Fundraising for Cultural Organizations

PART OF: Diploma in Cultural Resource Management, Collections Management

Course description

Increasingly, museums and heritage sites are being asked to generate operating revenue through philanthropy, sponsorship, private-public partnerships, in-kind gifts and other various fundraising activities.

This course will build your knowledge and understanding of the range of tools and strategies to engage communities, staff, board members and private sector resources in co-creating sustainable museum and heritage programs. Through this course, you will consider donors as investors in the community-building capacity of your organization. New trends in private sector philanthropy will be explored in relation to the strategic vision and management of heritage and museum organizations.

Learning objectives

  • Recognize the role of fundraising in the sustainability of museum and heritage site programming.
  • Develop and use tools and strategies for future fundraising activities.
  • Understand legal and governance issues.
  • Attract and retain donors as investors and partners.
  • Plan your fundraising strategies.
  • Market and communicate your mission statement to potential donors.
  • Engage your staff and board members in planning short and long term fundraising activities.


Note: though not required, prior experience in a cultural organization would be an asset for success in this course.

Please contact the Program Coordinator, Tusa Shea, directly at if you have any questions or concerns.


Dianne Lister, B.A. (Hons), LL.B., is the Principal of The Dianne Lister Group, a management consulting practice working to strengthen Canadian charitable organizations.  Dianne is also a senior associate with the Hutchinson Group, a Canadian executive search firm exclusively serving the not-for-profit sector.  Within the Hutchinson Group, Dianne focuses on talent development and executive coaching.  Dianne is the immediate past President & CEO of the ROM Governors and was responsible for philanthropic, sponsorship, donor relations and stewardship programs, leading a team of 27 professionals and the private sector Board of leadership volunteers (2011-2014).  Dianne has previously held roles as Vice President, External Relations & Advancement, Trent University (2006-2011) and as  President & CEO of Sick Kids Foundation (1991-2003).  She is the recipient of many awards, including Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence (2011), AFP International Fundraising Executive of the Year (2002), Trent University Distinguished Alumni (2006), Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).  Dianne is a contributor to three books, including “Excellence in Fundraising,” (2011), the first Canadian textbook in the subject.  Dianne is a Board member of the Canadian Canoe Museum and the Kawartha Lakes Arts Council, and a nominee for the Board of Trustees of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.  Her creative passion is photography and she is mounting her eighth exhibition in April 2017 as part of SPARK Photo Festival in Peterborough.

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