Fundraising University – Arizona

May 30, 2024

Fundraising University

Navigating the Path to Franchise Success


Stellar support and technological innovation pave the way for expansive fundraising across the nation

Headquartered in Arizona, Fundraising University is a nationally recognized, service-based business dedicated to helping schools, sports teams, and similar organizations expand and improve their fundraising efforts.

Since its founding in March 2009, Fundraising University has put forth considerable effort to continuously refine its business model, hone its service offerings, and stay ahead of the curve and the results speak for themselves.

This is why in the spring of  2020, the company adapted to a franchise model, allowing its owners to run their own Fundraising University business while managing other obligations as a semi-absentee business.

As a franchise, Fundraising University cultivates a clear vision and mission that resonates with franchisees and clients alike. It also maintains a strong franchisee network built on trust, support, and mutual success.

In practical terms, this translates to comprehensive training programs, ongoing support mechanisms, and transparent communication channels to empower franchisees and ensure operational consistency across locations.

These investments have since then been characterized by thriving franchise locations, satisfied clients, and a reputation for excellence in fundraising solutions.

Despite such incredible performance, success for this fundraising franchise is ultimately defined by its ability to make a meaningful impact in the communities it serves, and by fostering a culture of collaboration and service excellence, Fundraising U creates lasting value for stakeholders at every level.

Differentiating Through Branding and Technology

As a company, Fundraising University recognizes that to thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape, it must remain open to and refine every strategy that can help it gain an advantage.

In that regard, the franchise does a wonderful job executing its operations in two key areas: Marketing and Technology.

“The uniqueness of acquiring customers through marketing is the simplicity of it, and the ability to control the activity within it, and the way we do that is we do outbound direct selling,” explains CEO and Founder Mike Bahun.

Bahun understands that Fundraising University serves a specific demographic with specific needs. The schools and organizations that the franchise supports are looking for a system and someone who can execute that system in a way that dynamically improves their fundraising efforts.

Fundraising U franchisees are trained on what Bahun refers to as a “perfect system” that shows them how to acquire customers and execute highly effective fundraising strategies.

Fortunately, Fundraising U’s system addresses the largest issues faced by its target demographic which usually revolve around not having the time or the knowledge to raise funds over a given period.

However, what makes this system truly different is that it is not presented as a commodity to be given to clients but rather a service that needs to be fully implemented.

Franchise owners and their staff go to the schools, teams, and organizations they work with to demonstrate the company’s higher-level fundraising strategies. Because of that fully demonstrated service, the franchise and its owners enjoy an incredible 92% residual rate!

Additionally, as a franchisor, Fundraising U has spared no expense in ensuring its franchisees can leverage technology to streamline operations, enhance visibility, and maximize efficiency.

So, it has made substantial investments into the digital aspects of the franchise via a technologically integrated onboarding process and a robust ERP system to propel franchisees toward sustainable growth and scalability.

“We’ve spent over 7 figures building our own custom ERP, and it does everything to help us find the customer. It gives us constant LMS systems to interact with, train, and educate that customer,” Bahun says, referencing the massive scope of coverage the company’s proprietary ERP allows them.

The ERP system can also handle pre-training, pre-marketing, and even execute the fundraiser transactionally within the bounds of any preset agreements or compliance requirements.

“We’re training people from the beginning, and we’re basing those customers inside a digital system where their prospects are contained,” Bahun says.

So, not only does Fundraising University’s branding and marketing strategy play a huge role in its success, but it does so in a way that compliments the incredible technological strides it has made and vice versa.

This robust technological infrastructure not only empowers franchisees but also transforms the students and schools they work with into brand ambassadors, amplifying the company’s reach and impact.

Onboarding the Ideal Franchisee

Once franchisees are onboard they will have access to all the systems and support they need. Before then, they must meet several criteria to help them identify themselves as the best fit for the Fundraising University franchise.

The franchise seeks individuals who embody key characteristics such as competitiveness, self-starting initiative,  coachability, and empathy-based transactional skills.

