Why Does the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Matter?

Posted on May 21, 2013. Filed under: Combined Federal Campaign - CFC, Fundraising, Leadership, Non-profits, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Volunteer |

Why Does the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)  Matter?

Why Does OPM Want to Kill the Golden Goose of American Philanthropy?

By Bill Huddleston, The CFC Coach

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) matters because through it, and the generosity of the hundreds of thousands of Federal public servants who are the CFC donors, millions of Americans and others throughout the world are helped by the actions and services provided by  the more than 25,000 non-profits that are enrolled in the Combined Federal Campaign.  In the fall 2012 campaign,  more than $258 million dollars were raised, and in terms of actual giving, if the CFC were a foundation, it would be the 14th largest foundation in the USA.   Over  the past five years, the CFC has generated more than $1 billion of unrestricted revenue for thousands of local, national and international CFC charities, which makes it the single largest source of unrestricted funds in the non-profit sector.

The CFC, which was established in 1960, is the federal government’s workplace giving program, and is administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  The CFC used to have both a vision statement and their mission statement  on the CFC Operations home page that were succinct and inspiring:

CFC Vision Statement:

A government that encourages and enables active employee participation in community and that fosters collaboration with business and the nonprofit sector to achieve this goal.

CFC Mission Statement:

To promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.

Sometime in the last decade, OPM removed the vision statement, and they seem to have forgotten what the mission statement really means, having just completed an analysis of the proposed changes to the Combined Federal Campaign regulations, that are massive and harmful to the CFC if implemented as proposed, but let’s first look at the present setup.

Workplace giving is a unique type of fundraising in the non-profit sector, and it’s important to understand the complex synergy that exists among all the parts.   In the current structure of Combined Federal Campaign, these are the major components:

  • Recipients of services from CFC Charities  – the people and other beneficiaries of the services provided by the 25,000 CFC charities. (Millions of people ).
  • CFC Donors  -The Federal Public Servants who are the CFC Donors (more than 800,000).
  • CFC Charities – The 25,000 non-profits that are enrolled in the CFC, including approximately 1500 that are national or international in scope, and about 22,000 local charities.
  • Federations – Federations are special types of CFC charities, consisting of groups of 15 or more charities with something in common, e.g. the member of Community Health Charities federation are all health related, EarthShare has environmentally oriented non-profits as its members, and the members of Children’s Charities of America deal with issues affecting children to mention just a few.  Federations can be national, international or local.  Federations assist their members with their CFC applications, provide joint marketing support, and provide other campaign related services.
  • U.S. Federal agencies , that conduct the CFC campaigns, and this means anywhere in the world where there is a US Federal installation, (including places like Afghanistan and Iraq) there is a CFC campaign, as well as all civilian, military and U.S. Postal service facilities in the U.S.
  • CFC Campaign Volunteers – The thousands of Federal employees who volunteer each year to help run their agency’s CFC campaign, solicit funds, organize charity fairs, and conduct the overall management of a campaign within a Federal agency.    When the CFC campaigns are conducted each fall, the CFC is the
  • CFCs are organized regionally, and currently there are 184 CFC regions:
    • Local Federal Coordinating Committee (LFCC ) Each region has a Federal “Board of Directors” called the LFCC that is responsible for reviewing and approving applications for local charities to enroll in the CFC; and it is responsible for the selection of the Principal Combined Fund Organization (PCFO) which are contractors to the government  and there is a one to one match, so currently there are 184 PCFOs.
    • Principal Combined Fund Organization (PCFO) has two major responsibilities: the overall management of the CFC campaign in its region; and the fiduciary responsibility of sending the CFC donors gifts to the CFC charities they designated.  PCFOs are 501(c) (3) non-profits.  In the 184 regions, the PCFOs in the larger areas (e.g. major metropolitan areas, and areas with large Federal installations (e.g. Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, Veteran Affairs hospitals, Postal Service regional centers, etc.), have larger staffs than in the more sparsely populated regions.
  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has overall responsibility for the Combined Federal Campaign, including the CFC regulations and any appeals from non-profits that had their applications denied.   The OPM CFC office has a small staff of less than twenty.  It approves the applications of national and international charities, which currently number about 1500.
  • Federal Executive Boards (FEB) and Federal Executive Associations ( FEAs).   In areas outside of the Washington DC area, regional entities responsible for regional government wide operations, and often have the LFCC function as part of their responsibilities.
  • CFC-50 Commission  On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the CFC in 2011, there was a special commission formed that was chaired by two respected former Congressmen,  the Hon. Tom Davis (R) from Virginia and the Hon. Beverly Byron (D) from Maryland, each of whom had experience with the government reform committee when in Congress.  There CFC-50 Commission conducted a series of meetings, and issued a final report in July 2012 that contained 24 recommendations to OPM on ways to improve the CFC. 


