Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Institute for Leaders in Development (ILD)?

  • The Institute for Leaders in Development at University of Denver is a unique professional development program that identifies Colorado’s emerging nonprofit fundraising leaders and prepares them for the future.
  • ILD helps create a better community by preparing tomorrow’s nonprofit leaders--today.
How does it work?

  • Participants are appointed through a highly selective application process. The ILD class meets monthly for a full day September - May. The curriculum includes in-depth exploration of topics such as creating a development plan, developing key relationships and financial management. Topics are presented through lectures, panel discussions, case studies and group work. Mentors provide invaluable guidance and support during the ILD program year.
Who can apply?

  • Qualified applicants should have a minimum of three years development experience at a nonprofit organization and demonstrate strong potential for future leadership.
  • The ability to build successful one-on-one relationships with donors and volunteers, resulting in increased donations for their organization should already be established.
  • The curriculum assumes basic knowledge of key development practices is already mastered. Learn more.
When are applications accepted?

  • Applications for the Class of 2022 will open from early February - March 31, 2021. Forms and additional information are here.
How much does it cost to participate? Is financial assistance available? 
  • Tuition for the 2021 - 2022 program year is $500.00.
  • ILD is pleased to offer the Bob Mesko Scholarship. This special award covers the cost of tuition. Visit the Eligibility & Selection section at for more information.
  • Fundraisers from rural nonprofits are encouraged to apply! There is no separate application form to complete in order to be considered for a travel stipend to help offset some of your travel expenses. 
What makes ILD special?

  • ILD is unlike any other nonprofit professional development program in Colorado. The program combines professionally relevant curriculum, a custom-paired mentorship program and a required Capstone project (see descriptions below).
What are the main components of the program?

  • Academic Curriculum
    Classes are taught by the highest caliber development professionals. The curriculum focuses on teaching development and relationship-building skills within a leadership context. The curriculum is relevant to organizations of all sizes, settings and missions.
  • Mentorship
    Each student is thoughtfully paired with an experienced development professional who has demonstrated excellence and success in the field. Students work with their mentor to develop a work plan that identifies areas for learning, related activities and a Capstone experience to test and practice new skills.

  • Capstone Project
    As the program’s culminating academic experience, students are required to create a plan addressing an existing development challenge for their organization, called a Capstone project. The Capstone project is presented to, and evaluated by, a panel of leading development professionals, which reinforces the real-world nature of the program.

Institute for Leaders in Development at University of Denver | University Hall 301 2197 S. University Blvd. Denver Colorado 80208 | 

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