CNL Launches 2nd Annual Fundraising & Development Certificate Program

Are you frustrated or intimidated by fundraising? Looking for the confidence, knowledge, and skill necessary to strengthen your organization’s development program?

Join us to grow your fundraising superpowers and build your nonprofit’s impact!


Designed for small to mid-sized nonprofits, this six-month program will demystify fundraising and give you the knowledge and tools to needed to create a development plan and fundraise successfully for your organization. You will learn in a collaborative and hands-on environment consisting of interactive trainings, peer-learning circles, and individualized coaching.

As a participant in this program you will:

  • Learn specific development skills including how to:
    • Write stronger donor-centered and personalized fundraising appeals which speak directly to your donors.
    • Produce grant proposals that get funded.
    • Strengthen your stewardship program to retain your donors by building meaningful partnerships.
    • Manage your time and plan your calendar with more clarity and focus.
    • Connect with donors, listen carefully, and successfully make a face-to-face ask to support your worthy nonprofit!
  • Integrate new ideas and skills with the support of your peer learning circle and one-on-one individualized coaching.
  • Build your confidence as part of a collaborative learning community of nonprofit professionals.
  • Leave with your own personalized Development Plan, skills and tools to guide your work, and increased confidence to put your skills into action.

What to expect from this program

What: Six full days of in-person training, multiple peer-learning sessions, plus 3 hours of one-on-one coaching with our trainers. 

When: Feb-June 2020: Each month you will participate in a full-day face-to-face workshop on the the following dates: February 11, March 10, April 14, May 12, and June 9 from 9:00AM to 4:00PM.

July-August 2020: You will build your organizational Development Plan with the help of our coaches. Plus peer-learning calls to support your work on your plan during these summer months.

September 2020: Final session to share your Development Plans and celebrate your hard work and success on September 8, 2020 from 9:00AM to 4:00PM.

Where: Monthly in-person trainings will take place in Barre, Vermont at the Downstreet Community Space.

Who: Our Development and Fundraising Certificate Program is designed for leaders, staff members, and volunteers at small and mid-sized nonprofits who are interested in making long-term improvements in their ability to raise funds and develop ongoing relationships with donors. There are great benefits to bringing a team; we welcome more than one participant from your organization and encourage your executive director to attend.

What will you be learning?

Proposed Training Topic Schedule:

Throughout the sessions we will focus on building a strong individual gift program through respectful relationship-based fundraising.

February: Development Overview and Planning—What makes your development and marketing plan successful? We will set the stage for goal setting and putting structures in place.

March: Donor Relations/Stewardship—How can you include our donors in the important work of your organization? We will work together to learn to communicate effectively to engage your donors and will explore multiple points of engagement including how to run productive events.

April: Fundraising Appeals—How can you develop donor-centered print and e-appeals? We will learn best practices for personalization of your appeals that speak directly to your donors.

May: Proposal Writing and Grant Writing—What make makes a good proposal? We will learn time tested tools of the trade to learn to write proposals that get funded. Also, Databases/Managing/Reporting—How can you manage your database so it is efficient and provides what you need? We will review best practices in managing your data and reporting to meet your organization and donor needs.

June: Solicitation/Asking—How to engage with your donors as partners in your organization’s work. What is the process involved in asking for face-to-face contribution and how do board members fit into this? Together we will go over the format of an asking conversation and practice an intentional gift conversation using the Connecting Conversations model. Your board members are invited to attend this session.

July and August: Work on Development Plans—Over the Summer, you will work on your development plans. You may choose to have one of the coaching sessions happen over the summer to support your work.

Early September: Kick-Off Fundraising Season Event—Join together with the cohort team and share your development plan and celebrate the start of the fundraising season.

Tuition and financial aid

Tuition for the Fundraising and Development Certificate is $2800 per participant. A $250 deposit will be due upon acceptance into the program.

Past participants in Center for New Leadership programs have received financial assistance through VSAC’s Advancement Grant and TD Bank’s Nonprofit Resources Grant. Former Americorps and VISTA volunteers may be able to use their Segal Education Award to offset tuition costs.


About the Lead Trainer

Jenn Hayslett

Jenn Hayslett, principal at Jenn Hayslett Coaching and Consulting, brings 25 years of leadership experience as a successful fundraiser, manager, facilitator, and trainer to her work as a coach and non-profit consultant. Jenn has direct experience in all areas of fundraising and marketing for small to mid-sized nonprofits including design and management of annual operations fundraising, major gift solicitation and stewardship, capital campaign organization and management, grant writing, marketing, community organizing, and volunteer management. Her specialty is in supporting board members and staff in building and improving relationship-based fund development programs.


Here’s what training participants had to say about the program and our lead trainer, Jenn Hayslett:

“Jenn’s expertise and energy were just phenomenal! She is a confident and engaging speaker/teacher who reads her group and adjusts content to their need. This course enabled me to secure a $500,000 matching gift for our Annual Appeal. I never would have had the skills, knowledge, or courage to do this without this class. What an ROI!”

Judy Peterson, President and CEO , UVM Health Network Home Health and Hospice

“I feel like I’ve gotten answers to so many of the questions I had about development work. Not just the best practices, but also some time and face saving tricks of the trade from someone who has had success in the field. This class feels like an essential for anyone embarking on a career in non profit development work or even higher level non-profit management. I will be better at my job because of this course!”

Connor Timmons, Executive Director, Common Ground Center

“Whether you’re just starting out in Development and don’t know where to begin or you need the support of a network of peers and an excellent instructor to help you prioritize and gain confidence, this class really delivers. Too many trainings offer only a high level view and never get down to the detail; this training is both personalized and broad to cover a wide array of abilities and needs.”

Jess Estabrooks, Development and Communications Director, ReSOURCE

“This class gave me the confidence to believe in my good ideas, treat my challenges as learning experiences, and to use my unique skills to enhance the work I do. I have been doing this work for most of my career, and I finally feel like I can actually be myself and be a good fundraiser.”

Lissa Harris, Director of Capacity Building at Windham and Windsor Housing Trust

“This course helped me to gain greater insight into the “hows” and “whys” of fundraising. I developed a much greater understanding of the role of establishing strong relationships with donors, and how to communicate that to our small staff so that we all felt that we had a valuable role in development.”

Karen Scott, Director of Operations, Up for Learning

“This course really demystified development work for me, breaking in into concrete pieces and helping me understand how they can come together as a comprehensive program. I feel ready to help our organization grow our development and excited about the opportunities that this growth will bring, both personally and for our organization.”

Erin Buckwalter, Market Development Director, NOFA VT

“Jenn made me feel that this work is not only doable, but rich and exciting!”

Sharon Panich, Communications Lead/Board Member, GunSense VTSection NavigationSection Navigation