Charity Marketing and Fundraising

  1. 2017 Entry


This award is designed for those aspiring to work, or working at senior management levels in marketing and fundraising in the voluntary and community sector. It combines theoretical rigour with the application of contemporary professional best practice.

What sets the Cass Marketing and Fundraising course apart:

  • Future-facing: the course focuses on the rapidly evolving adoption and application of the strategic marketing paradigm as it impacts all facets of voluntary sector management. The growing instance of marketing to promote greater effectiveness in resource acquisition and resource distribution are discussed alongside the practical application of key strategic marketing concepts and planning disciplines to the voluntary sector context. The focus is on the application of a strategic marketing approach alongside effective management of brand, alternate channels and marketing communications. Within this strategic marketing focus, alternate approaches to fundraising strategy are introduced alongside the important constraints of ethical best practice and contemporary regulation as they apply to fundraising strategy. Adoption of alternate fundraising techniques are debated together with their selection and application within the context of a robust and accountable strategic framework.
  • Both academic and applied: the course combines the academic rigour of an internationally respected business school with a highly practical and applied approach. The course is delivered by senior academics with first-hand experience and ongoing involvement in the sector. In addition, guest lectures are delivered by senior marketing and fundraising practitioners presenting contemporary issues and exploring the real world challenges they face. The shadowing exercise, a key component of the course, provides students with a unique insight into the day-to-day realities in applying marketing and fundraising in the context of voluntary sector management.
  • A rich learning environment: the course lecturers are among the most highly regarded in the University and several have been awarded prizes for the quality of their teaching. Personal reflection and learning is encouraged through action learning sets and the coaching opportunities that are available. We place considerable emphasis on student participation and interaction. Together with the diversity of the student cohort each year, this creates a stimulating learning environment.

It is designed to support and further develop the core management skills and key competencies necessary to the delivery of efficient, effective and appropriate fundraising and marketing practice in the voluntary sector context. It is suitable for existing marketing and fundraising practitioners located within the voluntary sector and for those wishing to transfer relevant skills and knowledge from experience gained in other sectors.

As a student you will gain:

  • A clear understanding of the strategic application of the marketing paradigm in the voluntary sector
  • Practical application of key strategic marketing concepts and tools in different voluntary sector contexts
  • Clear understanding of the design, implementation and evaluation of alternate fundraising strategies and techniques
  • Relevant marketing/fundraising management competencies, leadership skills and analytical capabilities
  • Access to a strong network and connections within the sector
  • Confidence to pursue your career in the sector.

Course structure and content

Postgraduate Diploma

Nature of Teaching Provision

The full MSc is taught on a part-time basis over a period of two years. Alternatively, some students wish to graduate after the first year with a Postgraduate Diploma.

It is one of the five postgraduate courses offered by Cass Business School’s Centre for Charity Effectiveness (Cass CCE). Cass CCE inspires transformation and delivers positive change within the nonprofit sector through a mix of educational programmes, consultancy services and convening activities.

The first year is common to both the MSc and the PgDip and to all of the Centre’s postgraduate courses. It consists of four core modules which all students take. These core modules provide the essential underpinning of management skills for the specialist courses.

To complete the full MSc, students are required to take the Research Methods for Managers module in the second year. They may then elect to conduct six months of personal supervised research and the presentation of a 15,000 word dissertation. Alternatively, they may choose to attend the Social Enterprise module and the two taught Specialist Pathway modules of one of the other courses as a Taught Masters.

All courses are taught at Cass Business School and will require attendance one weekend each month, commencing on Friday afternoon from 13.00 to 21.00 and finishing on Saturday at 17.30.

Additional attendance will be required (first year only):

  • On the Induction Day (the Friday of the October weekend of the course)
  • For Action Learning Set meetings (usually alternate months, on Friday morning of the teaching weekend)
  • The Resource Management and Fundraising module exams.

Non Profit Masters: Key Learning Outcomes

  • A broad knowledge and understanding of nonprofit organisations, the external context within which they operate, and how they should be led and managed (integrating the different disciplines in an holistic way)
  • Deep knowledge and understanding of the specialist subject areas chosen for further investigation in the specialist pathway element of the Programme
  • Develop and challenge programme participant's understanding and appreciation of the conceptual foundation of these fields, and of their relevance in an applied setting.
  • A range of cognitive, intellectual and personal/interpersonal skills and techniques to apply directly to day to day work
  • The opportunity to develop deep and relevant insights into charity management from peers from different but related backgrounds (through networking, study and sharing of ideas)
  • The ability to deliver direct benefits back to their organisation in the form of recommendations for improved effectiveness across all the subject areas covered

Term dates

October 2017 intake


06 October 2017

Learning and Understanding the Voluntary Sector

06 - 07 October 2017

Strategy, Diversity and Governance

10 - 11 November 2017
08 - 09 December 2017

Marketing & Fundraising

12 - 13 January 2018

Resource Management

09 - 10 February 2018
09 - 10 March 2018
06 - 07 April 2018

Exam*  04 May 2018


18 - 19  May 2018
08 June 2018

Exam*  06 July 2018

Fieldwork exercise

09 June 2018
13 - 14 July 2018

Fieldwork exercise

process to be completed by early August 2018

Course Review Day

07 September 2018

*All other modules are assessed by coursework.

