Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can a PCFO hold a fundraiser where part of the cost goes to the base cost and the remainder to the CFC (i.e. a golf tournament where the entry fee is $50 with $30 to base cost of the event and $20 to CFC)?
A. 5 CFR 950.602 states, ". . . in all approved fundraising events the donor must have the option of designating to a specific participating organization or federation or be advised that the donation will be counted as an undesignated contribution and distributed according to these regulations." Therefore, the PCFO must notify the participant of the amount of the fee that will be considered a one-time charitable contribution to the CFC and that the contribution will be an undesignated contribution unless the PCFO decides to allow donors to complete a pledge form with a designation to a participating CFC charity.
Q. Can a fundraiser for a charitable organization be permitted outside of the federal agency's campaign period?
A. No. Please see section on Special Solicitations During Emergencies and Disasters for information on fundraising in response to emergencies and natural disasters..
Q. Is it possible to make the donor brochure available electronically? Have any campaigns done this?
A. All local CFC's are urged to provide the Charity List electronically as a complement to the hard copy which must be produced and distributed to all federal employees annually within the guidelines established by the Office of the CFC. Further inquiries should be directed to email@example.com.
Q. Can a PCFO change the way charitable organizations are listed in the Charity List?
A. No. The national and international lists must be a faithful reproduction of the list provided by OPM. The order of the listing within each part of the Charity List must be decided by random drawing. The order of organizations within each federation will be determined by that federation. The order within the national and local independent groups will be alphabetical. For more information see 5 CFR Part 950.401(g)(2). Nor can these components be produced as separate Charity Lists. OPM will require Charity Lists to be reprinted if sections are separately printed.
Q. Are there any uniform internal regulations for special events?
A. Special events held in conjunction with the CFC are permitted during the campaign period if approved by the appropriate agency head or government official, consistent with agency ethics regulations. However, in all approved fundraising events the donor must have the option of designating his/her contribution to a specific organization or federation or be advised the contribution will be counted as an undesignated contribution. For more information see 5CFR Part 950.602. Because of the complexity of ethics and/or state laws, CFC special events must be addressed on a case by case basis.
Q. What are the eligibility requirements for an organization to participate in the CFC?What are the eligibility requirements for an organization to participate in the CFC?
A. To be eligible to participate in the CFC each charitable organization must be designated as a tax-exempt non-profit organization under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. An application to participate in the CFC must provide specific information about their auditing, governance and program functions, as specified in the CFC regulations at 5 CFR Part 950 [90KB]. Applicants must also provide a completed and signed copy of their IRS Form 990 for their most recent fiscal year. To participate in one of the 250 plus local CFC campaign areas, as opposed to being nationally eligible and participating in every campaign area, a charitable organization must be able to demonstrate that it has a "substantial" program presence within the campaign's (or an adjacent campaign's) geographical boundaries or within the state of the campaign. Charities may apply to participate in the CFC individually (as an "independent organization"), or they may be represented by a "federation." A federation is a coalition of individual charities with similar missions that align to minimize administrative costs and coordinate activities. If a federation to which a charitable organization belongs is approved for CFC participation the member charity need not submit an application directly to OPM or the LFCC. All CFC application and participation requirements that apply to individual charities also apply to federations. In addition, federations must demonstrate that they have at least 15 CFC-eligible members listed and that their fundraising, administrative and governance practices meet CFC standards.
Q. Where do charitable organizations apply?
A. Visit the CFC website (www.opm.gov/cfc) periodically for updated information on "how to apply."
Q. If we have questions about our participation in campaigns locally, who do we contact?
A. Questions should be directed to your local campaign office. A complete listing of local campaign contacts can be found through The Campaign Locator.
Q. What is the local campaign application deadline?
A. You will need to contact your local campaign office for this information. However, most local campaigns accept applications in March or April. You may also refer to the CFC Calendar of Events found on our website for key dates and deadlines.
