What are those letters behind your name?

In March 2016, I became a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). The CFRE is the first globally-recognized credential for fundraising professionals. There are less than 5,900 professionals that hold the CFRE designation world-wide.

What does it take to be a CFRE?

Fundraising professionals must meet a series of standards set by CFRE International which include tenure in the profession, education, and demonstrated fundraising achievement for not-for-profit organizations. They also need to pass a rigorous written examination testing the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a fundraising executive, and have agreed to uphold Accountability Standards and the Donor Bill of Rights.

From my personal experience, meeting these standards take time and commitment. It also takes hours of studying. Even the most experienced fundraiser will find that the way test questions are structured are particular. As fundraisers, we also try to bring our past experiences into play. The test questions are designed as ideal situations. It’s best to remove your past experiences from your logic.

Why become a CFRE?

The certification process/program assesses your knowledge and skills based on best practices in ethical fundraising. It gives you more credibility with your current and future employers. A CFRE designation also affirms your knowledge and sets you apart of your colleagues. According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2016 Compensation and Benefits Study, CFRE certified fundraisers in the United States earn on average $24,000 more than their non-certified colleagues. My employer when I earned my CFRE designation offered a bonus!

I highly encourage all fundraisers to explore the opportunity to earned their CFRE designation. It’s one of the ways we can further professionalize the field and raise the perception and value of our work.

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Sarah Cortell Vandersypen

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