How long have you been a professional fundraiser and how did you enter the world of fundraising?
I have been a professional fundraiser for almost six years.
While I always enjoyed being a part of nonprofits and fundraising for causes I care about, it was always on a volunteer level, and not professionally. In fact, I had no idea a world like this even existed!
So essentially, I entered the world of fundraising almost by mistake. After working at General Electric for about 3 years, I stumbled across a position at the University of Houston – a prospect management and research for corporations and foundations.
I thought “Hmm, well I could do that!” And that’s where I was fully immersed into the profession. I always tell people that I never went out looking for philanthropy, but philanthropy definitely found me, and I am so grateful!
How did you first hear about CFRE certification?
I first heard about the CFRE certification from a colleague of mine back when I was at University of Houston, Magda Herrera. She had studied and taken the exam, and when I began thinking about how I could further develop my career, she recommended I go down this path.
What was the deciding factor that made you think, “Yes! I’m going to pursue my CFRE!”?
I think it was a culmination of things, but the professional growth aspect was the biggest factor. I am now more confident working with clients and other organizations that I am a part of in fundraising.
From the time you decided to become a CFRE until the time you passed the exam, how much time did it take? In your mind, what was the most time-consuming piece of the process?
I decided to become a CFRE in October 2019, and took the exam in February 2020 (and passed!).
The most time-consuming piece of the process was probably creating my own study guides. Being a part of the CFRE online community and CFRE online study group gave me the confidence I needed to take the exam. They felt like a safe haven for asking questions and getting advice.
Did passing the CFRE exam make you feel more confident in your fundraising abilities? If so, how do you see that translating into your work?
Definitely! I work with clients that vary in scope and size. Having the CFRE helps me be a better partner for these organizations as they work to reach their philanthropic goals and mission.
What advice do you have for others who may be contemplating starting their CFRE journey but feel some trepidation?
Don’t be shy to ask questions – whether it’s about the exam itself or content! Everyone is more than willing to help you succeed!