Are you worried that your organization is not using fundraising analytics? Frustrated trying to figure it out on your own?

This course teaches you how to start using basic data mining techniques in Excel to  solve fundraising problems, such as finding the best prospects in your donor database,  comparing direct appeal results, or measuring donor retention.

In this course we take the fear out of analytics. By walking you through the terminology and techniques, step-by-step, and with lots of practice, you get comfortable with the data and how it ‘speaks’ to you.

Imagine the next time you are asked to present data on your donors and you show up with charts that demonstrate the kind of information that gets everyone in the room talking. Sure you will probably leave the meeting with even more questions to answer – but they will trust you to answer them. How awesome would that be?

You have the fundraising knowledge and basic skills – you just need to know how to put it all together with an industry-standard method.

On-Demand Course Registration

Gain access to this on-demand course for one year and work at your own pace.

This On-Demand Course Series is included in the Research Focused Membership Level.

Upgrade to Membership for More

Join Now

You Will Learn

In this course you will…

  • Recognize how analytics solves fundraising problems and how to choose the right technique
  • Create a foundation of basic knowledge about variables and databases
  • Apply the CRISP-DM approach to solving problems
  • Use descriptive analytics to solve problems such as finding new prospects
  • Use comparative analytics to solve problems such as measuring donor retention
  • Present results persuasively, including the use of data visualization


This course was built by a team with more than twenty years in fundraising, prospect research, and fundraising analytics. Let us share our secrets for effective and easy to follow data mining methods with you.

Should You Take This Course?

This course is an introductory, beginner course designed for someone who is comfortable working in Excel and has some understanding of typical fundraising objectives. This course is NOT designed for individuals who have been using pivot tables, scoring files for RFM, or comfortable with multiple-step data analysis.

You Will Receive

This course is loaded with great content. Following are some highlights and add-ons:

  • CRISP-DM template you can adapt and use in your office
  • Excel tips videos, including an introduction to pivot tables
  • After successfully completing the Capstone Assignments, you will earn a Certificate of Competency as well as a digital badge that you can use the digital badge on sites such as LinkedIn

Length and Format

Course Content and Participation

While you can consume the course in any way you like…

  • Modules: There are multiple modules of content for this course – check out the curriculum below.
  • Time: You might spend anywhere from 15 to 25 hours per module.
  • Format: Content includes reading, short videos, homework (with feedback), and quizzes.
  • Live Meetings: Your membership comes with two live, online video meetings per month; a Master Class and a Live Office Hour
  • Discussion: As a member, you can join the Slack discussion channels.


Prerequisites for Success

To be successful in this course, you should…

  • Have proficiency in MS Excel.
  • Have a basic understanding of how the various types of fundraising strategies and tactics
  • Be able to navigate internet resources and demonstrate persistence in using new and changing websites.

