A university will run the world's first undergraduate degree in charity fundraising.
The University of Chichester will welcome its first students in Charity Development BA (Hons) in September.
Nine years in the making, the course is the brainchild of Donna Day Lafferty, a fundraiser for 17 years, who is co-ordinating the three-year course.
She said: “This is a very exciting development as the university is visionary in offering this course. It feels as if as a profession, we have come of age, and we are trying to get the balance right between knowledge and wisdom.
“Go to a cancer care centre or hospice to see how important fundraisers are.
“This isn’t just about training people – it’s also about creating the capacity for charities to be there when you need them.”
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Every year in Britain, about 30,000 fundraisers secure £60 billion for the country's 164,000 charities but there is still a “serious shortage of skilled fundraisers”, according to Ms Day Lafferty, who has raised millions for charities including the Better Cotton Initiative and the Tropical Forest Trust.
The course aims to put students at the cutting edge of fundraising, with course leaders coming from the profession, speakers including leaders from national charities and companies, and students completing a paid or unpaid internship with a local charity.
Modules include subjects such as Major Donor Fundraising, where students will “learn howto capture the hearts and minds of some of the world’s wealthiest people”
and Event Planning Design and Creation, which encourages students to “Get your wellies on, don those high heels: it’s time to get very serious about parties”.
One charity worker in Sussex has welcomed the new degree. Terry Ayres, chief executive officer for Sussex Heart Charity, said: “There are thousands of charities now and all are looking to raise money so it would be a good thing to have this qualification.
“When I came into the charity business, I had to learn on my feet about important aspects such as VAT and Charity Commission rules.”
Paul Marvell, a director at the Institute of Fundraising, said: “This degree represents an enormous step forward for the fundraising profession.”
To apply for the course in September, visitwww.chi.ac.uk/charitydevelopment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.