Certificate in Legacy Fundraising

We’re delighted to have teamed up with The Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy once again to deliver a unique online study. In this class, we’ll share the latest academic research and the very best of professional experience and practice.

Critically, the course will also showcase new learning for legacy fundraising from the science of philanthropic psychology. You’ll learn how to help supporters overcome the barriers associated with will making and to design communications that resonate with donor identity and deliver a deep sense of supporter wellbeing that is unique to the legacy context.

The course offers 20 hours of online learning spread over a total of 4 weeks. You’ll listen to lectures, undertake assigned readings and participate in 2-3 discussion forums in each week of the class. You can log in whenever you want to, but we recommend keeping up with the weekly schedule to get the most out of the class AND the interaction with your peers.


Week 1: Legacy Fundraising Market

Week 2: Understanding Donor Behaviour

Week 3: Designing Effective Legacy Communications

Week 4: Legacy Marketing and the Legacy Marketing Mix

By the end of the course you will be able to:

1) Utilise key sources of information on the legacy market to inform your decision making

2) Understand who pledges legacy gifts and how you might target them

3) Develop a legacy donor persona for your organisation

4) Understand the role fundraising can play in overcoming barriers to legacy giving

5) Match donor motives with appropriate expressions of your case for support

6) Understand how to apply psych science principles to how people approach legacy decisions

7) Design legacy communications that maximize supporter wellbeing

8) Develop a legacy marketing plan for your organisation

To gain the Certificate participants will need to submit one very practical written assignment for grading/feedback from the course team. This can be either a communications critique or a legacy fundraising plan.


Full participation in the Certificate in Legacy Fundraising is applicable for 20 points in Category 1.B – Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.

The course is led by Professor Adrian Sargeant, the first Hartsook Chair in Fundraising at Indiana University and now Co-Director of the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy. Adrian is supported by Legacy experts, Dr. Claire Routley, Dr. Lucy Lowthian and Harriet Jones-Day.