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Susanne Bair

Richard Doty

Last modified: Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Popular course covers fund-raising for non-profit agencies

A popular graduate course at Indiana University is teaching students about fund-raising for public and non-profit agencies.

Susanne Bair, the director of development and assistant dean at the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER), teaches the three-unit course with assistance from Kent Dove, IU Foundation vice president for development, and Peg Stice, former local director of the United Way.

"When this class started a couple of years ago, we had 11 students, but it increased to 18 last year and this semester the total is 30," Bair said. Most of the students are from HPER, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), and the arts administration program.

Bair said the class is one of four being offered through HPER and SPEA to acquaint students with the fund-raising field. "IU is a leader in the field when it comes to fund-raising instruction for students, and this graduate course is one of only a few in the country," she said.

The class, which will conclude on Dec. 13, covers such topics as prospect research, annual giving, corporation giving, major and planned gifts, and ethics and trends in fund-raising. The students work in nine teams with agencies such as the Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Middle Way House, Stone Belt, the Monroe Country Humane Association and the Area 10 Agency on Aging as part of the course requirements. Bair said the class format makes it unique in higher education.

"Fund-raising is becoming critical for non-profit groups to survive," Bair explained, "and this fact has generated considerable interest for anyone interested in a management position in the field. There has been a drastic increase in the number of non-profit agencies, and they all have to raise money to survive." She said many students enroll in the class with no interest in fund-raising and leave the course with career aspirations in the field.

Karyn Lane, a SPEA non-profit management major from Kansas City, Mo., said the class "offers practical tools and resources to use in the future, when I will actually be doing this type of work." She feels that success in the future for non-profit agencies makes training in fund-raising a necessity.

Similar thoughts were voiced by another SPEA graduate student, Yazeed Moore of Gary. Moore, whose major is non-profit management and public management, said he believes it is "mandatory to know the ins and outs of fund-raising. So many non-profits depend on external funding sources for support in order to provide activities or services." He said the class does "an excellent job in providing the practical tools needed for fund-raising."

For more information on the course, contact Bair at 812-855-3096 or