• Susan Moore

    The new fee schedule is a shell game. The charities still have to pay! Now they will have to pay even if there are no donations to their charities.

  • Steve Taylor, SVP Public Policy, United Way Worldwide

    To the extent this article suggests that United Way does or should support OPM’s new rules, it does not. We and virtually all charities involved in the CFC understand that the new rules could cripple giving by federal employees to the nation’s largest workplace giving campaign.

    There are a few aspects of the rules that could benefit the CFC. But contrary to the article’s assertions, OPM cherry-picked from the recommendations offered by the CFC-50 commission. Key members of the CFC-50 are opposed to the new rules, along with virtually the entire nonprofit sector. Fourteen hundred comments were submitted to OPM in opposition to the proposed rules, comments which were essentially disregarded in the final rule.

    United Way is a leader in transparency in charitable giving, as cited in the article refering to our CEO’s 2005 testimony before Congress. But these new rules do not promote transparency. Similarly, we are leading the way in using technology to create efficiencies in charitable giving. But we do not believe there is a one-size-fits-all technology solution and we certainly would not assert that technology is the only way to engage donors. The new rules would force a single electronic-only giving option down the throat of the CFC.

    Indeed, the article asks a critical question: “Does anyone but OPM like the proposed fee structure?” The answer is a resounding “No”. Charging charities a fee to participate in the CFC does nothing to reduce costs, it just allows OPM to control the administration of the campaign. Nobody will be fooled into thinking charities don’t have costs.

    The key to fixing the CFC is creating a better, stronger connection between federal workers and the charities they support. The solution is not shifting control of the CFC away from local employees to OPM – the result under the new rules.

    Fortunately Congress has the ability to overturn these rules. United Way is asking Congress to do so. We anticipate that other charities will join us in this effort.

  • Lindom

    I agree with the comments below. We have waited to join the CFC as a military/veteran support organization we have questions each year from military and government employees as why our organization was not part of CFC, which up to now has been the requirement for outside audits which we have not been able to do, due to the cost. Now they take that requirement away but have established a Charity fee just to apply (non-refundable if we are not approved) which to date have not seen what that fee is and then if accepted a Listing Fee which have not seen what that is. As we operate on less than $25,000 a year in contributions and these CFC Fees are considered as “Administrative Expenses”, we can’t afford to pay such fees and therefore still will not be able to apply to the CFC. We know this costs us donations, but we are not going to pay a non-refundable fee to apply with the chance the donations received may be less than the fee charged which will impact our percentages Program versus Admin Expenditures in a fiscal year. Overall just another “smoke screen” to get more money out of those who may have such funds available where most of the time the smaller legit 501c3 non profits costs will exceed funds coming in. We will continue advise those who ask “Are you part of CFC or Why aren’t you part of CFC if you are a legal 501c3 nonprofit?” that the regulations and requirements do not allow us to be part of the CFC and then provide the ways they can contribute to our organization and mission. respectfully, Linda Spurlin-Dominik CEO Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet and President/CEO MVP Sanctuary – TX.

  • La Verne H. Gold

    Thanks Steve for your comments making clear United Way’s position

  • A Fed Donor

    Mr. Taylor: If it is true that “The key to fixing the CFC is creating a better, stronger connection between federal workers and the charities they support” as you say, than why haven’t the United Ways that administer the vast number of campaigns done so? Donors have reduced in numbers for years, but I’m sure United Ways still get their “take”. It’s obvious that the current system needs fixing…and United Way is afraid of the fixes.

    Ms. Moore: Why would a charity apply to a campaign from which it receives no pledges? I assume they do so now because it’s free to them to do so. But my fellow employees and I pay through our pledges for their applications to be processed and for them to be listed, though they receive no benefit. It’s about time those charities got some “skin in the game”. Nay, the CURRENT system is the shell game.

    These rules mark an improvement in the CFC…and a change that only charities with ulterior motives would fear. Although I do not see the “entire nonprofit sector” in opposition to these rules, I DO see my fellow feds leaving the campaign in droves. OPM can only be improving the CFC for the better.

  • Lorraine Manary

    Thank you Steve Taylor. You sum it up very well:

    “Indeed, the article asks a critical question: “Does anyone but OPM like the proposed fee structure?” The answer is a resounding “No”. Charging charities a fee to participate in the CFC does nothing to reduce costs, it just allows OPM to control the administration of the campaign. Nobody will be fooled into thinking charities don’t have costs.

    The key to fixing the CFC is creating a better, stronger connection between federal workers and the charities they support. The solution is not shifting control of the CFC away from local employees to OPM – the result under the new rules.

    Fortunately Congress has the ability to overturn these rules. United Way is asking Congress to do so. We anticipate that other charities will join us in this effort.”

  • A small town organization

    “That’s why most, if not all, federal employees should like the new fee structure once they learn that more of their gifts will get to the charities they choose.”

    Except that the charities they want to choose aren’t listed because they couldn’t afford the excessive fees to be included. Limiting choices will not expand giving.

    This rule seems designed to cut out small charities, benefitting only the large national charities who receive the majority of designations and can afford upfront fees.

    We’re not in the CFC to get a “take”. We’re there to help federal employees give to local organizations that are making a difference in their community.

    My organization received $708 in pledges in the 2013 CFC. The proposed fees would take far more of that than the 11.7% we were charged in expenses for our local campaign. How does that help more of those donations get to work in the community?

    If we don’t participate in the future will those donors find another local organization to give to?
    Will they choose to support a national organization where their contribution doesn’t help people at home?
    Or will they just not give?

  • Johnson

    “Why would a charity apply to a campaign from which it receives no pledges? I assume they do so now because it’s free to them to do so. But my fellow employees and I pay through our pledges for their applications to be processed and for them to be listed, though they receive no benefit. It’s about time those charities got some “skin in the game.”

    Is this whole “entitlement” mentality now spilling over into the nonprofit sector? A charity will apply to a campaign despite not receiving funds from the PREVIOUS year because in years PRIOR they did in fact receive donations. Like most things in life that operate in area between black and white, things fluctuate and there are no guarantees. Pledges change from year to year but for a charity to not apply because they didn’t receive the same support as they did in the previous year is a silly, knee jerk reaction. The foundation and essence of the nonprofit world, because if it’s very nature, has no place for the “entitlement” mentality circulating throughout the political sphere and does nothing to advance anything; it’s a tool used to divide.

    Your “assumption” that these charities apply because it is free is misguided and uninformed. Technically, a charity does not have to “pay” to participate, but to assume it’s that simple is to neglect that time IS money. These charities still have to complete an application to participate in the CFC and this is a very time consuming process. There in fact is a cost for charities to apply since they have to PAY for someone within their organization to head the CFC application process. Up front pay-to-play fees does nothing to improve the current system.

    Your quick glance of these rule changes from 30,000 feet may appear to be an improvement, but for those of us who are actually in it and work hard to promote our local charitable communities know that these rule changes will hurt, not help, the CFC.