By: Kristi Howard-Shultz
I recently spoke with faculty member Nathan Hand about The Fund Raising School’s newest certificate program, the Certificate in Digital Fundraising. He and The Fund Raising School were inspired to develop the certificate based on previous interest in digital fundraising courses.
“These courses have historically filled fast and contained such a wealth of information and sharing that, really, several courses would serve students and fundraising professionals even better,” he said. “While previous courses offered the broader perspective—an inch deep and a mile wide—participants can think of this program as a mile deep. Ultimately, the feedback has been to offer more content, more often and, with this certificate, we are able to do just that.”
For years, digital fundraising has been a growing trend. The pandemic has only accelerated that. In fact, online giving in 2020 grew 20.7%. Gift amounts, retention rates, and the overall percentage of giving online all grew year over year. Nearly every subsector and every size organization in our industry saw this dramatic growth.
This course will examine such real-time research and marry it with practical tools and techniques for fundraising professionals.
“Traditional rules don’t change. We are still a profession based on relationships. Efficiency and relationships are not mutually exclusive,” says Hand. “The idea is to make digital giving easy, fast, as integrated as possible—one tap. Nonprofits have been late adopters and underinvested in technology for far too long.”
Throughout the course, practitioners and students will build their knowledge of fundraising in a digital environment. They will review the trends in digital fundraising, creating the donor journey, and learn how to build their audience. They will even develop strategies for hosting virtual events and online fundraising campaigns.
The certificate program is a total of nine three-hour sessions, grouped into three courses as outlined below. The first course will be conducted synchronously, online, on three Tuesdays (July 6, 13, and 20) from 2:00-5:00 p.m. ET on Zoom.
Course 1: An Introduction to Digital Fundraising
Today’s digital fundraising
- Framing and trends
- Quick hit topics & actionable exercises
- Setting as an organizational priority and expert interviews
Building your online community
- Donor journey deep dive
- Building an audience
- Content marketing and compelling writing for digital fundraising
Events and campaigns
- Virtual events
- Project selection and packaging
- Online campaigns and crowdsourcing
Course 2: Optimizing your Digital Fundraising
Optimizing your website for digital fundraising
- Design and user experience
- Giving pages and platforms
- SEO and analytics
Optimizing email for digital fundraising
- Tool comparison and selection
- Newsletters, announcements and appeals
- Metrics and improvements
Intricacies of social media fundraising
- Major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
- Minor platforms
- Text-to-give and international uses
Course 3: Leading your Digital Fundraising
Case studies and digital major gifts
- Problems solved (real case studies)
- Creative solutions (imagined scenarios)
- Digital major gifts
Managing digital fundraising
- Allocating your time and budget
- Staffing and building capacity for growth
- Communicating with leadership
Digital fundraising planning
- Evaluating the future market
- Analyzing opportunities
- Leading the market
Kristi Howard Shultz, founder of Kristi Howard-Shultz Consulting, is a nonprofit executive that leads with head and heart. With 20+ years of experience working for nonprofits including nationally-known, time-tested institutions like The Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Boys & Girls Clubs, she has worked in nearly every capacity of fundraising throughout her career. She has a proven track record of success in board and fund development, campaign management, and capacity building. She has built a strong reputation within the community and is sought after for her industry expertise and thought leadership. Kristi is a natural relationship builder who loves to put plans into action. Championing “firsts” for organizations is her specialty.