Instructor: Thomas Vansaghi, Ph.D., Senior Fellow of the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, UMKC adjunct instructor, and associate professor of nonprofit leadership at William Jewell College

The Fundraising Leadership Series provides development professionals with essential leadership skills to be a strategic leader in their organization. The unique design of this certificate series, co-created with nonprofit leaders, recognizes the central role of development in a nonprofit’s culture, strategy, and communications. Participants will engage with other development professionals in an interactive program that builds their capacity as organizational leaders and changemakers. Each session will feature senior nonprofit leaders from across the region who will share their expertise and experiences on the topic.

Upon completion, development professionals will have applied experience in their organization’s context using leadership tools and knowledge they acquire. Additionally, they will exhibit the capacity to better lead strategic development operations in nonprofit organizations.

The 2023 Fundraising Leadership Series:
If you would like to be notified when we schedule the next offering of the Fundraising Leadership Series (please let us know at / (816) 235-5720.



Program Details

Module 1 – Building a Culture of Philanthropy
Friday, October 6, 2023 (8:30-11:30am)
– UMKC Bloch Executive Hall, 5108 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri

Often development responsibility falls on a small segment of people siloed from the organization’s operations. Building a Culture of Philanthropy assists and supports participants to lead and manage development activity to and for all within the organization.

Objectives of Module One:

  • Participants should gain an understanding of the components of a culture of philanthropy.
  • Participants should begin to understand how to build a culture of philanthropy.
  • Participants should learn how to examine their development department’s culture and operations to assess whether they are on course to create a culture of philanthropy.

Module 2 – Designing the Long Game
Friday, October 20, 2023 (8:30-11:30am)
– This session will be held via Zoom.

A hallmark of a nonprofit’s success lies in its ability to design an inclusive strategic planning process. This is equally true for a successful development operation. Designing the Long Game equips participants with the tools to develop, articulate and measure a strategic plan for the fund development operation that works within the organization’s larger strategic plan.
Objectives for Module Two:

  • Participants should increase their appreciation for mission statements and their importance to the fundraising process.
  • Participants should learn and understand how to operationalize the components of the strategic planning cycle.
  • Participants should realize how to measure the results of a strategic plan using a dashboard.

Module 3 – Prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Fundraising
Friday, October 27, 2023 (8:30-11:30am)
– UMKC Bloch Executive Hall, 5108 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri

The dynamics surrounding fundraising in communities of color are complex but crucial for nonprofit professionals to fully understand. Fundraising leaders at majority white organizations often overlook people of color as potential donors and can become frustrated because they can’t recruit them to support their causes. Prioritizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Fundraising offers development professionals insight to focus more time and attention on respectfully approaching and engaging diverse communities.

Objectives for Module Three:

  • Participants should begin to understand the deep potential of donors of color.
  • Participants should learn best practices for diversifying their development team.
  • Participants should realize how to engage and increase support in communities of color.

Module 4 – Developing & Strengthening Talent
Friday, November 10, 2023 (8:30-11:30am)
– This session will be held via Zoom.

Unemployment is near a historic low, which creates serious obstacles for nonprofit leaders to recruit and retain development professionals. Developing & Strengthening Talent provides participants with tools to assess staff, build a culture that maximizes talent, and cultivate leadership within the development area of your organization.

Objectives for Module Four:

  • Participants should identify approaches for recruiting high quality development staff.
  • Participants should learn best practices for retaining development staff.
  • Participants should develop an understanding of strategies for training, evaluating and rewarding development staff.

Module 5 – Strategic Communications
Friday, November 17, 2023 (8:30-11:30am)
– UMKC Bloch Executive Hall, 5108 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri

When we say development, how many people think of the ask? The ask is the part of the iceberg above water that you see, building audience and a prospect database accounts for the 90% of the iceberg that goes unseen. In Strategic Communications, participants will be equipped with the tools essential for building a bigger and better audience of prospective donors.

Objectives for Module Five:

  • Participants should learn how to utilize the components of a market driven nonprofit.
  • Participants should understand how to operationalize donor-centered fundraising principles.
  • Participants should recognize how to retain donors using their mission and storytelling.

Program Logistics:
Each module is delivered from 8:30am to 11:30am. The in-person sessions will be held at the UMKC Bloch Executive Hall, 5108 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri and the virtual sessions will be held via Zoom.

CFRE Credits:
Full participation in the Fundraising Leadership Series is applicable for 15 points in Category 1.B -Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.

Cancellation and Transfer Policy:
Full refunds will be given when cancellations are made at least five working days before the first session. A $50 cancellation fee will be deducted from refunds when notification occurs fewer than five working days before class begins. No refunds will be made after the first session has begun. You may transfer your registration by contacting MCNL at (816) 235-5720 or

Photo and Video Release:
By attending the event, you are giving MCNL permission to use photos and videos from the workshop in future promotional materials.