Policy on Eligibility for the CFRE Credential

All applicants to the CFRE Program must meet all the eligibility requirements stated in the current version of the Candidate Handbook and on the current version of the application form itself in order to be approved to sit for the CFRE written examination.

Applicants are required to submit the documentation as outlined on the application form and in the Candidate Handbook to sufficiently demonstrate achievement of the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Education –  documentation of a minimum of eighty (80) points, consisting of formal education, professional development/continuing education attended, or volunteer service during the most recent five (5) years, as outlined on the application and in the Candidate Handbook.
  2. Professional Practice – provide documentation of a minimum of 36 points, the equivalent of 3 years of full-time or half-time experience as a paid, professional fundraiser during the most recent five (5) This employment is to be a paid, professional member of a fundraising staff or a fundraising consultant for a not-for- profit organization with at least fifty percent (50%) full-time, or one hundred percent (100%) half time of job duties and responsibilities assigned to fundraising activities, resource development and/or the management of fund development which results in the generation of philanthropic support. CFRE defines half time employment as ½ full time employment (FTE) or greater. Professional experience in this category must have taken place during the most recent five (5) years, which allows for gaps in employment. Political fundraising is not considered eligible for points in this category.

The CFRE International Board of Directors affirms the policy that the CFRE credential is a practice credential. As such, eligibility for the CFRE credential is limited to those individuals “engaged in the generation of philanthropic dollars.”

While many individuals participate in various activities related directly and indirectly to the fundraising process, all CFRE certificants can demonstrate all of the following:

  • At least 50% of full-time employment as a fundraiser or fundraising consultant;
  • Current/recent successful fundraising performance;
  • Continuing professional

CFRE International applauds the participation of individuals in each of these activities, but only certifies those who meet established baseline standards and specific requirements in all of these areas.

  1. Professional Performance – documentation of a minimum of fifty-five (55) points consisting of actual funds raised, communications and/or management projects impacting the organization’s fundraising functions, as outlined on the application and in the Candidate Handbook, which have been accumulated during the most recent five (5) years. All items under Professional Performance must be directly related to clients or employers listed on the application under Professional Practice. Volunteer work will not be accepted as Professional Performance.

While members of Participating Organizations receive a discount on their application, CFRE does not require membership in any organization to apply for certification.

Once an application is approved, candidates have a 1-year eligibility period to sit for and pass the CFRE Examination.

As CFRE staff is not actively involved in fundraising, and in order to maintain impartiality throughout the application process, CFRE staff is not eligible to apply for initial certification. If an individual already holds the CFRE credential at the time of hire, they would be able to continue to hold it as long as they are otherwise eligible.