• New Designs for Fundraising Online Certificate Program

    Discover best practices in fundraising

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to take all four of the courses, or can I just take one or two?

Courses may be taken consecutively to earn a certificate, or individually for professional development in a specific subject area.

How long is each class, and how many hours would I need to spend on coursework?

Each course is four weeks long and held online. Students can expect to spend 4-5 hours per week on coursework. If you choose to take a course for credit, there will be an additional assignment for each course. [See below: "If I take a course for credit..."]

When are these online classes held? Do I need to be online at a specific day and time?

These classes are asychronous, which means that you can do them on your own time. Assignments are due weekly to help students stay on track.

There will be two required "live online chats" for each one-month course. Your instructor will schedule these in advance, based on student availability. If the planned times do not work for you, you may schedule a private live chat with your instructor. If you have extenuating circumstances that make it impossible for you to participate, please let your instructor know -- we will do all we can to accommodate you!

What kinds of assignments and activities are in the courses?

The courses consist of reading assignments, weekly forums and live chat sessions. There are fixed due dates for assignments each week.

Class assignments require the use of materials from nonprofit organizations. Students will need to be in contact with a nonprofit organization to complete course work.

What access do I have to the faculty?

Faculty provide students with one-on-one consultation via video chats, phone, and e-mail.

Can I still get access to the course materials after I finish the course?

All course materials remain available online to students after the completion of each course.

Are there any textbooks I need to purchase?

The texts required are the following:

  • New Designs for Fundraising Workbooks: Hiegert [online and included in the course]
  • Achieving Excellence in Fundraising: Tempel, Seiler & Aldrich, Fourth Edition
  • Beyond Fundraising: Grace (not required for month one)

What are the requirements to earn the certificate?

To earn a certificate of completion, participants must complete all four core courses within a period of two years. In order to satisfy the requirements for each course, students must complete at least 80% of the weekly course assignments. No grades are given.

To receive the certificate, please complete the certificate application form and submit to the College of Extended Education and Global Engagement.


If I take a course for credit, is there any extra work I need to complete?

Students who choose to take the courses for credit (.5 units per course, or 2 units total, optional), will be expected to complete an additional assignment at the end of each one-month course. This assignment will usually consist of a writing assignment that demonstrates understanding and application of key concepts for the course. Estimated additional time commitment to earn credit: 2-3 hours per course.

What outcomes should I expect after taking these courses?

New Designs for Fundraising students will:

  • Become responsible and ethical fund-raising program managers.
  • Possess the tools and techniques for carrying out cultivation and solicitation programs for every source of potential support.
  • Understand that fundraising is a multi-dimensional program.
  • Identify specific donor markets and develop appropriate, targeted cultivation and solicitation programs.
  • Understand how to make boards more effective in their role.
  • Know how to work with volunteers and staff to build a team.
  • Have the tools for strategic planning and understand its implementation.
  • Develop a passion for fundraising and the nonprofit sector.

What have past students said about this program?

"I felt like I had a personal coach and professional consultant at my fingertips. I will keep and refer to the materials as I proceed with board recruitment." (Student evaluation)

"This course provides the opportunity to learn the unique challenges and resources that can best be used in small towns and rural areas, especially with small shops." (Student evaluation)

"The instructor was outstanding! She was extremely helpful and tailored her recommendations and advice to the specific needs of each person's non-profit. The materials were quite relevant to sustaining and expanding rural non-profit organizations. I learned much during these 4 weeks and was able to immediately apply these learned skills to my organization. This was the best class I've ever taken on management and leadership." (Student evaluation)

"I can't begin to fully explain just how much I've valued the learning that I'm getting out of the New Designs for Fundraising certificate program. I really do appreciate what Cal Poly Humboldt is providing through this important learning opportunity. I would encourage anyone currently employed in the fundraising realm or looking to gain experience and employment in the fundraising realm to consider enrolling in this program." (Student evaluation)

"Tools for Annual Giving was a lifesaver for me as a new executive director of a rural arts center. It introduced very practical ideas and models, like the Donor Pyramid and Gift Range Charts, that immediately helped me focus on a fundraising strategy that works, makes sense and can be easily explained to my staff and board. The course completely shifted my understanding of how to engage creatively and deeply in the fundraising process." (Roy King, Westhaven Center for the Arts)

"Tools for Annual Giving helped me identify new funding sources, increase donor giving, and better understand where to invest our limited resources for fundraising." (Cassie Pinnell, Executive Director,Mattole Restoration Council)