Q. How many campaigns am I eligible to apply to?
A. It depends on the geographic areas your services cover and the number of adjacent campaigns to your local service area. Additional information can be found in the CFC regulations at 5 CFR 950.204 [90KB].
Q. Is there a limit on how much in contributions a charitable organization can receive?
A. Donors can designate any amount they wish to a charitable organization. There is no limit to the amount a charitable organization can receive.
Q. How does a charitable organization know the amount of pledges it received in a campaign year?
A. Each local campaign office is required to notify designated charitable organizations, in writing, of the amount of pledges it received by March 15 of the year following the campaign solicitation period. Charitable organizations that did not receive a designation in the campaign area will not receive a communication from the campaign.
Q. In what form will payments be received by my organization (i.e., electronic transfers, checks, etc.)?
A. Campaigns may choose to send payments via check or EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer). Participation in EFT disbursements is optional for participating charitable organizations.
Q. Are donor contributions received throughout the year?
A. Contributions are administered by a local non-profit fiscal agent known as the Principal Combined Fund Organization (PCFO). The PCFO may disburse funds either monthly or quarterly beginning by April of the year immediately following the campaign period. However, the PCFO may send one-time checks to charitable organizations that received very small amounts in contributions.
Q. Does inclusion in the listing of "National/International Organizations" carry with it any description of the charity's purpose or goals?
A. Yes, all CFC Charity Lists include a 25-word statement that is crafted by the applicant and submitted to OPM. However, those campaigns that receive less than $100,000 in pledges are not required to list the 25-word statement.
Q. Will participating charitable organizations receive the names of donors who have contributed to their organizations? How?
A. It is the responsibility of the local CFC office to forward the names and addresses of donors who wish to have their names released to the recipient charitable organization directly. If the charitable organization is a member of a federation, the federation will receive the donor name and relay it to the participating charitable organization. The PCFO may not make any other use of donors' names and addresses.
Q. Is it necessary for a charitable organization to submit an application annually?
A. Yes, all CFC applicants are required to submit a new application annually. (Please visit Charity Application section.
Q. We are a new charitable organization, is it possible to estimate how much might we expect to receive in contributions the first year?
A. It is difficult to estimate how much you will receive in any given year as the CFC, like all workplace giving, is subject to influences that may affect giving (i.e., fluctuations in the Federal labor force). After participating for a number of years, it may be possible to establish an estimated range for the amount to be received. We suggest that charitable organizations contact similar charities which participate in the CFC to inquire about their experiences.
Q. Will we get an opportunity to participate in meetings, charity exhibits and other events hosted by Federal agencies?
A. Yes. Participating charitable organizations wishing to be involved in campaign events should contact their local CFC office in writing to inquire about opportunities to participate in CFC events and request a copy of their calendar of CFC events.
Q. If we have questions regarding the CFC to whom should they be addressed?
A. Contact the Office of the CFC at (202) 606-2564 (Mon.-Fri. 8:30am-5:00pm) or firstname.lastname@example.org for questions/concerns regarding the campaign.
Q. What Are The Costs Of The Campaign?
A. Historically, campaign costs nation-wide have averaged ten percent. These funds were spent on printing materials, training volunteers, auditing contributions, and other administrative expenses. All local campaign costs are reviewed and approved by the LFCC governing the local campaign. On average, this cost is low compared with other fundraising campaigns; therefore, every dollar you pledge goes a very long way toward helping others.
Q. Many donors only contribute 1 dollar per pay period. Has OPM considered a nationwide pledge minimum of 2, 3, or 5 dollars to increase revenue?
A. 5 CFR Part 950.901(e)(1) states, "The minimum amount of the allotment will be determined by the LFCC but will not be less than $1 per payday, with no restriction in the size of the increment above that minimum." OPM does not plan to change the regulatory minimum since the LFCC can determine its own minimum for their specific CFC.
