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
In the U.S., Certified Fund Raising Executives (CFRE) earn 17% more than their non-certified colleagues. The average salary of CFRE certificants in the United States is $85,032.
In Canada, CFRE certificants earn 36% more than their non-certified colleagues. An average salary for Canadian CFRE certificants is $81,862.
Statistics courtesy of the 5th Annual Compensation and Benefits Study conducted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) – January 2005
"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