Wisdom Wednesdays: C is for CFRE (Part 1)

by Heather McGinness, CFRE

Read Part 2 here.

Acronyms are abundant in our work, and if you spend enough time in the nonprofit sector, you’re bound to run across someone with a part of the alphabet attached to their name.  Our friends in the financial side of things might be CPAs or CFAs, and our communication colleagues may be PCMs or APRs.  For those of us in fundraising, though, our internationally recognized accreditation is the CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive), a certification that is highly valued but often misunderstood.  I’d like to enlighten you as to what these four extra letters are all about … Sesame Street style.

Our author at a Sesame Street Live ice show.

C is for….

  • Competence.  CFRE certification confirms your knowledge of the highest standards of professional competence and ethical practice in serving the philanthropic sector.
  • Credibility.  CFRE certification distinguishes you to employers and peers as a dedicated professional who keeps pace with the latest developments in fundraising.
  • Career Advancement.  CFRE certification makes you part of an elite group with greater career opportunities and earning power that averages 17 percent more than non-certified fundraising professionals.
  • Commitment.  CFRE certification is a public statement that you care about fundraising as a profession and are personally inspired to uphold its integrity.

I hear what you’re saying: “I’d love to pursue it, but it costs money and time.”  I get that.  Let me remind you, though, that you’re a fundraiser.  You know how to ask for things to support great missions, right?  Why fear asking your employer for funds that will elevate your skills and equip you to be even more effective for your organization?  See what your organization’s budget is for professional development, make a case for why becoming a CFRE will benefit your work and talk to your supervisor, board, etc.  As far as the time, think of your career like your spiritual development or a fitness regimen.  What you get out of it is what you put in it!  You won’t get closer to God without spending time with Him, you aren’t going to reshape your body without logging some miles on the treadmill and you won’t grow as a professional if you don’t make an effort to do so.  If you plan on having a career in development, then make the investment in yourself — no one else can do it for you.

And because no Sesame Street lesson is ever complete without a song …

(Sing along to the tune of “C is for Cookie” … with apologies to Cookie Monster)

C is for Certified — that means officially

F and R are for Fundraising — the job of you & me

E is for Executive — the best that you can be


CFRE starts with C!!!!

Tune in next week for more on obtaining the CFRE credential.

Read Part 2 here.

Heather McGinness, CFRE, is a Philanthropic Advisor with Lutheran World Relief, and is based in Wickliffe, Ohio.  Learn more about LWR at www.lwr.org.


4 thoughts on “Wisdom Wednesdays: C is for CFRE (Part 1)

  1. Heather …. Brilliant, passionate, well thought out, much needed, many thanks for your wisdom, insight and passionate support for an all important credential in our profession. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you

    • Thank you, Tony! The CFRE credential is something I care deeply about & I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my enthusiasm about it with others in our profession.

  2. Pingback: Wisdom Wednesdays: C is for CFRE (Part 2) | ALDE

  3. Pingback: Wisdom Wednesdays: Fundraising as Ministry | ALDE

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