Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fundraising Programs Offer Practical Approach to the Industry

Did you know that there exists an entire industry surrounding fundraising that employs professionals who have attended fundraising programs? In fact, Canada has one of the largest non-profit and voluntary sectors in the world. More than 161,000 non-profits and charities raise billions of dollars each year. These organizations employ close to two million Canadians in a broad range of activities. The industry itself consists of roles such as special event co-ordinator, major gifts manager, corporate relations officer, and development officer/assistant. Other specialties include prospect researcher, campaign manager, donor liaison specialist, outreach and constituent development manager, grant writer, volunteer manager, or consultant. However, all those who attend Fundraising programs have the know-how to: research potential sources of funding, including grants, past contributors, new donors, corporate contributors and foundations; come up with short and long-term fundraising plans that are presented to boards or executive directors of the companies for which they work; recruit, train and manage paid staff and volunteers to implement the plan; create all promotional materials and liaising with members of the external community; and more.

Some examples of charitable organizations include student scholarship merit awards for athletic or academic achievement, humanitarian concerns, disaster relief, human rights, research, and other social issues.

Centennial College is one of the institutions with a Fundraising program, which is offered through Continuing Education Distance Learning. This means that students who attend this program study from the comfort of their own home (or wherever they have a WiFi connection) through online fundraising courses. As this is a Distance Learning offering, students have 24-hour access to an online classroom and communicate with instructors and classmates through emails and online discussion boards.

Because the emphasis of the Fundraising program is to help students plan projects and future fundraising needs, develop goals and strategies and promote their work through developing media and press relations, they complete seven essential and very focused Fundraising courses. These courses include Introduction to Fundraising (provides students with an introductory understanding of the fundraising sector, principles, ethics and practices of professional Fundraising, and more); Methods of Fundraising (presents the issues and processes involved in planning and organizing special events); Entrepreneurship (covers a wide range of topics that a student should be aware of if he/she were to start and operate a small business); Strategic Management of Campaigns (examines the elements of a successful fundraising campaign); Donor Relationships in Fundraising (students learn the needs and motivations of donors and what sustains long-term partnerships with the non-profit sector), Fundraising as Management Process (provides students with an introductory understanding of the importance and role of volunteers in the fundraising process, as well as marketing and public relations and the financial management of fundraising); and Volunteer Management (students learn about the uniqueness of volunteerism and the spirit that is created by a strong core of volunteer support and the successful components of a volunteer program and the tools to make it happen).

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