Q. Can a federal employee donate to a local charitable organization in a neighboring CFC campaign area?
A. No. As stated in 5 CFR 950.103(h), a federal employee may participate in a particular CFC only if that employee's official duty station is located within the geographic boundaries of that CFC. Campaign boundaries are strictly determined and approved by OPM. See Campaign Locator.
Q. Can CFC donors who give above a certain level be listed in a PCFO publication or recognition ceremony? Does the campaign have to get permission from all of the donors? Is it a breach of confidentiality?
A. Recognition of employees who give above a certain level is permitted at CFC-related awards ceremonies, with the donor's permission. If the donor pledged to the PCFO, as a charitable organization, specifically and authorized his/her name release on the pledge form, the PCFO may list the name in a PCFO publication with the donor's permission. Please note that release of contribution amounts is not permitted, therefore the amount of the donation may not be noted in the PCFO's publication. The PCFO may not use the names of employees who authorized the release of their names if they donated to other participating charitable organizations, even members of the PCFO's federation. For more information see 5 CFR Part 950.601.
Q. Can new hires be asked to give when they join a federal agency even if it is not during the campaign?
A. No. Federal employees may be solicited to give only during the CFC campaign period.
Q. Can the LFCC extend the campaign period based on local circumstances?
A. The LFCC has the authority to determine the campaign period in its area. If an agency needs additional time, the LFCC may grant an extension No campaign may start before September 1 or be extended beyond December 15 without the permission of the Director.
Q. Is a LFCC required to publish an announcement for the PCFO application?
A. The LFCC must solicit applications on a competitive basis for the PCFO no later than a date to be determined by OPM and, if the LFCC exercises discretion to enter into a multi-year arrangement in accordance with OPM regulations, upon completion of the multi-year term. The multi-year arrangement cannot exceed three years. The LFCC shall solicit applications via outreach activities, including public notice in newspapers, postings on web sites, advertising in trade journals, dissemination among participating CFC charitable organizations and federations and/or outreach through local or state nonprofit associations and training centers, among others.
Q. Is a Local Federal Coordinating Committee (LFCC) required to keep any type of data base, provide notice of the application period, and/or mail annual applications to charitable organizations?
A. Yes. LFCCs must ensure that local charitable organizations are given adequate notice of the application period and process and that the applications are made available to interested parties. This may be done by posting the forms on the campaign website and/or sending the forms to charities via email. LFCCs can provide such notice through various public service announcements which include but are not limited to local newspapers, radio and television stations, etc. The LFCC should also ensure the PCFO maintains a mailing list of local charitable organizations that have requested information and tracks the receipt of completed charity applications in a database or by other means.
Q. Why is a "dba" (Doing business as) required from the IRS for a name change? Can a State-issued "dba" be used instead of the IRS "dba"?
A. OPM will accept a "dba" issued by the IRS or the State. If a nonprofit organization elects to do business under a name different from the one on their IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter, they must obtain a "dba" through either the IRS or the State and submit it with their application. While a charitable organization's eligibility status will not be decided based on the name, the name by which it is listed in the CFC Charity List, should it be found eligible, will depend on official documentation from the IRS or State sources. Additionally, ALL charitable organizations are required to include their Employee Identification Number (EIN) in their 25-word statement regardless of whether they are listed under their legal name or a "dba".
Q. What is considered a "complete" IRS Form 990?
A. A complete IRS Form 990 will include the entire Form 990 itself, and all applicable supplemental/supporting statements with the exception of Schedule B. The IRS Form 990 must also contain all appropriate signatures. Electronic IRS Forms 990 must be accompanied with IRS Form 8879-EO (IRS e-file Signature Authorization for an Exempt Organization") or Form 8453-EO ("Exempt Organization Declaration and Signature for Electronic Filing"). Both Form 8879-EO and 8453-EO require an officer's signature and declaration that the information contained in the document is true, correct, and complete.
Q. Is a local charitable organization required to satisfy all independent eligibility criteria or is it allowed to use national or regional materials, especially if it is a chapter of a national organization or a site of a regional office?
