It took me almost twenty years before I finally stopped to consider my own professional development, and to seek formal fundraising certification. Prior to that, I could never seem to find the time. I kept saying to myself that experience mattered more than seeking a credential.
Well, that all changed when I finally set aside time to study for and to take the standardized test to become a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). After years of denying it mattered, I found that it truly did make a difference to me personally and professionally. I was proud to pass the examination, and I have been continually recertified since then.
I wanted to share from the website of CFRE International the top ten reasons to become CFRE-certified.
1. Certification grants you more credibility. CFRE certification serves as an impartial, third-party endorsement of your knowledge and experience against international standards in philanthropy. It adds to your credibility as a fundraiser and sets you apart from other professionals.
2. Certification can improve career opportunities and advancement. CFRE certification can give you the “edge” when being considered for a promotion or other career opportunities. CFRE certification clearly identifies you as an employee who has demonstrated mastery of fundraising principles and techniques based on accepted best practices.
3. Certification prepares you for greater on-the-job responsibilities. CFRE certification is a clear indicator of your willingness to invest in your own professional development. Certified professionals are aware of the constantly changing environment around their profession and possess the desire to anticipate and respond to change.
4. Certification improves skills and knowledge. Typically, achieving CFRE certification requires training, study and “keeping up” with changes. CFRE certification showcases your individual mastery by confirming proficiency and knowledge in the field. CFRE certification also requires re-certification every three years, proving you stay ahead of the curve in fundraising.
5. Certification may provide for greater earnings potential. 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 17% more than their non-certified counterparts. In addition, CFRE certificants are in high demand internationally.
6. Certification demonstrates your commitment to the fundraising profession. Receiving CFRE certification shows your peers, supervisors and, in turn, donors your commitment to your chosen career and your ability to perform to set standards.
7. Certification enhances the profession’s image. CFRE certification programme seeks to grow, promote and develop certified professionals, who can stand “out in front” as role models in the fundraising field.
8. Certification reflects achievement. CFRE certification is a reflection of personal achievement because the individual has displayed mastery of his or her field by meeting requirements and standards set in philanthropy.
9. Certification builds self-esteem. CFRE certification is a step toward defining yourself beyond a job description or academic degree while gaining a sense of personal satisfaction.
10. Certification offers greater recognition from peers. As a CFRE certificant, you can expect increased recognition from your peers for taking that extra step in your professional career.
If you are serious about your career in nonprofit fundraising, securing CFRE accreditation is an investment that will pay you back many times over.
On a personal note, I found the advance “prep” or CFRE review course to be very helpful. In fact, I doubt I would have passed without it! Since taking the exam in 2004, I have helped teach the CFRE review course twice, in 2008 and 2014.
For another article about my experiences, follow this link.