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Among the world’s earliest leaders in elevating fundraising (and thus grant writing) to professional status is the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), formerly the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE). Its principles, standards, and practices represent a dominant paradigm within which many grant writers in North America now work.


Association of Fundraising Professionals:

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) was founded in 1960. Its website is The AFP has a searchable online Fundraising Consultants and Resources Directory for nonprofit organizations looking for them. Sorted more or less by fundraising functions, it subsumes grantsmanship as one of many other campaign services or activities. Grant writing is by no means a primary focus of the organization.


Certified Fund Raising Executive Credential:

The 30,000-member AFP has a global reach. It hosts international and hemispheric conferences on fundraising, as well as academies for faculty and leadership. It also offers the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and Advanced CFRE (ACFRE) credentials. Valid for three years (and renewable thereafter) and costing $650 (members) or $815 (non-members), the CFRE is a four-hour, standardized, 225-question exam on topics in Donor Research, Securing Gifts, Relationship Building, Volunteer Involvement, Leadership and Management, and Ethics and Accountability. For more information on the exam itself, see the dedicated site,


Individuals must belong both to the AFP at large and one of its state and regional chapters. The Association offers nearly a dozen different types of individual and organizational memberships with correspondingly varying dues. Its regular active membership dues are $250/year. Chapter dues vary from $25/year to $125/year.


Professional Benefits:

All AFP members must adhere to the Association’s ethical principles and standards, its bylaws, and a bill of rights for donors. Among the extensive (and sometimes members-only) benefits are: a members’ magazine, online discussion groups, 24 webinars/audio-conferences yearly, and mentoring for new fundraising professionals. Chapters offer their own benefits. These vary by location, but they may include a job bank, volunteer opportunities, networking, mentoring, scholarships, discounts, and a newsletter.


The general association offers many job-related services, such as a members-only job center for job seekers and job posters, a toolkit for jobseekers, annual compensation and benefits study reports, and online professional job postings. If any grant writer wants to become internationally recognized as an expert and as a fundraising generalist, the AFP is one very reasonable place to start.



Discussion of the existence of the AFP is intended only for informational purposes. Endorsement or sanction of the Association is neither intended nor implied. More posts on grant writing as a career will appear here intermittently.


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