A. Bona-fide chapters or affiliates of a national organization that are not separately incorporated are permitted to submit the parent organization's audited financial statements, to the extent required, and 26 U.S.C 501(c)(3) tax exemption letter, buts must provide its own pro forma IRS Form 990, page 1 and Part V only, for CFC purposes. In order to use the parent organization's tax exemption letter and audited financial statements (if required), the local organization must provide a certification signed by either the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or CEO equivalent of the national organization stating that the local charitable organization operates as a bona-fide chapter or affiliate in good standing of the national organization and it is covered by the national organization's 501(c)(3) tax-exemption, IRS Form 990 and audited financial statements. A copy of the national organization's 501(c)(3) letter must accompany the CEO's certification.
Q. Can an applicant provide an audit on appeal if it isn't ready by the application deadline?
A. No. The required certifications and documentation must have been completed and submitted prior to the application filing deadline. Applications received that are incomplete may not be perfected during the appeal process. Further, documents that were not available at the time of the application deadline cannot be considered on appeal.
Q. If a charitable organization is a state chapter of a national charitable organization is that considered statewide presence?
A. No. An organization applying for statewide presence must prove that it provides or conducts real services, benefits, assistance or program activities covering 30 percent of a state's geographic boundaries or conducting real services, benefits, assistance or program activities affecting 30 percent of the state's population. This cannot be met solely on the basis of services provided through an "800" telephone number, the internet, the US Postal Service or a combination thereof. For more details see CFC Memo 2006-22.
Q. State-wide presence vs. Local presence... please define.
A. Local presence is defined as a staffed facility, office or portion of a residence dedicated exclusively to that organization, available to members of the public seeking its services or benefits. The facility must be open at least 15 hours a week and have a telephone dedicated exclusively to the organization. State-wide presence is acquired when an organization proves it provides or conducts real services, benefits, assistance or program activities covering 30 percent of a state's geographic boundaries or affecting 30 percent of a state's population. For more information, see 5CFR Part 950.204. [90KB](The strongest case for state-wide and local presence should be made to the LFCC. OPM prefers that this assessment be appropriately decided at the local level; however, applicants still have the right to appeal if necessary.)
Q. If a charitable organization lists with a federation during a campaign, is that federation required to complete the cycle of distribution? If the charitable organization signs up with another federation can the new federation take over distribution payments before the cycle ends?
A. When a charitable organization joins a federation it must allow that federation to complete one full campaign cycle involving distribution payments. This does not prevent the charitable organization from signing with a new federation but the original federation must complete the distribution cycle. For example, a member organization of a federation in the 2006 CFC must allow that federation to complete its distribution for that member through the final payment, which would occur in 2008. The member organization is permitted to join another federation during 2007 but it may not take the distribution away from the original federation.
Q. Can a local federation participate in more than one campaign... particularly neighboring campaigns?
A. Yes. However, it must separately apply to all CFC's and meet the local presence or statewide presence requirements in each location.
Q. Can a federation apply for inclusion in the CFC Charity List without including its member organizations?
A. Not as a federation. It can be listed as an independent organization if it meets all required criteria.
Q. Since a local or regional federation can be in more than one CFC, if one CFC accepts the federation can the neighboring campaign accept the application without having to review all the applications of all its members?
A. LFCCs in a state may enter into agreements to have one committee review all statewide applications. Participating campaigns would honor the decision of that LFCC. In all other cases, each LFCC must fully review any and all charitable organizations applying for eligibility regardless of their status in other campaign areas. Admission into one campaign area is not a guarantee of admission into another.
Q. Can you have a local federation with less than 15 eligible member organizations? What if they have 15 eligible member organizations but one member organization elects to list with another federation taking them to 14 member organizations?
