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Core Curriculum

A rigorous curriculum is offered through monthly sessions during the academic year focused on universal components of development work. The components of the curriculum is based on the assumption that basic knowledge of key development practices have already been mastered. 

Topics include: Leadership Principles and Practice; The Development Plan; Gift Planning; Internal Relationships: CEO, Board Chair and Members, the Finance Office, Communications/Marketing, Program colleagues, and Volunteers; The Donor Relationship; Budgeting and Finance; Ethics

Sample Course Descriptions 

On Leadership

Lori Zahn, President and Founder and President,

Perceptive Leaders and Dan Reed, CEO, SEED Leaders

This session will launch the ILD program with an in-depth exploration of leadership. Prior to the first class, participants will complete an Emotional Intelligence self-assessment instrument that will help them evaluate their current level of emotional intelligence.  This session will introduce the concept of leadership, the dimensions of effective leadership, explore "leading from where you are" and will weave in "where you want to go." Participants will design a Personal Leadership Project to work on throughout the year.

Finance for Nonprofits

Peter Konrad, Ed.D. Philanthropic Advisor, Konrad Consulting 

The session will focus on better understanding nonprofit financial statements in order to communicate this important facet with donors. The class will review numerous nonprofit financial statements in order to better understand the underlying accounting principles. Class will review sample statements connected with grant applications to analyze the projects’ likelihood of funding.

The Development Plan 

Jennifer Darling, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy, Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation 

What is a development plan? Learn how to develop and follow one, and how to interpret results for future planning. Additional topics may be covered that round out the session on looking at the big picture and how to accomplish the tasks necessary for reaching the big goals. Session will also include guest speakers from the business community who will discuss corporate giving and partnerships.

Major Gifts

In this session, participants will learn about and discuss the concept of organizational lifecycles and why it matters for major gift work, the donor relationship lifecycle any organization has with its donors, and the roles of the CEO, the Board and staff in major gift fundraising. There will be ample discussion in both a large and small group format aimed at preparing participants for implementing and/or improving upon the major gifts work they are doing or want to do accomplish. Finally, the session leaders will share their experiences in creating and maintaining major gift programs in a variety of settings.

Development Relationships for Optimal Success
Steve Winesett, President and CEO, Children's Hospital Colorado Foundation

and featured guest speakers/panel discussion 

Participants will learn how to navigate key relationships in the nonprofit hierarchy that will help them be more successful in raising funds for their organizations. An afternoon discussion with an executive director and board member will allow for the sharing of experiences in working with staff, serving on, and helping raise dollars for, their favorite organizations.

Gift Planning  

Scott Lumpkin, Principal, SCOTT R. LUMPKIN & ASSOCIATES, LLC, Philanthropic Advisory Services

Gordon Smith, Assistant Vice President, Campaign, Planned and Principal Gifts, National Jewish Health 

Whether the participant is a seasoned gift planner from a large shop looking to sharpen skills, or a novice from a small shop desperate for how to begin, Scott and Gordon will provide great insights into what is most critical. This class will de-mystify and illuminate methods for incorporating planned giving into major gift cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.  

Ethics and Leadership (two-part program)

Morning | A Comprehensive Look at Ethics in Fundraising 

Sarah Harrison, Deputy Vice President, The Denver Foundation

The ethics session introduces the definition and history of Ethics and explores applications of ethical decision-making to fund development and nonprofit management. Participants review case studies and learn from outside speakers on ethical dilemmas that crop up regularly for all of us in our daily work.

Afternoon | Return to Leadership 
Lori Zahn, President and Founder, Perceptive Leaders and Dan Reed, CEO, SEED Leaders 

This session will provide opportunity for both reflection on the exploration of emotional intelligence assessment and personal leadership project progress introduced in the first session, and ways to carry the learning forward. 

In addition to these core components, guest speakers and panelists are added to select monthly classes throughout the year. 


Institute for Leaders in Development at University of Denver | University Hall 301 2197 S. University Blvd. Denver Colorado 80208 | ildcolorado@gmail.com 

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