This criteria, while stringent, is a necessary part of ensuring that the results they deliver to their customers remain at the highest quality possible. However, once that criteria has been met, getting fully set up as a franchise owner typically requires a $90,000 investment.

The investment is already outstandingly reasonable compared to other franchises operating on the same scale, and ambitious prospects seeking to buy multiple territories enjoy a discounted investment price.

Once the capital portion is sorted out, franchisees undergo an immersive onboarding process starting with a 21-day operational setup supplemented by remote and in-person sessions to equip franchisees with the necessary skills and knowledge.

After that, a dedicated team leader offers ongoing daily support, complemented by weekly mental performance calls and monthly company training sessions.  Additionally, quarterly meetings and an annual in-person 3-day gathering foster camaraderie and continuous development, ensuring franchisees thrive in their roles.


Strategic Partnerships for Growth and Future Goals

Once a prospect officially becomes a franchise owner, they also gain access to an entire network of strategic partners. Fundraising University collaborates with strategic partners to both supplement and promote itself.

Most notably, Coaching Matters, Brian Cain, and David French are three big partner names who provide Fundraising U franchisees access to CPA coaching and business development resources.

On the more technical side, the franchise is also heavily involved with Nebraska Logic for full-time technology development and is also preparing for a new partnership with Reputation Rhino which will be helping to enhance its visibility via high-level online marketing and reputation management.

These partnerships bolster the company’s operational and branding initiatives while facilitating greater engagement with the organizations they serve nationwide, and the results that these partnerships help to create certainly speak for themselves.

“In 2022 and 223, we’ve been ranked Number 1 in our category by Entrepreneur Magazine,” Bahun says, humbly attributing the franchise’s stellar results to the hard work and dedication of the franchisees.

However, seeing as how all franchises operate on both the corporate and franchisee levels, it is clear that Fundraising University’s number 1 ranking is undoubtedly the result of a carefully coordinated team effort on all levels.

Looking ahead, Fundraising University aims to take things further with an ambitious goal of raising a total of $1 billion by 2035, and being the forward thinkers that they are,  Bahun and his executive team have already determined what needs to be done to achieve that.

“So, want to reach that billion dollar mark by 2035 and we want to get there by averaging $100 million a year,” Bahun says, referencing these ambitious goals as the motivation behind the company’s continued emphasis on personnel development, technology, and collaborative partnerships.

Fundraising University prides itself on delivering the best service, product, and price to its clients and franchisees. So there isn’t any uncertainty as to whether or not it can achieve its goals. This is more a matter of when, rather than if they can do it, and Bahun and his team already have the timeline worked out.

This is simply a matter of moving forward with the course that’s already been plotted, as Fundraising U already stands on top of an immense value proposition with its current model.

“In business, you usually get one of three things. You get the best price, the best product, or the best service, and this is uniquely one of those models where you can get all three,” Bahun says.

Since Fundraising U’s model is performance-based on multiple levels, there is a shared vested interest in success, which would explain the company’s 92% residual rate as well as why over 50% of its second customers are referrals.

Through shared partnership perspectives, technological leaps, and a performance-based model focused on client success, the company will continue to cultivate the enduring relationships that have propelled it into its current era of mutual growth and prosperity.

With a steadfast commitment to excellence and innovation, Fundraising University remains poised to shape the future of fundraising. Not only is it raising funds, but it’s also raising the bar for educational communities and teams across the nation.


Fundraising University

Where: Arizona, United States

What: A nationally recognized franchise dedicated to helping schools, sports teams, and organizations expand and improve their fundraising efforts.



Coaching Matters –

Coaching matters is a program to work with people to optimize their performance through foundational, organizational and mindset skills that are in accumulation of Mike’s 25 years as an entrepreneur and 29 years of coaching and taking the practical systems, plans mindset, and the tools to win the week win the month and win the year and do so in the most efficient way from a growth minded perspective.

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