A. A federation must have 15 qualifying member organizations, in addition to itself at the time of its application, to be deemed eligible for participation as a federation in any CFC. In cases where federations have the same organizations eligible, the organization must write a letter to the LFCC determining which federation they want to be listed under during the campaign. Federations are only listed if they have 15 eligible members on their listing. If the federation has 14 or fewer members in addition to itself at the time of application, it should request its member organizations to apply as independent organizations. If a federation falls to 14 or fewer member organizations during the year, the federation that listed the organization that has left will continue to distribute that organization's funds through the remainder of the campaign period.
Q. Who can the PCFO call to get answers to questions regarding checks from the US Treasury when the check only has a number to identify the payroll office and not a name?
A. If the PCFO has made every attempt and is unable to locate the correct payroll office they may call OPM on 202-606-2564 or email OPM at email@example.com. DO NOT FORWARD CHECKS TO THE OPM/CFC OFFICE.
Q. May campaigns make payments to charitable organizations electronically?
A. Campaigns may make payments via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), but are not required to do so. Participating charitable organizations are also not required to submit EFT information. Campaigns wishing to make EFT payments can contact the Office of the CFC for information on national/international charities that are participating in the EFT program.
Q. Is there a limit on the amount that can be paid in a one time disbursement?
A. No. The LFCC determines the amount.
Q. Who is required to complete the CFC Audit Guide reports, the LFCC or PCFO?
A. Chapter I of the CFC Audit Guide requires the PCFO to provide a copy of its own organization's audited financial statements to the LFCC who then forwards them to OPM. Chapter II of the CFC Audit Guide requires the LFCC to complete a compliance assessment with assistance from the PCFO. The LFCC Chair, or a designated LFCC member, must prepare and sign a report communicating the results of its compliance assessment and provide the report to OPM along with a copy of the Pledge Form Questionnaire. The Agreed-Upon Procedures (AUP) report must be completed by a certified public accountant or CPA firm in accordance with Chapter III of the CFC Audit Guide. The report must include copies of the audit schedules used to complete the AUPs. The PCFO is responsible for forwarding the AUP report to the LFCC who then forwards it to OPM along with the audit schedules.
Q. Who is the proper person to approve and sign a compliance audit for CFC?
A. This is addressed in the preceding question.
Q. How will FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) 116 and 117 impact the CFC?
A. The CFC will continue to use the IRS Form 990 as verification of the administrative costs. The FASB application must be handled at the organization management level.
Q. Can the PCFO charge the current rate of interest to the CFC for dollars that the PCFO lends to it for the campaign expenses?
A. If the PCFO obtains a commercial loan to pay for costs associated with running the campaign, the amount of a reasonable rate of interest is an allowable campaign expense, subject to the approval of the LFCC when the PCFO budget is submitted. For more information see Part 950.106.
Q. What is required by OPM when a recipient charitable organization does not cash their CFC check(s)?
A. The PCFO must make every attempt to contact the charitable organization and determine if it is still viable. If the charitable organization no longer exists, the PCFO must consider the funds undesignated.
Q. What is the role of a Loaned Executive and how was the program initiated?
A. The Loaned Executive program was initiated in 1971 by Presidential Order. A Loaned Executive is a Federal Employee that is "loaned" by their agency to work on the CFC. The Loaned Executive is usually relieved of all work duties for the period they are working on the CFC. The role of a Loaned Executive is to conduct all solicitations among the federal employees in a campaign area. They are usually trained by the PCFO and work out of the PCFO during the campaign period.
Q. Is there any regulatory reason why Loaned Executives are rotated every year?
A. No. The agreement must be between the Loaned Executive and his/her supervisor. This issue must be addressed at the LFCC level.
Q. Can a federal retiree be asked to serve as a Loaned Executive?
A. No. A retiree can volunteer to help on the campaign but cannot represent any government entity or solicit federal employees.
