AFP News

Ontario Resident Helen S. Walsh Earns Highest Professional Credential from AFP

(Arlington, VA) – The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the largest community of professional fundraisers in the world, has awarded its highest professional certification, the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE), to Helen S. Walsh of Port Hope, Ontario.

Available only to senior-level fundraisers who have worked in the profession for 10 or more years, the ACFRE is a distinguished achievement earned by only 112 professionals since the inception of the program in 1992. Only nine other Canadians have earned the credential.

Walsh, a graduate of Queen’s University, is the director of advancement at Albert College, Canada’s oldest, independent co-educational day and boarding school located in Belleville, Ontario. A professional fundraiser for almost 20 years, she has spent the majority of her career working for nonprofits that support human and social services and only recently changed direction to move into the education sector. She achieved her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential in 2006.

Earning the ACFRE accreditation is a particularly noteworthy accomplishment given that it is normally awarded to individuals with experience working at larger organizations.

“The reason that I pursued the ACFRE was because I had always worked in very small organizations, often being a one-person show,” says Walsh. “I felt that even though I worked with very limited resources and often alone, that I needed the same skills and understanding of my colleagues who worked for large organizations with much larger budgets and resources. I believe that even in the smallest shop, you must strive to be the best you can.  Attaining this accreditation was a challenge to myself and a way to prove that no matter how limited your resources, we are all able to reach this milestone in our careers.”

Walsh has been very active volunteering for many different agencies across Northumberland County and is a member of the Rotary Club of Belleville in District 7070. She is also a proud mother of two children, aged 14 and 18, and has spent many hours volunteering and raising money for their sports organizations.

The ACFRE program is the most rigorous certification process available to professional fundraisers.  The process includes a comprehensive application, detailing achievements in practice, education, publishing, teaching, and service to the profession; a written examination that measures a candidate’s knowledge of fundraising as well as the philosophical, ethical, and social aspects of philanthropy; a portfolio representing the candidate’s body of professional work; and an oral peer review in which the candidate must articulate a mastery of advanced-level knowledge in fundraising management, leadership, and ethics.

The ACFRE Certification Board of AFP, chaired by R. Scott Fortnum, MA, CFRE, ACFRE, oversees the ACFRE candidate review process.  Walsh was honored for her achievement during AFP’s annual Leadership Academy in Toronto October 12.

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