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Course 1 - Fundamentals of Fundraising

Course 1 - Fundamentals of Fundraising
Instructor: Amy Erekson Varga, M.A.

Tuesdays, 5:30pm - 8:30pm
9/2 – 11/4

Fundamentals of Fundraising will provide students with a comprehensive view of the fundraising landscape. From understanding what a "culture of philanthropy" means to understanding the motivations of donors, students will become familiar with direct mail campaigns, annual giving programs, special events, the role of stewardship and how volunteers and board members fit into the puzzle. 

After this module, you will be better able to:

  • Explain why a culture of philanthropy in an organization is critical to fundraising success – and how to create one 
  • Be able to articulate what donor-centered fundraising is and how it operates in real-life
  • Have a solid grasp on the donor cycle and how basic moves management works
  • Understand the critical role an annual giving program plays in the foundation of a successful development plan
  • Understand the best practices around direct mail campaigns
  • Understand the motivations for giving by donors – including how donors differ based on generational differences, men/women, and ethnic background
  • Understand the critical role stewardship plays in the relationship with donors and what the essential elements of a strong stewardship program include
  • Describe the role of special events in an overall development program
  • Understand the critical role volunteers play in fundraising success – including the role of the Board of Directors in a robust development operation     

After this module, you will have created the following for your professional portfolio:
  • Sample direct mail pieces – letters, response elements, envelopes
  • Sample thank you letters and other stewardship pieces
  • Sample special event proposal
  • Board of Directors fundraising agreement 


Amy Erekson Varga, M.A.

Erekson Varga, M.A. is a seasoned professional with sixteen years experience working in higher education and nonprofit administration. Key areas of responsibility have included fundraising, large-scale event planning, strategic planning, alumni and community relations. Amy teaches graduate level courses in fundraising strategy in Portland State's Masters of Public Administration program, as well as teaches the core Fundraising Fundamentals course in the PSU/WVDO Certificate in Nonprofit Fundraising and acts as the Program Manager for the partnership.

In 2006, Amy helped create the Fundraising & Grant Management Certificate program at Portland Community College in partnership with Willamette Valley Development Officers in which she teaches the core fundraising course each term. Amy has also maintained a small consulting practice since 2008. Amy holds a masters degree from Santa Clara University and a bachelors degree from Willamette University. 

Research Focus & Interests: Fundraising, event planning, and the psychology of philanthropy.