Upon completion of the four seminars, participants will apply the concepts learned in the course through designing and implementing a project over the next year at their faith-based institution. Projects vary in length from 3 to 12 months. Candidates will first submit a project proposal typically due within 30 days of the final seminar. Examples of past projects have included designing a year-round stewardship program, the annual giving/fundraising campaign, a special fundraising initiative, development of a planned giving program, an educational program to foster generosity, a leadership development program for staff and/or governing board, and a pre-campaign planning program.
As part of the final day of the course, the instructor will lead a detailed conversation about the final project. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss project ideas with faculty during the program. Following the four-day course, participants will receive additional guidance as they design and launch their projects.
Your proposal paper should address the following issues:
- Briefly describe your project.
- Describe the institutional or organizational need your project is intended to address.
- Describe the larger vision birthing this proposal and the ways in which this project will enhance the mission and ministry of your institution as you look to the future.
- Outline the organizational steps you will take to carry out this project.
- What are the institutional and process challenges you must navigate to make this project successful?
- Who are the key stakeholders—individuals—you need to bring on board to bless the project?
- Who needs to be on your project committee/guiding coalition? Remember: A fundraising project cannot be a solo effort if it is to be successful.
- Outline the roles and functions different individuals or partners will play in the project.
- What are the new audiences—if any—you might solicit in this project and what new technologies might you experiment with in reaching this audience? What use, for example, might you make of social media?
- What is the timeline for your project: beginning, organizational target dates, public launching of the project, conclusion of the project?
Keep your project manageable. As a first-step project in religious fundraising, smaller will be better than larger. In communicating your project to your constituency (your case or mission statement):
- Be clear and simple—eliminate theological jargon and technobabble.
- Be aspirational—appeal to peoples hopes, dreams, and values; don’t deluge them with data.
Upon completion of the project you will write a reflection paper in which you assess your learning. Your paper should answer the following questions:
- What did I do? What role did I play? What roles did other people play? What use did I make of volunteers and lay leaders?
- How did I respect and navigate the institutional systems in carrying out my project?
- What did I learn: what worked, what did not work?
- What practices and procedures will I carry on into my future fundraising programs?
Lake Institute on Faith & Giving will oversee and approve both the project proposal and the final reflection paper, then in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy officially confer the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising.
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