The Public Media Major Gift Academy

Apply tactics to your major gift fundraising to bring in more gifts, bigger gifts, and less donor attrition over time.

Powered by Greater Public and Veritus.


Make a Strong Major Gift Program Even Better

Even the best major gift programs are challenged by donor attrition, decreasing gift amounts over time, the pressures of time management, burnout, and staff turnover.

The Public Media Major Gift Academy, powered by Greater Public and Veritus Group, is designed to remedy these challenges for public media leaders and major gift fundraisers. This three-month online training cohort offers tools and methods to help even the most experienced major gift fundraisers get better, more reliable results.

The donor-centered methods of the Major Gift Academy will:

  • Reduce your major donor attrition and increase major gift amounts over time, leading to less pressure to always find and cultivate new major donors.
  • Improve your methods and systems, even if you are the most talented and charismatic major gifts fundraiser.
  • Offer a positive and motivating accountability process for major giving staff.
  • Make major gift revenue more goal-focused and predictable, and less vulnerable to disruption in the event of staff turnover.
  • Reduce your caseload file to a manageable level for greater success and less risk of staff burnout.
  • Build a more collaborative culture of philanthropy within your organization.
  • Present a better approach to time management for better work-life balance.
  • Develop your major gifts program in a way that’s scaled to each station’s size.

Academy participants will:

  • Build meaningful relationships with donors.
  • Connect donor passions with your organization through compelling offers and asks.
  • Build the confidence needed to set, meet, and exceed ambitious revenue goals.
  • Understand how to create a truly donor-centered culture.
  • Know how to effectively engage your CFO and finance department in major giving success.
  • Join a supportive cohort of individuals from around public media who share the same goals and challenges.

Thanks to a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, we’re able to offer this training for $999 (it’s normally $1,997). Please see below for more information regarding scholarship opportunities.

We are now taking applications for the Fall 2021 course, which begins on October 18. The deadline to apply is October 13.


In the words of past participants:

  • 85% say they’re confident or extremely confident in their ability to be more successful in major gifts as a result of the program, up from 0% who felt this confidence going into the program.
  • 80% have already increased revenue one year after completing the program, 55% with six-digit gifts. This is before the majority of participants have had the opportunity to fully implement all program recommendations.

Who is the academy for?

There are two tracks available:

  1. Major gift officers looking to bring in the type of transformational gifts that are commonplace in other nonprofits like hospitals, universities, and major arts organizations. Fundraisers will learn how to identify the right donors for cultivation, skillfully manage time and portfolios to build relationships with the right number of donors at the right time, connect with donors using the right offers and asks, feel confident addressing donor hesitation and objection.
  2. Public media executives and fundraising managers looking to pivot their organizations to seize upon the historic revenue potential that major giving holds. Leaders will learn how to successfully, support and manage major gift officers, support a thriving donor pipeline that allows each donor to reach their true giving potential, and feel confident building meaningful relationships with major donors.

Applicants must be employed by CPB CSG grantee public media stations. Rural and minority audience service stations are encouraged to apply.

Who conducts the training?

The Public Media Major Gift Academy is designed by Greater Public and Veritus Group, the leading major-gift consulting agency serving nonprofits in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Veritus grew out of the combined 70+ years of experience of founding partners, Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels, who have focused for decades on metrics-based, results-driven, donor-centered fundraising originally with direct marketing, and, since 1995, major donor fundraising.

Veritus has fine-tuned its incredibly successful program for public media over the past year by conducting the Transformational Major Giving Pilot Program with Colorado Public Radio, WAMU, WCMU, and WHYY.

What does the training / time commitment look like for major gift officers?

The training consists of 8 training modules (topics below) to be completed over 14 weeks, earning 36 CFRE points. A module takes about 3-5 hours to complete and includes media resources like videos, podcasts, webinars, expert articles, and samples, as well as bonus reading and other assignments related to specific learning goals. Assignments are designed to apply what you’re learning to your own work and organization, so that you come out of this experience with a comprehensive plan and clear actions that will lead to your success.

This foundation is accompanied by regular live sessions to help participants integrate the training into their practice and ask questions.

Module 1: How to Think About Major Gifts
Module 2: Being a Major Gift Fundraiser
Module 3: How to Think About and Treat Donors
Module 4: Creating Donor Offers
Module 5: Caseload Principles / Managing the Right Donors / Setting Goals
Module 6: Creating Donor Strategy / Minding the Front and Back-End of Major Gifts
Module 7: Making the Ask and Dealing With Objections
Module 8: Staying in Control Through Ongoing Planning and Analysis

Explore the full learning guide for the major gift officer course >>>

What does the training / time commitment look like for executives and fundraising managers?

The training consists of 8 training modules (topics below) to be completed over 14 weeks, earning 36 CFRE credits. A module takes about 3-5 hours to complete and includes media resources like videos, podcasts, webinars, expert articles, and samples, as well as bonus reading and other assignments related to specific learning goals. Assignments are designed to apply what you’re learning to your own work and organization, so that you come out of this experience with a comprehensive plan and clear actions that will lead to your success.

Module 1: How to Manage a Successful Major Gifts Program
Module 2: How to Hire and Retain High Performing Major Gift Officers
Module 3: How to Think About and Treat Donors
Module 4: Creating Meaningful and Effective Donor Offers
Module 5: Managing Caseloads with the Right Principles, Systems, and Structures
Module 6: Setting up the Right Accountability and Evolution Systems for your MGOs
Module 7: Securing the Gift and Keeping the Donor with the Permission-Based Asking Model
Module 8: Being an Effective Leader and Establishing Ongoing Planning and Analysis

Explore the full learning guide for the executives and fundraising managers course >>>

When does it start? How long does it last?

Semester NameStatusApplications OpenApplication DeadlineStart DateEnd Date
Fall 2019 (pilot)Sold out10/8/1910/23/1910/28/192/17/20
Summer 2020Sold out10/8/194/22/204/27/208/3/20
Fall 2020Sold out4/10/209/2/209/7/2012/14/20
Winter 2021Sold out8/14/201/6/211/11/214/12/21
Spring 2021 Sold out1/11/213/10/213/15/216/14/21
Summer 2021 Sold out2/1/216/24/217/1/219/30/21
Fall 2021Open8/26/2110/13/2110/18/212/30/22
Spring 2022Available soon10/18/212/23/222/28/226/1/22

What does it cost? Are there scholarships?

Thanks to a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, we’re able to offer this training for $999 (it’s normally $1,997).

Support from CPB also allows us to award 50 full scholarships to the program. All applicants will be considered for scholarship, no additional steps are needed. Consideration for scholarships will be based on budget size, with smaller stations receiving preference. Additional consideration will be made for rural audience service stations and minority audience service stations.

Not sure if you can afford the program? Apply! We’ll get you a decision within 7 business days.

Is there a way to preview the program's content?

Have more questions?
Please see our The Public Media Major Gift Academy – Other FAQs page.

This program is generously funded by:

CPB - Corporation for Public Broadcasting

What past participants are saying…