Date: January 14, 2014
by Eloise Ravell
Audrey Castelbouno, associate vice president for development, and T. Ryan Keough, senior development officer at Andrews University, received the prestigious credential of Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) from CFRE International in fall 2013.
Founded in 2001, CFRE International is a nonprofit organization that provides a reliable certification process for fundraising professionals. This program is the only professional certification for fundraisers and is known for being a difficult test that the majority of applicants fail multiple times before passing. Both Keough and Castelbouno, however, passed on the first go.
“With two certified fundraisers on this campus, it is a confirmation that we have a solid program in place at Andrews,” says Keough. “CFRE is an ethical fundraising program. When you are working with people and their finances, ethics must be held to the highest standard. We want Andrews donors to know they can trust us to do exactly what we say we are going to do with their donations. The ethics of fundraising are probably not as well known outside the fundraising world, but we’re trying to change that.”
Starting at Andrews in 2008, both Keough and Castelbouno were required to gain five years of experience before taking the exam, meaning the earliest they could attempt the certification exam was in 2013. Applicants must also complete a required amount of academic and professional performance and volunteer service experience to qualify. Test-takers are expected to have a thorough knowledge of a variety of fundraising techniques and practices.
“I never thought God’s plan for me was in fundraising,” says Keough, “but I find that there are correlations between fundraising and my prior experience in the automotive industry as a quality control engineer: I can figure out where a donor’s goals match the goals at Andrews University and start a productive relationship. And really, the relationship is what fundraising is all about.”