Allison Plattsmier is an Executive Director in Nashville, TN, USA. She spoke to CFRE about why she decided to become a CFRE in the early years of her nonprofit career.

How did you first hear about the CFRE and what motivated you to pursue it early in your career?

I first heard about the CFRE from a job posting on my local Center for Nonprofit Management’s website saying that CFREs were preferred. After speaking with my colleagues that had the certification, it seemed like a valuable way to set myself apart from other candidates.

How do you feel that being a CFRE sets you apart from other fundraising professionals in your area?

I believe it shows that I have a significant dedication to fundraising ethics and the fundraising practice as a whole. Taking the time to not only demonstrate your skill in the fundraising arena but pursue continuing education and engage in professional practice allows a way to quantify everything you have to offer.

The CFRE office is often asked how long it takes to study for the exam. While everyone is different, could you share the length of time you found was ideal for preparing and any study tools/methods you used?

I studied over the course of one month. I studied primarily from Achieving Excellence in Fundraising and Fundraising Basics. I also bought the practice exam.

It can be hard for working professionals to carve out time to study and keep good study habits. How did you do it?

I am currently pursuing my doctorate so I am used to having to carve out time for school and study. I also found that I learned a lot of the main things I needed for the exam from my continuing education and professional practice.

Since you earned your CFRE, has it had any kind of notable impact on your career? If so, could you explain how?

It has increased the level of respect I receive from my board and allowed for negotiation in salary when taking on new clients.

Has earning your CFRE provided any sense of personal satisfaction and if so could you explain how?

It has definitely provided me with personal satisfaction. I have dedicated my life, education, and career to fundraising and I believe this certification helps show that dedication to the world.

As a young professional, why do you think it is important to actively participate in continuing education?

Being a young professional is one of the main reasons I wanted to get the CFRE. As a young professional, I will always have less experience than my colleagues so I can use every advantage to prove that I can perform on the same level as those with more years of experience. My commitment to always pursuing continuing education allows me to make myself a more well-rounded candidate.