Nonprofit executives seek Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive, or ACFRE, certification to bolster the skills and knowledge needed by nonprofit organizations. Fundraising and effective management of resources are critical to nonprofit survival. Advanced certification is also a significant career management tool for the fundraising professional. The eligibility requirements ensure that candidates for ACFRE certification meet certain high standards for experience and commitment to the profession. The certification process further tests and proves the candidate’s ability to function at the executive level in nonprofit management.
Applicants for the ACFRE must hold current certification through CFRE International as Certified Fund Raising Executives or be in current service as a Fellow with the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, or FAHP. Eligibility for ACFRE certification includes current employment in the nonprofit fundraising profession, a minimum of 10 years of full-time professional nonprofit experience and a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. The ACFRE certification process includes a required minimum of contact hours of senior-level management and leadership seminars or courses, fundraising ethics, active membership in related professional organization, nonprofit volunteer service. Courses must be from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, or AFP, approved list or applicants must complete an application requesting review of non-approved courses.
ACFRE Certification Process
The ACFRE certification process includes four stages: application, examination, portfolio review and oral peer review. After completion of the application, applicants sign agreements to abide by the AFP’s codes of ethics concerning fundraising ethics, professional standards and the rights of donors. A candidate for ACFRE certification submits the application with the required fee and documentation for review and approval by the ACFRE board, which must approve the application before a candidate may apply to take the examination.
Requests to take the examination are required at least two months before the exam date. The 100-question multiple choice exam measures the candidate’s skills and knowledge in the areas of nonprofit development, leadership, management and fundraising. Registration for the Oral Peer Review must be submitted with payment of the fee three weeks prior to the scheduled examination date.
The next step in the process is for the candidate to submit a copy of his portfolio to the ACFRE board at least three weeks before the ACFRE board meetings. The candidate’s portfolio should include the fundraising materials developed over the past five years. The board reviews portfolios during its semi-annual meetings in January and August. Oral peer reviews take place in January and August at the AFP office in Arlington, VA. Candidates may apply for special arrangements to sit for the oral reviews at other times. Check the AFP calendar of events for upcoming meeting and conference dates.