For service members and federal employees, the Combined Federal Campaign is everywhere right now. But why does it really matter?
First, a little history about the CFC.
The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) has been around, in different forms, since 1956. President Dwight Eisenhower created a system to allow federal employees and military personnel to give to charity, without endless requests at work. Presidents through the years have refined and changed the system into what it is today.
Today, the CFC is a once yearly period of time when troops and government workers can donate to charities. This helps to stop year-round charitable donation requests from colleagues or groups. And it allows federal workers to show their support for their favorite causes through their job. On the job giving or donations requests usually isn’t allowed. It can be seen as an “endorsement” by the government.
What is the CFC?
The CFC is a system that helps service members to donate to their favorite charities quickly and easily. It also helps them to track their giving for pay purposes.
First, charities apply to be included in the program. A group that has 501(c)(3) status may apply to be included in either a local or national campaign. For either category, the charity must show their impact and programs.
Then, between September 1 and December 15, 2016 federal employees and service members can give to the group(s) of their choice.
Charities are either local, national or part of a federation. You can give to groups in one or all categories. A local charity works in a designated zone close to your workplace or base. A national charity reaches communities around the country. Charities in a federation are all similar types of groups. For example, a group of charities working in education or health care.
Not sure where you want your donation to go? You can donate undesignated funds. These will be split evenly between all the charities.
Giving is simple too!
During the CFC period, employees can donate in 3 different ways.
The easiest way is through a payroll deduction. You can give as little as $1 per paycheck over the course of the CFC giving year. Or you can donate as much as you want! The money comes out automatically every pay period and can be divided between different groups.
Another option is to give a one-time cash, check or credit card donation. For specifics about how to donate this way, check with your unit or base representative.
The last way to give is through a recurring credit, debit or ACH donation. Again, check with your unit or base rep for more details.
It’s also easy to track your giving. For payroll deductions, match the deductions taken to the charities on your year-end LES. For credit or debit card donations, make sure that you keep your receipts! If you made a cash donation, you should contact the Finance Department.
Retirees will be able to donate through the CFC starting in September 2017. They will be able to give through monthly deductions from their annuity.
Also starting next year, federal employees will be able to volunteer their time and donate. You will be able to give time to selected groups. That time will be monetized and added to the CFC totals.
By opening up these 2 ways to give back, more service members and military retirees will be able to have an impact.
Even those on a tight budget will be able to help others, through the gift of time.
Another change is the GiveBack.org has partnered with the CFC and OPM to modernize the donation system. GiveBack is a charity that helps large groups of people work together for charity. This group will also likely help to integrate the volunteer and retiree donation options into the current CFC system.