Diploma in Fundraising Management 2020

The Charities Institute Ireland (Cii) Academy has been working with Adrian Sargeant PhD to develop a rigorous, accessible and relevant education programme for the Irish charity sector. The Diploma has been designed to advance your strategic fundraising and management skills and expand your knowledge in all key aspects of fundraising. Graduates will become more effective and confident fundraising leaders and be equipped to manage the sustainable development and growth of your charities fundraising income.

Who is this qualification for?

This qualification contains significant elements of management and strategy and is directed at individuals whose roles are concerned with these areas. As a guide you should have a minimum of three years fundraising experience either in a paid or voluntary capacity and have management experience.

What are the benefits to you and your organisation?

You will become a more successful, confident and strategic fundraising manager and leader. In addition to consolidating your existing fundraising knowledge you will learn and understand how to apply proven techniques to enhance your own and your team's performance and development. These skills will enable you to manage the sustainable development and growth of your organisation's fundraising income.

What will you learn?

  • Direct Response Fundraising: In this unit you will study the direct marketing media traditionally used for donor recruitment in Ireland. You will look at best practice in relation to direct mail, press advertising, direct response television, inserts, radio and direct dialogue (including both face-to-face and door-to-door). The course will provide a framework for acquisition planning and examine how to select appropriate media, messages and creative treatments. This module also covers the topic of digital fundraising, detailing a digital communications mix that may be used for online donor acquisition and ongoing donor development. This module concludes by examining the critical topic of donor retention and how supporter journeys can be planned to keep donors loyal to the organisation over time.

  • High Value Individuals Fundraising: This unit is divided into two components with the first focusing on major gift fundraising. We begin by exploring research about the philanthropy of major donors, why they give, the factors that influence their decision making and what we know about their behaviour. We’ll then look at a process that may be used to research major donors, prioritise prospects, develop interest in the organisation and eventually solicit and steward their gifts. The second component of the unit looks specifically at legacies. We begin again by examining the latest research on legacy giving and go on to compare the recommendations of this work with current professional practice. We’ll also examine successful legacy creative strategy, appropriate stewardship of this category of donor and the difficult realm of legacy metrics.

  • Institutional Fundraising: In our work on corporate giving we will examine trends in corporate giving, donor motivation, categories of corporate support and what we presently know about best practice in relation to each. The approach will mirror that of other units in that academic research will be blended with the best of professional practice to stimulate debate about how this category of giving may be expanded. We will then move on to explore grant writing and the solicitation of gifts from trust, foundation and statutory funders. We will study research on what trusts currently think of our fundraising and the key mistakes that fundraisers make when completing applications. We will also outline a five stage solicitation process for this category of gift and examine how to maximise the chances of securing grant funding.

  • Fundraising Management: The course concludes by exploring topical issues in fundraising management. We will look at both the management of paid employees and volunteers, examining motivation at work, internal communication and marketing, conflict identification and resolution, leadership, performance appraisal and the management of group dynamics. Course sessions will be highly interactive involving group work and tutor led discussions encouraging participants to reflect on their own professional practice and how this might be improved. A wide range of theoretical frameworks and practical tools with be introduced. The unit concludes with a specific consideration of the additional complexities of managing teams of volunteers and examines best practice in relation to both the recruitment and development of this category of supporter.


You will need to complete a series of four work based and case study assignments including a pitch presentation. All students will have access to pre-arranged study groups, hosted by the Cii Academy.  A mentoring system will be in place, with course tutors and industry experts, to assist you with assignments throughout the duration of the course.

Course format

The course is taught via face to face courses (7 full days) in Dublin. The course units will be delivered over a five month period starting at the end of January 2020.

Course DATES

Day 1: January 2020
Day 2: February 2020
Day 3: February 2020
Day 4: March 2020
Day 5: April 2020
Day 6: May 2020
Day 7: June 2020

Venue: TBC

What level of commitment is needed?

You are expected to attend every session and actively engage with your class and tutor. If you fail to attend and/or engage you will disrupt your own learning experience and the shared learning experience of your group.

You are also expected to study in your own time and try to attend the facilitated study groups. On average the length of time needed to complete the Diploma in Fundraising Management is approximately six months. You are expected to commit approximately 6-8 hours a week until the completion of the programme. This amounts to approximately 300 hours of individual study.

To ensure you are not placed at a disadvantage when studying for the Diploma you should have a good command of written and spoken English to complete assignments to the required standard.

Dr Adrian Sargeant's 2020 Student Course Handbook includes all of the above plus information on assessments and reading materials. The course textbook Sargeant, A. and Jay, E. (2014) Fundraising Management: Analysis Planning and Practice (Third edition), Routledge, London - will be included in your course fees.

Course Fees include:

  • Course tutors TBC

  • Fundraising Management: Analysis Planning and Practice (Third edition) text book

  • Chief Examiner - Adrian Sargeant PhD

  • Student mentoring programme

  • All 7 course days will include lunch and refreshments.

  • European Fundraising Association (EFA) Certification.


300 hours (6-8 hours/week for six months, including five full attendance days for face to face courses)


3+ years paid or voluntary, with management experience (guide only)


€1800 - Member Rate (Organisational or Academy)
€2100 - Non-member Rate (includes Academy membership)*

(Payment plans are available).

*If your charity is not yet an Organisational member of Cii or if you are not an Academy member of Cii then your first year's Academy membership is included with the Non-member rate to enable you to access the full range of Cii member benefits during your course. You or your charity must hold a valid Cii membership while studying for this qualification.