3 pathways to professional development in philanthropy


With the start of the school year imminent, I thought it timely to have a look at the ways fundraising and philanthropy professionals can gain more skills.

University postgraduate study

Swinburne University
offers qualifications ranging from a Graduate Certificate to a Master of Commerce in Social Investment and Philanthropy through the Asia Pacific Centre for Social Investment and Philanthropy. The courses are aimed at “individuals involved in – or contemplating involvement in – personal giving, whether as donors, trustees or advisers. It is also aimed at those within NGOs, government, business, not-for-profit, philanthropic and related private sector agencies that provide and manage grants and/or raise funds for the wellbeing of Australian citizens, generally called ‘philanthropy’ and ‘social investment”.

I describe the Swinburne courses as being for social entrepreneurs and philanthrocrats. They are undertaken part-time and attendance is required at intensive sessions which combine presentations, discussion, practical activities and experiential activities.

Applications close 16 February 2011.

Queensland University of Technology has a Centre for Philanthropy and Non Profit Studies which offers a Graduate Certificate and Master of Business (Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies) which can lead to “a career in the management of philanthropic and nonprofit organisations”. A PhD can also be undertaken.

Units offered: Philanthropic and Nonprofit Frameworks of Governance, Ethics, Management, Legal Issues, Fundraising Development Principles, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Social Ventures, Contemporary Issues in Philanthropy and Creative Philanthropy.

These courses can be studied through distance education, but students have to attend in person for an orientation and an intensive program at the start of each semester.

QUT also acts as a research centre which provides research on the philanthropic and not for profit sectors with great reports such as the tax deductions analysis by postcode.

Applications close 21 January, late applications accepted until 11 Feb (with a fee). Later applications accepted until 4 March under special circumstances.

Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA)

The FIA has an annual conference (coming up in February) and also hosts Madison Downunder which is like an intensive conference of fundraising masterclasses. It was held last year in the Barossa Valley and I am sorry I missed it.

The FIA also provides ongoing training through their Skills 123 program which provides accreditation towards the FIA’s Fundraising Management Diploma (see below). Training is offered through the state chapters and costs $515 per course for members and $715 per course for non members. (Some scholarships are available).

The Fundraising Practice Certificate and Fundraising Management Diploma are offered through distance education and can commenced at any time. The courses cover Principles of Fundraising, Fundraising Tools, Techniques and Resources, Legal and Ethical Frameworks of Fundraising, Relationship Fundraising, Marketing and Fundraising, Dabatase Marketing, Capital Campaigns, Major Gifts and Bequests and Preparation of Fundraising Materials.

In addition, the FIA runs a mentoring program. They also hold events regularly in every state (which are considerably cheaper than the professional development) and are usually held over lunch with a guest speaker.

CFRE International
CFRE which stands for Certified Fund Raising Executive is an internationally-recognised baseline professional credential for philanthropic fundraising executives.

The accreditation is achieved through an exam which can be taken when an applicant feels ready. In Australia exams can be taken quarterly and are facilitated through the Fundraising Institute of Australia. CFRE provides an extensive reading list and sample exam topics.

It seems to me that there is a slight disconnect between the “philanthropy” courses and the “fundraising” courses and how philanthropy and fundraising are viewed.

What do you think about training for philanthropy professionals in Australia? Is it necessary? Does it meet your needs?

It would be great to hear from people who have experience of all of these to get an idea of whether there really is an “us and them” mentality about fundraising versus philanthropy.
What do you think about the need for professional development for people in this area? What do you think about the offerings? Do the costs of study act as a disincentive? Are people only studying when their workplaces are subsidising them?

I look forward to your thoughts on this.

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About ozphilanthropy

#Philanthropy. Posts by Sharon Nathani. Consultant, blogger, speaker & committee member/grantmaker @Impact100Melb. Board member Outer Urban Projects. Learning more to share with you with Philanthropy and Nonprofit studies at QUT and Masters in Social Investment & Philanthropy at Swinburne. Former Executive Officer Inner North Community Foundation.
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