Students enrolling for classes in Fall 2016 or later will follow the Nonprofit Management curriculum. Students enrolled prior to Fall 2016 will follow the Fundraising Management curriculum shown here.

Fundraising Management Curriculum

36 points for degree completion On-campus instruction
Part-time* or full-time program Fall and Spring** intake
3–12 terms to complete***  
Capstone Seminar and comprehensive final project

* Students in need of an F1 visa must enroll in the full-time option.
** The full-time program is available in the fall. The part-time program is available in the fall and spring.
*** Summer courses included.

Students in the Fundraising Management program complete 12 3-point courses:

  • five core required courses, which provide an overview of the industry and a thorough analysis of the essential elements of fundraising and leadership, including campaigns, major gifts, planned giving, and grants, as well as nonprofit financial management and board governance
  • five elective courses in nonprofit leadership, spanning management, marketing, quantitative studies, and other subjects related to philanthropy, development, and fundraising
  • two courses that comprise a capstone sequence: a seminar in fundraising, designed to address high-level considerations within the field, and a supervised project which permits students to apply the knowledge gained in the program in a meaningful, substantive way

Each course consists of theoretical and practical approaches to its subject matter. In-class exercises (such as formal presentations, role play, and experiential learning) and real institution-based assignments provide students with applied, tangible skills that readily transfer into the workplace, while homework (including readings, research, and report writing) keeps students up to date on the latest trends, techniques, and strategies in nonprofit administration. As such, the program imparts both the requisite subject matter necessary for mastery of the field as well as the techniques and tools essential for individual confidence and success.

The curriculum is demanding and requires a significant commitment of time and energy outside of classroom. Students must complete the 36-point program with an overall grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better in order to be awarded the degree.

Please click on course titles below to see course descriptions. Please note that all Fundraising Management courses are now listed under Nonprofit Management in the Columbia Directory of Classes.

Core Required Courses

Fundraising and Leadership


Elective Courses

Management (Choose 1)

Marketing (Choose 1)

Quantitative (Choose 1)

Additional Electives (Choose 2 from below or from another category)

* Offered outside the Master of Science in Fundraising Management program; some are offered online.

FUND PS5370. Foundations of Fundraising and Development. 3 pts.


Management foundation courses. This course provides a comprehensive overview for those entering the fundraising profession as well as those with limited experience who seek to expand their knowledge. Students are provided with an ethical foundation and are introduced to basic terminology and concepts in the field. The various fundraising vehicles are surveyed and participants learn to apply fundraising strategies as they balance individual donor and institutional needs. Relationship building, the solicitation process, the psychological dynamics and the realities of asking for money are examined as students refine their skills through analysis of case studies and participation in role playing exercises. A full array of written formats used by fundraising professionals including mission statements, grant proposals, acknowledgment letters, and campaign appeal materials are introduced. While students develop an understanding of the essentials of fundraising operations, they also examine the larger issues confronting today’s fundraising managers.

FUND PS5240. Annual Campaigns, Capital Campaigns, and Major Gifts. 3 pts.


Description not yet available.

FUND PS5379. Planned Giving. 3 pts.


PS5370 Foundations of Fundraising and Development.


This course helps students understand the role of planned giving within an organization’s overall fundraising efforts. Introduces students to the various instruments of planned giving as they learn about the financial and personal considerations driving donor decisions. Through an examination of the legal, financial, and individual personal factors, the course exposes students to the full range of constraints and opportunities involved in planned giving. Students learn to design proposals sensitive to both donor and institutional needs.

FUND PS5360. Grants. 3 pts.


This course provides a comprehensive overview of the grants process, with specific reference to the research, writing, and managing of a range of grant types. The grants process is considered within the context of an institution’s total fundraising strategy. The course covers the range of possible grant-giving institutions, including government, corporate, and foundation, as well as the various types of grants, such as challenge, and their respective considerations for the fundraiser and nonprofit institution. Emphasis is placed on developing competitive proposals, accurate budgets, and appropriate systems of administration.

FUND PS5320. Nonprofit Financial Management. 3 pts.


This course is intended for members of nonprofit organizations who must understand and apply financial knowledge in their management and governance roles. It covers cash-flow analysis, budgeting, fund accounting, cost accounting (determining costs for programs and services), and understanding financial statements, including balance sheets, cash-flow statements, statements of activity, and operating and capital budgets.

FUND PS6150. Board Governance. 3 pts.


Advanced standing in the Fundraising Management program, with 33 points completed toward the degree (or 30 credits when taken concurrent with FUND PS5390 Advanced Fundraising Project).


The seminar in fundraising provides a format in which to analyze and examine the larger theoretical issues and industry trends that affect fundraisers and their efforts. While specific topics and emphases vary from term to term, the seminar seeks to impart the analytical, interpretative, and planning skills required of senior managers.

FUND PS5390. Advanced Fundraising Project. 3 pts.