  • Federal Retirees:  Retirees currently cannot have CFC designations deducted from their retirement pay, although the projections are that thousands of Federal retirees would participate in the CFC if they could.

CFC – The Golden Goose of American Philanthropy


When I give workshop presentations about the CFC, my workshop title is: “CFC—The Golden Goose of American Philanthropy.” I use that title because, just like the farmer in that fairy tale, most people do not understand how the CFC works; they just know it produces money for their non-profit, if they know anything at all about it. Depending upon their non-profit, it may produce a lot, or it may produce a little, and non-profit leaders are often not sure how it works, and what if anything they can do to improve their CFC results.  But just like the golden goose, the fundamental fact about the CFC is that it does work, and works well.  I’m not saying that it can’t be improved, but in the “results oriented” culture of today, the CFC , as it is currently structured, produces results that help millions of people every year, having generated $258 million in 2012.  And in, a miracle of government function, it actually has less red tape than almost any grant.

The synergy that exists among the component parts that I outlined means that in the current, decentralized structure, the workload is spread out among many different players, and that there are benefits to each.

Massive Proposed Changes to CFC Regulations by OPM

The Office of Personnel Management has proposed sweeping, and massive changes to the regulations governing the Combined Federal Campaign, and even though they say that they basing the proposed changes on the CFC-50 report, it many cases what they’re proposing was never discussed, or goes far beyond what was discussed in the CFC-50 Open Meetings and Final Report, or ignores what the CFC-50 Report recommended.

The proposed regulations are an odd combination of massive overreach; destruction of hundreds of private sector non-profit jobs in lieu of new Federal positions (which have not been approved or budgeted); hiding important sections in illogical sections of the proposed regulations, while simultaneously making multi-million dollar errors in the same section (in the section dealing with Federal retirees); making small irritating changes that are harmful to the CFC donors information gathering and make things harder for both the donor and the CFC charities; the destruction of multiple business models that have been successful for decades without adequate discussion,  and there are a few good ideas as well.   In many areas the proposed regulations are contradictory with significant differences about what the stated purpose is, and what the actual effect will be.

As proposed, the regulations are:

  • Harmful to CFC charities, both large and small, and will definitely drive smaller charities whether local, national, or international out of the CFC.
  • Harmful to CFC donors
  • Harmful to CFC Federations
  • Harmful to Federal agencies, including the leadership development of their workforce
  • Harmful to the non-profit employees of the PCFOs, where all 184 private sector organizations are eliminated which means that at least 450 non-profit jobs now go to Federal positions.
  • Harmful to the beneficiaries of the services provided by the CFC charities.  When just one of the items in the proposed regulations has been tried at the municipal or state level (going all electronic) there has been 50% drops in revenue.  If the regulations are implemented as proposed, a 75% drop in revenues is likely.
  • Presume a massive transfer of functions from the private sector, non-profit PCFOs to the Federal workforce.

Hidden Regulations – Federal Retirees Section

Some of the proposed regulations are poorly organized, with no logic behind them, and they have the effect of hiding significant and important changes.  For example, the section dealing with Federal retirees instead of being in a “Donors” section is hidden in the “establishing Regional Committees” section, ignores the CFC-50 Commission recommendations, and makes a multi-million dollar error in judgment, all in less than a paragraph.   Here’s the link to the section that deals with retirees, hidden in the phrase “and also eliminates restriction on soliciting non-Federal personnel.”   950.103 Establishing Regional Coordinating Committees.

