Policy on Accountability Standards

CFRE International serves the public by offering a certification program that recognizes fundraising professionals who are committed to the highest standards of ethical and professional practice in the philanthropic sector. CFRE International establishes and administers a voluntary certification process based on current and valid standards that measure competency in the practice of philanthropic fundraising.

Because CFRE International is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the credentials awarded, the Board has adopted a set of accountability standards related to the certification process. These standards exist to protect the public from those who would seek to misrepresent their qualifications or their status as credentialed practitioners. All individuals applying to, or certified by, CFRE International must comply with these standards.

It is likely that most professionals certified by CFRE International will belong to one or more professional associations that have codes of ethics related to the profession and the practice of fundraising. CFRE International’s Accountability Standards, in contrast, focus solely on actions and principles related to certification and the certification process.

However, in those instances wherein:

  1. an individual holding the CFRE credential is disciplined or sanctioned for violation of the Code of Ethics or Standards of Practice of his or her professional association, or
  2. any organization involved in or connected to the profession, including regulatory agencies, takes action against the individual for reasons associated with professional misconduct, malfeasance, or unethical behavior

then CFRE International will consider taking action. CFRE International is most likely to take action when an individual’s action clearly violates the integrity of the profession and/or universally accepted values and standards for the profession. In nearly all such instances, an individual who violates a code of ethics that was signed voluntarily has breached the CFRE core values of honesty and integrity.


CFRE International, through the certification process, promotes the integrity and quality of the fundraising profession. CFRE International also endorses the Donor Bill of Rights and encourages all Certified Fund Raising Executives (CFRE) to do the same.

Accountability Standards

As an applicant for certification or recertification from CFRE International, I submit that I subscribe to and am in compliance with the following accountability standards:

  1. All information on my application for certification/recertification is accurate, truthful, and complete.
  2. I will not make any claims regarding my certification status which are outside of the scope for which my certification has been granted, nor will I make statements concerning my certification status which are or which could be construed to be false or misleading. I will correct any such claims or misstatements immediately.
  3. I will protect CFRE International’s federal and/or international trademarks and use the CFRE designation only in the manner permitted by CFRE International. In addition, I will report to CFRE International any instances of misuse of the CFRE credential of which I become aware.
  4. I will not transmit information regarding examination questions in any form at any time. Nor, will I accept or receive information regarding exam questions from any source other than CFRE International itself.
  5. I will comply with all ethical and professional standards adopted by those professional organizations in which I hold membership.


As an applicant for certification or recertification from CFRE International, I submit that I have read and understand the CFRE International Accountability Standards listed here and agree to be bound by them.

I understand that CFRE International reserves the right to verify any or all information on this application and that any incorrect or misleading information may constitute grounds for rejection of my application, revocation of my certification, or other disciplinary action. I authorize CFRE International, its officers, directors, employees, agents, and assigned examiners (the “designated parties”) to review my application to determine whether I have met CFRE International’s standards for certification. I agree to cooperate promptly and fully in any review of my certification by CFRE International, including submitting such documentation and information deemed necessary to confirm the information in my application. I indemnify and hold harmless CFRE International and its designated parties from the decision made on my application so long as such decision was made in good faith and does not constitute gross negligence by CFRE International or its designated parties.

I understand and agree that CFRE International may deny my eligibility to take the CFRE certification examination if any part of my application is incomplete or illegible, documented information does not meet the necessary point requirements, or the application does not include the correct fees.

I understand that I am to report to the testing location at least forty-five (45) minutes prior to the examination starting time. I understand and agree that I may not be permitted to enter the testing area if I arrive late for the examination and that I will not be granted additional time to complete the examination if I arrive late and am permitted to enter the testing area.

I acknowledge that I have read this application, Candidate Handbook, and CFRE International’s certification standards, policies and procedures. I understand and agree that if I am granted the CFRE credential, it will be my responsibility to remain in compliance with all CFRE International certification standards and requirements, as well as supply any information needed for the assessment. I understand that CFRE credential has a three-year certification cycle and that, if I wish to maintain my certification, it is my responsibility to maintain valid certification status by complying with all recertification requirements and timely submitting such proof of compliance as is required by CFRE International.

I understand that the information relating to the certification process may be used for statistical purposes and for evaluation of certification programs. I further understand that the information for certification records will be treated confidentially.

I understand that my violation of any of the CFRE International accountability standards or my noncompliance with any of the terms of this Applicant Consent Statement may subject me to disciplinary action by any professional association to which I belong and by CFRE International, including but not limited to the denial or revocation of my certification credential, and to possible legal action. I understand that, should my certification be withdrawn, suspended or revoked, that I must discontinue all claims to the certification and return my certificate to CFRE International. I understand that I may not use the certification in such a manner as to bring CFRE International into disrepute, and not to make any statement regarding the certification which is considered misleading or unauthorized, nor may I use the certificate in a misleading manner. I also understand that if I act with behavior that is inconsistent with the integrity of the profession, I also may be subject to disciplinary action by any professional association to which I belong and by CFRE International, including but not limited to denial or revocation of my certification credential.