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About the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) Program

Major Program Components

The entire ACFRE program must be completed within two (2) years of the date that the ACFRE Certification Board accepts an application. A candidate may request one one-year extension to his/her “calendar” at any time during the process. 

Upon completion of the four sequential components outlined below, the ACFRE Certification Board confers upon candidates the designation of Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE). 

1.  Application

Submit a completed Advanced Certification application, including current resume and confirmation of current certified status. Applications must include payment of $400 application fee. Applications must be typed or legibly printed and entered only on the application form. Applications should be submitted electronically in pdf format to See Attachments below for the ACFRE Application.

2.   Written Examination

When the ACFRE Certification Board accepts an application, individuals become candidates for Advanced Certification and may register for the ACFRE written examination. The written exam must be taken within one year of approval of the application.  Registration for the exam must include payment of the $400 exam fee. Candidates who achieve a passing grade on the 100-question multiple choice examination become eligible for the portfolio component.

Examination Note: ACFRE exams may be scheduled individually either at the AFP office in Arlington, or at a time and place convenient for the candidate and an ACFRE member willing to proctor. To learn more or to schedule an exam, please contact Cathlene Williams at 703-794-2178 or e-mail

3.  Portfolio

A portfolio consists of materials that document the candidate's professional performance during the past five years. These materials include a planning document, a case statement, and two examples of competency in each of the following: writing, creativity, management, and teaching/ training (a total of ten documents). Portfolio submission must include payment of $800 portfolio and Oral Peer Review fee.

Members of the ACFRE Certification Board evaluate portfolios. Candidates whose portfolios are approved by the Board become eligible for the oral peer review.

4.  Oral Peer Review

Oral peer reviews take place in January and at other times through special arrangement, e.g., at the AFP International Conference or Leadership Academy. Candidates are expected to demonstrate to the review panel mastery of advanced knowledge and understanding, both theoretical and practical, in the broad field of fundraising and in two of the candidate's specialty areas. Within that framework, candidates' responses will address fundraising ethics, management, leadership, planning, and problem solving. 

The ACFRE Board 

The ACFRE Board is independent in decision-making in all matters pertaining to the implementation of the certification/ recertification process.

The Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) Certification Board is comprised of five AFP members and one public member. Members are elected by ACFRE certificants for one four-year term. Nominations are made by the AFP Executive Committee from current ACFREs who meet the ACFRE board qualifications.


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