It’s CFC Time!

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by Madison Linnihan

September 1st marks the first day of the 2017 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) season, which lasts until December 15th. Throughout these months, the CFC raises millions of dollars for local, national, and international charities. The CFC is a critical source of revenue for many nonprofit organizations, many of which benefit military families and veterans.

What is the CFC?

The CFC is the largest and most successful workplace charity campaign in the entire world. According to CFC Today’s article “CFC Today – A Time for Transformation,” “The CFC today is known to be the most inclusive workplace giving campaign in the world with the number of participating charities estimated at over 20,000 nonprofit charitable organizations worldwide. The charities supported through the CFC range from nascent community groups to large, well-known charities.” Additionally, there are roughly 200 CFC areas throughout the United States. Each of these areas has local and national nonprofit organizations that work closely with committees of federal employees who volunteer their time to CFC.

How did the CFC start?

While the first federal fundraising efforts date back to 1948 with the Federal Personnel Council, CFC

Today’s article, “President’s Committee on Fundraising,” explains that the first formal efforts started in 1956. It states, “In June 1956, President Eisenhower formally charged the President’s Advisor on Personnel Management with responsibility for the development and administration of a uniform policy and program for fundraising within the federal service.” Over the next few years, the program continued evolving. Eisenhower set up an Eligibility Guidelines Committee to decide which charities were able to participate in the campaign. The first charitable organizations to participate were The American Red Cross, Local Community Chests, United Funds, or Federated Groups, The National Health Agencies, and International Voluntary Agencies.

This campaign didn’t truly become a combined campaign until 1964, under John F. Kennedy’s presidency, though. After abolishing the President’s Committee on Fundraising in 1961, he conducted “combined” campaigns in six cities throughout the country. CFC Today’s article, “A ‘Combined’ Campaign,” explains that “The result was a substantial increase in contributions, ranging from 20% to 125%, and a highly favorable response within the federal community.” Furthermore, the article states that “by 1971 all campaigns had become ‘combined.’ President Nixon announced on March 3, 1971, that the CFC would be the uniform fundraising method for the federal service.”

How does the CFC support military families and veterans?

Because there are over 20,000 charitable organizations involved in the CFC, many military families benefit from the CFC’s efforts. Additionally, in 2015, military and Defense department civilians donated more than $80 million to the CFC. Furthermore, the DoD raised $14 million for the CFC in 2015, which is the highest-achieving federal agency in the campaign.

Since 1961, the CFC has made an enormous impact on the country, as well as the world. The CFC has raised approximately $8.2 billion for charities local, national, and international charities. Overall, the CFC plays a critical role in the country’s fundraising efforts and supports thousands of charities all over the world.

There are a lot of different donation packages to choose from that offer support to struggling military families and veterans. For example, the US Department of Defense explains that $20 provides a struggling military family with a hot meal; $50 gives a wounded service member a comfort kit in the hospital; $75 pays for the technology to keep service members in touch with their families while they’re away; $150 helps provide shelter to a military family; $300 gives veterans access to career guidance; and $500 trains the caregivers of wounded, ill, or injured troops.

Additional Resources


CFC at the National Capital Area

CFC Today

CFC Today- “President’s Committee on Fundraising”

CFC Today- “A ‘Combined’ Campaign”

CFC Today- “A Time for Transformation”


Campaign Locator


Which charities are allowed to participate?

In order for a charity to participate in the CFC, they have to meet the eligibility requirements. First of all, the CFC of the National Capital Area explains that all participating charities must be designated as a tax-exempt non profit under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Additionally, programs participating on a regional level have to show substantial presence within the campaign’s geographical boundaries. “Independent Organizations” and “Federations” are also required to have at least 15 member organizations that meet the CFC eligibility criteria.

Who can donate to the CFC?

Federal workers, retirees, and government contractors are all eligible to donate to the campaign and donations can be made online or in person. Online, you can donate with a payroll deduction, credit card, debit card, or eCheck, and in person you can pay with a payroll deduction, cash, or check. Additionally, because there are so many different charities involved in the CFC, you don’t need to choose just one to support. The CFC of the National Capital Area explains that “Donors may support as many charitable organizations as they would like in one single pledge. You may choose how funds are allocated to each charity.” This offers donors a variety of options and helps the CFC succeed overall.

What are some of the CFC’s accomplishments today?

In 2016, 33 campaigns saw an increase in participation and 29 campaigns saw a 7.4% increase over their combined 2015 totals. Over the past decade, the CFC has had tremendous success with new technology and web-based philanthropy. The US Office of Personnel Management explains that contributions have increased steadily with technological developments.