In the Trenches - a fundraising masterclass

What Is A Master Classs?

In the Trenches is The Center for Civil Society’s no-nonsense online master class series that invites you into the trenches of fundraising and teaches you the fundamental tactics you need to raise more money for your organization.

Led by seasoned consultants, each two- to three-hour online immersion course focuses on a specific development topic. After reviewing key fundamentals and background information, participants have a chance to view and comment on real examples of development done well and poorly, ask questions, and share ideas. With each class, you also receive course materials to reference after the class and a one-on-one conversation with a course instructor.

Why Should I Attend?

Webinars have their place, but they’re no replacement for substantive interaction. They’re too often one-sided and canned. You can’t see one another. Interactions are restricted to chat boxes. The conversation rarely gets below the surface. Most, frankly, are just boring—or amount to pleasant background noise while you check your email.

The Center For Civil Society’s In the Trenches is different. We dig deep into particular questions and situations because if we’re going to talk tactics—and that’s the aim of In the Trenches—we need to get specific. Led by seasoned consultants, these three-hour immersion courses (with a break to check your email, of course) demand your full attention and deliver real learning. They’re anything but background noise.

What Do I Get?

Each online master class is presented live via Zoom over a two- to three-hour period with built-in breaks. These interactive teaching sessions dive deep into the “why” behind each fundraising technique and demonstrate how to apply theory to practice using real-life examples. You’ll come away with learning you can apply to your work immediately. You also get a packet of materials with tools and reference materials related to each class topic, and the opportunity to schedule a one-on-one advising session with a course instructor after each class to talk through specific questions or issues.

What Does It Cost?

Master class access can be purchased on a per-class basis for $250.

Alternatively, you can buy a bundle of five classes for $1,000. Purchased class bundles are transferable within your organization, but only one person can participate in a class per registration.

A Master Class For Every Nonprofit Need

Foundations Master Class

Elements of Grant Writing

As a fundraiser, you write proposals for the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks: because that’s where the money is. But could you be writing them better? Galvanize your grant writing with this master class on the fundamentals of writing successful proposals.

Major Gifts Master Class

Acquiring, Retaining, and Upgrading Your Most Valuable Donors

A strong major gifts program is the lifeblood of many nonprofits, and, on the surface, building a major gifts program seems fairly straightforward. Set achievable goals, identify major donors, secure visits, transform donors into partners in your mission, and watch your fundraising efforts flourish.

Capital Campaigns Master Class

Advancing Your Mission with a Successful Campaign

Are you looking for a quick infusion of cash? It can be tempting to see a capital campaign as the answer—but when it comes to campaigns, only fools rush in. Running a successful capital campaign takes the right project, the right donor base, the right pitch, and the right people.

Direct Response Master Class

Integrating Direct Mail and Digital Outreach

Direct mail is the single most powerful and cost-effective technique a fundraiser has to reach and attract new donors. But in our increasingly digital world, your outreach can stretch beyond your donors’ mailboxes. By adding digital outreach to your fundraising quiver, you’ll forge deeper connections with a wider array of donors than ever before.


What is included in my registration?

Registration starts with a seat in the master class, but doesn’t end there. In addition to attending the master class, you will receive:

  • training materials on the master class topic for future reference,
  • the best essays and practicalities on the master class topic from Philanthropy Daily,
  • and a 30-minute one-on-one consultation with a consultant at a time of your choosing following each master class.
How much does each session cost?

Each class costs $250. A bundle of five classes is available for $1,000. Purchased class bundles are transferable within your organization, but only one person can participate in a class per registration.

How many people will be in the class?

Each class will have no more than 40 participants. We want to keep the classes as intimate as possible to allow time for plenty of discussion and Q&A.

How will the class be conducted?

The class will be conducted over video conference. Participants will receive a private link and password to join the video conference prior to the master class.

Who is the ideal participant?

The ideal participant is a nonprofit development leader with several years of fundraising experience. While most master classes include some background introductory material on the given subject, they assume a basic level of familiarity with the subject at hand and are designed to help those seeking to further develop their skills.

Do you have a waiting list?

Yes. Each session has a waiting list. If a registrant can’t make a session, we notify the first person on the waiting list. The waiting list for each class is first-come, first-served.

Is it possible to receive a discount?

Please contact us to learn about potential discounts.

Will participants receive CFRE credit for participating?

No! We would post our reasoning here, but it’s lengthy. Feel free to ask—but do so at your own risk!