If you want to advance your career in fundraising, donor relations, or grant writing, a Master’s degree program can give you the skills and knowledge you need. In these programs, you will learn how to effectively solicit and manage donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. You will also learn how to write successful grant proposals. In addition, you will gain an understanding of the legal and ethical issues surrounding fundraising. Here are our top 20 picks:
Bay Path University’s MSc in Strategic Fundraising & Philosophy is a 1-year program offered online and through blended courses designed to teach students strategies for building long-term donor relationships and obtaining major gifts in support of nonprofits. Students can choose to take classes full-time (1 year) or part-time (1-2 years). Students can choose from 2 tracks: Nonprofit Fundraising or Higher Education Fundraising. Through this program, students will gain a deeper understanding of philanthropy in the nonprofit sector, learn codes of conduct and professional standards, develop skills in fundraising management, gain research methods in fundraising, and more.
Students can expect to pay $710 per credit for the program. Students in the fundraising program are eligible to apply for the Trustees’ Leadership Development Scholarship if they meet the qualifying criteria. Graduate grants are also available for Bay Path undergraduate students choosing to continue their education at the university. Outside financial aid options may also be available.
City University of London offers an MSc in Charity Marketing and Fundraising, a part-time, 2-year program. Through this program, students gain an understanding of marketing and fundraising strategies in the nonprofit sector. Students choose a specialization area of their choice. Through the program, participants will first complete a Postgraduate Diploma and have the option to continue on to an MSc degree, which requires completion of a research methods module. To complete the degree, students will write and present a 15,000-word dissertation based on personal, supervised research or choose a taught Master’s degree by taking various modules from other charity programs.
For the Master’s program, fees cost a total of £10,000. Some students may be eligible for a postgraduate loan or scholarship through the UK government. The university also offers 5 bursaries of £1,000 each to students whose organizations they work for match specific criteria.
City University of London’s MSc in Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment is a part-time, 2+ year program designed to help participants gain a deeper understanding of grantmaking processes and the philanthropy sector. Students will also learn skills in marketing and fundraising, as well as learn how to measure social impact. Students gain a Postgraduate Diploma before continuing on to the MSc degree, which requires the completion of a research methods module and 15,000-word dissertation. Students can also choose a taught Master’s by taking various other charity-focused courses.
For the Master’s program, fees cost a total of £10,000. Students who choose an April 2020 enrollment will owe £9,810. Some students may be eligible for a postgraduate loan or scholarship through the UK government.
Concordia University Chicago offers a Master’s in Grant Writing, Management and Evaluation, an 8-week accelerated degree offered online. Through this program, students will gain skills and knowledge in grant-seeking activities, grant-writing, grant management, and program evaluation in the nonprofit sector. Students will be required to use experiences and resources from partnering organizations to complete projects. To complete the program, students must complete a capstone project in the form of a program evaluation or grant proposal.
The Master’s tuition costs $460 per credit, with an additional $15 technology fee per credit. Including book costs, students can expect to pay around $15,050 for the total program.
MA Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development – University of Northern Iowa – Cedar Falls, IA, USA/Online
University of Northern Iowa’s MA Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development degree is a part-time, 2-year program offered online. Some courses are taught through eLearning while others meet via video conferencing. This program is designed to help students gain skills in fundraising for nonprofits, ethics and legality of philanthropy, nonprofit development, grant writing, donor relations, and more. Students take 2 courses every spring, summer, and fall semester.
Students will pay $509 per credit for this program; an additional technology fee may apply. Some financial aid may be available for online programs. Students may also be eligible for government loans or grants.
MSc Nonprofit Leadership (Concentration in Philanthropy and Resource Development) – University of Denver – Denver, CO, USA/Online
The University of Denver offers an MSc degree in Nonprofit Leadership with a Concentration in Philanthropy and Resource Development, a part-time, 2-year program offered through evening courses or online. Students will learn strategic development skills, fundraising strategies in diverse contexts, donor relations, and more. To complete the program, students must complete a research methods class, as well as a capstone project or portfolio.
Tuition for this program is $34,224. Students may be eligible for financial aid through government loans or grants. The university also offers a Graduate Impact Scholarship to students based on both academic merit and financial need. Any admitted students are eligible but must apply separately.
