The Association Fundraising Professional Certificate Program

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  • Register
    • Animal Welfare Professional Member - $199
    • Student Member - $199
    • Industry Partner Member - $199
    • Learning Non-member - $325

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* Designed for individuals with less than 2 years of professional fundraising experience. These six self-paced modules provide a fundamental level of fundraising knowledge to animal welfare leaders. 

Modules in the Fundraising Professional Program:

I.  Fundraising in Animal Welfare 
II.  Annual Giving: Building A Sustainable Resource Engine
III. Special Events
IV.  Stewardship & Donor Relations 
V.  Digital Fundraising & Strategies
VI.  Generational Giving

Each module contains:

  • A training video which runs 40-65 minutes
  • 2-3 relevant articles to read in advance of watching each module’s video.  These articles will be referenced and discussed during each video. 
  • A few questions to answer in your course workbook *
  • 1-5 activities to complete ** 

** Optional but highly recommended!

Upon completion of the course, participants will be provided with two hours of virtual coaching with the course developer, Mike Buckley, to review an in-depth evaluation of their program, discuss the major takeaways, and answer any additional questions the participants may have.

Plan to spend at least 6 hours on this program. You may earn 6 hours of CAWA CE upon successful completion of the Fundraising Professional Certificate Program. This program has also been approved by CFRE for 6 CEs.


I. Fundraising in Animal Welfare

As a unique subset of non-profits, animal welfare organizations have both an opportunity and challenge when raising money.  In this module participants will discuss giving trends in animal welfare as well as learn basic fundraising tools and resources that will set an important foundation for the following courses.  Participants will review basic fundraising terminology;   discuss common donor motivations for giving; and review IRS polices that non-profits must follow.

II. Annual Giving: Building A Sustainable Resource Engine

Simply put, non-profits cannot function without the financial support of others.  Our organizations must build long term relationships with donors that will sustain their organizations.  During this course, participants will learn the importance of building a robust annual giving plan integrating with their marketing and communications efforts.  Participants will: discover necessary components of an annual integrated calendar including direct mail, donor acquisition and digital communication;  review and discuss trackable metrics beyond dollars raised to grow their annual giving programs; and discuss strategies to grow sustainer programs (monthly giving).

III. Special Events

Special events play an important role at every organization as they can be both important fundraising and friend raising tools.  Although special events can be very labor intensive for the organization, there are ways to make these events both effective and efficient.  During this course, participants will: review and discuss the components of a special events plan; discuss appropriate post-event follow up; discover creative ways to raise funds beyond the typical gala format.

IV. Stewardship & Donor Relations

Showing appreciation to donors in the number one way to ensure donors keep giving to your organization.  While thank you letters are important, effective stewardship is much more than a simple letter.  During this course, participants will: discover new, unique ways to steward donors to ensure donor retention; discuss effective language for stewardship messages; and review best practices and real-life examples of effective messaging.  

V. Digital Fundraising & Strategies

Although online gifts account for less than 10% of all donations, having a digital strategy is an important component of any fundraising plan.  Organizations must have a digital presence across multiple platforms.  Organizations must also strategize to maximize their exposure to grow their fundraising efforts.  Participants will: discuss integrating a digital strategy within their fundraising strategies; gain an understanding of how Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms are used for digital presence and fundraising; and review best practice cases.

VI. Generational Giving

A significant amount of attention has been given to the millennial generation by non-profit organizations.  While these donors may not be giving a significant amount of money today, there is opportunity in this sector.  During this course, participants will: review strategies for donor acquisition of millennial donors; discuss the importance of donor retention and highlight current best practices for this sector; and review and discuss research relating to this sector of donors and prospects.


* More than two years of fundraising experience? See The Association Fundraising Executive Certificate Program

Michael J. Buckley, CFRE

President, The Killoe Group

A career fundraiser, Michael J. Buckley, CFRE is a non-profit consultant, coach, and speaker whose work focuses on small and medium-sized non-profit organizations.  As President of The Killoe Group, Mike's extensive experience includes annual campaign audits and management, capital campaign leadership, feasibility studies, interim and ad-hoc program leadership, board governance and capacity building. 

Previous to his consulting career, Mike served as the Chief Philanthropy & External Affairs Officer at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in Albany, NY. In this role, Mike had overall responsibility for unrestricted, capital and legacy giving as well as strategically increasing the exposure of the organization.  Mike lead the organization’s first capital campaign which resulted in a 24,000 square foot state-of-the-art Animal Care Center.

The Association asked Mike to develop these two certificate programs after his presentation at our Spring Conference in 2019.

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