Read on as we put common candidate misconceptions to rest.
Misconception 1: You need five years’ fundraising experience to submit your application.
Truth: You need to work 36 months out of the most recent five years in a paid, professional fundraising role. You do not need to have five full years’ experience.
Misconception 2: The CFRE is for people who have been in fundraising for a long time.
Truth: Fundraising professionals at various career stages earn their certification. If you meet the application requirements, it’s not too early or too late to become a CFRE. Many CFREs who achieve certification later in their careers tell us they wish they had done it sooner.
Misconception 3: There are trick questions on the CFRE Exam.
Truth: You will not find trick questions on the CFRE Exam. The CFRE Exam is made up of 200 multiple-choice questions. Each question has four answer options. There are no essay or open-ended questions.
Misconception 4: I need a college/university degree to become a CFRE.
Truth: You do not need any type of degree to be eligible to become a CFRE.
Misconception 5: I need to go back to school to earn the 80 Education points required for the initial application.
Truth: You won’t need to go back to school. You will need to attend fundraising-related education which can include: conferences, webinars, master classes, panel discussions, lunch and learns, and more.
Misconception 6: Only education from a CFRE-approved provider qualifies.
Truth: Attending relevant fundraising education from any provider, as long as the session is at least 45-minutes long, will qualify.
Misconception 7: It is better to take the CFRE Exam from your home or office with OnVUE than it is to go to an in-person testing center.
Truth: Many candidates report the in-person testing center to be quiet and conducive to test taking. Those who sit for the exam from their home or office often find it distracting and have a more difficult time getting into a test-taking frame of mind.
Misconception 8: When taking the CFRE Exam, you may not leave your seat for any reason.
Truth: After you complete the first 100 questions, you have the option to take a 10-minute break. During this time, you may use the restroom, eat, drink, and take medications. Candidates testing at an in-person test center are permitted to use the restroom at any time, but the clock will keep ticking for breaks taken outside of the allotted 10-minute window.
Misconception 9: If I present non-fundraising related content, I can still earn Education points for it.
Truth: While you may earn up to 10 points for attending non-fundraising related training towards the initial application’s Education requirements, unfortunately points cannot be awarded for presenting material not related to fundraising.
Misconception 10: Fundraising-related education of any duration qualifies towards the Education requirement.
Truth: Sessions must be at least 45 minutes to qualify.
Misconception 11: The CFRE Exam is based on American fundraising.
Truth: The CFRE Exam is developed by a committee of current CFREs from around the world. Questions apply globally.