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 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.

Complete Package

Until Thursday, March 11, you can purchase all six master class courses for a 33% discount.

Every good fundraiser knows that soaring along at the strategic level does not lead to real success. We need to roll up our sleeves, grab a shovel, and do the hard, sometimes laborious grunt work that really pays off for nonprofit organizations. In the Trenches will do just this: grab your shovel, and get ready to do the hard work of fundraising. In good times and in bad, that means doing the right things, the right way, consistently over time. Our time is no different.

When you purchase this 6-part exclusive master class series today, you will receive a 33% discount. Join American Philanthropic’s In the Trenches for an exclusive series of three-hour online master classes led by our expert consultants and special guests who’ve fought on the front lines to advance their organizations’ missions.

This discounted offer is only available until March 11.

Major Gifts Master Class

Elements of Grant Writing with Jeff Cain and Iain Bernhoft—Thursday, March 11 from 1:00-4:00 pm ET

As a fundraiser, you write proposals for the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks: because that’s where the money is. But could you be writing them better? Galvanize your grant-writing with this master class on the fundamentals of writing successful proposals. With minimal abstract philosophizing and an abundance of practical wisdom, “Elements of Grant Writing” will arm you and your development staff with the tools you need to write successful grant proposals. You will likewise have the opportunity to workshop your organization’s grant-writing material, so bring your general operations proposal and any questions you might have.


Join American Philanthropic's Jeff Cain and Iain Bernhoft for our In the Trenches foundations master class. Jeff and Iain will show you principles that should inform your grant-writing, the unforced errors that almost everybody makes, and the concrete steps you can take in your grant-writing to stand out from the pack.

Direct Mail Master Class

Advancing Your Mission with a Successful Campaign with Chris Kuetemeyer, Scott Bucko—Thursday, May 6 from 1:00-4:00 pm ET

How can you raise the money you need for your capital needs? Do you have the organizational infrastructure to take on a large capital campaign? Just when is the right time? How can you determine the right monetary target and messaging?

What you will learn:

  • The benefits of a campaign to your organization, beyond the money.
  • The benefits of campaign to your organization, beyond the money.
  • That campaigns are not only for building projects.


  • How to think realistically about what you can raise and the time it will take.
  • The importance of not moving too fast...or too slow.

Join American Philanthropic's Chris Kuetemeyer and Scott Bucko for our In the Trenches capital campaigns master class. Chris and Scott will share the why and the how of capital campaigns from their collective decades of experience helping organizations to reach and exceed their campaign goals.

direct mail

Integrating Direct Mail and Digital Outreach with Eric Streiff, Spencer Kashmanian— Thursday, July 15 from 1:00-4:00 pm ET

Direct mail remains a powerful and cost-effective technique for reaching and acquiring new donors that have an affinity to your organization's mission. However, when integrated with digital outreach tactics, direct mail becomes a tool to reach and acquire even more donors. But how do you create an integrated fundraising plan? How do you ensure consistency and cohesion across traditional and digital messaging channels? How do you determine the cost of acquiring a donor through multiple channels, and when does it pay off? What should you consider in choosing a vendors, implementing this multichannel approach, segmenting your donors, and much more?


Join American Philanthropic's Eric Streiff and Spencer Kashmanian for our In the Trenches direct mail and digital outreach masterclass. Eric and Spencer will share the why and the how of creating and implementing an integrated fundraising plans across traditional and digital channels.

Major Gifts Master Class

Acquiring, Retaining, and Upgrading Your Most Valuable Donors with Justin Streiff and Johnny Burtka —Thursday, September 9 from 1:00-4:00 pm ET

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?

What you will learn:

  • the art and science of uncovering the major gift gems hidden in your active donor list, and how to identify new major donor prospects;
  • how to create fundraising and revenue stability by boosting donor retention at all levels, but particularly with your major givers; and
  • expert strategies for dramatically increasing fundraising revenue through major donor gift upgrades.

Join American Philanthropic's Justin Streiff and Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Johnny Burtka for our In the Trenches major gifts master class. Justin and Johnny will share the why and the how of major gift fundraising from his years of working with organizations to build their major gifts programs and acquire more gifts.


Direct Mail Master Class

Development Planning for Your Nonprofit Organization with Doug Schneider and Austin Detwiler —Thursday, November 5 from 1:00-4:00 pm ET

Given the demonstrated unpredictability of the world around us, planning for your organization is more important than ever. But 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?


Join American Philanthropic's Doug Schneider and Austin Detwiler for our In the Trenches strategic development planning master class. Doug and Austin will share the how and why of creating an achievable, actionable strategic plan that will help you to reach (or exceed) your fundraising goals.

Strategic Development Planning Master Class

The Lost $500 Donor—Retaining and Upgrading Tomorrow’s Major Donors Today with Matt Gerken and Jeremy Beer —Thursday, January 13 from 1:00-4:00 pm ET

Nonprofits focus most of their energy on mass scale low dollar fundraising activities and/or high dollar major and planned gifts work. But they are bleeding valuable middle tier donors at enormous rates. We'll focus on how to leverage data analysis, staff resources, and scalable moves management strategies to dramatically raise retention and upgrade rates for the most valuable donors your operation is ignoring today.

What you will learn:

  • Why organizations struggle to retain mid-dollar donors.
  • How to leverage donor data to prioritize and reach the most promising donors.
  • How to implement personalized moves management strategies at scale for your not yet major donors.

Join American Philanthropic’s Matt Gerken and Jeremy Beer for our In the Trenches donor and data analytics master class. Matt and Jeremy will share the why and how of acquiring and interpreting useful data that will lead to more donors, increased donor loyalty, and greater gifts.



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,
  • Jeremy Beer’s new e-book, Fundraising When Times Are Bad,
  • and a 30-minute one-on-one consultation with an American Philanthropic consultant at a time of your choosing following the master class.

How much does each session cost?
A single session costs $250. If you reserve a seat for all six sessions before March 11, you get the six master classes for the price of four.

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!

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

Interested in our services?

Our purpose is to help you achieve yours.

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Contact us to book a free consultation today. We are always available at info@americanphilanthropic.com or at 302-635-7354. But if you like forms, feel free to fill out the one below and we'll be in touch with you shortly.