Advanced standing in the Fundraising Management program, with 33 points completed toward the degree


Students are given the opportunity to exercise, refine, and enhance their fundraising skills by completing a supervised group project in a nonprofit organization. Through involvement in a nonprofit setting, in which they have no prior knowledge, participants will experience the process of organizational assimilation and integration as they tackle a discrete fundraising project of long or short-term benefit to the organization in question. The larger theoretical issues that affect fundraisers will also be discussed within the context of this course.

BUSI PS5010. Managing Human Behavior in the Organization. 3 pts.


Students will gain an overview of major concepts of management and organization theory, concentrating on understanding human behavior in organizational contexts, with heavy emphasis on the application of concepts to solve managerial problems. By the end of this course students will have developed the skills to motivate employees, establish professional interpersonal relationships, take a leadership role, and conduct performance appraisal.

NECR PS5105. Introduction to Negotiation. 3 pts.


Negotiation is one of the most important strategies in conflict resolution and is used routinely by all humans to resolve conflict and potential conflict successfully. This course examines both theoretical and practical implications of diverse assumptions and strategies. Students develop a deeper self-awareness of their role in the creation, perpetuation, escalation and resolution of conflicts, as well as in relationship with the other party.

FUND PS5201. The Wired Nonprofit: Social Media Strategy and Practice. 3 pts.


The social sector is at a critical inflection point, a moment when external and internal forces are challenging many of its old ways of working. Nonprofits and philanthropic foundations are undergoing a technology upheaval and, simultaneously, an inter-generational transfer of power, as the leadership of legacy nonprofits shifts from baby boomers to diverse Generation Xers and Millennials. This highly interactive course teaches students how the digital media revolution is reshaping the way nonprofits need to operate, and help students to conceptualize and produce digital media strategies aligned with the missions of their cause organizations.

This course also explores how digital media are democratizing philanthropy and placing new pressures on nonprofit organizations to be more responsive, accountable and transparent—and guided by newly available data and impact metrics to better target the expenditure of donor dollars. Finally, this course is designed to help each student learn how to use cross-channel media strategies and basic analytics to measure and improve their organization's ability to reach and recruit today's highly influential cause-wired donors and supporters, online and off.

Each student will develop a basic social media strategy for a cause organization, to more effectively address mission goals in new or innovative ways. In a Saturday lab, students will learn how to make a 60-second cause video and "digital mission statement" for their organizations, visiting a local soup kitchen to learn both how to capture the story of an organization and how to convey its meaning, relevancy, urgency, and impact to a broader audience and across digital media channels and networks. In a final strategy paper, students will present recommendations for how digital media can be used to advance the goals and impact of the organizations they have been studying for the class during the term.

The course is taught using a highly interactive mix of lectures, conversations with nonprofit digital pioneers, in-depth case studies, hands-on exercises, group discussions, online readings and viewings, and the use of a class Twitter stream and private Facebook group moderated by instructors. Students also will be exposed to the sector's digital leaders through field trips, and will learn how to use a broad array of digital platforms and technologies relevant to fundraising and donor engagement. Sector debates over issues including privacy, big data, citizen storytelling, censorship, engagement, collaboration without cooperation, "leaderless organizations," change management, community building, Millennial recruitment and “movement-building” also will be addressed, debated and applied to real-life challenges in the sector.

BUSI PS5020. Introduction to Marketing and Marketing Management. 3 pts.


No previous background in marketing is required. Course objectives: (1) to provide an overview of the basic concepts in marketing; (2) to develop decision-making skills by applying these concepts to real-life problems; and (3) to provide experience in developing marketing strategies for products in various stages of their product life cycle. These objectives are achieved by a combination of lectures, readings, and class discussions.

BUSI PS5025. Marketing Strategy. 3 pts.


BUSI PS5020 Introduction to Marketing or professor approval is required


Students will develop analytical skills used to formulate and implement marketing driven strategies for an organization. Students will develop a deeper understanding of marketing strategies and how to implement tactics to achieve desired goals. Students will work on case study projects in both individual and a team based projects. By the end of this course you will be able to develop a marketing strategy based market assessments and company needs.

FUND PS5325. Introduction to Portfolio Management. 3 pts.


Focusing on individual securities and portfolios, this course explains how to develop, implement, and monitor investment goals after considering the risk and return of both markets and investment vehicles. Spread over 14 sessions, this course presents both conceptual tools and calculation exercises needed by senior nonprofit professionals and those with policy responsibility for endowment management. By the end of the course, students will understand the investment environment (the investment process; types of investments; and research); return and risk (the concept of return; measuring return; sources and how to assess risk); the time value of money, (simple and compound interest; present and future value of a portfolio asset); modern portfolio concepts (traditional vs. modern portfolio management; standard deviation; correlation; diversification; and beta;); how to analyze common stocks (security, economic, industrial and fundamental analysis); stock valuation (valuing a company and its future; required rate of return; and price-to-earnings approach); fixed-income securities (why invest in bonds; essential features of a bond; and the market for debt securities); portfolio management (mutual funds and exchange traded funds); alternative assets (“plain vanilla” derivatives); and endowment basics (strategy and policy).

