Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The mission of the CFC is to support and to promote philanthropy through a voluntary program that is employee-focused, cost-efficient and effective in providing all Federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.
What is the CFC?
The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the only authorized solicitation of Federal employees in their workplaces on behalf of approved charitable organizations.
The CFC began in the early 1960s to coordinate the fundraising efforts of various charitable organizations so that the Federal donor would only be solicited once in the workplace and have the opportunity to make charitable contributions through payroll deduction.
Federal employees continue to make the CFC the largest and most successful workplace philanthropic fundraiser in the world by contributing over $6.8 billion during the past 50 years.
Structure of the CFC
The CFC is made up of local campaigns that organize the annual fundraising effort in Federal workplaces in the United States and abroad.
Each local campaign is managed by a Local Federal Coordinating Committee (LFCC), which serves as a "Board of Directors" for the local campaign. The LFCC is comprised of Federal employees and representatives of labor unions with Federal employees as members. The LFCC is responsible for the oversight of the local CFC. In conformance with CFC regulations and policies, the LFCC makes admission determinations for local charities and selects a Principal Combined Fund Organization (PCFO) to administer the day-to-day operations of the campaign and to serve as its fiscal agent.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulates the CFC and provides guidance and oversight to the local campaigns (LFCCs and PCFOs).
OPM is accountable for assuring Federal employees that their designations are honored and distributed to the charitable organizations of their choice. OPM achieves this in several ways.
OPM maintains strict eligibility and public accountability criteria that all participating CFC charities must meet. For details, see CFC Regulations in 5 CFR Part 950 at http://www.opm.gov/cfc/opmmemos/index.asp.
OPM annually makes admission decisions for all national and international charity applicants and it resolves local charity admission appeals. OPM sets strict requirements and provides ongoing guidance for the activities and conduct of the LFCC and the PCFO. The fiscal integrity of the campaign is verified by OPM compliance audits and the annual review of local campaign audits that PCFOs are required to have completed by an independent CPA.
The CFC Charity List
The Charity List is a paper or web-based display of national, international, and local organizations that have met CFC eligibility requirements. A sample charity listing is shown below with key elements shown in italics. Key elements include: the organization's five-digit CFC code, the legal name in parentheses shown if it is "doing business as" under another name, the employer identification number (EIN), a 25-word statement of purpose (except in abbreviated listings), its administrative and fundraising expense rate (AFR), and its Service Categories (Taxonomy Codes).
Sample Charity Listing
11405 ABC Charity (Alpha-Charity) 800-555-5555 www.abccharity.org EIN#12-3456789 ABC Charity attacks the causes of hunger and poverty by promoting effective and innovative community-based solutions that create self-reliance, economic justice, and food security. 15.8% P,S,K
Making Informed Giving Decisions
The EIN, AFR, and the Service Categories are included to help donors identify organizations that meet their interests and performance standards.
The EIN is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It can be used for obtaining additional information about an organization from the IRS (877-829-5500). Please note: Some organizations may be covered under an umbrella organization's tax exemption status and EIN or may not be required to have an EIN.
The AFR represents the percentage of dollars spent on administering the charity. It is calculated as a percentage of the organization's total support and revenue. OPM, as well as the philanthropic community at large, remains concerned about excessive AFR levels. The philanthropic community generally considers an AFR in excess of 35% to be problematic. Potential CFC donors should carefully review the circumstances applicable to the potential charities of their choice to be certain they fully understand and accept the AFR situations for such charities before donating to them. Each situation is unique. Donors may contact the charity directly and/or industry oversight organizations in order to better understand the financial status, service delivery record, and governance policies of the charity before donating. A listing of oversight organizations is available at http://www.opm.gov/cfc/Donors/Giving.asp
The Service Categories (Taxonomy Codes) categorize the types of services that most charitable organizations offer. Charities self-select up to three alpha-codes (shown below) for inclusion in the CFC charity list. Charities that did not select at least one category are assigned "Z" for the "Other" category.
The 26 service categories are derived from the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) classification system. This system, developed by the National Center for Charitable Statistics, is widely used in the nonprofit community.
Service Categories (Taxonomy)
A - Arts, Culture, and Humanities
B - Educational Institutions & Related Activities
C - Envir. Quality, Protection & Beautification
D - Animal Related
E - Health - General and Rehabilitative
F - Mental Health, Crisis Intervention
G - Disease, Disorders, Medicinal Disciplines
H - Medical Research
I - Crime, Legal Related
J - Employment, Job Related
K - Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition
L - Housing, Shelter
M - Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness & Relief
N - Recreation, Sports, Leisure, Athletics
O - Youth Development
P - Human Services - Multipurpose and Other
Q - International, Foreign Affairs, National Security
R - Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy
S - Community Improvement, Capacity Building
T - Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Foundations
U - Science & Technology Research Institutes, Services
V - Social Science Research Institutes, Services
W - Public, Social Benefit: Multipurpose, Other
X - Religion Related, Spiritual Development
Y - Mutual/Membership Benefit Orgs., Other
Z - Other
For additional guidance on selecting charities, visit the CFC website at http://www.opm.gov/cfc.
For more information about the CFC, including details on the public accountability standards for participating charities, how to contact your local CFC campaign, and more, visit the CFC Home Page at www.opm.gov/cfc.
Can appropriated funds and/or campaign funds be used to provide food and beverage at campaign events?
No. The March 2012 Directive from OPM prohibited the use of CFC funds to pay for food or entertainment expenses. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that "Appropriated funds are not available to pay for food at Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) kick-off event. Food is a personal expense." Federal employees who wish to donate food to a CFC even may do so. However, these individuals cannot be reimbursed for any expenses related to the preparation or transportation of the food. Additionally, private businesses may not sponsor food and entertainment related expenses.