Fundraising Training Guide

What's Out There. How well it works. What it costs.





There Are a Lot of Training Options Out There.

How do you choose what's right for you?

Academic Courses

and Seminars



Academic training is enrolling in a degree or certificate program.
One-off sessions offered by an association, coach or consultant or sometimes a school.
Coaching one-off or periodic by a consultant or coach working with you and/or your organization.
On-demand access to a sophisticated curriculum delivered by a regular member of your staff.

Here’s our guide on fundraising schools, courses, workshops, training platforms, coaches, and consultants.

You’ve Got Lots of Options

There’s a lot of opportunities to sharpen your fundraising skills.  They’re literally everywhere.  It’s almost too much to take in.

Quick webinars, YouTube, conference sessions, keynotes, structured courses—virtual and live. Diploma and degree programs.  They’re provided by professional associations, coaches, consultants, and educational institutions.

The content, quality, and usefulness are all over the map. Cost is whatever you’re willing to pay.  And the intended audience, and availability vary widely.

We’ve put together this concise guide to give you clarity on what it is you really need, where it is and how much it’s going to cost.

A Few Observations

Highly touted academic programs have limited availability and a narrow audience.  Coaches and consultants are more available.  The quality of their offerings varies wildly, however.  Short sessions offered by professional associations are readily available but limited to professionals and are explicit in “career building.”  The handful of offerings geared to board members and other volunteers are one-offs and quality is uneven.

There is No Correlation Between Price and Quality

Price is a poor indicator of both quality and usability.  There is no one-size-fits-all.  Consider your long-term organizational goals carefully.  No one method or provider has the market on high-quality training.  We define quality as both the sophistication AND applicability of the content to your situation.

Whether you spend a little or a lot, be aware you’re making an investment in THE MOST expensive capital investment in organization—your team.

Payroll is at least 50% of most organizations’ budgets.  When you factor in volunteers, that can easily be 75% or more.

Selecting skill and team building programs well gives you the highest return on investment (ROI) of anything you spend money on.  Including technology or other tools.

Here Are Some Tips for Choosing What’s Right For You

  1. Identify your big, overarching needs. What attitudes are holding you back?  Focus first on structure then skills.
  2. What are the one or two things you’d like to change in your fundraising program? Always running in low gear.  Lack of alignment of goals within staff.  Skill deficiencies.  Low or inconsistent board engagement.
  3. Look at return on investment very closely. ROI is about both immediate material gain and longer-term structural gain.  Programs that make permanent improvements have ROI’s which are far greater than a single course that delivers short-term benefits.
  4. Seek a good philosophical fit. Is fundraising a transaction for you?  Is it facilitating relationships between your investors and your organization?  How important is donor renewal to you?

How to Interpret The Chart Below

We’ve grouped our list around the methods of delivery.  They correspond with the type of provider.  We’ve evaluated each method with regard to overall quality, effectiveness and cost.

  • Quality is the sophistication and applicability of the content.
  • Effectiveness is the level of long-term improvement in the organizational fundraising culture and financial gains
  • Cost is in two parts: initial cost and projected return-on-investment.  ROI is determined by expected financial gain in the first 12 months after completion of the program.

 Choose a Method on the Left, Then Compare it’s Quality, Effectiveness and Cost With Any Other.


  • Academic Courses
  • Workshops and Seminars
  • Periodic Coaching
  • Continuous Learning


  • Average to Excellent
  • Poor to Very Good
  • Fair to Excellent
  • Excellent
*Sophistication and applicability of content


  • Average
  • Low
  • Average to High
  • High
*Ability to create a permanent improvement in the organizational fundraising culture

Cost and ROI*

  • $5K-$20K/ROI 2X
  • $300-$1,500/ROI <1
  • $10K-$200K/ROI 2X
  • $4K-8K/ROI 3X-6X
*Return on Investment.  Return within one-year of investment.


The providers listed below are just a few of the many options.

*Examples of training and education providers are given for reference and example only.  No endorsement or claim of suitability in a particular situation is made or implied.


Download The Guide

Continuous Learning is the only training method

which achieves consistent superior outcomes,

has a high return-on-investment

and a modest price.

The Reason?  It’s “Continuous”

When you want to make a permanent improvement, it takes 21 days just to start a habit.  I takes 12 weeks to find the “groove.”  It takes 6 months to lock it down.  It takes a year to crave the habit.

And it takes 2+ years to make it a part of your identify.

This is why other training methods can’t deliver lasting results.

Continuous Learning does.  It’s continuous.

Continuous Learning Has Unique Advantages Over Other Methods

The only training which involves the entire organization–not just a few individuals

Instills a permanent culture of high performance and innovation

Provides sustained dependable revenue growth

Presents sophisticated concepts simply

Involves everyone in the organization in an appropriate role

Fully engages board members while raising staff morale

Aligns the entire organization toward common goals

Don't blow your entire professional development budget on a couple of courses for a few people.
Continuous learning is THE most cost effective training. Train everyone in your organization--all the time and anytime--for a tenth of the cost of one-time conferences, courses, and consultants.

Learn Next Steps Get Full Details

Align Your Entire Organization.

Hear Roger, foundation president, share about Continuous Learning.

Check Out The Continual Learning Courses Here

Get Started Building Your Fundraising Program Today