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Building a Strong Foundation for Nonprofit Leadership Success

CBPP Professor Dr. Sandra G. Ehrlich Hosts & Presents AFP CFRE Refresher Course in Anchorage for Aspiring Leaders

Dr. Sandra Ehrlich

CBPP Associate Professor of Management & Marketing, Dr. Sandra G. Ehrlich, hosted the Association of Fundraising Professionals, AFP CFRE Refresher workshop on November 14-15, 2018, for statewide nonprofit executives at the UA Foundation office.

“It was my honor to host and present at this vital two-day workshop to prepare Alaskan nonprofit professionals to take the rigorous CFRE exam. CFRE certification is an experience-based assessment process that measures the candidate’s knowledge and skills in best practices in ethical philanthropic fundraising,” Ehrlich said.

Preparing Emerging Leaders for Success. “To prepare our emerging nonprofit leaders for success, I selected a 3-pronged approach. I partnered with CFRE International, launched a CFRE Study Group, and facilitated the AFP CFRE Refresher Course,” Ehrlich said.

Partnering with CFRE International. “As stewards of the public trust, CFRE International certifies fundraising professionals who demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and commitment to the highest standards of ethical and professional practice in serving the philanthropic sector,” said Ehrlich.

“The first step was for the AFP Alaska Chapter to partner with CFRE International to facilitate a webinar, “How to Become a CFRE.’” The live webinar introduced the CFRE aspirants to the process and answered their overarching questions,” she said.

The second step was to launch a CFRE Study Group Mentoring Program to build confidence.

Building Confidence by Launching a CFRE Study Group. “Taking the CFRE exam is a daunting experience. A participant has four hours to complete 200 items, roughly one minute per question.

“It assesses candidate mastery of six core knowledge areas of fundraising requisite for individuals with at least five years of professional fundraising experience,” she said.

“On average, only 72 percent of first-time test-takers pass the exam. To secure a higher success rate, I formed a CFRE Study Group and secured mentors to lead each of the sessions to unleash the power of teams,” said Ehrlich.

Unleashing the Power of Teams. “As the UAA Team-Based Learning Faculty Associate, I’ve experienced the power of teams,” Ehrlich said.

“During these seven, two-hour ‘AFP Teaches Tuesdays’ sessions, a professional fundraising leader-practitioner facilitated the session. During the session, the cohort shared unique insights and learned from each other as they reflectively elaborated on the content,” she said.

“Evidence-based study strategies proven effective for enhancing student learning and success in the CBPP classroom were deployed. To deepen learning, the cohort asked each other questions, discussed the course materials, and challenged each other’s answers,” Ehrlich said.

The CFRE Study Group sessions culminated in the two-day AFP CFRE Refresher Course.

Facilitating the AFP CFRE Refresher Course. “The AFP CFRE Refresher Course was revised in 2017. The 16-hour course was redesigned to prepare Alaskan nonprofit leaders to meet the real-world challenges they face every day,” she said.

“The CFRE exam assesses mastery of six core knowledge areas requisite for individuals with at least five years of professional fundraising experience; current and prospective donor research, securing the gift, relationship building, volunteer involvement, leadership and management, and ethics, accountability, and professionalism,” Ehrlich said.

“During the 2-day workshop intensive, attendees examined in depth how these six fund development components integrate into a complete fundraising program. It combined a high-level review, a self-exploration of knowledge, a series of case studies, and peer exchange of best practices,” said Ehrlich.

To frame the workshop against the broader context of professional knowledge, a team of nonprofit leader-practitioners was enlisted.

Enlisting Nonprofit Leader-Practitioners. “Securing commitment from AFP Alaska Chapter leader-practitioners was key to the workshop’s success,” she said.

“As fundraisers move up the nonprofit leadership ladder, they need to see and experience leadership support. The two-day workshop facilitation team was comprised of an impressive roster of experienced fundraising experts,” said Ehrlich.

“I enlisted the expertise of AFP President, Harry W. Need, IV, CFRE, Senior Director of Philanthropic Services at the University of Alaska Foundation, and AFP President-Elect Becky More, CFRE, Community Relations Consultant, Wells Fargo Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations Group, to join me,” Ehrlich said.

Building a Strong Foundation for Nonprofit Leadership Success. “By following the natural progression of skills, techniques, and knowledge across the six realms, the course built a strong foundation for success for Executive Directors, Board members, and fund development professionals who play a role in developing resources for Alaska’s nonprofits,” she said.

Sharing Expertise & Expanding Reach. “As the AFP Alaska Chapter VP of Education, I am responsible for securing engaging monthly speakers for our members and the greater Alaskan community through monthly AFP Lunch & Learns, webinars, workshops, quarterly AFP-PM Philanthropy Matters gatherings for seasoned professionals, and the annual Alaska National Philanthropy Day conference,” Ehrlich said.

“The AFP CFRE Refresher Course expanded the reach to engage and prepare fundraising professionals aspiring to a leadership role in the sector,” said Ehrlich.

About the Association of Fundraising Professionals. AFP is the professional association of individuals and organizations that promotes stewardship, donor trust, and effective and ethical fundraising to generate philanthropic support for charitable institutions.

About CFRE International. Founded in 2001, CFRE International certifies fundraising executives and sets standards in philanthropy. The CFRE® credential the world’s only accredited certification for philanthropic fundraising professionals. CFRE International certifies experienced fundraising professionals aspiring to the highest standards of ethics, competence and service to the philanthropic sector CFRE International and the CFRE credential are endorsed by 24 professional organizations with representation in 29 nations. There are approximately 6,200 CFREs worldwide. In Alaska, there are 36.

Dr. Sandra G. Ehrlich, CFRE, is an Associate Professor of Management & Marketing in the College of Business & Public Policy. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive, CFRE, a certified Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Master Trainer, and a certified Team-Based Learning (TBL) Trainer-Consultant. Sandra serves as the UAA CAFÉ Team-Based Learning Faculty Associate. One of 36 CFRE’s, in Alaska, Dr. Ehrlich has been an AFP member since 2001 and a CFRE since 2007. She is the AFP Alaska Chapter VP of Education, and the Board President of The Friends of Talkeetna Library. Awarded the “Outstanding Professional in Philanthropy” in 2018, Dr. Sandra Ehrlich is the CIS 280—Managerial Communications—Course Coordinator.