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The Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) exam is designed to assess your knowledge of effective, efficient, and ethical fundraising.

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CFRE Exam Eligibility

To be eligible to sit for the CFRE exam, you must meet a set of education, professional practice, and professional performance requirements, which are based on a point system.

Education (80 points)

To earn points toward your education requirements, you must have accumulated a certain number of hours attending education programs. One hour of attendance equals one point toward your education requirement, and you must have a minimum of 80 points documented.

Other ways you can accumulate education points are by presenting at education sessions (fundraiser-based), authoring, and service-learning.

Professional Practice (36 points)

To earn points toward your professional practice requirements, you must have been employed as a fundraising consultant for non-profit organizations or as a professional member of a fundraising staff for a minimum of 36 months within the last five years. Each month of employment equals one professional practice point, and you cannot earn more than one point per month of work.

Professional Performance (55 points)

There are three ways you can accumulate professional performance points.

  1. You will receive one point for each $25,000 of raised funds.
  2. You will receive five points for each communications project or activity that had a clear and measurable impact on the fundraising success of the organization.
  3. You will receive five points for each management project or activity that has had a clear and measurable impact on the fundraising success of the organization.

CFRE Exam Outline

The CFRE exam contains 200 multiple-choice questions, 25 of which are unscored, and you will be given a time limit of 4 hours. The 25 unscored questions are known as “pretest” questions, and they are used to evaluate the questions for future versions of the exam.

The exam is split into six content domains:

  1. Current and Prospective Donor Research (26 questions)
  2. Securing the Gift (39 questions)
  3. Relationship Building (51 questions)
  4. Volunteer Involvement (10 questions)
  5. Leadership and Management (31 questions)
  6. Ethics, Accountability, and Professionalism (18 questions)

When you take the exam, it will be split into two sections of 100 questions each, and there will be a ten-minute break between the sections.

exam outline for the CFRE exam, which contains 200 multiple-choice questions and has a time limit of 4 hours

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CFRE Exam Registration

To register for the CFRE exam, you must first submit an online application to CFRE International. Your application will include your information, any necessary eligibility documentation, and the examination fee. The examination fee is $700 for members of a participating organization and $875 for non-members.

Once your application is approved, you will receive an authorization to test (ATT). This will provide you with the information you need to schedule your exam online with Pearson VUE.

Test Day

In-person Testing

On the day of your exam, you should arrive at least 30 minutes early to your appointment. This will allow time for the check-in process. During check-in, you will be asked to provide two forms of valid identification, one of which must be a government-issued photo ID, and you will need to sign the testing center roster.

Before you enter the testing room, you must take all personal items (cell phone, bag, notebooks, food, hat, coat, etc.) and place them in a secure locker. You will also be asked to turn your pockets inside out for inspection.

Once the exam begins, you will be given a ten-minute break between the two sections of the test. You may decline to take the break altogether, but taking a break longer than ten minutes will result in time being taken away from taking the second portion of the exam.

Remote Testing

Before you log in to take your exam, you must clear your testing area of all electronics, books, notes, and recording devices. You must also be sure that people will not come and go during your exam. Your exam could be canceled if the proctor sees anyone else in the room but you.

Once your testing area is ready, sign on and follow the procedures provided.

How the CFRE Exam is Scored

The CFRE exam is scored using a modified Angoff method, which places your score on a scaled system, ranging from 200 to 800. To pass the exam, you must achieve a scaled score of at least 500.

An official score report will be sent to you 48 hours after you take the test.



What does CFRE stand for?


CFRE stands for Certified Fund Raising Executive.


How much does CFRE certification cost?


To take the CFRE exam, you must pay an examination fee of $700 for organization members and $875 for non-members.


How many questions are on the CFRE exam?


There are 200 multiple-choice questions on the exam, 25 of which do not count toward your score.


How long is the CFRE exam?


The time limit for the exam is 4 hours.


What is the passing score for the CFRE exam?


To pass the exam, you must achieve a scaled score of at least 500.

By Peter Rench

Peter Rench joined Mometrix in 2009 and serves as Vice President of Product Development, responsible for overseeing all new product development and quality improvements. Mr. Rench, a National Merit Scholar, graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in mathematics from Texas A&M University.


by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: December 29, 2023