As a fundraising consultant and copywriter, I help my clients build closer, more lasting relationships with their donors. I believe that fundraising is not just about asking for money, but about creating meaningful connections that inspire generosity and social change.
That’s why I decided to pursue the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential, a voluntary certification that is recognized worldwide as a mark of excellence in philanthropy. In this blog post, I’ll share with you what the CFRE means to me, and why I think it’s valuable for anyone interested in advancing their career in fundraising.
What is the CFRE?
The CFRE credential is the world’s only internationally recognized, accredited certification for philanthropic fundraising professionals.
It’s a third-party certification that assesses fundraising competence based on international standards. It’s administered by CFRE International, an independent organization accredited by the American National Accreditation Board (ANAB) under the ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 standard for personnel certification programs. This means the CFRE credential has met rigorous quality criteria and is recognized by other worldwide accrediting bodies.
To become a CFRE, you need to meet certain eligibility requirements, such as having at least three years of professional fundraising experience, completing 80 hours of continuing education, and adhering to a code of ethics and accountability standards. You also need to pass a comprehensive exam that covers six core knowledge areas: current and prospective donor research, securing the gift, relationship building, volunteer involvement, leadership and management, and ethics and accountability.
Once you earn the CFRE credential, you need to recertify every three years by demonstrating your ongoing professional development and ethical practice. This ensures that you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in fundraising.
Why did I choose to become a CFRE?
I chose to become a CFRE for several reasons. Here are some of them:
- To challenge myself and validate my knowledge and skills. By passing the CFRE exam, I proved that I have a well-rounded understanding of fundraising and that I can apply it effectively in different contexts. I also learned new things and identified areas where I need to improve.
- To enhance my credibility and reputation as a fundraising professional. The CFRE credential shows that I have met high standards of competence and ethics and that I am committed to excellence in my field. It also signals to my employers, clients, donors, and peers that I take my career seriously and that I am willing to invest in my own professional growth.
- To benefit from the opportunities and resources that come with being a CFRE. As a CFRE, I have access to a network of more than 7,700 fundraising professionals from over 25 countries who share their insights and experiences. I also have access to exclusive discounts on educational programs, publications, events, and services offered by CFRE International and its participating organizations. These help me expand my knowledge, skills, and connections in the sector.
- To align with my values and vision for the philanthropic sector. As a CFRE, I follow a code of ethics and accountability standards that guide my decisions and actions as a fundraiser. This helps me maintain trust and integrity with my stakeholders and uphold the public’s confidence in the nonprofit sector. It also reflects my passion, dedication, and excellence in fundraising.
What are the benefits of being a CFRE?
Being a CFRE has brought me many benefits, both personally and professionally. Here are some of them:
- Personal satisfaction: Earning the CFRE credential was a rewarding experience for me. It gave me a sense of achievement and confidence in my abilities. It also motivated me to keep learning and growing as a fundraiser. Don’t laugh, but I actually started tearing up as my exam started. I was so honoured and proud to be taking this concrete step toward declaring my passion for a career in fundraising.
- Professional recognition: Having the CFRE credential has increased my visibility and respect in the fundraising community. It has also opened up new doors for me in terms of career opportunities and advancement. Many employers prefer or require candidates who have the CFRE credential.
- Higher income: According to surveys conducted by AFP Global and Charity Village, CFREs earn more than their non-certified counterparts in Canada . On average, CFREs earn 5 – 16% more than non-CFREs.
- Professional development: As a CFRE, I have access to a variety of resources and opportunities that help me stay current and relevant in my field. I also have a clear roadmap for my continuing education and recertification requirements.
How can you become a CFRE?
If you are interested in becoming a CFRE, here are some steps you can take:
- Visit the CFRE International website to learn more about the certification process, eligibility requirements, exam content, fees, and application deadlines.
- Start your online application and keep track of your professional experience and education. You can save your progress and submit your application when you are ready.
- Prepare for the exam by reviewing the CFRE exam content outline, taking the CFRE practice exam, and studying the recommended reading list.
Why should you consider becoming a CFRE?
Becoming a CFRE is not for everyone. It requires time, effort, and money. It also does not guarantee success or happiness in your fundraising career. However, if you’re looking for a way to demonstrate your professionalism, enhance your credibility, improve your skills, and advance your career in fundraising, then the CFRE credential might be for you.
I’m proud to be a CFRE because it reflects my passion, dedication, and drive for excellence in fundraising. It also connects me to a global community of like-minded professionals who share the same values and vision for the philanthropic sector. I encourage you to explore the CFRE credential and see if it aligns with your goals and aspirations as a fundraiser.
By the way, did you know that there are currently 14 CFREs in New Brunswick?
And I’d love to see more of my fellow fundraisers join me in this accomplished group of professionals. If you’re curious about who they are and what they do, you can find the list on the CFRE website. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or comments about the CFRE credential.
Keep on looking Waaay Up!
Thank you for reading this blog post. I hope it was helpful and informative. Please feel free to share it with your colleagues, friends, or anyone who might be interested in becoming a CFRE. And please feel welcome to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.