Our programs are built on a core understanding of how high net worth individuals think about philanthropy. We don't believe in a "training" approach since the process of raising major gifts is not linear, and no one can be trained to simply follow a sequence of steps to "making the ask."  We utilize extensive academic research findings on motives for giving and apply this knowledge to case studies of real gifts our partners have personally cultivated, solicited and closed. These include naming gifts for schools and colleges, gifts to fund the construction or renovation of buildings, and visionary gifts to establish new academic research centers or cross-disciplinary initiatives.

Course Summaries

Click on the titles for a complete description of each course.

You may also select from these courses to design a specialized program to best meet your needs for any group or audience. These can be delivered separately, or added on to any of the structured programs above.

For advancement teams, we offer a signature four-course program that can be delivered in two different formats.  Designed for major gift fundraisers, this program can also benefit annual giving, communications, donor relations, prospect research and alumni relations staff.

Full participation in this program is applicable for 12 points in Category 1.B - Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.

Our program for academic leaders is designed for deans and department chairs, provosts and presidents, and other academicians involved in fundraising.  

Suitable for governing boards or advisory boards, this program helps your volunteer leaders gain a better understanding of organized fundraising in a complex academic setting.

  • Building Your Principal Gift Pipeline

  • Growth Strategies for Your Endowment

  • Campaign Planning & Preparation

  • Coaching Fundamentals for Advancement Managers

  • Using Storytelling to Advance Donor Cultivation

  • Building High-Performing Volunteer Boards

Before We Begin

Prior to delivering any of our educational programs, we work with you through a number of critical steps that set the tone for a real learning experience, rather than a simple training exercise. Our programs are intended to feel like graduate-level seminars, requiring active participation, critical thinking and pre-assigned readings. These preparatory steps help us understand your past, as well as your potential, as we work collaboratively to define the learning outcomes you are seeking.


Client Background Review

We review your institutional fundraising history, staffing structure, operating policies, peer comparisons, and any recent institutional and unit strategic plans so we can fully understand your program.


Determine Learning Objectives

You identify for us the individuals who will be participating and we help develop the optimal course structure.


Align Participant Expectations

We conduct an on-line assessment survey for all participants to determine how the program will meet their own professional development needs.


Assign Pre-Readings

All participants receive a course binder with the presentation materials and useful reference information, along with Achieving Excellence in Fundraising


Now in its 4th edition, this book includes nearly 40 chapters from experts and scholars in philanthropy. It has been adopted by more than 450 U.S. colleges for use in 1,350 classes.

Enhancing the Learning Experience

Effective learning occurs when what is being taught becomes real. We facilitate this through individual coaching opportunities to allow your gift officers, deans, or boards to apply our course content to real donors to your institution. We help develop specific, actionable strategies that can be followed to help raise more major gifts.


We provide these one-hour coaching sessions during our on-site programs, and can continue them with a series of follow-up meetings on campus, or via video conferencing or phone calls.

  • Individual Coaching

  • Learning Assessment

Following all our programs, we conduct a post-program evaluation survey with every participant, similar to college-level teaching evaluations. We use these instruments to help determine if learning objectives were achieved. We also use these to assess our own performance and make continuous improvements to our teaching processes and materials.

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