The CFRE Certification Team has reviewed thousands of applications. They’ve seen applications range from being well organised to ones where applicants included a hodgepodge of information, hoping some of it would stick.

To help you have the strongest application possible, check out the list below. Keep it handy as you prepare your application so you can submit the correct information the first time.


1) Don’t list more hours for education than there are hours in the day. Check your agendas and only list as much education as was offered that day.

2) Don’t list every class as fundraising. Just because a tool/skill is useful for your fundraising work does not make it a fundraising tool.

3) Don’t guess! All the guidelines are listed online.

4) Don’t enter items as “TBD.” Most people forget to go back and edit those items, and it can be difficult to remember what the original goal was.

5) Don’t list every newsletter you’ve written in the last five years as a separate project. Projects are temporary endeavors, in contrast to your ongoing work efforts.

6) Don’t use “Academic course” for classes that are not for credit with a college or university that offers credit.

7) Do list a few extra hours of education!

8) Do make sure your Professional Practice matches your Professional Performance.

9) Do spell out acronyms at least once on your application. This will help us review your application much faster!

10) Do review your application one last time before submitting. Check for duplicate entries, incomplete items, etc.

11) Do list your presentations at conferences! Record these separately from conference attendance.

12) Do update your application a little at a time. It can be hard to remember all the various odds and ends of information if you attempt to complete it in one sitting. Doing it across several sessions will give you ample time to be thorough.

13) Do contact us with questions.