Leveraging Insights from the Kellogg Sales Institute: A New Fundraising Approach for Nonprofit Executives

High-impact influence skills for fundraising success

Every interaction with a current or potential donor, board member or key stakeholder is a high-stakes opportunity for impact. As leaders of nonprofit organizations, you are uniquely positioned to bring in stakeholders based on how you articulate and fulfill your mission. Nonprofit organizations can be the conduit through which funders and partners make a difference in communities and throughout the world. Let us help you enhance your influencing skills to deepen stakeholder relationships and increase dollars to support your mission.

There are fundamental differences between fundraising and sales, and yet, there are many lessons to be learned from both industries. In this program, Kellogg School of Management faculty will offer best practices from the sales industry, coupled with practical tools to rethink the way your organization approaches fundraising. You will learn a set of high-impact selling skills that will allow you to better understand the needs of your donors and stakeholders so you can make ambitious and meaningful requests.   

In a series of highly interactive and engaging sessions, faculty from the Kellogg School and the renowned Kellogg Sales Institute will share theories and frameworks that nonprofit leaders can apply to their organizations. Designed for nonprofit executives, senior leaders and board members, this program will provide an opportunity for leaders to reimagine their approach to fundraising. 

How is this different from Advanced Fundraising: Accelerating Your Development Strategy? 

This program focuses on leaders developing a sales mindset and approach to fundraising, whereas the Advanced Fundraising program is for those responsible for the functions of fundraising - tactics and management.

Center for Nonprofit Management

VIDEO: Learn more from Professor Andrew Sykes

Learn a new approach to fundraising


Who Should Attend

  • Executive and senior nonprofit leaders who are responsible for setting the fundraising mindset and culture within their organizations
  • Board members who are responsible for supporting fundraising efforts

Key Benefits

  • Learn key lessons from the sales industry to apply to your organization’s fundraising efforts 
  • Develop a new mindset and approach to fundraising
  • Build authentic partnerships with donors through meaningful, trusting relationships 

Program Content

Get Good at Getting Great

  • Transform your leadership skills to prepare for enhanced engagement of stakeholders
  • Learn the mindsets, skills, disciplines and habits of deliberate practice
  • Practice giving and receiving high-impact 2x2 Feedback

Develop and Perfect Your Organization’s Origin Story for Modern Times

  • Discern a new model for excellence for an organizational origin story
  • Practice and polish your origin story, learning when to use it and how to adapt it to the person and purpose for which it should be a fit
  • Leave prepared to teach staff and board members how to communicate your organization’s origin story

Uncover New Pathways for Action through Questions

  • Define and explore various types of questions and the intentions behind each question
  • Discover when and why to use each type of question for the purpose of connecting with key stakeholders
  • Develop examples of each type of question to be used with donors and stakeholders 

Build Deep and Lasting Connections through Empathic Listening

  • Understand listening types and why active listening is “not enough”
  • Uncover the levels of listening and practice listening at each level
  • Learn to implement empathic listening skills to gain deeper understanding of your donors and stakeholders

Lead Reconnaissance Conversations with Stakeholders to Map their desired Progress

  • Understand where your stakeholders are today, how they got here and the impact of their current problems and challenges, including any prior failed efforts
  • Discover how donors and stakeholders are already thinking about solving their problems and creating their vision. If we don’t first learn to listen to THEIR solution, we don’t earn the right to share OUR solution. 
  • Create a measurable and inspiring vision of what’s possible in their lives as a result of their support of your mission
  • Practice the courage to learn what each stakeholder is really looking for from a partnership with you and your organization

Bringing it all Together

  • Explore connections between skills learned throughout the program and your unique challenges 
  • Apply key lessons from sales to build authentic partnerships with current and future donors, stakeholders and other key partners
  • Develop a plan to implement a new approach to fundraising for your organization

Making it Stick

It doesn’t matter how much you learn in this course. What matters is how much of what you learn you remember, and appy! The “forgetting curve” is real and we don’t want you to lose 90% of what you learn in just a few weeks after the course ends! To keep the work of this course alive, and to support your ongoing journey after this course, our final session of the course will…

  • Map out future opportunities to continue your learning journey at the Kellogg School Center for Nonprofit Management
  • Provide a guided tour of the printed resources, guides and frameworks that you will leave with as part of your CEO Toolkit for Influence
  • Invite you into our Making it Stick Community where you’ll access a series of activation videos to ensure that what was learned here leaves here


Elise Madrick - Associate Director, Nonprofit Executive Programs

Andrew W. Sykes - Adjunct Lecturer of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Liz Livingston Howard - Clinical Professor of Management; Executive Director of Nonprofit Executive Education

Accommodations, Fees & Policies


Nonprofit Management Programs are held at Northwestern University's Chicago Campus.

Wieboldt Hall
340 East Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago Campus Parking Map - Please Note: the Huron Superior Parking A lot and the Erie Ontario Parking C & D lots are available to the public and should be used when attending programs at Wieboldt Hall.

Application Deadline

The deadline for registration is 10:00 am one business day prior to the program start date.

Scholarship Assistance

Up to 50% scholarships are available for all of our nonprofit executive education programs for those working in nonprofit organizations. All scholarship requests are reviewed by our Registrar and any scholarships granted will be reflected in the amount charged to your credit card.


  • If you request a scholarship, your credit card is submitted upon registration and will be charged once your request is approved (allow 1-2 business days for review).
  • If you do not request a scholarship, your credit card will be charged upon application submission.

Hospitality during the Program

We strive to provide healthy meal choices for our participants for breakfast, lunch and breaks. We typically provide a range of choices, including some vegetarian-friendly and gluten-avoidant selections. We cannot meet all dietary preferences, but we will do our best to accommodate health restrictions, religious restrictions and food allergies.


Participants are responsible for booking their hotel accommodations during their stay in Chicago.

Download Nearby Hotels List

Cancellation Policy:

Participants must notify the Program Manager five business days in advance of the program start date if they are unable to attend. Otherwise, participants will be charged 20% of the stated program fees.

When canceling a program registration, participants may choose to rollover their payment to a future program or receive a refund. Participants are allowed two rollovers, after the second rollover, participants forfeit the money paid to the Center for Nonprofit Management.

*Refund or rollover must be requested at the time of the program cancellation. Once a program payment has been rolled over, a monetary refund is no longer an option. The participant must continue with the rollover process.

Approved By CFRE


Full participation in this Kellogg Nonprofit Executive Education program entitles you to 14 points in Category 1.B—Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.

Note: Participants who wish to apply for continuing education points on their CFRE application for initial certification and/or recertification will be able to access a tracking form on the course site, once they register for the program.

Learn More

Please email or call us if you would like additional information about Nonprofit Programs

2024 Session

December 3-4, 2024

Start: December 3 at 8:30 AM

End: December 4 at 5:30 PM

Format: In-Person on Chicago campus


Scholarships available

Kellogg School of Management

James L. Allen Center
2169 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208