Fatima Ahmed has always felt the call to serve. In India, where she grew up, Fatima worked for an HIV/AIDS nonprofit that helped educate the public about the disease while also helping patients manage it.
“I’ve always been interested in analyzing and understanding the social trends, patterns and relationships that affect us, especially the vulnerable sections of society,” Fatima said. “It gives me contentment working for those people and bringing solutions to their problems.”
Before moving to Seattle, Fatima’s conception of the city was colored by companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Adobe and Tableau — not nonprofits. But that changed when she got to know the city.
“I had this idea that Seattle was just a tech city with a lot of corporations,” she said. “I was very pleased to see the number of nonprofit organizations here.”
Fatima once again jumped right into philanthropic work: she volunteered for five different organizations — concurrently — the first 10 months she was here. The simple and profound act of volunteering encouraged Fatima to dig deeper into the needs of her new community and how nonprofits can meet them.
That desire led Fatima to the UW Certificates in
Nonprofit Management and Fundraising Management.
“I wanted to pursue the nonprofit certificate to fulfill those curiosities and answer the questions that kept coming to me while I was volunteering,” Fatima said. “And fundraising is so essential to nonprofit organizations, so the fundraising certificate felt like a great way to clarify how nonprofits really work.”
AN EDUCATION THAT WORKS
Soon after she began her certificate programs, Fatima was hired by the Seattle Children’s Hospital and Foundation as a gift processing specialist. The content she was learning in the
Certificate in Fundraising Management helped Fatima understand the ins and outs of working with donors and donations.
“There were a lot questions I might’ve had that I didn’t have to ask when I started,” Fatima said. “The new terms, concepts and theories at my job were things I was already learning in my fundraising management classes.”
Certificate in Nonprofit Management also ensured that Fatima hit the ground running in her new role at Seattle Children’s.
“The things I was doing at work were very clear because of the certificate program,” Fatima said, “and it really helped me to function as a productive member of the team.”
Fatima used her experience at Seattle Children’s to find a role as a data coordinator at Fred Hutch, where she’s focused more on grant proposals — another skill she learned in her UW fundraising courses.
In Her Own Words
Fatima Ahmed explains how the Certificates in Nonprofit Management and Fundraising Management gave her the boost she wanted in her professional journey.
Play LEARNING FROM OTHERS
In addition to all the theory and concepts she learned in class, Fatima also picked up plenty of practical knowledge from her instructors and classmates.
“There were people coming from very different backgrounds and sectors within nonprofits,” she said. “It was very nice to see how people from different areas solve problems and how those problems are interrelated and interdependent in a successful organization.”
Fatima’s classes regularly hosted guest speakers who provided even more industry expertise to deepen the learning experience.
“Having people who are actually working in the field come in and give us firsthand information was very valuable,” she said. “It really changed my perspective on how to handle problems and difficult situations.”
The Certificates in
Nonprofit Management and Fundraising Management helped Fatima get accepted into the UW Master of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice, which she started in 2020.
“After the certificates, I was sure that this master’s was the one, and that UW was the place I wanted to pursue another program,” Fatima said. “I didn’t even apply anywhere else; I just knew it was the University of Washington.”