Online Program

Professional Fundraising Certificate

Program Overview

The Professional Fundraising Certificate was developed by five experienced fundraisers to teach the foundations of philanthropy in the United States and the fundamentals of professional fundraising. The certificate will cover the proven best practices of fundraising, along with practical advice and strategy for annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, foundation relations, grant writing, and corporate relations. These are universal practices that can be used by any organization, no matter the size, scope, or mission.

Accredited by Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE).

Approved for 6 hours of continuing education credit.


This certificate is designed for individuals looking to begin or transition into a fundraising career, university faculty, nonprofit and higher education leadership, social entrepreneurs, and current development staff. The online, self-paced course is organized into nine learning modules, each containing sections that cover different aspects of professional fundraising. The certificate is accredited by Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) and approved for 6 hours of continuing education credit. Founded in 2001, CFRE International is an independent nonprofit organization whose sole mission is dedicated to setting standards in philanthropy through a valid and reliable certification process for fundraising professionals.

Program Modules

Module 1: Overview of Professional Fundraising

Module 2: Foundations of Philanthropy

Module 3: Board of Directors

Module 4: Annual Giving

Module 5: Major Gift Fund

Module 6: Planning Giving

Module 7: Principles of Foundation Relations

Module 8: Grant Writing

Module 9: Principles of Corporate Relations

Student Testimonial

Through the Landscape & Garden Design Certificate, I was able to cultivate the skills and best techniques necessary to properly design and install my own landscape and hardscape concepts. Moreover, I acquired a much more expansive knowledge of local resources, including the instructor’s extensive proprietary plant selection list for our East Tennessee growing zones, which truly made my dream garden outstanding.

Mary Woody, Former Landscape and Design Certificate Student

Meet Your Instructor

Leighton Wilson

Leighton Wilson has over 12 years of fundraising expertise, having raised over $100 million in funding.
He currently serves as the Chief Development Officer at The University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. Prior to this role, he worked at The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Natural Sciences, LSU Health Shreveport Foundation, and Centenary College of Louisiana.
Leighton holds a Master of Science degree in Philanthropy and Fundraising from New York University’s George Heyman, Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising, a Master of Arts degree in Communication from Baylor University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.
His academic and professional journey reflects his commitment to the field of fundraising and higher education.

Register Today

The certificate is accredited by Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) and approved for 6 hours of continuing education credit.