Q. Can Loaned Executives serve part time on CFC and part time on PCFO work?
A. No. Federal employees acting as Loaned Executives for the CFC are prohibited from working on any other campaigns.
Q. Can PCFO activities be combined with CFC activities (e.g. campaign events, Loaned Executive training)?
A. The PCFO must separate its CFC activities from non-CFC activities. This includes training, campaign events, and donor recognition.
Q. Can the CFC announce/set an annual financial goal?
A. The overall national CFC does not set a financial goal. Locally, the LFCC can set a financial goal for that CFC area. Each federal agency may also set a financial goal.
Q. Are LFCCs required to hold public meetings to announce local eligibility decisions?
A. No. Local charitable organizations which meet all criteria and are eligible must be notified via facsimile or US Postal Service within 15 business days after the closing date of the application period. Denial of the application by the LFCC must be sent via US Postal Service certified or registered mail with a return receipt
Q. Is it permissible to have your own CFC logo?
Q. Can a PCFO charge CFC the interest lost for paying campaign expenses?
A. A PCFO may ONLY charge interest to CFC if the PCFO obtained a commercial loan. Any loan obtained by the PCFO must first be approved by the LFCC.
Q. If a federation is accepted by the LFCC one year with all of its member organizations can the federation just re-certify the member organizations without having the member organizations complete an application the next year?
A. No. A federation and its member organizations must apply on an annual basis to the CFC and all of its existing member organization applications should be kept on file at the federation. The federation is required to submit all of its members' applications the first year it applies for federation status. Once federation status has been established, it is only required to certify its member organizations as eligible and submit the applications of member organizations that did not participate as a federation member in the previous campaign period. However, the LFCC can request any or all of the member applications at any time. If an existing member does not meet the eligibility criteria, the federation must include that information in its annual application.
Q. Can the LFCC waive and/or redefine OPM regulations?
A. No. An appeal and/or waiver (whichever is appropriate) must be specifically addressed to OPM.
Q. Do CFC Managers also handle PCFO accounts?
A. Some CFC Managers also manage other accounts for the PCFO. However, all expenses related to work done on behalf of the PCFO must be separate from the CFC budget. This includes the salary of the CFC Manager and all related expenses.
Q. As an LFCC member, should the travel, per diem, and registration fee related to the CFC regional workshop be paid out of CFC funds or by my employing agency?
A. Travel on CFC business should be budgeted for when the LFCC approves the PCFO annual budget. However, some Federal agencies will cover the costs for such travel. LFCC members are encouraged to consult with their agency prior to charging the expenses to the CFC.
Q. Can an Agency Head not allow his/her agency to be involved because they themselves do not believe in CFC?
A. The Combined Federal Campaign was established by Presidential Order. Once a campaign has been established, agency heads may not discontinue solicitation of federal Employees within their agency without the written approval of the Director of OPM.
Q. Can charitable organizations (local) speak about their programs at CFC events?
A. Yes. Charitable organizations should contact their local CFC office for information on CFC events.
Q. What is a special solicitation?
A. Federal regulations, set forth at 5 CFR §950.102 [90KB], state that the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the only authorized solicitation of employees in the Federal workplace on behalf of charitable organizations. Under an exception in this regulation, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may grant permission for special solicitations of Federal employees, outside of the CFC, in support of victims in cases of emergencies and disasters. All requests must be made in writing and sent to:
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Q. What information should the request contain?
A. At a minimum, the request should include the following:
To expedite the request, OPM recommends that the requesting department, agency, or component fax it to 202/606-5056. OPM urges departments and agencies to contact OPM's Office of the CFC at 202/606-2564 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance in the development and implementation of any special solicitation.
Q. May a special solicitation be conducted during the regular CFC season (September 1 - December 15)?
A. The Director will approve requests for special solicitations during the CFC solicitation period only upon the showing of extraordinary circumstances.
Q. How does a special solicitation affect the way a local campaign is conducted? Should receipts from the special solicitation be combined with those from the regular campaign?
A. A special solicitation is, by definition, not part of the CFC. Receipts from the special solicitation cannot be combined with CFC donations.
