Sunday, March 2, 2014

CFRE introduces new organic fundraising certification

The world body that certifies fundraising skills has introduced a new organic classification that recognizes all-natural fundraising skills.

The new Certified Fund Raising Executive credential to be introduced next month will be called the “Green CFRE”. To win it, fundraisers will have to prove that they use no fertilizers or synthetic chemical inputs, genetically modified organisms or irradiation when asking for donations.

“We introduced this because so much of fundraising is artificial – the pitches, programs, brochures and even the people,” said CFRE Earth spokesman Dibble Brewer. “We were worried about the long-term impact of all that on the environment.”

The Green CFRE was first suggested after a report by the Association for Green Fundraising that showed that greenhouse gas admissions created by the US fundraising sector was ten times higher than equivalent for-profit industries like marketing, real estate sales and funeral homes. The report found the average US fundraiser made more methane than 20 cows and at least six pigs.

At the same time, the CFRE became aware of a new green generation of major gifts fundraisers who have been gaining fame and fortune through environmentally sustainable fundraising techniques.

“We were excited by a group of Seattle fundraisers using new organic techniques like free-range donations and fertilizer-free major gift solicitation, apparently without too much loss of reach. We just knew it was time to go green,” said Brewer.

Under the new certification, fundraisers will need to show they are all-natural in their form and approach to all fundraising activities. Candidates will need to take a series of blood tests and submit to announced and unannounced inspections for a period of six months. They will have to use recycled paper in all printed material and take major donors to only vegetarian meals. And they will not be allowed to use hormones or antibiotics or drink lattes out of paper cups.

Like other organic products, fundraisers will need to prove they are made up of organic materials to meet certification, but the CFRE will allow fundraisers to have a minimum of 70% organic ingredients to qualify. Exceptions will be made for fundraisers who have artificial legs, arms, hips or hands.

Those receiving the Green CFRE will be able to add special letters after their name and have a special logo attached to their left ear, which the US Department of Agriculture makes mandatory for all “live organic species” before they are sold at market or to a registered slaughterhouse.

The new certification has ran into some criticism, especially from older fundraisers. Brewer says such opposition is to be expected.

“These old fossils started fundraising in a time when they didn’t think about the kinds of emissions they made. We have to move with the times. Mother Earth can’t take our old ways of asking for donations,” he said.

“If chicken farmers and coffee purveyors can do this organic certification than so can we.”


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