FUND PS5350. Policy & Advocacy in the Philantropic Sector. 3 pts.


Now more than ever, philanthropic leaders must navigate a shifting landscape: more demand for programs and services, more attentive governing bodies focused on return on investments, a more competitive national and international marketplace among philanthropic organizations, and more social media outlets to unite or divide diverse stakeholders aiming to influence elected leaders. In the current political environment, there exists ever more scrutiny among policymakers and the general public about the value of the philanthropic sector as a whole and the extent to which public policy should support the sector. Learn the “rules of the road” used by high-performing foundations and nonprofit organizations committed to generating public will and influencing public policy in support of communities worldwide.

In the fall of a presidential campaign and dozens of statehouse races, national experts in public policy, coalition building, and strategic communications will share cutting-edge practices proven to yield favorable policy results: How do you define and measure success in advocacy? How do you engage authentically with affected community leaders and other stakeholders with shared interests? How do you develop strategic plans, audience segmentation, messaging, and tactics that break through in a crowded marketplace of ideas? How do you develop a business plan to secure and align your financial and human capital to optimize and sustain impact?

In this elective course, graduate students will be exposed to cutting-edge policy debates as examples of advocacy campaigns, compare local, state and federal issue campaigns and learn of the network of stakeholders that play roles in public policy and advocacy in the nonprofit sector.

BUSI PS5001. Introduction to Finance. 3 pts.

Students will be introduced to the fundamental financial issues of the modern corporation. By the end of this course, students will understand the basic concepts of financial planning, managing growth; debt and equity sources of financing and valuation; capital budgeting methods; and risk analysis, cost of capital, and the process of securities issuance.

BUSI PS5009. Financial Accounting. 3 pts.

Students will examine the generally accepted account principles (GAAP) underlying financial statements and their implementation in practice. The perspective and main focus of the course is from the users of the information contained in the statements, including investors, financial analysts, creditors and, management. By the end of this class students will be able to construct a cash flow statement, balance sheet and decipher a 10K report.

FUND PS5230. Innovations in Philanthropy. 3 pts.


The philanthropic model of the twentieth century resulted in remarkable social accomplishments, but now, its inadequacies, restricted vision, and organizational inefficiencies are proving insufficient to allow the nonprofit sector to respond fully to the magnitude of capital needs for large-scale social problems. Significant innovation currently is underway that is expanding the frontiers of traditional philanthropy with approaches that tap social investing and private investment capital to address social problems such as poverty alleviation, homelessness, and the lack of access to healthcare, as well as global environmental challenges, such as climate change and natural resource degradation. This class will focus on this “new frontier” in philanthropy and social investment, and will provide a comprehensive analysis of new actors, new organizational models, and new mechanisms that are helping to expand the traditional philanthropic toolbox. The class also will examine the challenges faced by these actors and what is needed to apply and maximize the impact of these tools. The class will complement the core nonprofit management curriculum and will reflect the up-to-minute dynamism within the nonprofit fundraising sector. It is designed for second-year nonprofit management students with a firm knowledge of traditional fundraising tenets and approaches. A basic knowledge of for-profit financial instruments is recommended but not required.

FUND PS5375. Research for Fundraising Professionals. 3 pts.


PS5370 Foundations of Fundraising and Development.


This course teaches students the practical skills needed to develop and utilize research for fundraising efforts. It introduces students to assorted research tools and teaches them to develop targeted research strategies. Within an ethical context, they learn how to obtain information on donors and other funding sources. The course also covers how to summarize research findings and how to use research for enhanced written communications.

FUND PS5420. Factors Critical to Success in Fundraising and Development: The European Model. 3 pts.


In their efforts to broaden and diversify their sources of funding, American nonprofit organizations might draw inspiration from their colleagues in Europe. The Master's of Science in Fundraising Management program and the Master in Fundraising program at the University of Bologna have collaborated to organize this course to be held in Verona, Italy. This intensive offering will introduce a select group of students from the United States to the factors that have helped their European counterparts achieve continued success in fundraising.

The course includes a series of interactive discussions covering key topics including strategic planning, prospect identification, membership and alumni giving, donor cultivation, digital strategies, and direct marketing techniques. The course will cover the most important differences in raising money between Europe and the U.S., from small donors/gifts to major donors. Various social events encourage interaction and the sharing of ideas among participants

Students will gain an unparalleled opportunity to meet with leading experts in Europe’s fundraising world and will participate in the Festival of Fundraising, the most important fundraising congress in Italy, and one of the top fundraising conferences in Europe.