Below are some key milestones in the history of the CFRE credential.

  • December 1980 – Robert Pierpont, CFRE unanimously elected first Chair of the Certification Committee for NSFRE (now the Association of Fundraising Professionals – AFP)
  • October 3, 1981 – first CFRE examination given in three cities (Chicago, Los Angeles and New York)
  • December 1981 – first class of 166 CFRE certificants notified of their certification – includes those from the US and Canada
  • 1983 – The National Association for Healthcare Development (NAHD) launches its first certification programme, awarding a designation of “Accredited”
  • July 1987 – The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy – AHP (formerly NAHP) notifies the first class of its new certification programme, CAHP,  of their certification
  • October 1987 – CFRE programmes reaches 1,000 certificants
  • 1993 – first CFRE examination offered to professionals in Australia
  • 1994 – first CFRE examination offered to professionals in New Zealand
  • July 1996 – The Board of Directors of AHP and the Board of Directors of NSFRE vote to merge their certification processes into a single, baseline credentialing programme to be administered by the administratively independent Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) Professional Certification Board which will award the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation.
  • October 1996 – First Board meeting of newly formed CFRE Professional Certification Board.  Ted D. Bayley, ACFRE is elected the first chair.  The Association of Lutheran Development Executives (ALDE); the Council for Resource Development (CRD) and the National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) become the first Participating Organisations, signing on in support and endorsement of the CFRE credential.
  • 1997 – First fundraising job task analysis including both the United States and Canada is conducted by the CFRE Professional Certification Board
  • 1998 – First fully Canadian CFRE exam is offered
  • June 1999 – The International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC) becomes a Participating Organisation
  • February 2000 – the Fundraising Institute- Australia (FIA) becomes a Participating Organisation
  • August 2000 – The North American YMCA Development Officers (NAYDO) becomes a Participating Organisation
  • November 2000 – The Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI) becomes a Participating Organisation
  • 2001 – The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) supports the evolution of the CFRE Professional Certification Board to an independent corporation with the sole mission of certifying fundraising professional.  Simone P. Joyaux, ACFRE is elected the first chair of CFRE International
  • December 2001 – The Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) becomes a Participating Organisation
  • June 2002 – The Association of Fundraising Consultants (AFC), based in the UK, becomes a Participating Organisation; the Association of Christian Development Professionals (ACDP) becomes a Participating Organisation
  • July 2002 – the Fundraising Institute New Zealand (FINZ) becomes a Participating Organisation
  • January 2003 – the Association of Philanthropic Counsel (APC) becomes a Participating Organisation
  • 2003 – First international benchmarking of fundraising practice is conducted by CFRE International through its new job task analysis
  • September 2003 – The United Way of America becomes a Participating Organisation
  • 2004 –First fully British CFRE exam offered in the United Kingdom; new, fully Australian CFRE exam is offered
  • 2005 – First fully New Zealand exam offered
  • January 2006 – The New England Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (NEAHP) becomes a Participating Organisation; the Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE), based in the UK, becomes a Participating Organisation
  • April 2006 – CFRE International launches computer-based testing (CBT), making the CFRE exam available in 325 cities during twelve weeks throughout the year – candidates receive immediate test results.  This coincides with the launch of an on-line application format allowing candidates to store applicant data.
  • August 2006 – The Association of Alumni and Development Professionals (now Educate Plus) Australasia becomes a Participating Organisation
  • October 2006 – CFRE International launches 25th Anniversary Celebrations with over 4,800 certificants around the world and eighteen (18) professional associations signed on in support and endorsement of the CFRE credential.
  • October 2006 to September 2007 – In  a program of activities, the profession  celebrated the establishment and evolution of voluntary certification for  fundraisers (1981-2006).
  • May 2009 – The CFRE program was granted accreditation by the National Commission  for Certifying Agencies. NCCA, the accrediting arm of the National Organization for Competency Assurance (now the Institute for Credentialing Excellence) grants  accreditation to a select group of organisations that demonstrate compliance  with the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification  Programs. 
  • June 2013 – The CFRE credential is offered as a global credential for the first time, with availability in more than 80 countries worldwide.
  • June 2013 – Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP) becomes a Participating Organisation.
  • September 2013 – Boy Scouts of America (BSA) becomes a Participating Organisation.