Fundraising Event Management Certificate Course

Course Overview

Fundraising events provide an opportunity for non-profits to secure essential income but also help to educate donors, guests and volunteers of the organizational mission. Whether a gala dinner, cultivation event, walk-a-thon or benefit concert, this course will examine the fundamentals of fundraising event management. Through this course you’ll learn who the key players are within a non-profit, event budgeting, income projections and ticketing, marketing outreach, food and beverage, logistics management, as well as how to employ strategic tools such as silent and online auctions, live appeals, video components, etc. to help increase the financial success of a fundraising event.


  • Gain an understanding of the similarities across fundraising events and the key elements that can make them successful.

  • Create a working budget for a fundraising event, develop income projections, manage ticketing and incorporate tools onsite/online to help raise additional income.

  • Learn how marketing plays an important role when influencing donor/guest experience pre- during and post event.

  • Learn how to select honorees, and create a leadership structure for your fundraiser.

SCROLL DOWN to see more details including a breakdown of course content, learner testimonials, and FAQ’s. 

Start Date: TBD 2021

Length: 8 Weeks Online

Instructor & Content:
Michelle French

Facilitating Instructor:
Kelli McCrea

 CMP Clock Hours: 20

Course Cost: $795 USD

ELI Members Price: $636 USD*

Not yet an ELI member? Sign up today for only $25/month to gain access to over 180 on-demand video courses, interviews & more, plus save 20% on this and other multi-week professional development courses! CLICK HERE to learn more and sign up!

* Click “Register Now” to check availability and deadlines. Cannot be combined with any other offers.

Course Instructors

Learn From An Industry Leader

Instructor Michelle French is a story teller at heart. Every event she produces tells a tale, delivers a message, and has an effect that continues long after the tables are cleared and the last attendee exits the venue.

The insights and skills that go into creating meaningful events had their beginnings when Michelle was a student at the Indiana University Kelly School of Business where she majored in marketing and international studies. After working for American Airlines as part of the sales team and being present for 9/11, Michelle considered how she might use her talents to make a difference. Heading West, Michelle became the Event Manager for the California Science Center, and within six years the company experienced rapid growth.

In 2009, Michelle founded Sunday Sol Events, where she applies the principle that her work isn’t complete with just one event, but must fit into a client’s long-range plans. As Michelle works on telling the story of each organization, she focuses on the audience. Are we sending a clear message? Is there a call to action? Are we inspiring them? This unique approach is what sets Sunday Sol Events apart.

Please note: While course content and videos have been developed and delivered by industry expert Michelle French, learners will not have access to Michelle directly. This course is facilitated by industry leading instructor Kelli McCrea, Ed.D who guides and supports learners throughout the course, answers questions, provides feedback on assignments, grades quizzes and exams.

Facilitating Instructor

Dr. Kelli McCrea teaches event management, event planning and operation, customer service, and management of recreation, hospitality, and parks at California State University, Chico. In addition to teaching, Kelli also serves as the Department Assessment Coordinator, Accreditation Co-Coordinator, and student club advisor. Kelli lives in Napa Valley, California, and frequently does events on the weekends.

Course Content

Why Host A Fundraising Event

  • When events make sense, and when they don’t
  • Understanding what resources need to be committed
  • Measuring success

Leveraging the Psychology of Philanthropy

  • Why donors give
  • What sponsors look for
  • Why volunteers participate
  • Converting attendees into evangelists

Successfully Utilizing Committees

  • Types of Committees and their roles
  • Formation and structure
  • Profile of the ideal committee member
  • Tips for managing committee deliverables

Landing & Keeping Event Sponsors

  • What elements can be sponsored
  • Creating a sponsorship packet that sells
  • Delivering value for sponsors
  • Exchange of goods and services

Budget & Regulatory Issues

  • Setting achievable goals
  • Fixed vs. variable costs
  • Developing an integrated fundraising plan
  • Setting ticket & sponsor pricing tiers
  • Fair market value + IRS regulations
  • Are you certified to fund raise? What planners need to know
  • Comps: when and how to utilize strategically

Galas – Strategy

  • Leadership structure: honorary chair, event chair, honorees, committees
  • Honoree selection and expectations
  • Ticket and sponsor level pricing

Galas – Logistics

  • Securing the right venue
  • Negotiating tactics
  • Selecting food & beverage that reflect the organization
  • Dealing with donated alcohol
  • Program development: timing of awards, dinner service, auctions & speeches
  • Seating logistics: who should sit where, and why


  • What makes a successful auction item
  • How many items should you have
  • Keys to securing quality auction items
  • Calculating fair market value & tax deductability
  • Setting minimum bid levels and increments
  • Consignment items: pros, cons and advice
  • Silent auction logistics
  • Live auction logistics
  • Registration, close out and cashiering
  • Online auction logistics

Other Fundraising Concepts

  • Golf outings
  • _____-A-Thons
  • Keynote speaker events
  • Arts, wine & music events
  • Other creative ideas

Alternative Methods of Fundraising

  • Social media
  • Video or live appeal (balloon auction, straight ask, etc.)
  • Tabletop appeal (envelope, bid cards, etc.)
  • Mobile platforms (Text-to-Pledge, BidPal, iML, etc.)

