The First Step in Applying for the Combined Federal Campaign:

Sections of this topic

    The CFC Deadlines Are Not That Far Away
    If you believe that the CFC – Combined Federal Campaign would be a good fit for your charity, both in terms of your mission and your non-profit’s capacity to handle an additional method of fundraising, this posting and the postings on Nov xx and Dec xx will outline the process for applying for the 2012 CFC season.

    For national and international charities, the application deadline is January 17, 2012, and for the more than 220 regional CFCs, the specific deadlines vary, but in general, they are from late January (in the Washington DC metro region) to March/April in other parts of the country. (Dates for applying for CFC federation memberships often precede the CFC official dates by 30-60 days.)

    The first step, before applying to be part of the CFC, is a management analysis – a process for determining whether or not to invest your resources in applying for the CFC. This decision-making process is an approach I’ve used in workshops for state non-profit associations. I call it “The Three C’s.“

    •  Who will be responsible for the day-to-day accomplishment of the tasks?
    •  What skill sets are needed? (Public speaking, communication skills, writing skills, etc.)
    •  Does current staff (paid or volunteer) have the needed capabilities?

    •  Even if your staff has the capabilities needed, do they have the capacity at present to
    handle a new project/program?
    •  Or, in other words, are their plates already too full?

    •  Is the Board supportive of the new planned program/fundraising method?
    •  How much money have they committed to it? (If the answer to this is zero, or unrealistic,
    the answer to #1 is no!)
    •  Does the Executive Director or Development Director have the time?

    Your CFC Action Team
    In addition to answering “Three C’s” questions, a major issue that must be resolved is, “Who will be the lead on your non-profit’s CFC Action Team (or whatever you choose to call it)?

    The person in this position will have a lot of responsibility; and, this position can be a great professional development opportunity for a young non-profit professional. [If you’re interested in my in-depth article on this subject, please send me an e-mail with “NP leadership” in the subject line.]

    Once you’ve made the decision that you do want to pursue workplace giving as one of the tools in your development toolbox, the next decision is to decide if you want to go it alone or join a federation.

    CFC Federations
    More than 60% of the funds generated through the CFC are raised by non-profits that are federation members. These umbrella organizations, as noted in our post of June 16, put together charities with a common theme, each of which has its own application procedure, membership structure, and fees.

    Of course, all federations require that their members meet the OPM requirements for charities in the CFC, said requirements are to be found at

    In addition to researching and calling any given federation, ask the other CFC charities in your nonprofit community if they are members of a federation, and what their experience has been with it.


    In the next two CFC postings, we will look at the application process more closely, starting with what’s required for national and international charities to apply to the CFC, as well as some tips that can help you be successful.


    During his 25-year career in the Federal sector, Bill Huddleston, The CFC Coach, served in many CFC roles. If you want to participate in the Combined Federal Campaign, maximize your nonprofit’s CFC revenues, or just ask a few questions, contact … Bill Huddleston