising operations courses, you may apply for the capstone course. The capstone course includes a total of 12 hours of additional content presented through three class sessions and a final class session that provides participants the opportunity to present their practicum project to the lead instructor, fellow cohort participants and their mentor. The practicum project is an individual strategic project that requires a written paper and presentation submission.

Participants have five years from the time they complete the first course online fundraising operations to finish all six classes and apply for the capstone course.

Fees and Refund Policy

Individual course pricing: $275 (discounts available for AASP, APRA and AFP members)

Capstone course pricing: $1,695 AASP APRA and AFP members: $1,440

  • If applying by July 7: $1,495 AASP, APRA and AFP members: $1,270

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% processing fee will be deducted from the overall refund.

Capstone Application Process

To begin the application process for the capstone course, the final step to earn the Fundraising Operations Certificate, please submit the following completed forms: the program application form, résumé or curriculum vitae, a personal statement and one professional letter of recommendation.

Once all required documents are received, completed files are reviewed after the application deadline. Decisions regarding admittance into the program are 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 are considered on a space-available basis, after the initial group of applicants has been considered.

Early Application Deadline: Friday, July 7, 2017 (includes a discount)
General Application Deadline: Friday, August 11, 2017

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

For additional information regarding the application process, please contact our program coordinator at 713-348-6009 or email cpnl@rice.edu.

The Fundraising Operations Certificate requires the completion of six online Fundraising Operations courses may be completed in the spring semester. Courses must be completed prior to applying for the capstone course in the fall.

Please note that you may take any of the six online operations courses to advance your skill set without committing to the full certificate.

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Participants must complete all of the six online courses listed below before applying for the capstone. Fundraising operations courses are available in the spring session.

Essentials of Gift Administration

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the essentials of gift processing and record maintenance
  • Understand best practices in a donor-centered environment
  • Gain awareness of special cases and complex donor transactions

Donor Relations: Maintaining Strong Relationships with Your Donors

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the essentials of donor relations efforts
  • Understand best practices in gift acceptance and acknowledgement
  • Recognize the importance and process involved with strategic stewardship including reporting requirements and recognition

Fundamentals of Constituent Relationship Management

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the essentials of prospect management coding, analysis and reporting
  • Understand best practices in a donor-centered environment
  • Determine how prospect management effectively works with gift officers

Fundraising Analytics: Leveraging the Power of Data

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the essentials of data analytics and how it impacts fundraising efficiency and planning
  • Gain awareness of the needed data to be tracked to have highest impact with analytics
  • Utilize analytics at your nonprofit organization

Fundraising Systems Management, Reporting and Business Intelligence

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the essentials of database management and data integrity
  • Understand best practices in reporting and utilizing information for decision support
  • Gain awareness of the application of data to fundraising metric and planning
  • Understand best practices in sharing essential data across your organization
  • Gain awareness and understanding of different fundraising database system

Prospect Research and Analysis

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the essentials of ethical prospect research, analysis and reporting
  • Understand best practices in translating research into actionable intelligence
  • Gain awareness on how prospect research collaborates with other departments

The six courses must be completed in the spring session prior to applying for the capstone course in the fall.

Please note, you may take any of the six online operations courses to advance your skillset without committing to the full certificate. You have five years from the time you complete the first course to finish all six classes and apply for the capstone to earn the certificate.

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In the capstone course, participants focus on management issues and special topics in fundraising operations. This final step in the certificate program provides the opportunity to tie the components of the six required courses together while also offering additional content.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the role of fundraising operations within a nonprofit
  • Understand how an effective fundraising operations team works
  • Gain practical experience by completing the practicum project

The capstone course includes a total of 12 hours of additional content presented through three class sessions and a final class session that provides the opportunity for participants to present their practicum project to the lead instructor, fellow cohort participants and your mentor.

As part of the capstone, participants work with an assigned mentor to design and complete their practicum project that may directly benefit their nonprofit organization.

Early Application Deadline: Friday, July 7, 2017 (includes a discount)
General Application Deadline: Friday, August 11, 2017

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There are no upcoming information sessions at this time.

Fundraising Operations Certificate Task Force Members

Joshua Birkholz, MA Principal, Bentz Whaley Flessner

Diane Crane, MA Senior Associate Vice President of Development, Oklahoma State University Foundation

Sherrie Dodson, MA Director, Prospect Development, Baylor University

Charles Headley, MS, MBA Executive Director of Development Services, Southern Methodist University

Lori Hood Lawson, MLSc CEO, Co-Founder, WorkingPhilanthropy.com

Ali R. McLane, MA Senior Associate, Bentz Whaley Flessner

Christina Pulawski, JD Principal, Christina Pulawski Consulting

Kelly Quin, MBA Senior Director of Constituent Strategy, Rice University

Angela Seaworth, MBA, ACFRE Former Director, Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, Rice University

Clint W. Shipp, PhD Director of Advancement Services, Dallas Zoological Society

Jon Thorsen, MLIS Director of Advancement Services, The Nature Conservancy

David VanLone, MBA Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

Sarah W. Williams, MPAff Lead Analyst and Consultant, Marts & Lundy