Marketing Outreach

  • Invitations & RSVP tracking
  • Website
  • Social media
  • Press and media relations
  • Event journal
  • Socialite magazines & photography


Onsite Branding

  • Step & repeat photo ops
  • Utilizing wire images and hashtags
  • Tabletop & bar educational signage, journal
  • Staging & set design
  • Photo/video: shot lists, post-event marketing usage
  • Thank you gifts


Volunteers & Staffing

  • In-house staff: roles & responsibilities
  • Tips for securing quality volunteers
  • Orientation & training: where many non-profits fall short
  • Skills placement
  • Managing volunteer teams


Post-Event Responsibilities

  • Keeping honorees engaged
  • Thank you notes, acknowledgment letters
  • Expense tracking & final budget
  • Surveys and tracking guest experiences
  • R.O.I. analysis & event debriefing


Earn Your Digital Credential

After you’ve successfully completed the course and final exam, you’ll be awarded your very own ELI Digital Credential showcasing your certification in Fundraising Event Management Fundamentals. A Digital Credential from ELI shows employers and potential clients that you’ve received the education and training necessary for success in the exciting field of event planning.

You can display your digital credential on your LinkedIn, social media profiles, website, email signature, and any other places online you want to highlight your expertise.

Who Takes This Course?

Here’s a little sample of where some of our learners come from who have enrolled in the Fundraising Event Management Certificate course…

Achieva Credit Union
Adelphi University
Army and Navy Academy
Baptist Health Foundation
Best Friends Animal Society
Canucks Autism Network
Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation
Cornell University
Cosumnes River College
Drexel University
East Stroudsburg University
Femmespire Media
FH Canada
Foothills Academy Society
Greater Milwaukee Foundation
Hartford Hospital
Hispanic Federation
Impact XM
Inspired Events
Insurance Bureau of Canada
International School of the Peninsula
Jewish National Fund
Lifewater International
Little Kids Rock
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Manhattan Theatre Club
Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association
Philadelphia Zoo
Ronald McDonald House Charities of New Mexico
Royal Flying Doctor Service
San Diego Blood Bank
Sarcoma Foundation of America
Seabury Resources for Aging
Society of the Four Arts
Teach For America
The Cooper Union
The Disneyland Resort
The Greater Boston Food Bank
The Hive Climbing
The Hope Center
The Inn at ONU
The Lansing Center for Family growth and Enrichment
TMC Foundaiton
United Service Organizations
United Way California Capital Region
University of Massachusetts Lowell
University of Michigan Health System
University of Michigan, UMHS Development
Vanity Fair
Washington’s National Park Fund
Wesleyan University
Westport Country Playhouse
Wheaton College
World Wildlife Fund
Wounded Warrior Project
Wyss Institute at Harvard University
YMCA of Greater Indianapolis

What People Are Saying…

I would highly recommend the Fundraising and Event Management Course to anyone considering it. The instructor, Michelle French, is knowledgeable and engaging.  She uses excellent examples and clearly has a wealth of knowledge to share. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and believe the information will allow me to better plan and coordinate future events. Thank you!”

Ashley Marcoux

This course was fantastic!  I got so much more out of it than I expected!  Meeting and Event planner are a lot more strategic and math-oriented than most people outside the industry know.  This course was insightful, interesting, and made me proud to use my analytical skills to further my knowledge in our industry. I can’t wait to apply what I learned in this course!”

Elise Fritz-Gage

The Event Leadership Institute stands behind all of its content. If you feel you didn’t learn what you expected to in this course, just let us know within 30 days of your last lesson and we’ll give you a full refund. Click here to view our refund policy and full terms & conditions.

How does the course work?

Participants will log into our private Learning Management System, where each week approximately 2 hours of new lesson content will be released. Lesson content will usually be in video format, broken into digestible chapters of approximately 5-10 minutes each, and may be supplemented with PDFs or links to external articles. The lessons may be viewed at any time once they are released, and you can complete the lesson videos at your own pace. Short quizzes and assignments may be given to help reinforce learning outcomes.

What if I’m busy one week and can’t get to the material?

At the end of this 8 week online course, we provide participants an additional four weeks to catch up if they were unavailable for any portion of the course (hey, we know planners are busy).

When/how can I contact the instructor during the course?

The instructor or instructor’s assistant will be available to answer questions and provide feedback at set times each week. Outside of those hours, the instructor will make every effort to respond to emails within two business days. (Keep in mind our instructors are subject matter experts who are actively working on events.)

Tell me about your learning guarantee?

The Event Leadership Institute stands behind all of its content. If you feel you didn’t learn what you expected to in this course, just let us know within 30 days of the final lesson and we’ll give you a full refund.



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