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Tag Archives: Association of Fundraising Professionals

During the 2010s, American grant writers continue their efforts to distinguish, elevate, standardize, and formalize the training and professional status of their peers. Among the organizations at its forefront are the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the American Grant Writers’ Association, and the Grant Professionals Association.


Association of Fundraising Professionals:

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) was founded in 1960. Regular individual professional membership is $250 per year, plus separate chapter dues of $25 to $120 per year. AFP offers several other types of membership as well. Grant writers count among AFP members, but AFP is by no means only for grant writers. The website is


AFP offers a code of ethics and 10 other research and practice tools, as well as 23 professional development benefits and opportunities, and an extensive bookstore. It offers discussion groups, a membership directory, a consultant directory, a career center, and other networking resources. AFP offers a three-day annual conference and many members-only publications and other resources. It also offers continuous education-related services such as 25 webinars, an online knowledge center, and the Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) programs, which are its credentialing exams.


American Grant Writers’ Association:

The American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA) was founded in 2002. AGWA individual membership is $99 for one year, $185 for two years, or $275 for three years. Business memberships are available for $179 for one year, $340 for two years, or $475 for three years. The website is


AGWA advances professionalization through professional standards and a code of ethics and access to professional liability insurance (E&O). It offers networking resources such as a two-day annual grant conference (plus a one-day members-only pre-conference), a listing in a networking membership roster for certified grant writer consultants, and a members-only portal. In addition, AGWA offers continuous education-related services such as 10 online courses, a four-day grant researching and proposal writing workshop, a members-only newsletter, and the Certified Grant Writer® (CGW) Exam, which is its credentialing exam. It features employment-related services such as information about how to hire a grant writer and making members’ résumés available to prospective employers.


Grant Professionals Association:

The Grant Professionals Association (GPA), formerly American Association of Grant Professionals (AAGP), was founded in 1998. GPA regular individual professional membership is $209/year; other types of membership are available. Chapter dues are additional. Its website is


GPA offers a Consultant Mentoring Program and publishes both an online newsletter and a peer-reviewed journal with limited public access to its contents. Its networking resources include a three-day annual conference, an extensive bookstore, and access to 60 webinars. The GPA advances professionalization through a Grant Professional Certification (GPC) program conducted through the Grant Professionals Certification Institute™ (GPCI). Its employment-related services include a Job Center with a searchable job postings database and a consultants listing for firms seeking to retain a grant-writing consultant.



The professionalization of grant writing reflects an effort to establish it as an enterprise distinct from fundraising. All three leading professional associations that encompass grant writing have their own conferences, exams, credentials, codes of ethics, and literature about effective practices.


Overview of Professional Associations for Grant Writers
Founded 1960 2002 1998
Membership Fee $250 $99 $209
Members 30,000 1,000 2,000
Conference 3-day 3-day 3-day


The costs of individual professional memberships vary by 150%. The scope and quality of resources available to members vary widely as well. The fee structures and the extent of resources appear to reflect the size and longevity of the three associations and the narrowness or breadth of their missions.



Discussion of the existence of the AFP, the AGWA, and the GPA is intended for informational purposes only. Endorsement or sanction of any of the associations is neither intended nor implied.



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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