Online Master’s Degree in Fundraising

A master’s degree in fundraising provides students with the skills and expertise for a leadership position in fundraising and development. The degree covers logistics, concepts, theories, and strategies for raising funds and resources for nonprofits, humanitarian organizations, universities, and more. It combines business and marketing concepts with a focus on the unique laws, policies and considerations affecting organizations supported in whole or in part by donations. Most programs require approximately 30-36 hours of coursework, though some require more. The degree often takes two to three years to complete, depending on the student’s personal circumstances and enrollment status. An online master’s degree in fundraising may take less time to complete.

Classes for an Online Master’s Degree in Fundraising

Raising funds for a nonprofit organization can be very complex with many rules and regulations. A master’s degree in fundraising is designed to enable graduates to effectively raise funds in a nonprofit environment. It also arms them with the knowledge and creativity to develop new ways of generating resources. A fundraising degree includes courses in marketing and nonprofit organizational structure so that students understand how a nonprofit works. Coursework will also cover the different sources of funds, like grants, individual gifts, and ongoing campaigns. Students learn the best ways to pursue and acquire grants by developing grant-writing and researching skills. They also develop marketing, public relations, and business skills for pursuing planned gifts and donations. Common coursework for a fundraising master’s degree curriculum includes:

  • Intro to Marketing
  • Foundations of Fundraising and Development
  • Planned Giving
  • Grants
  • Annual Campaigns

Students in a fundraising master’s program often complete internship positions in the fundraising and development departments with universities or nonprofit organizations. In-class assignments often include designing fundraising strategies for a specific organization. Students might coordinate fundraising events, like walks, fashion shows, or galas. They might also develop unique approaches to raising gifts based on an organization’s specific need or mission.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Master’s Degree in Fundraising

After completing a master’s degree in fundraising, graduates often go on to advanced careers in nonprofit leadership, fundraising, and development. Graduates might work for nonprofit organizations or universities coordinating development strategy, planning fundraising events, and implementing fundraising schemes in the form of marketing campaigns or public relations efforts. A master’s degree is not required for a career in fundraising. However, many management or director positions require extensive fundraising experience or a master’s degree in fundraising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries in the fundraising world can vary dramatically depending on the employer and the industry. Professionals working with humanitarian organizations may earn less. But professionals working in development for universities or for large nonprofits may earn more. On average, fundraising managers can earn approximately $100,000 per year.


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