Charity Choices

A Resource for Donors

Big Changes in the Combined Federal Campaign Will Lower Costs and Make Giving Easier


The biggest changes in 30 years are being made in the federal charity drive, which is why the 2017 campaign is starting later than usual. 

These changes were primarily intended to greatly lower the cost of running the “CFC.”  As a result, nearly all an employee’s donation will go directly to the charities. 

This website can help you learn how dozens of CFC charities actually use your donation. Simply click on “All Charities A to Z” or on any of the categories at the left.   

Here’s how the CFC’s 2017 changes will greatly lower its costs:  

  • There are now just 37 regional CFC campaigns, vs. 125 last year.
  • Local campaigns will no longer be run by local CFC “federations” such as United Way.  Instead, an “outreach coordinator” in each region will manage the campaign. Local employees or military personnel will be handing out pledge cards and charity directories. 
  • A new central CFC website will allow federal employees and military personnel across the world to make online donations or pledges through the CFC.  In the past, each local CFC had its own website. 
  • Donations will be processed centrally, by a new Central Campaign Administrator.  The CCA will collect and distribute the money directly to the charities.  In the past, the money was processed by each local campaign and then sent to the charities’ CFC federations. 
  • Application and participation fees paid by the charities will cover most of the CFC’s much lower costs. 
  • As a result of these changes, nearly all the money donated will go to the charities.  In the past, a percentage was deducted from the amount each charity received. 

Here are other CFC changes that will affect employees.

Employees can now donate their time as well as their money.  The new CFC website allows employees to search for nearby charities that need volunteers. 

Retirees will now be able to give through the CFC, by having money deducted from their annuities.  If employees retire mid-year, they can continue their pledges through their annuities. 

There are many fewer charities in the CFC.  The new fees caused many charities that didn’t receive many or any donations to drop out.  The total number of local, national and international charities is now 8,392, vs. nearly 24,000 just five years ago. 

Employees still have a very broad range of charities to support through the CFC.  The last big change in the CFC – more than 30 years ago -- was opening it up to more than a handful of traditional, long-established charities. 

Employees can support charities helping the poor in traditional ways, such as feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless.  But they can also support charities that are advocating to end homelessness and hunger in America. 

Last year, after the election, many more employees used their CFC donations to support organizations focused on civil rights and environmental protection.  

Pledges to the ACLU rose about 400%, while the Southern Poverty Law Center saw an increase of nearly 350%. The third biggest gainer was the Natural Resources Defense Council, with pledges increasing by 180%. Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club and the National Park Foundation raised much more.

Here’s more information about the CFC and its many changes.

Here’s in-depth information about dozens of charities you can support through the CFC.