Savvy fundraising: New training will coach nonprofits

Savvy fundraising: New training will coach nonprofits


Thriving nonprofits contribute to flourishing communities. Youth activities, arts, sports, health care, food banks and many other resources often are provided by nonprofits that serve the public — and rely on the public’s generosity to continue.

A first-of-its-kind program, South Dakota Nonprofit Capacity Building, will teach nonprofits how to hone and improve their fundraising skills.

Statewide, more than 3,000 nonprofits vie for financial support from the communities they serve. The South Dakota Community Foundation and The Numad Group in Rapid City have brought together two internationally recognized institutions — The Fund Raising School at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) International — to create South Dakota Nonprofit Capacity Building.

Applications are being accepted through Nov. 21 for South Dakota Nonprofit Capacity Building. The application is available at Enrollment is limited to 30 people.

The collaboration between The Fund Raising School and CFRE is a first, according to Kelly Gibson, director of projects for The Numad Group. This is the first time The Fund Raising School has offered its training in South Dakota.

The 15-month training is divided into four courses taught by faculty from The Fund Raising School. The research-based training is designed for South Dakota nonprofit employees, volunteers and board members with some fundraising experience.

Participants will learn skills for effective fundraising and nonprofit management. Those who successfully complete South Dakota Nonprofit Capacity Building will earn a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from The Fund Raising School. Additionally, individuals will attain the necessary requirements to become a Certified Fund Raising Executive, Gibson said.

“We have a lot of small nonprofits in South Dakota, a number of one- and two-person-led nonprofits and a number of volunteer-led organizations,” Gibson said. “It’s fairly new (in South Dakota) to have academic preparation for nonprofit leaders.”

The South Dakota Community Foundation and The Numad Group are two of the sponsors of South Dakota Day of Giving, an annual event on Dec. 3 that encourages nonprofits to raise as much money and awareness as they can in a 24-hour period.

“We did a number of trainings (last year) for nonprofits across South Dakota … to help them put together their campaigns for Day of Giving, to create a case for support, how they want to engage stakeholders. … We heard from many that (in general) they felt unprepared to be doing development and fundraising work. People came to that work from a variety of job experiences and were really enthusiastic and passionate about their missions and bringing in more support, but they felt they were missing some training and resources to do that,” Gibson said.

Although one-time fundraising events are beneficial, South Dakota Nonprofit Capacity Building will focus on teaching nonprofits to develop long-term support from donors who contribute on an ongoing basis, Gibson said.

“When we’re talking about philanthropy, at its core it means a love of people, so the fundraising school is really grounded in these principles of creating philanthropic relationships — an organization partnering with a donor to inform them about the importance of their work and engage them in their work. If that donor has resources and the organization is a match, we’d like to see them create partnerships,” Gibson said. “The more an organization is able to create philanthropic partnerships and engage those people, the more stable and sustainable the organization will be."

South Dakota Nonprofit Capacity Building’s goal is also to foster networking and relationships among those who work or volunteer for nonprofits. Each of the four courses will be offered at a different location throughout South Dakota — Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, the University of South Dakota community campus in Sioux Falls, South Dakota State University in Brookings, and Western Dakota Tech in Rapid City.

“I think the rural nature of our state creates some challenges in connecting with one another. It makes it difficult to share resources. You have to be intentional about collaborating in a state that’s large but not densely populated. Nonprofits have to work harder to connect with one another,” Gibson said. “(Through the training) they can all know one another and connect. … We hope it leads people to feel more effective in their work and less isolated.”

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