Awareness of Professional Certifications

This week #grantchat and #fundchat teamed up to discuss the idea of professional certification with the #grantchat hour focusing primarily on the GPC (Grant Professional Certified)#fundchat teamed up to discuss the idea of professional certifications with the #grantchat hour focusing primarily on the GPC (Grant Professional Certified)Grant Professional Certified) and the #fundchat hour focusing primarily on the CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive)Certified Fund Raising Executive).  The competencies of the GPC is something that we have talked about at great length on #grantchat with an eight-week series focusing on each of the competencies this summer.  (If you missed that series, you can check out the summary of some of those chats here as well as in the individual Storify transcripts.)

The discussion was rich in both chats and full of personal pros and cons for going after professional certifications. The chats were also filled with stories of success both without ever seeking a professional credential as well as the result of seeking the professional credential. There were so many great points made throughout the discussion. The one common theme to both conversations was that the decision to pursue a credential of any sort – whether the GPC or CFRE, or a credential related to another passion like coaching a sport or being a Certified Social Media Strategist, is a very personal one.

Another interesting theme of both chats related to how it was that nonprofit executives, professionals and board members are aware of what professional certifications exist for fundraisers, and what the benefits of hiring someone with that credential may or may not be. Many commented that their professional certification was a great discussion point in their community or with potential clients, often giving a chance to highlight not just the certification, but the related experience that helped them qualify for and pass the certification exam.

One conversation in particular stood out to me from #fundchat that I wanted to share with the #grantchat community:

CFRE chat - tweet screenshot #1 CFRE chat - tweet screenshot #2 CFRE chat - tweet screenshot #3

The challenge is not just in personally deciding whether or not to go after a professional certification, whether a GPC, CFRE, or other. The challenge is also in making sure that those who chose to secure the certification for their professional development, work to increase the awareness of what the certification stands for, why it is of benefit, and why others might want to consider the certification as well.

For those of us that have made the choice that a certification is the right step for us personally for our professional work, we need to also be committed to increasing awareness of the certification we are receiving and continuing the rich dialogue.  I for one, always look forward to the dialogue and hearing from others about why a professional certification may or may not be part of the professional path. Another colleague from the chats, Rory Green, recently started a dialogue about the benefits and challenges of the CFRE on her blog – a great dialogue to consider – you can read it here.

What are your thoughts about the GPC, CFRE or other professional certifications? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below or on social media via Twitter (@grant_chat) or Google+(GrantChat).  Let’s keep the dialogue going!


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