All CFRE Exams

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Certified Fundraising Executive Examination
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About CFRE Certifications

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As an independent, non-profit accrediting organization, CFRE or the Certified Fund Raising Executive is famously known to set the criterion in philanthropy. It is founded to serve as a standard for ethical practice, accentuating your accountability, commitment, and service as a fundraising specialist. With its mission to provide a reliable and relevant certification process, CFRE is widely recognized in today’s fundraising sector. And if you’re planning to get validated by such a reputable name, ready yourself as we take you through its key certification program. 

Uncovering CFRE and Its Initial Designation

One of the main reasons why people opt for the CFRE certificate is because of its association with the ANSI accreditation, which is actually a stamp of an excellent certification program. With its endorsement from ANSI, this means that the CFRE validation is acknowledged by globally recognized accrediting bodies. Furthermore, the CFRE certification proves that you have earned a professional achievement that underlines your commitment to the latest fundraising standards. 

Learning More about CFRE Exam

Presently, CFRE circles around one certification, which involves a 4-hour exam consisting of 200 multiple-choice questions. Out of the total number of questions, 25 are unscored and are just used to ensure that the evaluation is psychometrically sound. Hence, 175 questions are the only basis for your score. The main objective of the official exam is to furnish you with the right skills in handling ethical philanthropic fundraising. All in all, the key areas are categorized into 6 domains, starting with researching current and prospective donors (KD1). Then, it follows with securing the gift (KD2), building a relationship (KD3), and volunteering involvement (KD4). Subsequently, you have to harness your leadership and management skills (KD5) as well as polish your knowledge in ethics, professionalism, and accountability (KD6). 

Choosing Right Training Materials

There are various learning methods for every individual. Despite the differences, it’s important that you use the right set of preparation resources. So, before you take the actual exam, make sure you have developed your own study approach and all relevant materials are right within your reach. 

  • CFRE Exam Compass Study Guide

Though the vendor does not have a specific course for the CFRE exam, they provide an extensive list of official references for your convenience. First on the list is the Compass Study Guide, which functions as the official training resource for the final test. This gathers everything you need to know, from getting started with your CFRE journey to learning the knowledge domains to taking the exam. It also comes with a sample study plan that you can follow during the course of your preparation. In addition, this material provides you with significant recommendations as well as some practice questions with answers to improve your confidence. By completing this, you nurture your skills and minimize possible test jitters so you ace the exam on your first try. 

  • Test Outline

This material elaborates the main domains by detailing all its related tasks, along with the key knowledge areas of each section. This file is also used to assess whether your experience fits with the major objectives of the actual exam. Take your time evaluating the content so you can easily identify the subjects that need your utmost attention. Once you have distinguished the topics that you aren’t familiar with, you can opt to attend a continuing education program focusing on these areas.

  • Resource Reading List

All relevant books are gathered into one collection through the Resource Reading List. This is specifically created by the vendor for anyone preparing for the CFRE test. The publications included here are very helpful because they cover the latest and widely accepted fundraising practices. Plus, the materials provide you with comprehensive information that is closely associated with the exam domains. Additionally, each book focuses on particular knowledge areas. For instance, “Keep Your Donors” by Tom Ahern and Simone Joyaux addresses KD1, KD2, KD3, and KD6 sections while “Beyond Fund Raising” by Kay Sprinkel Grace underlines KD1, KD2, KD3, KD4, and KD5. Other books in the list are “Developing Major Gifts” by Laura Fredricks, “Prospect Research” by Cecilia Hogan, and “Strategic Fund Development” by Simone Joyaux, among others. 

  • CFRE Practice Exam

To strengthen your skills, it’s suggested that you avail of the official practice exam, which comes in two subscription choices, either 30 days or 90 days. By attaining this material, you build your confidence as well as uncover areas that need an extra push. Knowledge gaps can be prevalent and risky if you don’t evaluate your comprehension beforehand. To ensure that you are ready to take the official test, answer as many practice exams as you want. The ones provided by CFRE in partnership with TestRun offer you a more interactive testing experience. More so, you have the option to answer the entire mock evaluation featuring a total of 100 practice questions. Or you can answer the 10-question quiz provided in each of the six knowledge domains. Moreover, feedback and insights are added to help you understand the topics thoroughly. Lastly, the subscription gives you access to some digital flashcards to maximize your learning.

  • Study Groups

Aside from the reading materials and the official practice test, CFRE also has a recommended list of study groups that you can join in. Preparing for the final exam with other colleagues can be highly beneficial to expand your comprehension. This way, you’ll acquire extensive knowledge from people with different experiences, hence unlocking an alternate and pivotal perspective. Likewise, participating in this kind of learning approach furnishes you with a more structured training environment. And through CFRE International, you’ll get the current study groups with their corresponding location, schedule, and other relevant information. If you want, you can also create your own study group and help others. 

  • Other Official Materials

CFRE wants you to be successful on your exam attempt, which is why they supply all the training materials that you need. For one, they have a 60-minute video that offers an overview of the final exam, its relevant preparation tools, study plan, and test expectations. Another imperative resource that should be added to your list is the official CFRE glossary. This collates the commonly used terms in the field of fundraising. And lastly, try to use the CFRE exam study plan template, a file that helps you plot your schedule strategically while ensuring you cover the most pertinent areas of the actual evaluation.


Acing the CFRE test and attaining the affiliated designation in one go is possible due to all the helpful preparation materials offered by the certification vendor. Thus, you can opt for diversified study guides, exhaust the official practice test, or join some study groups with like-minded individuals. With all these and even more than these, you’ll be furnished with the skills necessary for the validation process and your future fundraising career.

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