Professional Fundraising Certificate Program

Upcoming dates (1)

For registration assistance: 608-262-2451


Developed by five experienced fundraisers, this program focuses on the foundations of philanthropy and the fundamentals of professional fundraising. In this online, self-paced program, you will explore universal practices that can be used by any organization, no matter the size, scope or mission, such as best practices of fundraising and proven strategies for an organization's Board of Directors, Annual Giving, Major Gifts, Planned Giving, Foundation Relations, Grant Writing and Corporate Relation

How you will learn:

  • This course is delivered entirely online through a learning management system provided by Elective Learning, LLC.
  • Topic areas are organized into eight learning modules covering vital aspects of professional fundraising and taught by experts in the field with years of first-hand experience.
  • This course takes approximately six to seven hours to complete and provides the specialized training you need to develop, strengthen and support your fundraising success.
  • Learners have six months from the date of registration to complete this online self-paced program.

Topic areas:

Modules must be taken in the order listed below since each module builds on the previous module's content.

Certificate introduction

  • Gain an understanding of professional fundraising with an introductory overview of the program.

Board of Directors

  • Understand the role of a nonprofit board of directors, board members' roles and responsibilities and board governance.

Annual giving

  • This course delves into annual giving strategy and tactics, who should be making annual gifts, finding new donors, donor segmentation and donor stewardship.

Major Gifts

  • Develop your ability to craft major gift fundraising strategy, while mastering the major gift development cycle, communication, stewardship and relationship management. Making the ask, campaign strategy and event fundraising round out the rest of this course.

Planned Giving

  • Learn best practices of planned giving, including relevant audiences, effective marketing, gift plans, stewardship and strategy.

Foundation Relations

  • Expand your understanding of institutional giving as we cover the principles of foundation relations and foundation giving.

Grant Writing

  • This course will cover the principles of grant writing, detailing the process of crafting a successful proposal.

Corporate Relations

  • Gain an understanding of corporate relations principles, corporate social responsibility and corporate giving.

Who Should Enroll

  • Individuals that are interested in starting a career at a nonprofit organization or university.
  • Social entrepreneurs, founders and leaders of nonprofit organizations.
  • Current nonprofit staff and volunteers looking to improve their fundraising knowledge.
  • Higher education leadership, faculty and staff.

Additional information

This course is offered in partnership with the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies, UW–Madison's Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies and Elective Learning LLC. This program is accredited through the Certified Fund Raising Executive International (CFRE-International) organization and approved for 6 hours of continuing education credit.  

Individuals who successfully complete the Fundraising Certificate will be awarded a UW Madison Division of Continuing Studies completion certificate.


Learning Objectives:

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Expand your knowledge of proven best practices used by nonprofit organizations and universities to successfully raise money.
  • Gain an understanding of the fundamentals of professional fundraising, including strategies for an organization's Board of Directors, Annual Giving, Major Gifts, Planned Giving, Foundation Relations, Grant Writing and Corporate Relations.
  • Learn the best practices for grant writing and submitting proposals to foundations and corporations for funding support.



This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Earn Continuing Education Hours

By participating in this class you will earn:

Instructional Hours 6
University of Wisconsin Continuing Education Units .6

Explanation of Continuing Education Hours

Upcoming dates (1)

  • Join our mailing list

    Keep up to date about offerings at Continuing Studies. You'll receive information about upcoming classes and announcements.

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive marketing email from UW–Madison Continuing Studies. Read our privacy policy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Program Questions?

Contact info@dcs.wisc.edu or 608-262-1156

Registration Questions?

Email registrations@pyle.wisc.edu or call 608-262-2451.

Continuing Studies FAQs

Meet your instructor

Elective Learning Llc

Elective Learning is an online learning company based in Austin, TX. Who create educational programs for partnering universities. This program brings together cohorts of subject matter experts to present on topics, drawing from their years of professional experience. The Fundraising Certificate Program teaches the fundamentals of non-profit fundraising and philanthropy, along with proven best practices for the practical application of the information in real-life experiences.