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About the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) Program

About the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) Program

The ACFRE is the pinnacle credential of your fundraising career. It demonstrates both ethical and effective professional practice and more, it demonstrates a wholeness, a universality in your career. ACFRE is not the end. It is the beginning of a new path.

ACFREs are focused on more than their jobs—they serve other organizations as volunteers; they research for our profession; they pass on their knowledge to others; they commit to and lead professional associations; they mentor the next generation of leaders; they ask questions and seek the best solutions to increasingly complicated ethical issues; they are strong and reasoned voices on behalf of the nonprofit sector, fundraising, and fundraising professionals; they are thought leaders; they are curious; they spend a lifetime learning…and leading.

Do these traits describe you? Do these traits describe your aspirations? Do you want to be the best of the best? If so, we invite you to explore AFP’s 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, confirmation of current certified or IADF status, and two peer recommendations. 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.  Portfolio

When the ACFRE Certification Board accepts an application, individuals become candidates for Advanced Certification and may submit a 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). The portfolio must be submitted within one year of the approval of the application, and the submission must include payment of a $400 portfolio fee.

Members of the ACFRE Certification Board evaluate portfolios. Candidates whose portfolios are approved by the Board become eligible for the written exam.

3.  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 examination become eligible for the oral peer review.

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

4.  Oral Peer Review

Oral peer reviews take place through special arrangement, e.g., at the AFP International Conference or Leadership Academy. Registration for the oral peer review must include payment of the $400 registration fee. 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 process.

The Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) Certification Board is comprised of seven ACFRE's in good standing and one public member.

Association on Fundraising Professional
ACFRE Certification Board


Alice L. Ferris, ACFRE, MBA
Flagstaff, AZ

Constituent members

Mary Doorley Simboski, MS, ACFRE
Vice President of Development
Archdiocese of Boston
Braintree MA 

R. Scott Fortnum, MA, ACFRE
Executive Director
The Living City Foundation
North York, ON 

Jill A. Pranger, ACFRE
Pranger Philanthropic
Loudon, TN

Angela Seaworth, MBA, ACFRE
Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership
Rice University
Houston, TX

C. Vernon Snyder, ACFRE
VP for Institutional Advancement
University of Toledo
Toledo, OH

Paul Strawhecker, MPA, ACFRE
Paul J. Strawhecker, Inc.
Omaha, NE

Public member

Wilson C. (Bill) Levis
Germantown, MD



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