Sunday, October 6, 2013

CFRE switches to “Black Belt” system of fundraising certification


The international organization in charge of certifying fundraisers has made the first move in a process that will one day see fundraising become a recognized martial art, like Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu and Worlds of Warcraft.

The CFRE Foundation of Earth And the Universe announced yesterday that it was ditching its 32-year-old exam-based certification system in favour of a martial arts program. The first step in what is expected to be a year-long process was to introduce a new system of black belts for fundraisers. Foundation CEO Sara Snidley, now known as Hanshi Grand Master 1st Black Belt Snidley, said the move came from the realization that fundraising was more of a test of individual combat skill and physical prowess then just an exam and a bunch of letters after someone’s name.

“The skill of fundraising is more like the skill of a master warrior. It involves great strength, but also poise and
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great cunning. We have more in common with the Karate masters of old Japan than the certification of accountants. That’s why we have changed the CFRE program into a martial art,” said Snidely.

The new belt system involves ten black belt categories and a host of other multi-coloured, lesser belts. Candidates for the CFRE will now have to enter a “Fundraising Dojo” at the age of 16 to begin their training. They will graduate only after they have mastered the mysteries of the Gift Pyramid when they reach the fifth level black belt at 22. Practicing fundraisers will be grandfathered into the system through testing and personal combat.

“In Dojos across the US we will begin testing existing fundraisers for the worthiness. They will have to demonstrate the ‘Kata’ or detailed choreographed patterns of movements corresponding to annual giving, major gifts or gift planning. Then they will have to battle the Sensei of the Dojo to see if they have learned their lessons well,” said Snidely.

As part of the plan the Foundation plans to submit an application to the International Olympic Committee to include Fundraising as a martial arts sport in the next summer games. It is also building a mountain fundraising monastery in Colorado where elite fundraising warrior monks will instruct advanced classes and research the mysticism and martial arts traditions of asking someone for a donation.

Snidely admits the changes will not be easy for all fundraisers, many of whom she says have become “soft and weak” with exam-based certification.

“The way of the warrior is the way forward. This will not be an easy transition. There will be much hard work and blood to become the ultimate fundraising black belt warrior,” she admitted.

“I myself have already broken two tax receipting manuals with just my bare hands. And that is only the beginning.”