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10 Master’s Degrees in Fundraising and Related Areas

#1 MS in Strategic Fundraising and Philanthropy, Bay Path University, Massachusetts

The MS in Strategic Fundraising and Philanthropy offered by the Bay Path University provides a unique understanding of philanthropy at the present. During this program, students learn strategies for building long-term relationships with donors within the area of competitive nonprofit sectors as well as how to match donor’s values with an organization’s mission.

The course is offered completely online or in a combination of campus and online courses every February, June and October. Students usually complete their degrees in one to two years and those who are employed full time at a nonprofit organization may be eligible to receive the University’s Trustees Leadership Development Scholarship.

#2 MS in Nonprofit Management, Columbia University, New York City

The MS in Nonprofit Management held at the Columbia University prepares both experienced nonprofit professionals as well as career changers and new professionals for leadership roles within organizations working in a wide variety of contexts, such as global and community nonprofits, foundations, or as in-demand fundraising experts. The program lasts one year and it is completed on the campus. Students can opt to study part-time or full-time.

One of the core courses of the program is Fundraising Fundamentals for Nonprofits, during which students learn how to apply and implement fundraising strategies while balancing individual donor and institutional needs. During this course, students have an opportunity to engage in analysis of case studies and to participate in role playing exercises. While developing an understanding of the essentials of fundraising activities and operations, students will also examine larger issues that fundraising managers are often confronted with as well as explore the relationships between fundraisers and a structure of management of a nonprofit organization and other stakeholders.

#3 MS in Charity Marketing and Fundraising, Cass Business School, University of London

If you are already working as a marketing and fundraising manager or you wish to transfer your skills and knowledge gained in other areas of expertise, the MS in Charity Marketing and Fundraising offered by the Cass Business School will equip you to deliver fundraising and marketing practice in the nonprofit sector.

This program is designed to teach you how charities and nonprofits use marketing ideas to acquire and distribute resources. During the classes, you will have an opportunity to debate different approaches to fundraising and learn strategic marketing approaches regarding effective brand management, selecting and adopting alternative channels, and the role and types of charity marketing communications. Cass Business School offers five bursaries of £1.000 each towards fees, to students who in addition to meeting the normal entrance criteria also demonstrate how their organization meets the set criteria. You can learn more about the bursary criteria on the Derek Holder Legacy Trust Bursary website.

#4 MA in Charity Management, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London

The MA in Charity Management by the St Mary’s University offers a fresh and positive outlook for this sector and recognizes the vital role that nonprofits play in society. During this program you will learn contemporary management and business techniques to help nonprofits thrive in a competitive environment. You will learn to develop your management potential to be able to face any future challenges in the sector. On completing your Master’s degree, you will also receive an accredited award from the Chartered Management Institute.

One of the mandatory and core course offered during the program is Social Marketing and Fundraising Strategy. Marketing and fundraising became crucial in keeping nonprofits and charities on top of mind with the public to generate needed funds. Therefore, during this course students are provided with an opportunity to look at the role of social marketing, PR, brand and branding in the context of nonprofits and charities and how they use a variety of fundraising techniques and strategies to keep them afloat.

#5 MS in Administration-Philanthropy and Fundraising, Central Michigan University

By attending MS in Administration-Philanthropy and Fundraising offered by the Central Michigan University you will gain an insight into human and organizational relationships, as well as develop your skills in both written and oral communication and be able to see the big picture when it comes to organizations and their environment. This is an interdisciplinary degree suitable for anyone in administration and management who wants to advance their profession and increase their skills sets.

The program was designed to hone skills in leadership, management and organization for professional administrators in nonprofit and public sectors. It is a 36 credit hours program, with 18 hours of core classes and 18 hours based on student’s selected concentration. Students are required to complete a capstone project before graduating and are encouraged to complete a 300-hour internship program. Graduate assistantship position may be available for students attending this program. Requirements and application information can be found on the MSA website.

#6 MA in Fundraising Management, The School of Management and Law, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland

This MA program was launched by The School of Management and Law at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences to meet future demands of fundraisers and contribute to further development of fundraising sector.

The program has a modular structure and it consists of three compulsory certificate courses (covering operations, strategies, and leadership), while the fourth is selected by students from a range of available course, such as Event Management, Digital Marketing, Customer Lifecycle Management and Cross Channel CRM, and Strategic Marketing. Each course can be also booked individually and independently of the program, where students can acquire a Certificate of Advanced studies. Students will receive a certificate for every course complete and conclude the program by writing a master thesis.

#7 MA in Fundraising, University of Bologna, Italy

The MA in Fundraising of the University of Bologna is a high-level master that builds students’ expertise on different topics such as marketing, digital fundraising and much more while helping the students to build a career in the nonprofit sector. The MA has helped 957 fundraisers to better prepare for the job market and, with its 270 hours of classes, it has helped the 94% of the students finding a job within 6 months after the graduating.

During the program, students have an opportunity to participate at the Fundraising Festival, the most important Italian conference about networking and fundraising and to choose among 400 different internships. The University also provides scholarships and loans for students, if you want to learn more about the scholarships and other opportunities to finance your master, please visit the dedicated page.

#8 MA in Philanthropic Studies, Kent University, the UK

MA in Philanthropic Studies is an innovative online course that builds student’s expertise in the areas of civil society, fundraising, philanthropy, the third sector and volunteering. The program invites students who are seeking a high-level understanding of philanthropy sector as well as professionals seeking an opportunity to reflect on their practice.  The program is distance learning and all students pay two years of fees.

The program offers The Art and Science of Fundraising optional course which provides and overview of the current situation of fundraising in the UK, as well as techniques used by the professional bodies and the latest research on the personal attributes of fundraisers that will lead to successful outcomes. The aim of the course is to teach students to assess the role of fundraising in practice and its wider societal context.  The course covers academic approaches to fundraising including topics such as donor motivation, propensity to give, charitable decision making in amounts, methods and destinations of donations and similar.

#9 MA in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership, Maxine Goodman Levine College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University

The MA in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership is a two-years degree that equips students with experience, practical and hands-on knowledge. The program  is focused on management functions including fundraising, financial management, human resources management, philanthropy, proposal writing, program development, program evaluation, and applied management.

During the program students will have an opportunity to participate in applied research, internships, and scholarly research within the field of nonprofit management. The University also offers scholarships opportunities. Students are required to complete 39 credit hours comprised of core course, electives, and a capstone. Graduates of this program are known for their careers and leading positions in management and leadership in the nonprofit sector.

#10 MS in Nonprofit Management, Northeastern University, Boston

The goal of the MS in Nonprofit Management offered by the Northeastern University in Boston is to develop the knowledge, skills and talent of students to serve in leadership positions at universities, foundations, charities and other organizations. The program includes core classes in fundraising, leadership, governance issues and financial management.

The Fundraising and Development for Nonprofit Organizations is one of the core courses that aims to examine sources of funding and strategies for development planning, including proposals and case statements, donor profiles, foundation and corporate philanthropy, government grant and contract programs, special events, marketing and public relations functions, direct mail and membership campaigns, planned giving, major gifts, and capital campaigns.

About the author

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Ada Hasanagic

Ada Hasanagić is a human rights professional currently working as a researcher at the Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Previously, Ada graduated with honors from the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology and the University of Buckingham in the fields of Political Science and International Relations. Also, she earned a master’s degree in Democracy and Human Rights from the University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna.