Development Basics

Development Basics

​​During these sessions, participants will learn and gain confidence in understanding the foundations and essential principles of fund development. In a setting that will combine peer-group education along with lectures and homework, participants will explore the who, what, when, where, why, and how of philanthropy and fundraising. During the seven-week session led James Pérez, the cohort will work through a stacked curriculum that will culminate in the creation of a development plan. 

This cohort meets every Tuesday at 9:30 am via Zoom from July 7th - August 18th (see curriculum below). *Please note this cohort has limited capacity

​Pricing Options

Regular Price - $900 

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3 Monthly Payments of $300 -

Contact for assistance 

If either of these payment options doesn't work for you and you'd like to make other accommodations, please reach out to us at 

What The Course Covers

Week 1:

What is your why? Explore the mission of your organization and begin to develop a case for support.

Week 2:

Who are you raising money from? Understand who your donor base is and how to segment them to maximize your engagement.

Week 3:

How are we raising money? It is time to build a balanced portfolio and understand all the funding opportunities that exist.

Week 4:

Understand the philanthropic cycle. Take a greater look at the moves management process and practically apply the measures to your donor base.

Week 5:

Who can help? Take stock of the staff, board, and volunteers and learn how we can leverage them within fundraising.

Week 6:

Put it all together. Take six weeks of work and with the facilitator’s guidance, craft a development plan that works for you and your organization.

Week 7:

Put into action. Finishing your development plan is more than just writing it, it is putting into action. Together, we will talk through best practices, how to get buy in on all the work you have done, and where to go from here.

Tools Provided:

  • Visualization of Moves Management
  • Moves Management spreadsheet
  • Case for Support worksheet
  • Sample Development plan


Recently stepping into the world of fundraising, Ostara has helped me reach assurance in my ability to execute thoughtful fundraising and corporate strategies as a young philanthropist. The early development of a customized coaching plan resulted in an invaluable experience that has become and will continue to be the foundation of my career. Without Ostara and the help from James, I would have never reached my current level of confidence when occupying fundraising spaces as a person of color. Grateful for the experience and changes that will be shaping the direction of my team and my entire organization.

Rafael Saucedo, Corporate Relations Manager at Forterra

“In the six months that I've spent with James as our organization's consultant, he has offered personal experience, anecdotal and applicable examples, and crucial knowledge about genuine donor stewardship. He has taken the time and care to truly understand our organization's values, needs, and goals, balancing the development of genuine relationships with the financial needs of the org. Together, we established a ready-to-implement recurring donor program that promotes giving while engaging community members at all financial levels. James has also been a key guiding presence in adapting our donor stewardship strategies in the time of COVID-19 and the resurgence of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. With his help, we now anticipate raising twice as many donations through individual contributions each year—if not more. We're so grateful!”

Luca Savot, Communications & Development Manager at Lavender Rights Project

“James’ guidance, knowledge of systems, and wrap-around support has been essential to my entire team through a department reorg, including the onboarding of our next department leader at a crucial time in our organization’s history. While supporting change management strategy with our leadership team, he also provided extremely detailed attention in his role as a coach to me and two other colleagues. And for me, our one hour coaching sessions quickly became the thing that I looked forward to most each week. James’ ability to hear, assess and respond to challenges in a logical and also radically-human-for-the-workplace way is a true gift. I highly recommend his coaching skills.”

Kia Washington, Foundation Relations Manager at Forterra

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this course more expensive than the others I’ve seen online?

  • Many online classes will only walk through the basic development practices, but do not review and give feedback on your work. Not only will we provide you with the tools and templates you need to succeed in this course (20-hours of work already done for you), an Ostara consultant will work with you step-by-step to create a custom-built development plan specific to your needs. Compared to our other development services, you will have the opportunity to learn from your peers, increase your knowledge base, and build the confidence you need to succeed outside of this course.

What is the difference between cohort learning vs. 1:1 coaching? 

  • Group coaching and learning within a cohort provides participants the opportunity to spend time with an Ostara consultant at a reduced rate, follow a structured guide, and learn from others in the group. In each cohort learning environment, we have produced and participated in, we have discovered that hearing from your peers is just as important as absorbing the lecture.

What type of knowledge or experience should I have before signing up?

  • There are no prerequisites for joining this cohort. We only ask that you have a passion for mission-driven nonprofit work.

Meet the Instructor

James J.G. Pérez, Senior Consultant, Director of Development Services 

James has spent his entire career focusing on building and strengthening relationships. After 10+ years in development, he has found that assisting nonprofits in delivering impact is the most inspirational and meaningful part of his career. After graduating college James served in the United States Peace Corps where he resided in a small village in Mali project managing, community building, and facilitating grant applications. Upon returning to the US, he took on a role as the Director of Sales for a renewable energy company, specializing in residential and commercial consultations and design. At E2Sys he led a small sales team to create a strong process focused on details, customer service, and delivery. After spending three years overseeing the strategic growth for a men’s fraternity, he came to Seattle and began working for The Center for Wooden Boats. He learned there that a small but passionate team could accomplish a great deal. Before joining Ostara, James worked at the University of Washington Information School, where he carried a major gifts portfolio that was primarily industry partners and private foundations. In three years at UW, James raised nearly $8 million in gifts and grants. His proudest moment was working with the team that secured a $5 million grant from the Knight Foundation that helped create the Center for an Informed Public, a research consortium located at UW that will study mis-/disinformation and develop tools to strength democratic discourse.

As Ostara’s Director of Development Services, James works to ensure that our fundraising coaching, assessment, and planning services are high-quality, efficient, and responsive to our nonprofit clients’ needs. James believes that a strong development strategy is predicated on attention to detail, communicating impact, and creating unique definitions of success. His passion for development and fundraising is rooted in his experience being a first-generation American; as the child of an immigrant, James recognizes the incredible impact nonprofits and foundations can have on marginalized populations. He carries this perspective into interactions with clients, where he focuses on listening, asking clarifying questions, creating a rapport built on respect, and designing a suite of tools to meet people’s unique needs.

Ready to discuss how we can work together?