The world of nonprofit fundraising training is cluttered with so-called experts sharing gut feelings, marketing instincts, and recycled best practices. While there’s a time and a place for gut feelings and instincts, you don’t want your fundraising training resources to be based on someone’s best guess.
On top of that, many of the common fundraising training resources out there are based on traditional fundraising practices that don’t always translate to a digital-first world.
To get insights, ideas, tips, and strategies that can lead to meaningful fundraising growth, you need fundraising training that’s based on data, verified with research, and proven through testing.
And in a digital-first world, you need fundraising training that utilizes digital-first methodologies to acquire and cultivate donors.
The Benefits of Digital-First Fundraising Training
Digital-first fundraising is not just the way of the future. It’s the way of some of the fastest growing nonprofits in existence today.
- Digital enables an organization to “micro-test” messages without significant up-front investments.
- Digital provides near-instant feedback that can guide every other investment you make.
- Digital is the most efficient pathway to growing multichannel donors, recurring giving, and donor retention.
- Digital can boost the impact of all other forms of fundraising, from direct mail to recurring giving to major gifts and beyond.
To set your career and your organization on a path towards meaningful growth, you need fundraising training resources that equip you to be a digital-first fundraiser.
Below I’ve outlined 14 of our favorite fundraising training resources (in no particular order) that can help you get equipped to be a digital-first fundraiser. Not every resource is specific to fundraising, but they cover concepts, ideas, and tactics that you can use to reach and acquire more online donors.
14 of The Best Nonprofit Fundraising Training Resources
1. NextAfter Institute [COURSES]
Online fundraising certification courses based on a/b testing and first-hand research
- Who is it for? – Fundraising directors and practitioners looking for practical growth ideas.
- Why do we like it? – Specific, data-driven, and tested ideas that are proven to increase online fundraising revenue.
- How much does it cost? – $49/month to access 8 certification courses.
2. CXL Institute [COURSES & BLOG]
Advanced online optimization and a/b testing training
- Who is it for? – Advanced online fundraisers looking to grow their online testing and optimization expertise.
- Why do we like it? – Peep Laja is renowned in the conversion optimization world, and CXL’s a/b testing training is second to none.
- How much does it cost? – The blog is free and full of really great research content. The courses are $249/month.
3. Creative Science Blog [BLOG]
Marketing and fundraising insights based in behavioral science
- Who is it for? – Fundraising directors and practitioners
- Why do we like it? – Nate Andorsky makes behavioral science concepts easy for everyday fundraisers and marketers to understand and apply.
- How much does it cost? – It’s a free blog.
4. Whole Whale University [COURSES & WEBINARS]
Nonprofit-focused digital marketing courses, webinars, templates, and guides
- Who is it for? – Fundraisers new to online fundraising and digital marketing
- Why do we like it? – Covers a broad range of digital marketing concepts and skills to get you up and running on essential online fundraising tools.
- How much does it cost? – Courses are anywhere from $59 to $199. Or pay $299 for full access for the year.
5. The Agitator from Donor Voice [BLOG]
A blog for fundraisers and nonprofit executives to understand the latest data on donor trends
- Who is it for? – Direct marketing fundraisers and nonprofit executives
- Why do we like it? – High-level insights on fundraising and philanthropy trends (online and offline) – all stemming from a place of data, science, and research.
- How much does it cost? – Free blog from DonorVoice
6. The Bold Training from Dan Pallotta [COURSE]
Training for nonprofit fundraisers and boards to help set a bolder vision for their organization
- Who is it for? – Nonprofit boards, executives, and fundraisers
- Why do we like it? – This course is basically the practical application of Dan Pallotta’s famous TED talk, helping you set bolder goals and a bolder vision for impact.
- How much does it cost? – $99 per person. Or get it included with a NextAfter Institute membership for $49/month.
7. Jon Loomer [BLOG & COURSES]
Resources and training for advanced Facebook marketers
- Who is it for? – Fundraisers looking to build their Facebook advertising skills
- Why do we like it? – Jon Loomer is a go-to resource for NextAfter staff. His Facebook training and ideas are innovative, practical, and can deliver meaningful results.
- How much does it cost? – Free blog. Training program starts at $247.
8. Future Fundraising Now [BLOG]
High-level thinking on fundraising and understanding your donors
- Who is it for? – Fundraising executives
- Why do we like it? – High-level focus on understanding donors – not specific to a channel. Jeff Giddens (who heads our client services) recommended it because it challenges that status quo.
- How much does it cost? – Free blog
9. Baymard Institute [ARTICLES & RESEARCH]
The leader in UX research for ecommerce driven websites
- Who is it for? – Ecommerce focused nonprofits
- Why do we like it? – Premiere research institute for anyone selling a product online. Their UX research is through, practical, and frequently has implications for donation pages as well.
- How much does it cost? – Free blog. $80/month for premium access.
10. Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy [Certificate Courses & Blog]
An Institute that uses science to create more memorable giving experiences
- Who is it for? – Fundraising executives
- Why do we like it? – Jen Shang and Adrian Sargeant are basically the smartest people in philanthropy. Their certificate courses give you insights into fundraising based in philanthropic psychology and research.
- How much does it cost? – €1295 per certificate course. Free blog.
11. The Moore Group [BLOG]
A consultancy with a data-driven blog and a research focus
- Who is it for? – Direct response fundraisers and marketers
- Why do we like it? – Nicholas Ellinger always provides great data-based insights into the world of fundraising, curating research from other sources and sharing their own. They also have a Neuro-Fundraising lab which sounds cool, yes, but adds more scientific depth to their insights and content.
- How much does it cost? – Free blog and free course
12. Orbit Media [BLOG]
Ideas, tips, and strategies that make SEO accessible, practical, and doable for the average marketer and fundraiser
- Who is it for? – Nonprofit marketers looking to grow their SEO and content marketing expertise.
- Why do we like it? – SEO can be really confusing and complicated. But Andy Crestodina’s approach empowers you to take practical steps towards significant SEO growth. He’s also one of our favorite NIO Summit speakers ever.
- How much does it cost? – Free blog.
13. Codecademy – HTML and CSS Courses [COURSES]
Free and easy-to-follow training that helps you master HTML and CSS basics
- Who is it for? – Every legitimate online fundraiser. Seriously, you need to know basic HTML/CSS to make your way around as an effective online marketer.
- Why do we like it? – Step-by-step training on basic HTML/CSS. It’s not just theory either…you will learn by actually writing basic code and seeing it in action.
- How much does it cost? – Free versions available.
Learn HTML – https://www.codecademy.com/learn/learn-html
Learn CSS – https://www.codecademy.com/learn/learn-css
#14. Hubspot Academy [COURSES]
Hubspot’s training and resources to help you become a better inbound marketer
- Who is it for? – Any fundraiser looking to grow inbound traffic and content marketing.
- Why do we like it? – Hubspot is the platform for inbound marketing. And whether you’re a digital-beginner or expert, their resources will help you find ways to grow quality inbound traffic.
- How much does it cost? – Free
What fundraising training resources are missing?
Do you have any go-to fundraising training resources that should make this list? If so, I’d love to hear what they are so we can use them too and share them with other.
If you have a resource we should add to this list, feel free to drop it in the comments below.