By Kelly R. Young
COVID-19 has certainly transformed the education landscape and the many ways in which students are pursuing their educational goals. Many schools and students are accepting online learning environments as a preferred choice, rather than a directive.
The Fund Raising School (TFRS) has always provided innovative solutions to help students achieve academic and fundraising success, and these times are no different. As the future of education continues to change, so must educators. That is why The Fund Raising School recently sought to better understand student expectations and gather recommendations from students themselves. Below is some of what came from an informal student survey.
What did you discover that you wish you knew earlier in your course?
“My original intent was to be immersed in a 40-hour deep dive, weeklong learning experience; exchanging dialogue, listening intently and actively networking. Due to the pandemic, I had little choice but to participate online. Immediately upon starting the course, I realized that being successful would require me to engage my colleagues.”
“I was not familiar with doing an online course and it became easier with each module because I learned the process. I scheduled time for myself in order to complete each module in a timely manner.”
“I learned there are so many layers to fundraising that go beyond just asking people for money. This course taught me the value of learning about the entire scope of the business we’re in and how there are a variety of different approaches to fundraising.”
What went as you expected and what did not?
“I am a scheduler and had blocked off each Monday to do my weekly coursework and scheduled only 30 minutes to an hour on Thursdays and Fridays to check and respond to discussions. Not being able to do the coursework on the timetable I planned was a challenge.”
“At the beginning, I was afraid of having nothing to say in the Discussions. But in the end, it went well every time!”
“The course went better than expected. I felt like I learned quite a bit about fundraising. The only thing different is that I felt I needed about 6-7 hours a week, probably because I spent more time on the content, which was a good thing!”
What tips or suggestions do you have for future TFRS course participants?
“It is what you make of it. Unfortunately, without carving time away from the office it becomes a to-do rather than an experience. Create an in-person week (via Zoom) for at least one week out of the eight weeks where activities to learn are done online with live interaction.”
“Make sure to set up the reminders for deadlines and to see the daily report; they are great for keeping you on task. Read through the full weekly assignments at the beginning of each week to understand what is expected and to ensure you allow enough time to seek outside resources as necessary to complete the task.”
“It was helpful to know that the coursework should take approximately 4-5 hours, but as a slow reader myself, it might be helpful to know the actual workload, and not just the average time commitment.”
“I would suggest reading over the agenda and modules to plan your strategy for completion. My first experience with an online course turned out great!”
The Fund Raising School is committed to excellence and values feedback from its students and alumni. As the school states on its website: “fundraisers are pragmatic idealists who have big ideas and a strong impulse to create positive and lasting change.” Whether we share those ideas in-person or online, the Fund Raising School—and its students—will continue to make change.
The Fund Raising School acknowledges the tireless work of educators, students, and its community partners to continue to provide critical learning support.
Kelly Young, president of Baise Communications, is an award-winning public relations counselor with 25+ years of experience in working with nonprofit and small businesses. She has worked in nearly every capacity of public relations throughout her career and has a proven track record of success in media relations, social media, brand management, communications planning, and community relations. She has built a strong reputation within the community and is sought after for her industry expertise and thought leadership. Kelly is a natural storyteller and an enthusiastic advocate for causes.