Course curriculum

  • 1
    Welcome to the course!
    • Syllabus
    • How To Earn Your Digital Badge
    • Zoom Online Meeting Login + Instructions
    • Get Started Using Slack to Send Messages
    • Data Protection and Privacy **must read**
  • 2
    BONUS Resource Pack - Become an Excel Power User
    • READ | Become an Excel Power User
    • VIDEO: Navigating Big Files I
    • VIDEO: Navigating Big Files II
    • 5 Favorite Excel Formulas
    • VIDEO: 3 Excel Shortcuts
    • Excel Video Tutorial: Left, Right, Concatenate!
  • 3
    Module 1 | Introduction to Analytics
    • READ | Introduction to Analytics
    • WATCH | Introduction to Analytics
    • HOMEWORK | Identifying Analytics Opportunities
    • WATCH | Introduction to CRISP-DM
    • READ | CRISP-DM as a Best Practice
    • QUIZ | CRISP-DM Knowledge Check
    • HOMEWORK | CRISP-DM Invitees Worksheet
    • WATCH | Introduction to Variables
    • READ | Getting Started with Variables
    • VIDEO | Add the Excel Data Analysis Toolpak
    • HOMEWORK | List the Variables
    • READ | Understanding the Database
    • WATCH | All About Databases
    • HOMEWORK | Relational Database Worksheet
  • 4
    Module 2 | Descriptive Analytics
    • READ | Descriptive Analytics
    • WATCH | Introduction to Descriptive Analytics
    • WATCH | #1 CRISP-DM Sections 1-3
    • HOMEWORK | DIY Prepare the Data
    • WATCH | #2 CRISP-DM Section 4 Exploring Variables
    • HOMEWORK | Choosing and Evaluating Variables
    • WATCH | #3 CRISP-DM Section 4 Modeling with RFM
    • READ | RFM Scoring
    • WATCH | #4 CRISP-DM Section 5 Evaluation
    • WATCH | #5 CRISP-DM Sections 5-6 Reviewing the Scoring
    • HOMEWORK | What if Tatia Worked in Your Office?
  • 5
    Capstone #1 | RFM Scoring
    • CAPSTONE #1 | RFM Scoring
  • 6
    Module 3 | Comparative Analytics
    • READ | Introduction to Comparative Analytics
    • RESOURCE | CRISP-DM Direct Appeal Comparative Analysis
    • WATCH | Introduction to Comparative Analytics
    • READ | Compare Solicitations Using Pivot Tables
    • RESOURCE | CRISP-DM DonorRetention ComparativeAnalysis
    • WATCH | Donor Retention
    • WATCH | Pivot Table Tutorial: Donor Retention
    • HOMEWORK | Year Totals with a Pivot Table
    • HOMEWORK | Score Interval Bar Chart
    • WATCH | Comparing Annual Fund
    • WATCH | Annual Fund Pivot Table
  • 7
    Capstone #2 | Compare Solicitations Using Pivot Tables
    • Capstone #2: Compare Solicitations Using Pivot Tables
  • 8
    Module 4 | Back at the Office
    • READ | Back at the Office
    • HOMEWORK | 30-60-90 Learning Reflection
    • HOMEWORK: Course Evaluation Survey
  • 9
    Fundraising Analytics #CareerCurious
    • 05|Renee Teate shares what it’s like to become a data scientist, especially in the world of fundraising research
    • 06|Stephen Lambert PhD shares what it’s like to make a career leap from teaching and activism into prospect research and fundraising analytics

About the Instructor

  • Jennifer Filla

    Jennifer Filla

    Founder, CEO, and Instructor

    I’m Jennifer Filla, a Prospect Researcher and Fundraiser at Aspire Research Group LLC and co-author of Prospect Research for Fundraisers: The Essential Handbook, part of the AFP/Wiley Fund Development Series. As a consultant, I have worked with a lot of small and large organizations that needed to build internal fundraising capacity with prospect research. I have also been a member of AFP and Apra for more than ten years, speaking and presenting at AFP and Apra meetings and conferences. The demand for clear instruction that can be applied immediately at the fundraising office led me to launch the Prospect Research Institute. I’m excited to learn with you!

On-Demand Course Registration

Gain access to this on-demand course for one year and work at your own pace.

This On-Demand Course Series is included in the Research Focused Membership Level.

Upgrade to Membership for More

  • $1,500.00 / year

    $1,500.00 / yearResearch Focused

    A membership community for Research professionals.
    Join Now
  • $150.00 / month

    $150.00 / monthResearch Focused

    A monthly membership community for Research professionals.
    Join Now

Expert Content Review Panel

These are the individuals who generously volunteered their time to ensure the course content was comprehensive, accurate, clear, and interesting:

  • Laura DiVincenzo, Associate Director, Prospect Management at University of Delaware
  • Ruthie Giles, Senior Researcher for Prospect Management at Mount Holyoke College
  • Zabrina Hannah, Relationship Management System Coordinator at Queen’s University
  • Emma Hinke, Senior Associate at Bentz Whaley Flessner
  • Susan Shebar Fioribello, President at PEAR Research Group
  • Chuck McClenon, Fundraising Scientist, University of Texas at Austin
  • Michael Pawlus, Director of Prospect Development at The Trust for Public Land
  • Marianne Pelletier, Managing Director at Staupell Analytics Group
  • Alison Rane, Associate Consultant, Analytical Solutions at Marts & Lundy
  • Matthew Shaughnessy, Senior Research Analyst at The Sage Colleges