American Philanthropic’s In the Trenches

A master class series


In the Trenches is American Philanthropic's no-nonsense master class series that invites you into the trenches of fundraising and teaches you the tactics to raise more money for your organization, in good times and in bad.


Webinars are one-side and usually scripted. We can't see one another which limits how much we help and learn from each other. Questions good and bad come in through chat boxes from too many participants. The topics only touch on surface issues. The Q&A sessions are rushed.

Most, frankly, are just boring.

American Philanthropic's In the Trenches is the anti-webinar. Participants are limited to 20. Q&A fosters real interaction. Discussion and disagreement are encouraged. There is ample time for discussion because if we’re going to talk tactics—and that’s the aim of In the Trenches—we need to talk specifics and learn particular situations in which you find yourself. And this isn’t a 30-minute session while you check your email. This is a three-hour immersion (with a break to check your email, of course). In the Trenches will be anything but boring.

Strategic Development Planning Master Class

Thursday, September 17 from 1-4 pm ET – Master Class with Doug Schneider

Why plan? It seems like a simple enough question, but the answer has profound implications for an organization. How do you get started? Who should be involved? What development activities and metrics do you need to track to gauge your progress? What are the things you need to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis in order to find new donors and retain and cultivate the ones you already have? How often should you revisit your plan, and what does "revisiting" your plan actually mean anyways?

Foundations Master Class

Thursday, October 15 from 1-4 pm ET – Master Class with Liz Palla and Jeff Cain

Foundations are both like and unlike individual donors. Or, as we like to say around American Philanthropic, foundations are people, too. But what do you see when you peel back the curtain of a foundation? What is the most effect way to manage a foundation solicitation and cultivation program? How do you bring a program officer into the life of your organization? What's the best method to cultivate a foundation prospect? And what actually works and doesn't?

Major Gifts Master Class

Thursday, July 16 from 1-4 pm ET — Master Class with Chris Kuetemeyer, Jeff Trimbath, and Fred Clark

Your next major donor is already likely giving to your organization. But what are the best ways to identify them, determine how much to ask, and then actually ask them to give you more? How do you navigate and negotiate objections to the invitation to give? How do you make your major donor cultivation efforts particularized and personalized, and how should you go about thanking your major donors? And what do all of these efforts look like through the eyes of a donor?

Read more.

Join American Philanthropic's Chris Kuetemeyer and Jeff Trimbath for our inaugural In the Trenches master class. Chris and Jeff will share the why and the how of major gift fundraising from their collective decades of experience raising millions of dollars for organizations.

They'll be joined by philanthropist Fred Clark so you can hear firsthand how a donor makes giving decisions, what they look for in your organization, and how they assess the success of their gift, among other considerations. Mr. Clark the founder of Pacific Equity Management and president of the Casillas Foundation. He is Chairman of The Berkeley Institute, founder of Inner City Scholarship, Inc., and a trustee at Fellowship of Catholic University Students, FIRST THINGS, The Institute for Family Studies, and the Witherspoon Institute, among others.

Direct Mail Master Class

Thursday, August 20 from 1-4 pm ET — Master Class with Eric Streiff

Direct mail remains a powerful and cost-effective technique for reaching and acquiring new donors that have an affinity to your organization's mission. But how do you know that this is true for our organization? What are the pros and cons of direct mail versus other methods of acquiring new donors? How do you determine the cost of acquiring a donor through the mail, and when does direct mail pay off? And what should you consider in choosing a direct mail vendor, implementing a multichannel approach, segmenting your donors, and much more?


What is included in my registration?

Registration starts with a seat in the master class, and contains a full suite of services to help you on the frontlines. In addition to attending the master class, you will receive:

  • a training manual on the master class topic,
  • the best essays and practicalities on the master class topic from Philanthropy Daily,
  • a copy of The Forgotten Foundations of Fundraising by Jeremy Beer and Jeffrey Cain,
  • and a 30-minute one-on-one consultation with an American Philanthropic consultant at a time of your choosing following the master class.

What is the Master Class Schedule?

Master Class Schedule (All Times Eastern)

1:00 – 1:10 pm: Introduction of Instructors and Overview of Master Class

1:05 – 1:15 pm: Brief Participant Introductions and Initial Questions

1:15 – 2:00 pm: Session I

2:00 – 2:15 pm: Q&A

2:15 – 2:30 pm: Break (check email, voicemail, grab a quick bite)

2:30 – 3:15 pm: Session II

3:15 – 3:55 pm: Special Guest – Discussion and Q&A

3:55 – 4:00 pm: Concluding Remarks

How much does each session cost?

A single session costs $250. If you reserve a seat for all four sessions before July 10th, you get the fourth master class free.

How many people will be in the class?

Each class will have no more than 20 participants. We want to keep the classes as intimate as possible to allow time for plenty of discussion and Q&A.

How will the class be conducted?

The class will be conducted over video conference. Participants will receive a private link and password to join the video conference prior to the master class.

Who is the ideal participant?

The ideal participant is a nonprofit leader with several years of fundraising or executive-level experience. This can be a director of development, associate director, vice president of philanthropy, executive director, board member, and a host of other related positions.

Do you have a waiting list?

Yes. Each session has a waiting list. If a registrant can’t make a session, we notify the first person on the waiting list. The waiting list for each class is first-come, first-served.

Do current clients receive a discount?

Yes. If you’re a current client, please contact us for a special discount code.

Will participants receive CFRE credit for participating?

No! We would post our reasoning here, but it’s lengthy. Feel free to ask—but do so at your own risk!

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