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About the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) Program

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

Certification as ACFRE requires successful completion of a four stage process, which must be completed sequentially: a written application, a written examination, a portfolio review and an oral peer review. (See Attachments below for a summary of the four stages in Order of the ACFRE Process; also see the ACFRE Candidate Application and Guidelines, and the ACFRE Suggested Reading List by Content Area.)

Eligibility for application

Individuals interested in the ACFRE program must meet all minimum eligibility requirements. Those requirements include:

  • Currently working in the profession.
  • Currently holds Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential or current Fellow, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (FAHP).
  • Adherence to AFP's Code of Ethical Principles and Standards and the Donor Bill of Rights.
  • Minimum 10 years of full-time professional fundraising experience at the time of application.
  • BS/BA degree or equivalent experience.
  • Participation within the previous five years in at least 15 contact hours of senior-level management and 15 contact hours of senior-level leadership seminars and/or courses. Academic courses and/or writing for the profession may be considered.
  • Participation within the previous five years in at leastfive hours of continuing education in fundraising ethics.
  • Membership and active participation in a field-related professional organization, with demonstrated volunteer service to nonprofit organizations.

Steps in the certification process

Written application. All candidates must complete a written application that requires information in three areas: employment, education, and service to the profession or other nonprofit organizations. All candidates for the ACFRE process must agree, in writing, to uphold the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice in addition to the Donor Bill of Rights. See Attachments below for the ACFRE Application

Written examination. After demonstrating minimum requirements on the written application, the candidate must pass a 100-item, multiple-choice examination that measures knowledge of general development, management, leadership and fundraising skills.

Portfolio review. Candidates present a portfolio of fundraising materials personally developed within the past five years: a planning document, a case statement, and two examples of competency in writing, creativity, management, and teaching/training.

Oral peer review. Candidates articulate a mastery of advanced-level knowledge and understanding, both experientially and theoretically based, of fundraising ethics, management, leadership, planning and problem solving in the broad field of fundraising and in at least two specialty areas. Oral peer reviews are conducted at AFP International Headquarters in Alexandria, Va. in January and August by the ACFRE Certification Board and during the AFP International Conference and the Leadership Academy.

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 four 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.


Activities Approved for the ACFRE — PDF Format, 108526KB

ACFRE Brochure — PDF Format, 518550KB

ACFRE Suggested Reading List by Content Area — PDF Format, 45806KB

ACFRE Candidate Application and Guidelines — PDF Format, 204062KB

Order of the ACFRE Process — PDF Format, 93046KB

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