March 7, 2018; Tallahassee Democrat
Over the years, NPQ has tracked the travails of various workplace solicitation campaigns, including United Way and the Combined Federal Campaign. Neither of these is on any kind of an upswing…but both are still moving forward, whereas yesterday the Florida state Senate voted 36–0 to repeal the enabling statute for the Florida State Employees’ Charitable Campaign. With the House also firmly behind the measure, it has only to cross the governor’s desk for that entity to stop producing its yearly sad headlines of underperformance.
Launched in 1980 and managed by United Way, the campaign at its height raised almost $5 million a year. However, workers complained of feeling strong-armed into giving and donations were falling off. In 2012, the campaign was handed over to a private company, Solix, which by 2014 was keeping around half of the proceeds of the campaign. Outrage ensued, and the idea of ending the campaign for good began to grow.
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By 2016, the campaign revenues were down to a historic low of $282,000 with $180,000 set to go to Solix. In response, Chad Poppell, then Secretary of the Department of Management Services, cancelled all the pledges, refused payment to Solix, and suspended the program indefinitely.
A few legislators made an attempt to file legislation to fix the program, but Poppell said that there was just not much use for a workplace campaign anymore, given the state of technology.—Ruth McCambridge