The CFC is the world’s largest and most inclusive annual workplace charity campaign, raising millions of dollars each year through nearly 200 campaigns across the country and overseas.
Prior to the Eisenhower years, charitable fundraising at federal workspaces was a chaotic free-for-all. Agencies, employees, and charities had little uniform guidance on how and when to give. Charitable causes worthy of employee support suffered. President Eisenhower asked his Advisor on Personnel Management to develop a uniform policy and program for charitable fundraising in the federal service. In 1964, the first Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) campaigns were conducted as experiments. These condensed the vast network of federal fundraising efforts into a single and simple once-a-year solicitation campaign.
According to the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which oversees the effort, the mission of the CFC is to “promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.”
Pledges made by federal civilian, postal, and military donors during the campaign season (Sept. 1 to Dec. 15) support eligible nonprofit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world. Donors have the opportunity to choose from over 20,000 nonprofit organizations, from larger and well-known to smaller and local.
While CFC structure has remained essentially the same for nearly forty years, an emerging trend is for greater collaboration among campaigns through the merging of local campaign operations and other arrangements. Each campaign is managed by a volunteer group of Federal employees who work with experienced nonprofit executives in their communities to generate contributions and distribute them to eligible charities. This partnership provides an opportunity for Federal workers to become involved in their communities and adds great value to the CFC for both Federal employees and the participating nonprofit organizations.
Federal offices and sub-departments hold CFC kickoff events where leadership from various organizations will come and speak. Charities may set up tables to inform employees about the participating organizations.
More than 500 District-based participate in CFC, including organizations such as Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CFC # 71262), Sasha Bruce Youthwork (CFC # 71809), The Anacostia Community Boathouse Association (CFC# 87883) and Capitol Hill Village (CFC# 55474), Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CFC# 50747).
Corinne Cannon, Founder and Executive Director of the Greater DC Diaper Bank (GDCDB, CFC #18074), a nonprofit dedicated to providing provide basic baby needs and personal hygiene products to individuals and families in the DC Area, said GDCDB sets up info tables frequently during the heat of the CFC season. The kickoff and tabling events help get federal employees engaged in the fundraising campaign, Jefferson added. “One of the things we really love doing is getting in front of employees and telling them about the work we do,” she said. “It makes a big difference in the turnout [of donors].”
“We gained a lot of regular donors when they found out we were with CFC.”
Across the nation’s capital, local charities count on the Combined Federal Campaign season for critical funding. “CFC giving is critically important to Capitol Hill Group Ministry’s ability to carry out our mission of providing holistic support to individuals and families at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness,” said Executive Director Karen Cunningham. “Federal employees regularly encounter homeless individuals as they commute to and from work, feel compassion for them, but are unsure how to help.”
She said that contributions to CHGM (CFC# 36006) through CFC make a difference that employees can see every single day. “Their gifts will help CHGM realize our vision of the District of Columbia as a thriving and diverse community where all people can obtain and remain in safe, affordable, and comfortable homes,” she said.
“In this area in particular a lot of the fiving you see is through CFC, because there’s so many federal employees,” Cannon said. Many nonprofits, according to Cannon, get the vast majority of donations in the final quarter of the year, a combination of CFC donations and individual contributions. “Having monthly donations allows us to plan and expand operations in many ways,” Cannon said.
Little Lights Urban Ministries (CFC# 89156) Founder and Executive Director Steve Park, said that CFC funds are not a large part of revenue for the award-winning nonprofit serving some of the District’s most vulnerable residents living in public housing, but are still important to the organization’s work.
“The funds from CFC help fill in gaps for our academic programs such as purchasing books, buying computer equipment, and supplies and snacks,” said Park. “All funds help to empower children, youth, and families right in our own community.”
Stacy James, a federal employee with the Department of Defense, only started contributing to the CFC last year. She said she likes giving with the CFC because it allows her to make a real contribution to organizations that are out there doing work where she lives. “I always think, ‘oh, I should be helping out this project’,” James said. “Donating small amounts via payroll deduction through CFC makes it easier to give an amount that I feel can make a difference without having to think about saving up to do it.”
“I always thought about giving. Now I just do.”
The CFC launched the 2018 campaign with an improved online donation system that will help ensure contributions reach the chosen organizations. This year, donors can use the system to pledge funds or volunteer time. The central giving website for all potential contributors replaces multiple systems and gives information on pledges and charity payments.
To browse participating charities and contribute, donors can use the CFC campaign locator and search by state, campaign name, or campaign code number.
For more information on the CFC, visit www.cfcnca.org.
Local CFC Non-Profits
More than 500 District-based participate in CFC, including organizations such as:
Casey Trees – # 24598
Central Union Mission – # 85786
Covenant House – # 65964
Little Lights – # 89156
My Sister’s Place – #97535
Martha’s Table – #29262
THEARC – # 97182
Washington School For Girls – # 95746
Whitman-Walker Health – # 38871