Allen Horton, Regional One Health Foundation development officer, has earned the prestigious Certified Fund Raising Executive credential from CFRE International. The honor recognizes his accountability to donors, professionalism and commitment to making a positive difference.

Allen Horton, development officer with the Regional One Health Foundation, joined elite company by earning his Certified Fund Raising Executive credential.

CFRE International has set the standards for professionalism, confidence and ethics in the fundraising field since 1981. With accreditation from the American National Standards Institute, it is globally recognized and the only accredited certification for fundraising professionals. Horton joins a select group of 6,300 professionals around the world who hold the designation.

He decided to pursue the credential because he believes Regional One Health Foundation donors deserve to know their resources are being handled in the best possible manner.

“I decided to seek the designation because it gives credence to the work I do for our donors and board, and the rest of the community,” Horton said. “They can have confidence that the people managing their philanthropy and generous support are experienced professionals who are held to a high standard of accountability and who take the best approach.”

Tammie Ritchey, Regional One Health senior vice president and chief development officer, encouraged Horton to seek the designation. Ritchey, who also holds the CFRE designation and teaches a CFRE refresher course in the Memphis area, said it fosters trust with donors.

“For donors, it means you’re working with someone who is committed to development and philanthropy as a career, not just a job,” Ritchey said. “Earning this credential requires a lot of determination. It shows this is someone who takes this very seriously, and you can feel secure knowing this is somebody who is at the top of their field and is invested in the industry.”

The credential is granted to individuals based on their tenure in the profession (at least five years of experience), education and demonstrated fundraising achievement.

Horton had to pass a rigorous four-hour written examination testing his knowledge, skills and abilities; and had to agree to uphold accountability standards and a Donor Bill of Rights.

Chief Development Officer Tammie Ritchey said of the CFRE, “Donors can feel secure knowing this is somebody who is at the top of their field and is invested in the industry.”

He spent around six months preparing, and noted the test, which has a nearly 50 percent fail rate, is a tricky one to study for. Participants are directed to helpful literature and webinars, but there are no specific study guides or sample questions. The exam covers a wide range of topics, such as relationship building, volunteer management, tax law, ethics and accountability.

“You’re tested on both theory and the practical side of fundraising,” Horton said. “You have to have an understanding of how it works, and the best practices.”

Horton, as one of the younger professionals to receive the credential, hopes it will add validity to new ideas he expresses internally and externally to help the Regional One Health Foundation evolve and grow. He also looks forward to the CFRE’s commitment to constant improvement, as recertification requires continued professional education and growth in the field.

But most important, Horton said he’s excited to put the credential to work for the Regional One Health Foundation’s donors.

CFRE International President and CEO Eva E. Aldrich, Ph.D., CAE said donors who work with CFREs know they are committed to the best outcomes for their organization and have the necessary knowledge and skills. “The CFRE credential was created to identify for the public and employers those individuals who possess the knowledge, skills and commitment to perform fundraising duties in an effective and ethical manner,” Aldrich said.

“As the certification is a voluntary achievement, the CFRE certification demonstrates a high level of commitment to the fundraising profession and the donors who are served.”

Horton remarked, “At the end of the day, the reason I wanted to do this was so our team and external stakeholders have confidence in how we manage their resources, invest their resources and continue to grow and provide the best services to the healthcare system.”

To learn more about the Regional One Health Foundation and support its mission of benefiting the lifesaving work of Regional One Health, visit