About us

New to fundraising and wanting some help?

If you can answer yes, the Fundraising Standard is definitely for you.

The Standard is a 40 hour program of online learning designed to give participants a thorough introduction to the process of fundraising and get them started on their first fundraising campaign. It provides an introduction to the nonprofit sector and its associated fundraising ethics, before taking the lid off what we know about giving (who gives and why). You'll also receive a thorough grounding in the science and practice of communication design and how to raise substantively more money simply by avoiding common errors that nonprofits typically make and focusing on donor satisfaction and wellbeing.

The fundraising standard is a service of the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy. The Institute is a nonprofit whose goal is to grow philanthropy around the world, by enhancing the quality of the donor experience. We do that through a combination of survey and experimental research with our charity clients and through a series of education programs for the professional fundraising community. These include the Fundraising Standard and a range of fundraising Certificates; a Certificate in Philanthropic Psychology, a Certificate in Fundraising Copywriting and a Certificate in Bequest Fundraising. You can find out more about our work here

The Institute works extensively with nonprofits in the USA, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

But the Fundraising Standard is designed exclusively with the needs of U.S. based nonprofits as its focus.

Dr. Adrian Sargeant

World-class faculty.

The class is led by Dr Adrian Sargeant, the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy and the world’s leading fundraising educator and researcher. Dr Sargeant was the first Hartsook Chair in Fundraising at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors for his service to the profession including being named to the prestigious Nonprofit Times Power and Influence list in 2010.
Eight weeks. Eight lessons.

Meaningful curriculum over eight weeks.

We've tailored these eight courses to make the most meaningful impact on early-career fundraisers.

Week 1

Introduction to Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector

Week 2

Fundraising Ethics

Week 3

Who Gives and Why?

Week 4

Donor Relationships and the Importance of Retention

Week 5

Designing a Compelling Case for Support

Week 6

Communication Design and Donor Centricity

Week 7

The Fundraising Mix

Week 8

Getting the Most from a Fundraising Database

In this first week we begin our exploration of fundraising by studying the sector that is typically the focus of our activity, reviewing definitions of the nonprofit sector, distinguishing it from the public and private sectors and examining its primary sources of income. The goal is to set the scene for the balance of the course.

The course will also introduce the notion of relationship fundraising and how best to deliver longer term and more profitable and rewarding relationships with supporters. The course will close with a detailed examination of the fundraising mix and how to get the most out of a fundraising database to help you maximize your revenue.

Each week you’ll have some reading to complete and 1-3 tutorials to watch presented by the course team. There will be a short self-test of knowledge in the form of a quiz at the end of each week.

At the end of the 8 weeks there will also be a multiple choice test of your knowledge and if you gain 50% or more you will be deemed to have achieved the Fundraising Standard and receive a Certificate to that effect.


CFRE credits.

Full participation in the Fundraising Standard is applicable for 40 points in Category 1.B – Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification. Participation in the Fundraising Standard may assist you in learning or reviewing concepts covered on the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) examination as detailed on the Test Content Outline provided by CFRE International. CFRE International does not sponsor or endorse any educational programs and the Fundraising Standard was not developed in conjunction with CFRE International.
You won't go it alone.

Peer support.

Our student discussion forum share will allow you to interact with classmates, share your experiences and learn from each-other. You’ll be expected to participate in 2 discussion forums each week where you can share your thoughts and ideas with other participants. Each class will have a maximum of 30 participants so that you can get to know your peers and genuinely support each other in your work.

Meet our expert team

Dr Sargeant is joined by Emma Bryant and Harriet Day who are both credentialed fundraising educators with experience of fundraising in multiple countries.

All for less than the cost of the typical

per student
  • all 8 sessions
  • access to peer forum
  • can be donated if not used within 18 months
  • discount available for organizations enrolling multiple employees

Working at the highest level
for our students

Contact Us:


The Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy is a charitable incorporated organisation (CE01581) registered in England and Wales with the Charity Commission, charity number 1181003. Registered office address: 41-43 Market Place, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 3HR. VAT registration number: 345 9034 92