We realize you have a lot on your mind now, but if you’ve struggled in the past to find time to study for the CFRE exam, the weeks ahead could be an opportunity for you to invest in yourself by getting your studying underway.

In these instances where we find ourselves with extra time on our hands, it can be important to keep our professional goals on track, retain a solid structure to our day, and fortify our fundraising knowledge to help the organizations we work for meet unprecedented challenges head-on.

How long to study

To set yourself up for success on the CFRE exam, prepare thoroughly. Written at the five-year practice level, the exam assesses your fundraising knowledge across Six Knowledge Domains.

Most candidates study for at least 40 hours. If you have fewer than five years of professional fundraising experience, plan to study closer to 80 hours.

While there are 14 books on the CFRE Resource Reading List, most candidates select one to three books that will help them build up their fundraising knowledge in the areas where they have the least hands-on experience.

Study plan template

Use the CFRE Exam Study Template to create your own study plan. It will help you determine what you need to study and provide some ideas on how to structure your study schedule.

CFRE Practice Exam

The CFRE Practice Exam (US$59.95 for 30 days’ unlimited subscription/US$99.95 for 90 days’ unlimited subscription) is a useful preparation tool if you would like extra help in determining the areas where you should study. It is also helpful if you have never taken an exam on a computer to help you become acclimated.

Please note it is not required to use the practice exam to be successful on the CFRE exam.

Getting started

Sometimes the hardest part is getting started. Here are some tips:

  • Create flashcards. Flashcards are most effective when they are used to break down complex or unfamiliar topics. Create flashcards and have your family members or roommates quiz you. If you have children, they’ll enjoy turning the tables and being the ones to help support you while studying.
  • Carve out study hours. Many of us are finding our schedules have been upended. It can be useful to bring structure to our days by setting concrete study times.

If your brain is firing on all cylinders in the morning, consider setting aside some time while you have breakfast or before you turn on your computer to read passages and take notes.

Prefer evenings? Allocate an hour each night. We all know it is recommended to lessen screen time before bed. Having your nose in a fundraising book can move your studying forward while helping your evening routine.

  • Find others to study with. Zoom, GotoMeeting, Facebook video chat, Skype, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime can be fun ways to study with others while helping you socialize and feel connected to your peers invested in their professional development.

If you’re looking for a virtual study buddy, you can create a post in CFRE Central to see who else might be available to study.

Looking for a study buddy in your network?

Post on LinkedIn with information about when you want to start studying and your available times. You might be surprised by who else in your network is looking for someone to study with.

Keep moving forward

While no one knows exactly how long it will take for things to return to normal, we can take this time to invest in ourselves professionally so we can be better equipped to support our organizations during this period of uncertainty.

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Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance

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Nepal Center for Philanthropy and Development

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BBB Wise Giving Alliance

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Korea Society of Philanthropy

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Habitat for Humanity

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HKMA

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Boy and Girls Clubs of America

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China – CAFP

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NACCDO

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Brazil Fundraising Association

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European Fundraising Association

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Boy Scouts of America

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Japan Fundraising Association

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United Way Worldwide

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North American YMCA Development Organization

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New England Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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Kenya Association of Fundraising Professionals

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International Catholic Stewardship Council

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Fundraising Institute New Zealand

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Fundraising Institute Australia

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Association of Philanthropic Counsel

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Association of Fundraising Consultants

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Educate Plus

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The Giving Institute

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AHP

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ALDE

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AFP

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