Complaints Against Certificants or Candidates

CFRE International was established as a certification body for the evaluation of individuals who wish to enter, continue and/or advance in the fundraising profession through the certification process. In addition, the CFRE credential identifies for the public those men and women engaged in the generation of philanthropic dollars who possess the knowledge, skills, and commitment to perform their duties in an effective, conscientious, ethical, and professional manner. The CFRE Program was developed to help advance the evolution of the field of philanthropic fund raising from an emerging discipline to a recognized profession.

Those certified (referred to as “certificants”) have successfully completed the required certification process, which includes meeting certain educational requirements, passing a certification test, verifying professional knowledge, and demonstrating experience in the profession. CFRE certificants subscribe to the International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising established by the International Fundraising Summit and approved by 24 countries.

Successful candidates are granted certification by CFRE International and use the title Certified Fund Raising Executive as well as the CFRE designation. In order to maintain and enhance the credibility of the CFRE program, CFRE International has adopted these Procedures to allow consumers and others to bring complaints concerning certificants’ conduct to CFRE International. In the event of a violation of the International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising or other conduct warranting disciplinary action under these Procedures, CFRE International may reprimand or suspend the certificant, or revoke the certificant’s certification. Candidates who have submitted an application for certification and agreed to the CFRE codes of conduct are also held to the same standard and are eligible for disciplinary action under this policy. The grounds for disciplinary action under these Procedures also include:

  • Violating the CFRE Accountability Standards or failing to comply with the CFRE certification requirements
  • Conviction of a felony or other crime of moral turpitude under federal or state law in a matter related to the practice of, or qualifications for, professional fundraising
  • Gross negligence or willful misconduct in the performance of professional fundraising services, or other unethical or unprofessional conduct based on demonstrable violations of the International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising.
  • Fraud or misrepresentation in the application or maintenance of professional accreditation, or other professional recognition or

CFRE International will ensure that information concerning the complaint process as developed by CFRE International will be made available to consumers and the public without request. These Procedures apply to all complaints or inquiries received about the conduct of a CFRE certificant. All complaints and related documentation shall be dealt with in a strictly confidential manner.


It should be emphasized that actions taken under these Procedures do not constitute enforcement of the law, although referral to appropriate federal, state, or local government agencies may be made about the conduct of the certificant in appropriate situations. Individuals initially bringing complaints are not entitled to any relief or damages by virtue of this process, although they will receive notice of the actions taken. Commercial disputes are not considered under these Procedures.