The University of Kent offers an MA in Philanthropic Studies, which is a part-time, 2-year online program. This multi-disciplinary program aims to teach students skills and theory in civil society, fundraising, philanthropy, nonprofit management, and volunteering. Master’s level students must complete a 60-credit dissertation in addition to their regular course modules. Students can engage with the university’s Center for Philanthropy, which is involved with several research projects on a variety of topics related to nonprofit development and philanthropy.
Tuition for the Master’s program costs £3725, not including any additional fees. The University of Kent, through Blackbaud, offers 1 full scholarship and 2 partial scholarships (£1,000 per year) for students in the Philanthropic Studies program. Students may also be eligible to apply for outside fundng or other funding offered by the university.
Master of Business (Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies) – Queensland University of Technology – Brisbane, QLD, AU
Queensland University of Technology’s Master of Business with a concentration in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies is a full-time program that takes 1 ½ to 2 years to complete. Students participating in this degree program will gain knowledge and skills in nonprofit management, fundraising, stakeholder communication, social enterprise, and more. In addition to the core courses, students will be able to choose from a variety of electives in the business program.
Tuition for this program is $33,100 per year. Students can search for a available scholarships on the university’s website. Several scholarships of various funding levels are available to students based on their degree program, nationality, and other various criteria.
Carleton University offers a Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, which can be completed full-time in just under 2 years or part-time in just over 3 years. Student can participate through a mix of online and on-campus courses but should not need to relocate. Program participants will gain knowledge and skills in a variety of areas including fundraising, policy, strategy, business, and more. Students complete their degree with an experiential capstone project, helping them gain first-hand experience in philanthropy work.
Tuition for this program is 6,590 CAD for Canadian students and 15,058 CAD for international students per year. This does not include additional fees and expenses. Students may be eligible for general graduate scholarships, including funding for Canadian students, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, merit scholarships, and donor-funded awards. Scholarship amounts vary based on funding source.
Bay Path University offers an MSc in Nonprofit Management & Philanthropy, which can be completed in 1 to 2 years at either full-time or part-time level; courses are offered completely online or as a mix of online and on-campus courses. Students will gain an understanding of relevant skills such as strategic planning, board governance, financial analysis, donor and volunteer management and more. Participants can also choose to add a Strategic Fundraising certificate to their degree. All students must take a capstone course on advanced management to complete their degree.
Tuition for this program is $710 per credit. Government loans and grants are available for eligible students. Students in the fundraising program are eligible to apply for the Trustees’ Leadership Development Scholarship if they meet the qualifying criteria. Graduate grants are also available for Bay Path undergraduate students choosing to continue their education at the university.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s MA in Philanthropy and Development is a full-time program offered through online fall and spring courses and two rounds of on-campus summer seminars. This program is for experienced professionals in the field of philanthropy to help them prepare for senior management positions. This Master’s degree focuses heavily on donor-centered communication and engagement, as well as stewardship. Through this program, students have the opportunity to engage with a prominent alumni network and connect with top-earning fundraisers throughout North America.
The MA in Philanthropy and Development costs $510 per credit, not including additional fees. Four distinct scholarships are available to students accepted to this program and must be applied to separately. All four scholarship opportunities require that applicants demonstrate financial need; multiple students may receive funding.
Master of Charity and Philanthropy Management – Macau University of Science and Technology – Taipa, Macau
Macau University of Science and Technology’s Master of Charity and Philanthropy Management is a full-time, 2-year program. Students will take courses covering a variety of topics, including fundraising, public relations, research methods, project management, social statistics, and more. To complete their degree, participants will present a research thesis.
This Master’s program costs 87,000 MOP (approx. 10,865 USD) for domestic students and 123,780 MOP (approx. 15,458 USD) for international students. The university has a number of scholarships available for graduate students, both full and partial tuition. These scholarships can be found and applied for through the university’s online application system.
The University of Oregon offers a Master of Nonprofit Management program, a full-time, 2-year degree. The courses are specifically tailored for nonprofit sector work, helping students gain skills in grant writing, fundraising, research, financial management, board governance, and more. In addition to taking the core courses, degree participants must also choose electives around a single field of interest from a variety of topic areas.
Tuition costs $554 per credit, plus additional fees and expenses. The school offers Graduate Employee Positions that cover the cost of tuition and include a monthly stipend. Other scholarships and funding opportunities are also available; eligibility criteria varies.
