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Advancement Training

Training in Fundraising

Taking Donors Seriously®

Every year thousands of non-profit staff across the country attend countless fund raising seminars, conferences and workshops. Most would readily attest to the value of this training, yet many continue to face frustration raising money for their local agency or their own individual budgets. Is there a contradiction here? Possibly not. Fundraising is one of those things that is closer to common sense than theory. Since this is the case, the gap between enthusiasm for fundraising training and long-term results may be that the training is too far removed from the realities of the streets where the fundraisers walk. Taking Donors Seriously® lays out a set of principles (rather than tactics) and teaches practices that apply the principles. Since fundraising is relational, principles give the framework for engaging donors for their lifetimes but tactics tend to make fundraising transactional.

Training in Taking Donors Seriously® is delivered two ways:

Onsite seminar for Major Donor Training
This seminar includes both classroom sessions and a field day where trainees and a trainer actually meet with donors. The full TDS seminar takes place over a four to six month period. First, there are three seminar training days beginning with two days in succession and then the third day six weeks later. Following the third training session a field day is scheduled within two or three months.

Online seminar for Field Staff and Community Nonprofits
This seminar includes both e-learning courses, practical assignments and live coaching calls. The full online TDS seminar can be completed in two, four or six months depending on the rate at which trainees choose to work through the material.

There are twenty concise whiteboard video segments complete with practical assignments to engage with the material in the trainee’s environment and situation. Additionally, there are five individual and/or group coaching calls with a TDS trainer throughout the seminar. A Testimonial about Taking Donors Seriously® from Denny Rydberg, President, Young Life. “If you chart the transformation in our thinking and behavior, you will find the introduction of Taking Donors Seriously® (TDS) at the fork in our financial road. What seemed like a radical departure from traditional thought years ago, however, has become commonplace in our culture and conversation. That’s great news because TDS is now an integral thread woven through the fabric of Young Life.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s really different about Taking Donors Seriously® from the training at fundraising conferences or the advertised seminars?

The key difference is that TDS is based on the fundamental idea that fundraising at its best is relational where the donor is engaged over time, hopefully for a lifetime, and appealed to based on a shared mission, not simply the need for funds. TDS emphasizes the importance of developing and managing a donor/prospective donor database and using this management tool to set the fundraising strategy. This seminar also addresses the characteristics of donors who have the most capacity to give and why they may be the best volunteers to help an organization raise money.

I’m skeptical about online training. Is it really effective?

There may be some who find online education effective and others who don’t. Many who don’t haven’t tried it. Taking Donors Seriously® uses the highly acclaimed Kahn Academy model that is not about “talking heads” but presents the materials on a whiteboard with voice over. If you’ll try it we think you’ll be impressed and like it.