Are you a fundraising and marketing leader in Pittsburgh?

Velocity 2.0 is a one-of-a-kind training program that shapes passionate marketers and fundraisers into movement builders. Produced by Achieve, a global research and marketing agency for causes, Velocity 2.0 is the opportunity for Pittsburgh’s nonprofit leaders to create sustainable change for the city.

Through evidence-based education, discussion, field tests and campaigns, nonprofit leaders like you will work side by side to learn the most relevant practices used to build the movements of today.


Velocity 2.0 is produced by Achieve – a global research and marketing agency recognized for its vast and diverse work in the cause sector. Achieve works with countless nonprofits, social enterprises and cause arms of major companies to create valuable and lasting change. Achieve is excited to continue working with marketing and fundraising leaders in Pittsburgh to encourage a culture of movement building in the city.


Velocity 2.0 courses focus on individual leaders and their growth in the areas of fundraising, marketing and movement building. In 2018, only Level 2 (advanced) will be offered. Participants gain mastery in areas of fundraising and marketing through experiential learning and strategic coaching. Past participation in Velocity programming is a prerequisite for acceptance.

In 2018, applicants will select to participate in spring or fall sessions. See schedules below before applying.

Deadline to apply is January 5. Applications will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis, so spots may fill up before before the close date.

Level 2: Advanced

Up to 15 participants at this level will gain advanced knowledge in the areas of movement building, fundraising and marketing in a cohort (small group) educational environment. Through experiential learning, executive training and coaching, the Level 2 program addresses organizational and leadership challenges and opportunities with constituency-building and engagement.
Throughout the year, one organization selected by the faculty will receive pro-bono campaign services for two multichannel awareness and fundraising campaigns. These campaigns will serve as case studies for Level 2 participants.

The curriculum includes skill building, discussions and education in:
•  Activism Models and Engagement Programming
•  Psychology of Giving Campaign Branding
•  Campaigning Methods for Small- and Medium-Sized Organizations
•  Campaign Testing and Research
•  Creative Campaign Approaches
•  Video and Social Media Campaigns
•  Constituency Engagement Models

Level 2 features advanced experiential learning opportunities in:
•  Onsite Donor Interviews
•  Case Studies and Peer Reviews
•  Design Exploration: Case Studies & Exercises
•  Content Expert Interviews: Case Studies
•  Movement Leader Interviews
•  Mentor and Networking with Cohort Members

Download Curriculum PDF

Full participation in Velocity 2.0 Level 2 is applicable for 17.5 points in Category 1.B – Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.


Up to 15 individuals.

Prerequisite for Level 2: Professionals with multiple years of experience who have participated in past Velocity programming may apply for this advanced cohort.

Spring Schedule

Full-day and half-day sessions will take place at the Hill House Association, located at 1835 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

Full-day session March 14
Online session 1 April 20
Full-day session  April 27
Online session 2 May 4
Half-day data session at the Pittsburgh Foundation
Please email Cassie Evard ( with the name of your
data administrator who will join you for this session. This is necessary for security.
May 10
Half-day mentor session at the Pittsburgh Foundation May 10
Full-day session at the Pittsburgh Foundation May 11
Online session 3
 June 1
Final Results session
July 12
Velocity Trends Update session
 July 13

Fall Schedule

Full-day and half-day sessions will take place at the Hill House Association, located at 1835 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

Full-day session August 17
Half-day mentor session September 13
Full-day session September 14
Half-day mentor session October 11
Full-day session October 12
1 on 1 mentor session TBD between mentor and mentee


Mentorship for Level 2

Each individual cohort member will be supported with a mentor, advice and additional learning. Mentors will have experience in marketing, nonprofit leadership and fundraising within the Pittsburgh region. Here is how it will work:

• Cohort participants are assigned a mentor based on a combination of key factors, including the mentor’s experience, type of leadership/personal needs and professional interests, and the cohort member’s current fundraising/marketing challenges.
• Cohort participants will meet with their mentor during and between Velocity sessions. These informal meetings are an opportunity to review session materials, ask personal leadership questions, and review ongoing challenges and opportunities as they relate to interpersonal relationships with stakeholders and supporters.
• Mentors and cohort participants will also have a chance to present challenges, opportunities and/or other items for discussion to the cohort group.

Note: Velocity 2.0 will recruit up to five mentors, who will be trained and supported by the Velocity 2.0 Advisory Council and team. The mentor-mentee ratio will be 1:5 (one mentor for every five mentees). Program graduates will have an opportunity to become mentors in the future.



Level 2 is generously underwritten by The Forbes Funds and valued at $2,500.


