Archive for June, 2010

What’s the Single Biggest Mistake that CFC Charities Make?

Posted on June 8, 2010. Filed under: Combined Federal Campaign - CFC, Fundraising, Leadership, Non-profits, Volunteer |

What’s the Single Biggest Mistake that CFC Charities Make?

Tips from
Successful CFC Charity Fundraising, Growing Donors that Give for Decades

By Bill Huddleston, The CFC Coach,

Federal Government Workplace Giving – the CFC:

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the largest workplace giving program in the world and it generates more than $250 million annually for thousands of local, national and international non-profits. CFC monies are unrestricted, reliable and predictable and while that $250 million achievement should be recognized and celebrated, it’s also true that there’s a lot of money left on the table because non-profits in the CFC are not taking a few simple steps that when taken together, would result in increased revenue for them.
The CFC is the Federal government’s workplace giving program, and thus the potential donors are all Federal employees. It is organized regionally, with more than 220 regional CFCs in the USA and around the world (anyplace that there is a significant US presence, there is a CFC, including in Iraq and Afghanistan). There are some unique features of the CFC that affect how a non-profit should develop its communication strategies for reaching potential CFC donors.

Three Unique Factors of the CFC:

The first factor is that in the CFC, a majority of the donors remain anonymous, truly anonymous to the charities that they gave to. The charity gets no contact information for these donors, because the donors have the choice of releasing their contact information to the charity, or not, and many donors do not release their contact info.

The second factor is that the CFC is a mandatory, completely voluntary program, which I realize sounds contradictory. It is mandatory because every U.S. Federal agency in the world must conduct a CFC campaign between September 1st and Dec. 15th of each year. It is voluntary because all of the organizing and solicitations are done by volunteers, and there are many safeguards in place to prevent coercion from management about donating. This means that in addition to anonymous donors, all of the non-profits have anonymous volunteers that are helping the development efforts of each CFC charity.

The third factor is that the CFC is the only way, by law, that Federal public servants can be approached for non-profit fundraising. Think of it is as a potential donor pool with several million members that can only be solicited via the CFC.

The Biggest Mistake that CFC Charities Make:
They Run A Stealth Campaign!

They go through all the effort to become admitted to the CFC and then they keep it a secret, and then they’re “surprised” when the results are not as good as they hoped.

What are some of the indicators that a CFC charity is running a stealth campaign?
Partial checklist for determining if a non-profit is running a stealth CFC campaign:

1. The CFC logo and 5 digit code are not on the non-profits home-page or website.

2. Email signatures do not include the non-profit’s 5 digit CFC code.

3. There is no section on the website describing what workplace giving is, and the benefits to the non-profit for donations made through workplace giving.

4. There is no communication plan for reaching anonymous donors.

5. There is no communication plan for reaching current supporters that have a Federal “connection”, meaning that in addition to current Federal employees, your current supporters may have children, parents, friends, spouses, etc. who are Federal employees and thus able to give via the CFC.

6. For non-profits that have windows/land visible from the street, no signage with the CFC logo and the CFC charity’s 5 digit code.

7. There is no mention of the CFC in any of the materials that go out from the non-profit: newsletters, annual reports, special reports.

8. At recognition events, the CFC donors and volunteers are not recognized or thanked.

9. The non-profit’s fundraising database has no code for CFC donors.

10. They don’t ask their current supporters who are Federal public servants to give via the CFC through payroll deduction. (Payroll deduction triples the size of a gift, even from the same person).

There are five stages in a CFC campaign, and the solicitation period is just one of the stages. Does your non-profit know all the stages and what the workplace giving team should be doing at each stage? If you’re interested in learning more about ways to increase your CFC results, please give me a call at 703-560-1825 or send me an e-mail at

Workplace Giving is the Nursery Where Donors are Grown.
Workplace Giving is the only type of non-profit fundraising that is subsidized, low-risk and high leverage.

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    Fundraising and Leadership Development through workplace giving, CFC = Combined Federal Campaign


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