Program Overview:

Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations

The program is designed for those seeking to advance their careers in fundraising and nonprofit administration through a combination of hands-on skills and theoretical knowledge, taught by practitioners in the field from major nonprofit institutions, research universities and consulting firms.  Students may choose any four courses for a customized certificate in "Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations," and we have provided recommended tracks in fundraising and nonprofit management for those seeking a more targeted learning experience.

Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organization Track

A customized course of study where students pick any four courses from the Core list below, with substitutions allowed from the Fundamentals of Leadership Program. 


Audience: Those with multiple roles within a nonprofit or those looking for a customized learning experience, blending fundraising, leadership and management.

Fundraising Professional Track

Hands-on skills program to teach students how to effectively raise money through major gifts, planned gifts, and capital campaigns.  In addition, students will learn about the psychology of donors and what makes people give.


Audience: Frontline fundraising personnel such as major gift officers, annual fund directors, capital campaign managers, development associates

Nonprofit Professional Track

Understand financial and legal structures of nonprofits as well as how to write mission statements, strategic plans and work with boards


Audience: Managers and directors in nonprofits and those that want to start a nonprofit

Certificate Requirements

To be awarded a certificate of completion for the "Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations" program, students must complete four courses. Students may also choose to complete either of the tracks below to be awarded either a "Fundraising Professional Certificate" or "Nonprofit Professional Certificate." 

Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations Track

  • Take any four (4) courses from the list below (Core or Elective).
  • Students may substitute Fundamentals of Leadership courses as well
  • There is no need to get pre-approval as long as students follow the above guidelines
  • Questions on other potential courses can be addressed to pdp@northwestern.edu

Fundraising Professional Track

  • Donor Psychology
  • Grantsmanship and Program Development
  • Major Gift Fundraising from Individuals, Corporations & Foundations
  • One elective course from the Fundamentals of Leadership or Nonprofit Professionals program

Nonprofit Professionals Track

  • Leadership and Organizational Strategy
  • Financial Management of Nonprofits
  • Legal Issues in Philanthropy
  • Missions Statements, Strategic Planning and Board Governance

For Current Students

In order to make this change user-friendly for you, we have the following options in place:

  • As a current student, you can earn a certificate for “Fundraising Professional,” “Nonprofit Professional,” or “Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations.”
  • If you have already completed 4 courses, you may apply them to receive a certificate immediately.
  • If you took the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy or Nonprofit Management courses, you may apply those courses to any other course. 

Grantsmanship for the Research Professional

While this is not a separate track, this course can be useful to grant administrators in the sciences, medicine and other research-intensive environments.  This may be substitued for the Granstmanship and Program Development course in the Fundraising Professional track as well.

Core Courses:

  • LEAD_ART 200-0 Leadership and Org Strat
  • PHIL_NP 315-0 Donor Psychology and The Ask
  • PHIL_NP 320-0 Financial Management
  • PHIL_NP 325-0 NonProfit Governance
  • PHIL_NP 330-0 Legal Issues in Philanthropy
  • PHIL_NP 378-0 Major Gift Fundraising
  • PHIL_NP 381-0 Grantsmanship & Program Dev

Elective Courses:

  • PHIL_NP 380-0 Grants for the Research Prof.