Advancement and Certifications

Interested in participating as a CFRE candidate or as a mentor?

Earning Your CFRE?

Your Personal "Professional Advancement Challenge"

Did you know that over 35 members of the AFP Ottawa Chapter have their CFRE designation? You can do this too! Your AFP Ottawa Chapter is committed to professional advancement and offers resources to help you as you rise to the next level in your career.

Many of our local CFREs took part in the AFP Ottawa CFRE Study Buddies program. Through this program, aspiring CFREs come together regularly and are mentored by those who have already gone through the process. The group encourages and supports one another (and keeps each other disciplined!) to complete the detailed CFRE application form, to read books from the reading list, do practice tests, and ensure everyone is prepared for success. Participants in the study buddy program who wrote the exam were 100% successful! AFP Ottawa ‘CFRE Study Buddy Program’ typically begins in the early autumn. Please email Monique Archambault for more information.

If you prefer to work on your own, AFP International offers the CFRE Review Course online. For more information, please visit www.afpnet.org

Other helpful resources:

FORMS and INFORMATION: For all information about certification and to download application forms, please visit www.cfre.org

RECOMMENDED BOOKS: Here are six helpful books in different areas that are all recommended reading for the exam. Most can be ordered through the AFP Bookstore or on line at www.amazon.ca. It’s worth noting that, because of the increasing number of CFRE's within the AFP Ottawa Chapter, you may be able to borrow most books on the CFRE reading list through the Study Buddies program.


Ken Burnett, Relationship Fundraising: A Donor Based Approach to the Business of Raising Money, (Jossey-Bass)
Kent E. Dove, Conducting a Successful Capital Campaign, 2nd Edition (Jossey-Bass)
James M. Greenfield, Fund Raising: Evaluating & Managing the Fund Development Process (Wiley)
Henry A. Rosso, Achieving Excellence in Fund Raising, 2nd Edition (Jossey-Bass)
Frank Minton & Lorna Somers, Planned Giving For Canadians, 2nd Edition, (Sommersmith)
Philip Kotler and Alan R. Andreasen, Strategic Marketing for NonProfit Organizations, 6th 2002 (Prentice-Hall)


Note: The reading list, as published by CFRE International, may change from year to year. To ensure that the above books are still on the reading list, please refer to www.cfre.org.

Best of luck and, if we can be of assistance, don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Learn more about fundraiser certifications.

AFP offers a number of educational opportunities especially for the experienced fundraising practitioner. These opportunities address both the practical skills and theoretical understanding required of advanced-level fundraisers. Visit the CFRE International website.

What is the CFRE?

The Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential demonstrates an individual’s mastery of the standards set for core knowledge and skills required of fundraising executives after three years of experience. This practice-based designation requires demonstration of having met these standards through both an application and a written examination.

The Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential provides you with a recognizable demonstration of your personal and professional achievement and commitment.

Who administers/recognizes the CFRE?  The CFRE Program is governed by the CFRE Professional Certification Board. The program and the board is administered in cooperation with leading philanthropic associations:

  • Association of Christian Development Professionals (ACDP)
  • Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP)
  • Association of Fundraising Consultants (AFC)
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)
  • Association of Lutheran Development Executives (ALDE)
  • Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP)
  • Association Canadienne des Professionnels en dons Planifies (ACPDP)
  • Council for Resource Development (CRD)
  • Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA)
  • Fundraising Institute of New Zealand (FINZ)
  • International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC)
  • National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC)
  • North American YMCA Development Organization (NAYDO)
  • Philanthropic Services for Institutions (PSI)
  • United Way of America

What is the ACFRE?

The Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive Program is administered by the ACFRE Professional Certification Board.

Certification as ACFRE requires successful completion of four stages of the process, which must be completed sequentially: a written application, a written examination, a portfolio review, and an oral peer review.
What opportunities meet the ACFRE requirements?

Candidates for ACFRE Professional Certification should be aware that not all "advanced" or "senior executive" continuing education opportunities are acceptable for the ACFRE application process.

To be eligible, such activities must address one or more specific topics in Advanced Organizational Management or Advanced Organizational Leadership, as described in the ACFRE Application and Guidelines.
What criteria do I need to satisfy?

Those interested in pursuing an ACFRE certification must meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least 10 years of experience in professional fundraising.
  • Currently have or hope to attain a leadership or managerial role in philanthropy.
  • Want to expand their knowledge and understanding of fundraising history, philosophy, and theory beyond a basic level, and/or
  • Have identified the ACFRE designation as a career objective.