By Laura M. Ridgeway, CFRE
Have you ever wondered what the CFRE credential stands for after someone’s name? It’s a Certified Fund Raising Executive.
The CFRE is a voluntary credential that is recognized worldwide. It represents a confident, ethical fundraising professional. It adds to your credibility as a fundraiser and sets you apart from others in your field.
What is involved in getting a CFRE? The CFRE process begins with an application, where you input your education, professional practice, and professional performance ($ raised, projects) based on a point system. Your application must be approved before you can sit for the standardized exam. Most individuals apply after they have had at least five years of fundraising experience. Study courses and groups are available locally and/or online to prepare for the test. The most important study tool is the CFRE Review Guide. The test duration is four hours at a professional testing site with 200 multiple choice questions.
According to CFRE, 75% of professionals pass the exam on the first attempt, and most individuals study between 40 – 80 hours, depending on experience.
Many nonprofits recognize the value of having a CFRE on their development team – and some organizations require it.
In addition, many fundraising professionals who have become CFRE certificants experience salary and wage increases based on their certification status. Studies show that, on average, CFRE certificants earn up to 16% more than their non-certified counterparts.
“I’m so pleased to be a CFRE and feel that it is worth it to earn this credential,” says Ridgeway. “To me, it is a ‘seal of approval’ of a strong, ethical fundraiser. I always love to meet and talk with other CFREs because I know their opinions and ideals are sound.”
Laura M. Ridgeway, CFRE, is a nonprofit consultant, specializing in grant writing and administration.