Applying to The CFC — Local Charities

Sections of this topic

    Previously, we looked at some of the important considerations for a nonprofit in deciding if it wants to enroll in the CFC for the 2012 solicitation season.

    For local charities, however, the application deadlines vary among the more than 200 regional CFCs, with charities in the Washington, DC metro area having the earliest deadline of January 31, and the deadlines for many of the other regional CFCs coming in February or March.

    The CFC is a Government Program … That’s Big On Acronyms (surprise!)

    As mentioned previously, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the agency responsible for regulating the CFC, and administering the application process for national and international charities.

    For local charities, it’s important to be aware of two other entities:.

    The OPM Office of CFC Operations has a small staff and the actual responsibility for the management and conduct of the CFC campaigns is designated to the Local Federal Coordinating Committees (LFCCs) and to community agencies called Principal Combined Fund Organizations (PCFOs), the latter being contracted to provide year-to-year management/administration and financial services for the local CFC campaigns.

    In many regions of the country, the PCFOs are often the local United Ways.

    The regional LFCCs have the responsibility to evaluate the local CFC charities each year for determination about being included in the CFC catalog of charities. The LFCCs function as the “Boards of Directors” for the local CFCs and have oversight and governance responsibilities over the Principal Combined Fund Organization (PCFO).

    Many local CFCs conduct workshops on how to apply to the CFC in their region. On the website, the tab labeled “Campaign Locator” will help you identify your local CFC.

    One nonprofit in the DC area that does an excellent job is “Martha’s Table” — I have no affiliation with them, but if you take a look at their website you will see an example of a nonprofit that has a real handle on workplace giving, including how they thank their donors and volunteers.

    This is their 25 word description from the CFC Catalog of Caring:

    Martha’s Table works with low-income children, families

    and individuals to meet their basic needs through food,

    clothing, daycare, and after-school learning activities.

    Remember, while it must be accurate, your 25 word description is the marketing message that you write.

    Having addressed the various aspects of the application process, there are two points I feel must be emphasized: With the CFC you are developing multi-year donors; and, there’s much less red tape on the backend than with grants.

    CFC Donors are Multi-Year Donors

    The reality is that most CFC donors are multiple year donors. Once they start giving to the CFC charities they check off, they tend to become loyal supporters who, for the most part, check off the same charities every year, even if/when they remain anonymous to the nonprofit to which they are giving.

    I have seen thousands of CFC pledge cards during my Federal career, and the reality is that most of the donors made minimal changes from year to year, once they became donors.

    Less Red Tape Than Most Grants

    A nonprofit must apply each year, but there are no required “quarterly progress reports” or other funder required documentation. Not bad for a government program!


    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