Module outlines

Learning and Understanding the Voluntary Sector (10 credits)

This module represents the starting point for you and the opportunity to learn about the process of learning and establishing plans for learning on the programme.  The vital 'Learning Contract' is developed on this module, and forms the basis of the learning throughout the Masters programme.

It also offers a perspective on leading public/voluntary sector debates within an historical context, alongside a more enduring understanding of scholarly approaches to the understanding of developments and changes in the relationship between government and the voluntary sector.

Resource Management (30 credits)

This module aims to enable the student to:
  • Provide students with an understanding of the principles of resource management within the specialist context of charities
  • Definitions and the legal framework of charities and voluntary organisations
  • The role of the Charity Commission
  • Sources of finance for the charity sector
  • Introduction to general accounting principles
  • Charity accounts and regulatory framework
  • Understanding, interpreting and analysing charity accounting statements
  • Costing and budgeting in voluntary organisations
  • Risk assessment
  • Outsourcing
  • Appraising, appointing and dismissing auditors and other resource consultants and experts
  • IT Strategic appraisal and implementation
  • The nature of Human Resource Management
  • Human resource and personnel issues including training and development, reward and retention and effective selection and recruitment

Marketing and Fundraising (10 credits)

This module aims to enable the student to:

  • To provide students with the concepts, underpinning knowledge, skills and techniques to plan and develop marketing and operations systems
  • Enable students to analyse marketing needs, evaluate marketing plans, in the context of applying marketing concepts to their own organisation
  • Effective Marketing Information Systems
  • Development of a marketing strategy
  • Product/Service policy and new product development
  • Role of communications
  • Branding
  • Pricing as a value-added marketing tool
  • Capacity planning - resources planning and allocation
  • Total Quality Management
  • Stakeholder/Customer care

Strategy, Diversity and Governance (20 credits)

This module aims to enable the student to:

  • To develop a broad knowledge and conceptual base in the field of strategy development, diversity and governance
  • Introduce practical tools to help improve the quality of an organisation's strategic response to the changing environment
  • Introduce practical tools to help improve the ability of the organisation and its managers and leaders to build a diverse workforce
  • Enhance appreciation of the constraints and opportunities offered by the changing governance and service-delivery frameworks which affect voluntary organisations
  • Improving an organisation's strategic response by use of strategy and diversity management and theory
  • Approaches to developing strategy
  • Approaches to managing diversity
  • The changing environment of the voluntary sector
  • Case studies on the application of strategic planning and diversity

Fieldwork Exercise (20 credits)

This module aims to enable the student to:
  • Undertake a 'tailored' learning experience associated with and/or within a charity or relevant organisation in order to expand your professional (fundraising or marketing) competences and management capacity
  • Negotiate a series of learning experiences including studying in an organisation different from your own
  • Analyse alternative approaches to improving your own and your organisation's effectiveness
  • Consider any ethical issues that have arisen from your engagement with the module and how you dealt with them.
  • Negotiate the approach to the fieldwork exercise with appropriate colleagues (approval to be sought from the module leader)
  • 4-5 days gaining an insight into chosen organisation’s/individual’s role and working practices
  • Apply relevant theories and models learnt on the programme in preparation of a report
  • Apply the learning to your own organisation and yourself.

Fundraising (15 credits)

This module aims to enable the student to:

  • Develop a broad, informed and critical understanding of the complex issues surrounding fundraising
  • Building effective fundraising strategies
  • Developing the case for support
  • Motivations for giving
  • Individual donor acquisition and development programmes
  • Raising funds from institutions
  • Capital campaigns and major donor development programmes
  • Legacy/bequest fundraising
  • Corporate support and sponsorship
  • The regulation of fundraising practice
  • Fundraising ethics and professional practice

Strategic Charity Marketing (15 credits)

This module aims to enable the student to:

  • Provide an enhanced consideration of marketing as a strategic tool and to introduce the strategic management aspects of charity marketing
  • The marketing paradigm and voluntary sector management
  • Strategic marketing management
  • Implementing marketing campaigns effectively
  • Application of branding and brand strategy in the voluntary sector context
  • Social marketing and campaigning
  • Interactive marketing communications
  • Current legal and regulations affecting marketing.

MSc Conversion

Upon successful completion of the diploma, you will be given the option to continue to the MSc. This requires completion of the Research Methods for Managers module.

This can be followed by a further six months of personal, supervised research and the presentation of a 15,000-word dissertation.

Alternatively, you can opt to take a taught Masters which allows you to choose specialist modules from one of the other Charities programmes.

Term Dates

For students progressing from the Postgraduate Diploma Intake in 2017

Research Methods for Managers

January 2019

Dissertation or Taught Masters Option

completion by the middle of September 2019

Our course professionals

Stephen Lee is currently Professor of Voluntary Sector Management at Cass Business School. From 2012 until the General Election in May 2015 he was also Chief Executive at CentreForum, the UK based liberal think tank.  Whilst at CentreForum he commissioned and over saw the publication of 65 major public policy research reports. Under his leadership CentreForum was awarded Prospect Magazine Economic Think Tank of the Year in 2013.