  • “World Affairs Council knew that participation in the Velocity cohort would accelerate our fundraising efforts, as the Achieve team is extremely knowledgeable and data driven about donor communication and marketing strategies. Working with Achieve has inspired us to think differently about how we plan and execute donor outreach, and it has influenced us to try new methods in 2017. We are confident these efforts will allow us to build on the success of our work as part of Velocity cohort in 2016. ”

    Angélica Ocampo
    Angélica Ocampo President and CEO - World Affairs Council
  • “Velocity totally changed our fundraising strategy. For 2017, we have three mini-campaigns planned in addition to our big year-end campaign. We are even creating video to showcase a new story, and we are looking forward to showing this to our patrons. Overall, our team has discovered a renewed excitement for fundraising for Pittsburgh Glass Center. ”

    Heather McElwee
    Heather McElwee Executive Director - Pittsburgh Glass Center
  • "Participating in the Velocity cohort (and the alumni cohort the following year) gave us a safe space to test vetted campaign strategies that we otherwise couldn’t have confirmed on our own, with the guidance from extremely qualified strategists at Achieve, the support from other cohort participants, and the overall aid from The Forbes Funds and The Benter Foundation."

    Rebecca Himberger
    Rebecca Himberger Executive Director - Attack Theatre
  • “With Achieve’s help, our 2015 end-of-year campaign raised $25,000 more than our year-end in 2014. We will definitely be using the layout and messaging concepts we learned from Achieve in our spring 2016 campaign materials.”

    Sharon Wolf
    Sharon Wolf Executive Director - North Hills Community Outreach
  • “I wanted to participate in the Velocity 2016 cohort to expand upon the knowledge I gained from the general Velocity sessions led by Achieve and Derrick Feldmann in 2015. As Open Door grows and improves our services, the board and I realized the need to diversify our funding sources and expand our network of supporters. I also wanted to develop my skills professionally and create a solid foundation for my successor. The cohort forced me to spend more time on our year-end campaign, learn how to elicit emotional responses from donors, what reports and data are beneficial to analysis and how to create strategies based on those data."

    Christina Farmartino
    Christina Farmartino Executive Director - The Open Door, Inc.
  • “Today, successful fundraising and movement building require new tools, strong data and effective communication. Velocity weaves these elements together in powerful, results-oriented training and peer learning opportunities right here in Pittsburgh, and The Benter Foundation is proud to help bring Velocity programming back to Pittsburgh for a third year. Together with our partners at The Forbes Funds and Achieve, we are eager to launch Velocity 2.0 – programming aimed at helping individuals gain the most current, impact-driven skills to engage our community in supporting important causes in the region."

    Kathleen W. Buechel
    Kathleen W. Buechel Executive Director - The Benter Foundation
  • To give you an understanding about Aliquippa Impact’s (AI) state of fundraising, individual contributions make up 27% of our $350,000 annual income. Prior to 2016, AI would send direct mail letters on traditional letterhead with no graphics.  In the fall of 2015 we raised $4,390. In 2016, we desired to tell our story outside of Aliquippa to expand our current realm of influence, so we started to focus more on branding and marketing of our organization. In the spring of 2016, we launched an online social media campaign to raise funds to expand our current after-school program.  As a result, we increased our social media followers by 35%, our email database by 5% and raised $13,640. In the fall of 2017, we implemented a direct mail and email campaign guided by learnings from Velocity training, and we raised $8,950. Our revenue doubled from our fall 2015 direct mail letter. We appreciate all that Velocity programming offered to our staff and organization.

    Brandie Pupi
    Brandie Pupi Executive Director - Aliquippa Impact


Derrick Feldmann

Derrick Feldmann, President of Achieve, is a sought-after speaker, researcher and advisor for cause and corporate social responsibility engagement. He has helped causes such as PBS, United Way Toronto, Action for Healthy Kids, the Case Foundation and The Chronicle of Philanthropy understand how donors, activists and employees are redefining causes and fundraising.


In 2015, The Benter Foundation, The Forbes Funds and Achieve partnered to provide Pittsburgh-area nonprofits with access to nationally recognized fundraising expertise. Via Velocity in 2015 and 2016, hundreds of nonprofit professionals participated in public educational sessions. Nonprofit organizations selected for cohort participation received even more: strategic coaching and year-end campaign development. In 2016, Velocity added the alumni program to ensure continued support for 2015 cohort organizations. Over the two years of programming, Velocity cohorts surpassed national averages in all fundraising categories and, most importantly, increased their capacity for fundraising effectiveness in the long term.

2017 brought the next step in this unique training program – Velocity 2.0. Rather than organizations, Velocity 2.0 targets the best and brightest individuals in the area’s nonprofit network. In Velocity 2.0 we shape a select group of leaders, marketers and fundraisers into experienced social-movement builders. The program is funded by The Benter Foundation. The Forbes Funds serves as fiscal host with Achieve leading program direction.


Supported By 

Managed By 

Produced By 


We would love to hear from you regarding any questions or inquiries you might have on Velocity 2.0.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text.