Combined Federal Campaign: How to Give


I call it the "fall wall" -- that moment you walk outside on the first morning it's not blazing hot or sufficatingly humid and you feel a certain hint at crispness in the air.

Fall is coming, slowly but surely. And with it glides the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) season.


Wait, what?

The CFC is the federal government's workplace charity program. It allows federal employees, including military folks under the Defense Department, to select charities to receive auto-payments straight from their paycheck every month. In 2013 federal workers raised $209 million for the charities of their choice and over $7 billion since the start of the program.

The program resets every year, allowing new charities to apply, old ones to re-certify and workers to choose new people to give to, or continue to send money the same ones as in the past. That means between Sept. 1 and late December you have the chance to choose to whom you are going to be giving the rest of the year.

You can give as much or as little each month as you like -- and the contributions are tax deductible if you choose to itemize your taxes.

Want to contribute? Here are some quick facts and pointers.

How to contribute to the Combined Federal Campaign:

So how do you pick charities and submit your CFC plans?

Most DoD employees will likely receiving a CFC pamphlet and form from through their local command. The pamphlet book contains a long list of both national and local CFC certified charities. Simply note which ones you want to help and identify them on the form with their name, CFC code and the amount.

What if my charity isn't in this book?

Your favorite charity might not be in your local book because it isn't certified. If that's the case you won't be able to give to them through this.

But it also may be missing because it isn't national. For the first time ever, CFC is this year allowing contributions through the program to non-local to you local charities. That means if you had a favorite charity back at your last duty station, you can now still give to it through CFC even though you don't live there anymore. Score!  You can search for their CFC number here, or give them a call and they should be able to tell you it.

What if I don't know anything about these charities? 

I appreciate the work that goes into the CFC book because it includes information on what portion of donations to any given organization go to actual charity work, and what portion go to salaries, etc. You can also use this handy website, Charity Navigator, to get more information.

I don't have a lot of extra cash. I don't want to donate.

Trust me, you can probably fit donating a small amount every month into your budget. Skip two Starbucks stops a month and now you have an extra $10 to pledge to a charity.

Last year I gave a little money and then my husband came home from work one day with a "thank you" statue. I don't want a statue. 

Yeah, me neither. Turns out there's a little box on the form that you can check that says something like "don't send me an eagle statue as a thank you." Check it. You know what I don't need in my house? An eagle statue.


Photos courtesy of the U.S. Government.

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