I have posted my analysis of the proposed CFC Regulations on the CFCTreasures.wordpress .com site and on the SAVETHECFC Linked in site.  It’s  50 plus pages with the regulations links, OPM’s analysis, my analysis, and recommended actions in a table form.

 Federal Government Public Comment Period Closes June 7, 2013.

This is the bad news, the good news is that these are proposed regulations, and we are in the Public Comment Period, which closes June 7, 2013.  By law Federal agencies must put out proposed regulations for public comment, and they must respond to all issues raised before implementing the regulations.  This is your opportunity to affect public policy in a meaningful way, and to stop the regulations from being implemented as proposed.   I think the overall message is that the regulations as proposed are harmful, and OPM needs to go back to the drawing board.

There are two ways to comment:  Send a written letter to the OPM’s Director of the Combined Federal Campaign, Keith Willingham or submit your comments via the electronic comment function of the Federal Register.   My recommendation is to use the Federal Register method because other members of the non-profit community will also be able to see your comments.

Subject: RIN 3206-AM68, Solicitation of Federal Civilian and Uniformed Service Personnel for Contributions to Private Voluntary Organizations

Reference Number: RIN 3206-AM68

Dates:    OPM must receive comments on or before June 7, 2013

Here are the links to the proposed changes to the CFC regulations.

URL: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/04/08/2013-08017/solicitation-of-federal-civilian-and-uniformed-service-personnel-for-contributions-to-private

Shorter URL:   https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-08017

HERE IS THE SPECIFIC PAGE TO COMMENT ON THE PROPOSED CFC REGULATIONS: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;rpp=100;so=DESC;sb=docId;po=0;D=OPM-2013-0006

Contact info for Bill Huddleston:

If you have questions or concerns about how you can help save the CFC as one of the most useful programs for millions of Americans who benefit from the $258 million dollars generated annually by the CFC, please don’t hesitate to contact me at BillHuddleston@verizon.net or by phone at 703-434-9780.

Email: billhuddleston@verizon.net

Phone: 703-434-9780


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Massive Combined Federal Campaign CFC Changes Proposed For Non-profits

Posted on May 2, 2013. Filed under: Combined Federal Campaign - CFC, Customer Service, Fundraising, Leadership, Non-profits, Volunteer |

Massive Combined Federal Campaign Changes Proposed For Non-profits

Most of the proposed changes are  bad – These measures Throw Out the Baby with the Bathwater, and toss the tub on top for good measure.

Bill Huddleston, The CFC Coach, said that “The proposed changes to the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) regulations will have the effect of destroying the CFC for small non-profits, whether they are local or national.”

The CFC Regulations as proposed will not help CFC charities, donors, or the people the CFC non-profits serve.  In addition, huge areas of importance are not addressed at all in the proposed regulations, including the value of the CFC to the sponsoring agencies and their employees.

The regulations were published on April 7th in the Federal Register, and there is a 60 day comment period which ends June 7th.  In other posts I will show you how to use the Federal Register commenting software, but if you think the CFC is worth saving, now is the time to act!

Will Cut CFC Revenues in Half

As proposed, these regulations completely eliminate the face to face aspect of the entire CFC campaign. If implemented as proposed these untested changes will have the effect of cutting CFC revenues for thousands of CFC charities in half, which is what has happened when such massive changes have been tried at the in workplace giving campaigns at the city and state level.  To see how much revenue was raised in your state through the CFC, please see this worksheet I created showing the state by state totals.  (see separate post)

After 50 years of being the most successful workplace giving program in the world, and the single largest source of unrestricted funds for non-profits, these proposed changes “throw the baby out with the bathwater, and then toss the tub on top for good measure!”

Massive Changes Proposed Without Adequate Discussion

The changes planned the proposed regulations are gigantic, and the proposed regulations make mistakes along the classic “New Coke” marketing debacle, when after much discussion about how to improve Coke, classic Coke was pulled from the market, and the cry went up, “Wait, you didn’t tell us you planned to destroy Coca-Cola!”

