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VOL. 132 | NO. 156 | Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Pearl and Mel Shaw

What the CFRE?!

Mel and Pearl Shaw

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In the nonprofit world money is almost always an issue. Where will it come from? When will it arrive? Is it restricted or unrestricted? These questions are accompanied by others such as, “How are we implementing our fund development strategy?” and, “Will we meet our fundraising goals?”

Fund development and fundraising professionals live and breathe these questions and more. Those who have earned a CFRE credential have a wealth of knowledge and experience they can draw on when working with leadership, staff and volunteers to sustain and grow nonprofit resources. “What’s a CFRE?” you may ask. We are here to fill you in.

A CFRE is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. These are individuals who are credentialed as having mastered the set of knowledge, skills and abilities needed to be an ethical and effective fundraising professional. CFREs are individuals who have both documented experience in a diversity of fundraising-related work and have passed a certification exam accepted by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. It’s no small task to achieve certification. It is an aspirational goal for people working in fundraising. It is a credential for employers to ask for when hiring and an accomplishment for which fundraisers should be compensated.

The CFRE credential is offered by CFRE International. Their mission is to certify experienced fundraising professionals who aspire to the highest standards of ethics, competence and service to the philanthropic sector. Yes, that’s right: There are fundraising ethics! What’s more, fundraising is a profession – and a respectable one.

Fundraising – and the people responsible for securing funds – should be more than an afterthought. Recruiting, growing and retaining these professionals should be a priority for nonprofits seeking to sustain and grow in an increasingly competitive philanthropic market. Encouraging employees to pursue the CFRE credential – and compensating them for their knowledge – is one way to grow a nonprofit’s fundraising capacity. Pursuing a CFRE credential is not an overnight task. It requires commitment and years in the field.

The first step towards pursuing a CFRE is to begin an application online at cfre.org. There you can learn more about requirements in the areas of professional practice, education and professional performance. If you are a fundraising professional, take time to start your application. If you are nonprofit executive, human resources professional or board member, learn more about the CFRE and encourage professionalization of your team. It’s good for your nonprofit and good for our communities.

Here in Memphis, the Association of Fundraising Professionals will be offering a refresher course for individuals who have completed their application and are preparing to take the CFRE exam. The refresher course is eight hours focused on the following six subject areas: current and prospective donor research; securing the gift; relationship building; volunteer involvement; leadership and management; and ethics, accountability and professionalism. To learn more or to register, contact Dan Murrell at dan.murrell@memphis.edu or 901-678-2732.

Mel and Pearl Shaw, owners of fundraising consultancy firm Saad&Shaw, can be reached at 901-522-8727 or saadandshaw.com.

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