Fundraising Certificate Program to Strengthen Nonprofit Executives
March 3, 2014
Dr. Kyle Edgington, director of the Executive Certificate in Fundraising program
Few nonprofits can survive without a good fundraiser.
These experts are in high demand and short supply. But a new professional certificate program in the Naveen Jindal School of Management aims to give fundraisers and nonprofit leaders the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly specialized field.
The program was created by Dr. Kyle Edgington, the program’s director and visiting clinical professor who was formerly assistant dean for development and alumni relations for the Jindal School.
As assistant dean, Edgington secured the two largest alumni gifts in UT Dallas’ history. Edgington, who recently served as president of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star Foundation, also held fundraising positions at Texas Tech University.
Texas has more than 100,000 nonprofits — and the number of organizations increased 41 percent from 1999 to 2009, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics. That has fueled a growing need for formalized education and training opportunities for fundraisers, Edgington said. He said the Jindal School program is one of a small but growing number of academically based fundraising certificates.
Fundraising jobs often suffer from high occurrences of turnover and the demand for skilled fundraisers exceeds qualified candidates, Edgington said. He said the certificate program aims to address these issues by building fundraisers’ skills and confidence.
The expectations of nonprofits also have changed, with donors seeking more evidence of the impact of their giving, Edgington said.
“Donors want to know, ‘How can my gift make a measurable and sustainable impact?’” Edgington said.
The four-course certificate program will cover the fundamental theories and emerging models of effective fundraising. The courses are:
- Fundamentals of Fundraising
- Fundraising Methods: Annual Gifts, Major Gifts and Planned Gifts
- Government, Corporate and Foundation Fundraising
- Planning and Leading the Campaign
Brent E. Christopher, president and chief executive officer of the Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), will serve as a guest speaker for the program. CFT, the largest community foundation in Texas, has awarded more than $1.3 billion in grants to charities since 1953.
“The Naveen Jindal School of Management’s new Executive Certificate in Fundraising will be an asset for the community by giving fundraisers the tools they need to help their organizations accomplish their missions,” Christopher said.
“Fundraisers who take the certificate program courses will learn the most effective, research-based strategies and best practices to help their organizations make the biggest possible impact.”
The need for fundraising expertise has grown extensively in recent years as more donors want to see a measurable return on their investment, said Susan Hoff, chief strategy and operations officer of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.
“The new UT Dallas Executive Certificate in Fundraising will give fundraising professionals an excellent foundation for building campaigns that resonate with donors and result in increased support,” Hoff said.
Clint McDonnough, managing partner of the Dallas office Ernst & Young LLP and a member of the UT Dallas Development Board, as well as a number of other nonprofit and civic boards, said the certificate program will fill a growing community need.
“Fundraisers who take the certificate program courses will learn the most effective, research-based strategies and best practices to help their organizations make the biggest possible impact,” said McDonnough, a past campaign chairman for the United Way and past chairman of the Dallas Regional Chamber.
The courses also will benefit donors, said philanthropist Hunter Hunt.
“Dallas has such a vibrant and growing philanthropic community,” Hunt said.
“At times it is difficult to navigate through the process of best connecting donors with causes. The fundraising certificate program at UT Dallas will benefit its participants in this area — strengthening the broader community.”