Certification in the fundraising field can take many forms and there are different certifications depending on the area of focus. Many fundraisers begin by achieving the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation that recognizes experienced professionals who have met a standard of knowledge and experience. This designation was the first to provide a unified credentialing program designed specifically for fundraisers. The advanced certification, ACFRE or FAHP (specific to healthcare), demonstrates a higher level of knowledge and experience.
Other certifications are available specific to areas of career focus, such as the Certified Specialist in Planned Giving (CSPGCM) developed by the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) certification offered through the American College. More recently, the Association of Fundraising Professionals is collaborating with the American College to offer courses in philanthropic planning which will only increase the value of the CAP designation.