As stewards of the public trust, Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) International certifies fundraising professionals who demonstrate the knowledge, skills and commitment to the highest standards of ethical and professional practice in serving the philanthropic sector.
CFRE International fulfills this mission by establishing and administering a voluntary certification process based on current and valid standards that measure competency in the practice of philanthropic fundraising.
In furtherance of its mission, CFRE International promotes voluntary certification, in dialogue with government and other bodies globally, as the preferred alternative to licensure and/or government regulation.
Like many people, I worked as a fundraiser for years before I learned about the credentialing process known as “obtaining my CFRE.” I had enrolled in some classes at a local community college on various fundraising topics, mainly to expand my skills and training in areas of the profession other than those I had been immersed in for so long. One of the instructors’ business cards indicated she was a CFRE, and my curiosity got the better of me. After class, I asked about the designation and was encouraged to review the national website. Almost six months later, I drove over 300 miles to take an exam I was sure I would fail despite having read almost fifty of the books on the reading list as “insurance.” Getting the letter conferring my newly earned credentials was a personal and professional highlight.
In just over two years, I have absolutely used my CFRE recognition to radically change my employment situation. My new and current employer, who was not unusually familiar with the CFRE program, was so impressed that he accepted my offer to come to work for him as his Development Director and oversee his non-profit’s $1.5 million annual budget! (He had initially posted a job for an associate to do primarily volunteer coordination.) Oh yeah, as a condition of my hiring, he also stipulated that I’d be given a nearly 9 percent raise after my first 90 days to make my salary “more consistent with my local colleagues.” Two weeks into my new career, I wanted to share my story with you and others as a testament to the value of our credentials. – Jim Hahn, CFRE, Development Director, Guest House of Milwaukee, Milwaukee WI
“The certification process provided a personal challenge that tested my knowledge of the profession and gave me a tremendous feeling of accomplishment when I received the designation. I think it establishes your credibility among your peers and a standard by which to measure your own performance.” – Nan Selz, CFRE St. Vincent Foundation, Little Rock, AR USA
“I got tired of people from other fields taking fundraising jobs. That’s why I got my CFRE. It tells the world I’m a fundraiser. That I’m dedicated to the profession.” – Steve Thomas, CFRE Chairman and Creative Director, Stephen Thomas, Inc., Toronto, ON Canada
“The CFRE programme is one way in which we can challenge ourselves professionally and to evaluate performance. The certification program tests us as professionals. Certification communicates to a board member, executive director or president that this person is qualified for the position she or he holds and it creates self-esteem and a greater sense of professionalism. Do you need certification to be successful in this field? No, but you will enhance your professional credibility and sense of self-worth. Lastly, I believe you will have a long and very fulfilling experience in the advancement profession” – George Engdahl, CFRE, California Lutheran Hospital, Thousand Oaks, CA USA