There are over 880,000 people working in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector in the UK and it’s no secret that effective fundraising is central to the success of an NFP organisation. It’s therefore surprising that UK-based options for studying fundraising can be hard to find. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you on your way.
So whether you’re new to the area and looking for a one-day introductory course or already have fundraising experience and are seeking an in-depth programme to polish up your skills, you'll find something for you.
Institute of Fundraising
The Institue of Fundraising (IoF) is the professional membership body for UK fundraising and is the most well-known provider of training in this area. They offer a wide range of professional qualifications and leadership programmes, as well as short one-day trainings. We've outlined a selection of their main offerings below.
- Introduction to Fundraising: ideal for those new to the area or who are considering a career change. During this one-day course, you’ll learn the basic principles and best practices of fundraising.
- Certificate in Fundraising: for fundraisers with 1-3 years of paid or voluntary experience. The course is taught either via intensive face to face courses (two blocks of two full days) or online. On average, nine months is required to complete the course (at 6-8 hours per week).
- Diploma in Fundraising: for those with a minimum 3 years fundraising experience and some management experience. The course focuses on management and strategy.
- International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising: for very experienced fundraisers, working at a senior level for a minimum of 5 years.
The IoF also offers a range of shorter fundraising courses, you can find further details of these in their training and events calendar.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) connects, represents and supports voluntary organisations in England. One component of NCVO’s work is the provision of workshops and training sessions on a variety of subject areas, many of which feature the topic of fundraising. They run one or two day courses such as ‘writing a sustainable funding strategy', ‘how to help your board get involved in fundraising’ and ‘writing successful bids’. The pricing of their training is based on the gross annual income of the organisation taking part. They also offer a 30% discount to NCVO members.
Additionally, NCVO runs a video e-learning platform called Studyzone. This online hub will allow you to take a range of fundraising classes at your own pace, anywhere, anytime. You'll find more information on NCVO's trainings here.
The Directory of Social Change
The Directory of Social Change (DSC) is an organisation which supports those working in non-profits by providing them with training courses, publications, best practice articles and many other resources. DSC runs a wide range of fundraising training courses, on topics ranging from proposal writing to fundraising event management. Most of their courses are one-day workshops and prices start at £299, they also offer in-house fundraising training options. Learn more about DSC's fundraising training options.
The Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI)
The Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) runs a series of face-to-face training days in locations around the country. These training sessions cover a wide range of fundraising techniques and back office skills. FSI also offers webinars on topics including legacy fundraising, developing a fundraising strategy and regular giving. Both their training days and webinars are offered at below-market prices for FSI members. The foundation’s website also features further fundraising resources such as guides, templates, and advice on best practices. You’ll find further details on their offerings here.
Fundraising Training Ltd.
As the name suggests, since being founded in 2002, Fundraising Training Ltd. has been running courses and boot camps specifically focused on the area of fundraising. Their two main offerings are the ‘Skilled Grantseeker Programme’ (composed of 4 separate courses and covering all aspects of trust fundraising, from researching trusts to building relationships) and a ‘Bid Writing Bootcamp’ (a two-day event designed for people with experience of grant-seeking and a desire to embrace new ideas and improve their proposal writing). The company also offers bespoke one-day in-house training courses. More information on their training options is available here.
As well as the many professional development courses outlined above, there are a small number of UK university degrees which either focus on (or include an element of) fundraising. We've outlined a selection of them below:
- Cass Business School at City, University of London offers a one year MSc in Charity Marketing and Fundraising
- The University of Plymouth offers a Nonprofit & Charity Pathway in their BSc (Hons) Marketing
- St. Mary's University offers an MA in Charity Management which includes modules on fundraising strategy and charity finance.
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