Applications for Initial Certification require candidates to document information in three categories: Education, Professional Practice, and Professional Performance. The application works on a point system.
Candidates must document a minimum number of points in each of the three categories in order to be approved to take the CFRE examination.
Your online application at My CFRE will automatically calculate points for you.
Your application must be approved before you can be scheduled for the CFRE exam.
If you require special accommodations for testing, refer to our Policies and indicate your need for special accommodations when filling out your application.
Minimum points required in each application category for Initial Certification are:
EDUCATION: 80 points (must be within the past 5 years). Education includes continuing education on fundraising topics (including conference attendance), academic degrees, teaching on fundraising topics, authoring on fundraising topics, and service learning through volunteer experience. CFRE does not directly offer education. Candidates should choose their own educational programs that provide them with the most benefit, keeping in mind that the length and rigor of a program contribute to its value. Points are awarded as follows:
- Continuing education: 1 point for each hour spent attending educational conference sessions or workshops. 2 points for each hour spent teaching educational conference sessions or workshops using previously developed material. 3 points for each hour spent teaching educational conference sessions or workshops using newly developed material.
- Authoring: 5 points per published article (500 words or more; self-published material is ineligible). 15 points per book chapter. 30 points per book.
- Academic degrees: 5 points for an associate’s degree. 10 points each for a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. For Initial Certification, all academic degrees may be counted, even if the degree was earned more than 5 years ago.
- Service Learning: 2 points per year for each ongoing volunteer leadership role. 1 point per year for each instance of general volunteer service (a maximum of 10 will be counted). Volunteer work must be separate from one’s employment or contractual obligations with a given organization.
A maximum of 10 points of nonfundraising-related continuing education may also be counted, providing that the nonfundraising-related content develops skills that will help the individual become a more proficient fundraising professional. Sessions on general leadership skills, time management, etc., are examples of nonfundraising-related content that might be applicable.
PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE: 36 points (must be within the past 5 years). 1 month of employment = 1 point. Only 1 point will be awarded for any given month regardless of the number of employers or clients.
Candidates for the CFRE credential must be or have been employed full-time as a professional member of a fundraising staff or as a fundraising consultant to nonprofit organizations; at least 50% of their job duties and responsibilities must consist of fundraising activities, resource development, and/or the management of fund development which results in generation of philanthropic support.
Candidates who are or have been employed half-time (defined by CFRE International as 50% FTE or greater) may also qualify, providing 100% of their job duties and responsibilities consist of fundraising activities, resource development, and/or the management of fund development which results in generation of philanthropic support.
Consultants must submit a client list for the time period claimed as a consultant.
*For professionals with less than 5 years (60 points) of employment in fundraising, completion of an academic degree in fundraising, and/or an intensive certificate program in fundraising is highly recommended.
PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE: 55 points (must be within the past 5 years)
Candidates can earn points in any of the following three areas, or a combination thereof. It is not necessary to document points in each of the categories.
- Actual funds raised: 1 point = Equivalent raised in candidate’s local currency of USD 25,000. Fundraisers in non-OECD member countries will receive 1 additional point for each point of Actual Funds Raised.
- Communications projects: 5 points for each project with outcomes that had a measurable impact on the success of fundraising for the organization.
- Management projects: 5 points for each project with outcomes that had a measurable impact on the success of fundraising for the organization.
A project is a temporary endeavor with a unique result. Each project must have a definite beginning and end. The project’s end is defined by the achievement of the project’s objectives or when the project is terminated.
In contrast, an ongoing work effort or repetitive process that follows an organisation’s existing procedures would not be considered a project. Incomplete projects will not be accepted.
DONOR BILL OF RIGHTS
All certificants must also agree to abide by the Donor Bill of Rights.
Questions about the CFRE application process?
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