Getting Involved in the ACFRE Process
Note: This blog post is part of my #AFPFC wrap-up, a series of posts writing about my take-aways from the 2015 International Fundraising Conference of the AFP in Baltimore last week. Getting Involved in the ACFRE Process was an information session hosted by current ACFRE's to explain the ACFRE process and encourage people to consider becoming involved.
Once, when I was in elementary school, I remember helping my mom clean out the kitchen cabinets. Mom wanted everything removed from the cabinets, the cabinets wiped down, and then everything put back neatly and orderly.
I can remember half-heartedly participating in the process. My mother noticed and came behind me and unpacked the cabinet that I had been refilling. She looked at me and said, “It takes just as long to do it poorly as it does to do it well."
As she unpacked the cabinet I was re-packing, cleaned it a second time, and began to re-pack it a second time, she drove the point home, saying that it can actually take more time in the long-run to do something poorly because you often have to undo what you've done poorly and then go back and re-do it the way you should have done it in the first place.
Somehow, the lesson stuck.
Today, my thought is always: if you’re going to do something, do it well and I probably have cleaning that kitchen cabinet to thank for that.
While at the AFP conference, I attended the “Getting Involved with the ACFRE Process” workshop. The ACFRE is the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive, the highest credential the fundraising profession bestows, one that is held by only somewhere in the neighborhood of 105 people in the world.
The AFP held sessions for those interested in knowing more about both the ACFRE and the CFRE (which I hold). The CFRE stands for Certified Fundraising Executive. There are about 5,000 CFRE’s worldwide. It’s a professional credential that can only be applied for after one has been practicing in the fundraising profession for a minimum of 5 years, full-time. After you’ve worked 5 or more years in our field, you can apply for the credential. The application process requires demonstrating a commitment to the profession through having acquired a number of education or continuing education hours, through voluntary work with civic organizations, through professional practice of fundraising (time worked), and through professional performance (dollars raised, management or communications projects completed).
Why do I mention these credentials and this session? I know that the CFRE or the ACFRE credential are not for everyone, but I would love to see more of us pursue them.
There are lots of reasons to pursue professional credentialing. I know I decided I wanted to become a CFRE the minute I learned that there was such a thing, in my first job as a fundraising professional. I knew that if I were going to be a fundraising professional, that I wanted to be a good fundraising professional and that I wanted to have a credential that demonstrated that I was a good fundraising professional. For me, it was the kitchen cabinet thing.
Others choose to do it for more pragmatic reasons like studies show that CFRE's are paid more annually than non-CFRE’s with the same degrees and levels of experience.
But I also think there is at least one more very important reason to certify: our organizations deserve it. The causes we serve are worthy. They deserve our best and the best from our profession.
When we enter into the credentialing process, we become better through the process. The process requires us to study. No, there isn’t any mandate to study. It’s just none of us wants to fail; so we study. As we study, we pause and reflect on things we’ve accomplished and ways we’ve failed.
When we succeed with the credentialing process, we emerge strengthened and more confident. We also emerge with new professional networks. All these things strengthen the organizations with which we work and build their capacities.
So my take-away from this session was maybe it’s time to fill out that ACFRE application I’ve had on my desk for several months. Perhaps yours is that it might be time to fill out that CFRE application that you’ve been thinking about for a while now.
And if you’re not ready for the next credential, consider what the next step in your professional development is. (Therefore, take-away: consider what you need to be doing to enhance your professional development).
Don’t forget that next week—April 13-15—I will be a panelist on the Fundraising Virtual Career Conference put together by Mazarine Treyz of Wild Woman Fundraising. If you want to learn more about options in fundraising careers or consider your choices, this is a great place to come, discuss, and explore. Many well-known fundraising writers and speakers—including Tom Ahern, Claire Axelrad, and Linda Lysakowski will be participating.
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