8 Handy Tips for Completing the Education Section of Your CFRE Application

Read on for our best advice to help you complete the Education section of the CFRE application.

1. Count Education From the Past Five Years

The Education section looks at education you’ve participated in during the past five years.

See the Application Requirements for an overview of eligible education.

2. Log Education Sessions Straightaway

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 straightaway in your CFRE application.

Qualifying Education Types:

  • 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

3. Jog Your Memory

It can be difficult to recall what 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!

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 terms that will help you locate old receipts and confirmation emails.

4. 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 will 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. 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. Don’t forget you can also upload proof directly to your CFRE application.

To get credit for watching pre-recorded webinars, take a screenshot of the first and last slides as proof.

5. Tips for Entering Conferences

Fundraising conferences can be efficient in earning a sizable chunk of points via one event. When entering conferences:

  • Only count 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,” don’t 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 conference’s name.

6. Log Your Volunteer Activities

The Service Learning section is where you input volunteer activities. Volunteering is not required, but if you’ve actively volunteered in the past five years, log it.

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

7. 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, finance, leadership training, etc.

8. Academic Degrees

Academic degrees are not required. However, if you hold any, we can award points. These can be from any year in any major.

Have a bachelor’s in philosophy from 2002? It counts!

Application Questions

Contact our Certification Team at succeed@cfre.org.

American Public Gardens Association (APGA)


United Negro College Fund



Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance


Nepal Center for Philanthropy and Development


BBB Wise Giving Alliance


Korea Society of Philanthropy


Habitat for Humanity Logo

Habitat for Humanity




Boy and Girls Clubs of America


China – CAFP




Brazil Fundraising Association


European Fundraising Association


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