Q. Who conducts the special solicitation?
A. Because the special solicitation is outside of the CFC, the Federal department, agency, or component conducting the solicitation is responsible for the oversight and administration of the collection of contributions. The Local Federal Coordinating Committee (LFCC) can be contacted for assistance. OPM recommends that Federal departments and agencies holding a special solicitation request that the charitable organizations receiving funds from the solicitation be responsible for the collection and substantiation of all contributions.
Q. Can employees use a CFC pledge form to contribute during a special solicitation?
A. No. The special solicitation is not part of the CFC. Employees should receive instructions on how to make a special solicitation pledge by the Federal department or agency overseeing the solicitation.
Q. Are the CFC fiscal agents known as Principal Combined Fund Organizations (PCFO) required to maintain records of special solicitations conducted by Federal departments and agencies in their campaign areas?
A. No. Federal agencies and charitable organizations receiving the funds from the solicitation are responsible for maintaining records of the special solicitation. However, the LFCCs that are responsible for oversight of the local CFC in their area and the PCFOs are encouraged to cooperate with Federal agencies within their campaign borders to provide assistance for special solicitation efforts.
Q. I can give more to the special solicitation if I use payroll deduction. Is payroll deduction available for a special solicitation?
A. No. Special solicitations are conducted outside of the CFC procedures. In addition, special solicitations are intended to provide immediate financial assistance to charities involved in immediate relief efforts for disasters and emergencies. The fastest, most direct way to process special solicitation contributions is in the form of cash or check payable to the recipient charitable organization.
Q. What if a department or agency wants to help a non-CFC participating charity involved in disaster relief services?
A. If a Federal agency wants to solicit funds for a charitable organization not listed in the CFC Charity List it may do so in an OPM-approved special solicitation. Again, this collection effort is conducted outside of the CFC through a special solicitation. The CFC has no mechanisms for tracking donations to charitable organizations not identified by a CFC number.
Q. Do we still need to obtain OPM permission if the recipient organization is a participating CFC charity?
A. Yes. All special solicitations must be approved by the Director of OPM, regardless of whether or not the recipient charity participates in the CFC.
Q. Our department or agency has employees that were directly affected by a disaster. Do we need to seek authorization to collect funds from Federal employees to be given directly to these employees and/or their surviving family members?
A. A request for donations under either the CFC or a special solicitation is made on behalf of charitable organizations that are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of Internal Revenue Service regulations. The CFC regulations do not cover workplace solicitations made on behalf of individuals or their families. As a result, your department or agency does not need OPM's authorization for a solicitation to permit collection of funds for this purpose. However, Federal employees may only solicit funds for fellow employees in need subject to established ethics requirements and non-CFC solicitation requests affecting Federal buildings. We strongly encourage you to contact your agency's ethics counsel or General Counsel if you are planning such an activity.
Q. Does the special solicitation permit Federal employees to collect food, medical supplies or other kinds of non-cash donations?
A. CFC regulations permit Federal employees to solicit 'in-kind' contributions, such as food or toys, by placing donation receptacles in common areas. No special solicitation authority is required to do this, but is subject to the authority of the agency head. Again, we encourage you to contact your ethics counsel or General Counsel for guidance.
Q. The CFC in my area is currently ongoing. Should I highlight charitable organizations assisting in the disaster relief effort within the regular campaign effort?
A. No. Key Workers, PCFO staff and others assisting with the CFC cannot identify those CFC charitable organizations involved in disaster relief in response to requests from donors unless they are following instructions disseminated by the Director of OPM.
Q. Can a donor specify on the pledge form that the CFC contribution should be used specifically for the charitable organization's relief efforts as opposed to other ongoing programs of that charitable organization?
A. No. Donors may not use the CFC pledge form to direct their contributions to special solicitation efforts. This can lead to confusion and ultimately the CFC does not have the authority to designate that a specific program within an organization receive the funds.