People are always asking us, "What's the difference between certification and a certificate?" So, to assist
you in communicating with your members and volunteers and to help avoid confusion in the marketplace, we have
provided you the comparison below.
As stewards of the public trust, the Board of Directors of CFRE International certifies fundraising professionals. Unlike many certificate programs being offered by colleges and universities, the CFRE program is practice-based. It is not intended to teach individuals how to effectively raise funds. Rather, it is designed to measure an individual's "knowledge-in-use" - the application of knowledge and skills by those with real-life experience in this role.
CFRE International promotes voluntary certification as the preferred alternative to licensure and/or government regulation.
|Results from an assessment process||Results from an educational process|
|For individuals||For individuals|
|Typically requires some amount of professional experience||For both newcomers and experienced professionals alike|
|Awarded by a third-party, standard-setting organization||Awarded by an educational program or institution|
|Indicates mastery/competency as measured against a defensible set of standards, usually by application or exam||Indicates completion of a course or series of courses with specific focus; is different than a degree granting program|
|Standards set through a defensible, industry-wide process (job analysis/role delineation) that results in an outline of required knowledge and skills||Course content set a variety of ways (faculty committee; dean; instructor; occasionally through defensible analysis of topic area)|
|Typically results in a designation to use after one's name (CFRE, ACFRE, FAHP, CFP, APRA, CAE); may result in a document to hang on the wall or keep in a wallet||Usually listed on a resume detailing education; may issue a document to hang on the wall|
|Has on-going requirements in order to maintain; holder must demonstrate he/she continues to meet requirements||Is the end result; demonstrates knowledge of course content at the end of a set period in time|
People also confuse certification and credentials and designation.