Handy tips for filling out the Education section of your CFRE application

Does completing the Education section of the CFRE application feel daunting? Don’t sweat it! Check out our advice to help make for smooth sailing.

Start for free

It’s free to start your CFRE application. You only pay when you’re ready to submit it.

Go on ahead and start your application, even if you’re weighing up whether or to not pursue certification. You have nothing to lose.

Log Education sessions straight away

You will need 80 points in the Education section, with all of them earned over the previous five years with the exception of academic degrees (these can be from any year in any major).

Sessions must be at least 45 minutes long to qualify. You can earn points for attending or presenting fundraising education.

Even if you’re contemplating earning your CFRE and aren’t ready to fully take the plunge, you will help your future self immensely by logging fundraising education sessions you attend straight away in your CFRE application.

Education types that qualify:

  • Webinars
  • Lunch and learns
  • Conferences
  • Audio/video recordings of conferences
  • Workshops
  • Master classes
  • Panel discussions
  • Roundtables
  • Academic courses
  • Certificate courses
  • Authoring (cannot be self-published, minimum word count applies)

Education types that DO NOT qualify:

  • Mentorships/coaching
  • Presentations you make for work
  • Listening to fundraising podcasts
  • Presenting non-fundraising education
  • Networking events
  • Awards events

Jog your memory on the past

It can be difficult to recall the many conferences, workshops, webinars, master classes, etc. you’ve attended during the last five years. You absolutely want credit for each fundraising education session you’ve attended—and you should get it!

Don’t miss out on those points! Jog your memory by reviewing:

  • Old expense reports
  • Old credit card statements
  • Your calendar
  • Your inbox. Search for “conference,” “webinar,” the name of the organization that hosted the event, and other search terms that will help you locate old receipts and confirmation emails in your inbox.

Keep your proof of attendance

CFRE International audits 10 percent of applications. If you’re selected for audit, don’t worry. A member of our team with work 1:1 with you to ensure you have everything you need.

You’ll make things much easier on yourself if you keep proof of your education organized neatly right off the bat. This will be used during an audit, but it is also wise to keep this information for your own records.

We recommend you create a folder in your personal email entitled, “CFRE Proof.” Store all copies of your receipts, conference agendas, CFRE points trackers, and registration confirmation emails here.

If you are seeking credit for watching pre-recorded webinars, remember to take a screenshot of the first and last slide and store those images in your CFRE Proof folder.

Tips for entering conferences

Fundraising conferences can be efficient in earning a sizable chunk of points via one event. When entering conferences you’ve attended over the past five years, keep in mind:

Only list time spent attending sessions as part of your contact hours. Time spent outside of instruction, such as networking, breaks, and awards ceremonies, is not eligible for credit.

In the field marked “Presenter,” you don’t need to enter each presenter you saw. Simply type “Various” in this field.

Likewise, you don’t need to tell us each individual session you attended. In the field that says “Name of Session,” enter the name of the conference. Easy peasy!

Log your volunteer activities

The Service Learning section is where you input your volunteer activities. Volunteering is not a requirement, but if you’ve actively volunteered in the past five years you can earn credit towards the Education requirement.

You’ll earn one point per year per organization you volunteer with. You’ll earn two points per year per organization where you serve on the board or a committee. Volunteering with schools and places of worship counts.

Don’t leave any points on the table.

Relevant non-fundraising education

If you’ve attended non-fundraising education within the past five years that is relevant to your job, up to 10 points can qualify. Eligible courses include business writing, time management, leadership training, etc.

Use your CFRE application during your annual review

Thoroughly preparing for your annual review is crucial to maintain control of your career. How many times have you gone into that meeting and forgotten to mention the full scope of professional development you’ve done over the course of the last year?

By storing your education attendance information in your CFRE application, you’ll have one central spot where you can view the list of trainings you’ve participated in. Many CFREs say this is invaluable and they use the application to centrally store information on the education they’ve attended so it’s on hand at annual review time.

Track those points

Remember to log points as soon as you complete an item that qualifies for fundraising education. They add up quickly!

Application questions? Contact our Certification Team at succeed@cfre.org.


Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance


Nepal Center for Philanthropy and Development


BBB Wise Giving Alliance


Korea Society of Philanthropy


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Habitat for Humanity




Boy and Girls Clubs of America


China – CAFP




Brazil Fundraising Association


European Fundraising Association


Boy Scouts of America


Japan Fundraising Association


North American YMCA Development Organization


New England Association for Healthcare Philanthropy


Kenya Association of Fundraising Professionals


International Catholic Stewardship Council


Fundraising Institute New Zealand


Fundraising Institute Australia


Association of Philanthropic Counsel


Association of Fundraising Consultants


Educate Plus


The Giving Institute