He has been College Secretary at Henley Management College and Faculty Director Strategy and Professor of Marketing at Henley Business School where he also established and ran the Centre for Voluntary Sector Management.  During this period he established himself as a leading authority on marketing, governance and business ethics issues, and the leading European authority on charity fundraising regulation and the law and fundraising ethics.

Principle current research interests include Public Trust and Confidence in Charity Fundraising; Charity Fundraising Regulation; Ethical, Governance and Data Protection issues. A Fellow of the RSA and one of only four Honorary Fellows of the IOF, in September 2000 he received the inaugural, Professional Fundraising Lifetime Achievement Award.

Professor Ian Bruce CBE is President of Cass CCE which he founded in 1991. He started his career with Courtaulds and Unilever as a marketing manager, and has worked in the voluntary sector as Assistant Director of Age Concern England, CEO at The Volunteer Centre UK, Assistant Chief Executive of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and Director General of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). He has founded 12 third sector organisations and has been, or is a trustee of many more. His particular interests are nonprofit strategy, marketing (services, fundraising and campaigning/lobbying) and market research and his book "Charity Marketing" is in its fourth edition.

Dr. Justin Davis-Smith is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Cass Business School. He was previously Chief Executive of Volunteering England, Director of the Institute for Volunteering Research and Executive Director of Volunteering at NCVO. He has over 20 years researching and leading in the volunteering movement and has advised the UK Government and the United Nations on the development of volunteering policy.

James Newell is Director of the Kingston Smith Fundraising and Management division and supports a wide range of clients with high value fundraising and strategy advice. Following a marketing role in the automotive sector, James moved into the charity sector where he has gained a breadth of fundraising experience over the last nine years. James holds a Masters from Cass Business School in Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment and the ICAEW’s Diploma in Charity Accounting. Recently, James was featured in Charity Finance Magazine’s ‘25 under 35’ rising stars in the charity advisory field.


All students will be highly motivated graduate-level people who bring a wide range of professional competencies, skills and experience from a wide range of backgrounds. Gender is evenly balanced across all the courses and there are no age barriers.

In general we ask for a good first degree, normally an upper second-class honours degree from a British University or an equivalent qualification from a leading overseas institution; and three or more year’s relevant experience at a senior level. In exceptional cases we will also accept those without a degree but with significant work experience.

Overseas students are welcome to apply to these courses, but need to be aware that they cannot be sponsored for Tier 4 visas due to the part-time modular delivery of the course.

In order to participate fully in the collaborative learning process all students who have not previously studied in English must sit an IELTS exam. The required IELTS level is an average of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in writing. If you are not a native English speaker but have been studying in the UK for the last three years it is unlikely you will need to take the test. Please submit a copy of your most recent English language test/qualification along with your application and a decision will be made by the Admissions Panel.

Past students have come from voluntary sector organisations of all sizes, as well as foundations, business and the public sector. Their feedback has been very positive:

"The Charity Marketing and Fundraising course gave me some much needed intellectual rigour and helped develop a much more analytical and reflective approach. This has been invaluable in my new job; in fact, I wouldn't have got this job without this more strategic thinking."

Zoe Marlow, Head Education and Business Development (UK and Ireland), Sannam S4

"I specialise in fundraising but wanted a wider understanding of the third sector as a whole, in order to aid my development and to give me a better grounding as a senior manager in my organisation. The course was challenging but manageable when working full time, and the lecturers and guest speakers were all excellent."

Stephanie Lawless, Community Fundraising Manager, Dogs for Good

"The course covered a fantastic breadth of topics in great detail, merging theory with practical real world solutions, and prepares students to take on the challenges currently facing the voluntary sector. Completing this course provided me with the skills, knowledge and confidence to apply for and secure a more senior role in a new organisation."

Marco Greco, Fundraising Manager, Coram Fields

"I really enjoyed my two years at Cass and the course developed my confidence, honed my strategic thinking and gave me a new peer network. This helped me progress into my current role"

Melanie Aram, Head of Major Gifts & Appeals, National Portrait Gallery

Course fees and expenses

Course fees

The fee for the Postgraduate Diploma is £6,000. A deposit of £400 is payable on acceptance of a place and the balance is payable in two instalments, the first on registration and the second in April. For those converting the Diploma to MSc a further £3,500 is payable in the second year.

Students who are sponsored by their employer will need to complete a sponsorship form as part of the application process. An invoice for the full fees will be sent to the employer in October. If the employer is a charity, they can request payment in two instalments by contacting the person named on the invoice. This arrangement allows the charity to spread the fees across two financial years.

Other funding opportunities for Masters students

We recommend that you have a back-up source of funding in the event that you are not successful for any Cass scholarships. The below links might be useful as alternative sources of funding, and your home government might also provide scholarships for study abroad.

Course expenses

The weekend modules will incur additional accommodation and subsistence expenses for those participants living outside London.

Application deadline

There is no application deadline for this course. However, we do advise you to apply well in advance as competition for places is high and applications are considered on a continuous basis.