Will New Combined Federal Campaign Rule Stem its Precipitous Decline?

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September 10, 2014; Government Executive

The 2014 Combined Federal Campaign has launched this year with a new component. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced the Universal Giving program, which has expanded the number and types of charities to which federal employees can direct their donations.

Previously, federal employee gifts through CFC were limited to either national charities or charities in the employees’ own regions. Now, they can give to any listed charity. So, for instance, according to this article, a federal worker in the Washington area could see the number of groups to which he or she could give increase sixfold this year, from 4,000 to 24,000.

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta noted, “This is important as the American workforce becomes more mobile—[federal employees can donate to] the charities closest to [their] hearts regardless of the region they currently work in.”

Donations through the CFC have declined every year since 2009, dipping a big 19 percent between 2012 and 2013. Is this a significant change that will cause donations to increase?



Government Executive reports that it did a poll in 2012 that indicated that many federal workers are not soured on giving but are less enthusiastic about using the CFC as an intermediary.

As NPQ reported, in April the CFC’s regulations were overhauled to much skepticism from both sides of the aisle.—Ruth McCambridge


  • CareerFed

    The decrease in contributions appears to correspond directly to decreases in COLAs. I’m sure contributions will soar with this year’s more than generous 1% increase in base pay.

  • Publius

    This article is a great example of not noticing the Elephant in the room.

    Federal Employees have not received a meaningful pay raise for several years. Meanwhile, inflation keeps on chugging along and our government leaders keep looking for more ways to eliminate or reduce benefits for Federal Employees.

    I think Federal Employees are tired of being made the scapegoat for the Fiscal problems of our Nation.

    And you wonder why contributions are nosediving ?

    Do you seriously think that increasing the number of charities that participate in the program is going to make any difference ?

  • CB

    Seems pretty clear – the cut backs in operating budget, increase in social spending, constant high level presidential/congressional denigration of government workers, and the pay freeze all contribute to this. The graph tells a pretty clear story!

  • NPQ Guest

    I do not in the least believe that this fix will reverse the trend for the CFC. I was stating what the administrators believe. I personally think this scheme is entirely beside the point but we will see as the campaign plays out.

  • Kelly Keim

    While i support your goals, the graph used in the ‘…New Combined Federal Campaign Rule’ article is deceptive. Numbers on the vertical axis should start at 0 to accurately illustrate the trend.

  • Paul

    I think you nailed it! Why should I give through CFC when their overhead (14% last time I checked) was higher than many of the charities that receive funds through CFC. I also see the waste of valuable time and resources in my Agency given to CFC when we are already so resource constrained. The benefits often cited are archaic at best and reflect a time in the distant past. Employees can set up reoccurring donations directly with a charity if they desire. The desire to have donations taken out of ones pay without the ability to stop, restart, increase or decrease amounts reflects is an inflexability that no one should agree to. When one can adjust taxes, TSP contributions, allotments, etc from payperiod to payperiod, the CFC binding committment is of a bygone error.

    The one great thing CFC has gone is allowed online giving. The pressure to contribute makes opting out an impossibility. With online giving, I’m allowed to donate one dollar which keeps the participation level where management wants to see it and keeps my actual participation at a level where my loss of a dollar is tolerable.

  • Me-G

    I used to give through CFC every year, but when I found out what the overhead fees were that CFC charged I decided to give outside this organization. Providing funds directly to the charities would provide more money to the charities I contribute to.

  • Anita Faulkner

    As a 28 year federal employee, I have been a CFC donator, keyworker, and even a field office co-chair. Every year I donated 5% of my income. As of last year, I no longer donate to the CFC. I could not continue to give money from a paycheck that has has no meaningful increase in several years. In health insurance premiums have risen higher than my net pay. And, why is CFC even needed? I willingly donate to my local church, local shelters, etc. with both my time and my money. The CFC overhead has and agency resources to CFC should be questioned by all. CFC will continue to die a slow death.