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What is a CFRE?

People often ask what does CFRE stand for. This is a credential earned through a certification process through an organization called CFRE International. The designation stands for Certified Fund Raising Executive. One must complete the certification process and re certify every three years in order to use this designation. There are presently only 737 currently holding this designation in Canada. You may find further information about CFRE at their website The information below is an excerpt from their site: As stewards of the public trust, the Board of Directors of CFRE International certifies fundraising professionals. Unlike many certificate programs being offered by colleges and universities, the CFRE program is practice-based. It is not intended to teach individuals how to effectively raise funds. Rather, it is designed to measure an individual's "knowledge-in-use" - the application of knowledge and skills by those with real-life experience in this role. CFRE International promotes voluntary certification as the preferred alternative to licensure and/or government regulation.

People also confuse certification and credentials and designation.

  • Credentials attest to someone’s knowledge or authority. Credentials can be a FBI agent badge; a letter of introduction from an ambassador to the President of the United States; a Ph.D. in physics and a list of published papers; or being called a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).

  • Certification is a process that results in credentials.

  • A designation simply refers to the letters someone uses after their name (CFRE, Ph.D., M.D., CPA).

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