MA Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Management – Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC, USA/Online
Johns Hopkins University’s MA in Non-Governmental Organization Management is a 1 to 2 year program offered completely online. Students must complete 10 courses for the degree. Courses cover a variety of topics such as fundraising, nonprofit operations, financial management, and more. In addition to core courses, students must choose a focus area from one of the following: International Mission-Based Organizations; Project Management, Evaluation, and Leadership; Social Enterprise.
The cost of this Master’s program is $4,111 per course. Some scholarships are available for full-time students. Outside aid can be applied for part-time students.
Northeastern University offers an MSc in Nonprofit Management. This program can be attended part-time for 2 years or full-time for 1 ½ years. Courses can be taken all online, all on-campus, or through a blended format. Students will gain skills in fundraising, governance issues, leadership practices, grant writing, and more to help them understand how to navigate management in the nonprofit sector. A research-focused capstone course is required to complete the degree.
Tuition for this program is $32,700 per year. According to the university, 11% of students are receiving financial aid that averages $2,700 per student. The university has a wide variety of assistantships and scholarships available for graduate students.
St. Mary’s University Twickenham London offers a MA in Charity Management, which can be completed full-time in 1 year or part-time in about 2 years. This program is designed to teach students skills to help them run nonprofits. Through the courses, participants will learn fundraising strategy, leadership skills, strategic management, research skills, accounting, and more. In addition to a degree, students who complete this program will also gain an accredited award from the Chartered Management Institute.
Tuition for this degree program is £8,660 for home/EU students and £13,650 for international students. Alumni of St. Mary’s University can receive a 20% tuition discount. An international scholarship is available for international students. Government loans are also available for some students.
Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management – University of Southern California – Los Angeles, CA, USA
The University of Southern California’s Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management is a full-time, 2-year program. Students can also choose to attend part-time or on a 1-year accelerated track. Students take a variety of courses covering topics like development and fundraising, policy, program evaluation, board governance, and financial management. Students will also choose from several interesting electives and complete an experiential capstone course to graduate. This degree program does have a statistics prerequisite; students who have not completed a qualifying statistics course prior to attending the program can complete a course within the first year of study.
Tuition for this program is $1,938 per credit, equaling about $38,760 per year. USC has several scholarships available for graduate students, ranging from partial to full tuition coverage. Some funds are also available through paid internships and career development opportunities. Scholarship applications must be submitted by the admission deadline.
Masters of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership – Grand Valley State University – Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Grand Valley State University offers a Masters of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, a full-time, 2-year program. This program was ranked #8 for a Master’s in Nonprofit Management by collegechoice.net. Students will study a variety of topics including grantmaking, fundraising, program evaluation, social entrepreneurship, financial management, marketing, and more. This program also offers students the chance to conduct research alongside faculty and offers access to a comprehensive library collection of resources.
This degree costs $671 per credit, not including additional expenses and fees. GVU has a wide range of scholarships and grants available to students, depending on eligibility criteria. They also offer graduate assistantships. Their website has a comprehensive list of all available opportunities.
Arizona State University’s Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management is a 2-year program offered both on-campus and online. Students will learn a variety of relevant skills such as financial management, program evaluation, grant writing, human resources, leadership & ethics, and more. Students complete this degree through a capstone course that integrates the courses taken throughout the rest of the program.
Tuition for this program costs $11,720 for Arizona residents, $23,544 for other US residents, and $25,200 for international students. The online program costs $11,820 for all students. More than 80% of students receive some form of financial aid. The university also offers a variety of need- and merit-based scholarships and graduate funding opportunities, which can be searched for on their website.
MSc in Administration—Philanthropy and Fundraising – Central Michigan University – Mt. Pleasant, MI, USA
Central Michigan University offers a MSc in Administration—Philanthropy and Fundraising, a 2-year program. Courses will teach students skills and knowledge in a wide range of topics relating to nonprofit administration. To complete the degree, students must undertake a capstone project, either a research project or a directed administrative portfolio. Students are also encouraged to complete a 300-hour internship in a related field.
Tuition for this master’s program is $637 per credit for US students and $850 per credit for international students. The university has over 25 scholarships available for students, varying in eligibility criteria. Graduate Assistantships are also available.