That’s the effect these new regulations will have, they will destroy the CFC, which is the single largest source of unrestricted funds for non-profits in the US.   The proposed regulations contain an odd mish mash of sweeping changes with no specifics on how the changes will actually be accomplished, wipes out organizations that have been in existence for more than 50 years, and especially in time of sequestration, are divorced from reality, because in order to actually implement them, there would need to be ten times increase in the number of Federal employees working on the CFC.

CFC – 50 Commission

A little background is in order, the CFC celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2011, and at that time the head of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), John Berry,  formed a commission, called the CFC-50 Commission, to look at ways to improve the CFC and keep it vibrant for the next 50 years.  The Commission was chaired by two former members of Congress, Hon. Tom Davis, (R-VA) and Hon. Beverly Byron, (D-MD), each of whom is well respected in the Federal service, and had served on government operations committees during their Congressional tenure.

CFC -50 Commission Public Meeting Videos (on Youtube)

The CFC-50 Commission met in public meetings four different times, and videos of these meeting are available at opm.gov/cfc.  http://www.opm.gov/combined-federal-campaign/cfc-50-commission (see list of videos at bottom of page).

The videos are difficult to watch because they are not optimized for viewing, there are no captions identifying who is speaking, and the speakers usually don’t identify themselves.  Some of them have 10 minute spans where the sound is inaudible.   There was testimony by invited participants, e.g. representatives from some of the larger charities, etc.

CFC – 50 Commission Report – 24 Recommendations

The Commission then produced their recommendations in a report, “Federal Advisory Commission Report on the Combined Federal Campaign” in July 2012, which contained 24 recommendations.

Click to access 2012-report.pdf

Two Good Recommendations

Some of these 24 recommendations survived intact in the proposed regulations, and some of them are good and make perfect sense, such as the ones dealing with new employees and the one dealing with disaster relief charities.

Many Proposed Regulations Do NOT Follow the Recommendations of the CFC-50 Commission

Many of the proposed regulations simply miss the mark from what the CFC-50 Commission actually recommended, had no or inadequate discussion about how some functions would actually be accomplished, and others are petty, or petty and unconstitutional.

Example of a Regulation Missing the Mark with wide negative consequences:

“Shifting the Campaign” is NOT the same as “Extending”

In the CFC-50 Commission meetings there were many people and organizations that spoke to the benefit of extending the campaign to January 15th from the current December 15th end.  There are many reasons for this, including both year-end charitable giving and federal personnel schedules.

In watching all eight hours of video testimony, reading all the recommendations and appendices in the CFC-50 report, not a single person said “Shift the Campaign” from September to December to October to January.    “Shifting” is not the same as “extending” and there are many negative consequences to shifting, which I will describe in detail in later posts, but since there was no mention of this at all in 4 public meetings over many months, the idea was not addressed.

The Proposed Regulations can be found here:


In later posts, I will have information on how to use the Federal Register rule making portal to make comments.


Bill Huddleston

The CFC Coach



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Religious vs. Secular Non-profit Giving – An Apples to Oranges Comparison

Posted on August 21, 2012. Filed under: Fundraising, Leadership, Non-profits, Volunteer |

Didn’t Anyone Ever Go to Sunday School?

The study done by the Chronicle of Philanthropy about the different levels of giving in the country is informative and interesting, but there are limitations inherent in tackling such a large and complicated subject.  The first limitation is that since the study limited itself to taxpayers who itemize (in general, households earning more than $50,000) it ignores the level of generosity by households that don’t itemize on their tax returns, so I think all the statistics probably under report the actual level of American generosity.

The second problem is the one of comparing religious giving versus secular giving, which is at best an apples to oranges comparison, and in reality is an “apple-orange” to “orange-apple” comparison, by which I mean that there are elements of both in each type of giving.  Sometimes when I read posts about religious giving in the non-profit forums, I really get the impression that the writers never attended Sunday School, and don’t really fundamentally understand how churches operate.  If the principles of non-profit fundraising are applied to religious giving, it would be considered an abject failure and ludicrous.  I can only speak about practices typical in Protestant denominations, but let’s take a look at it through the non-profit fundraising lens and you’ll see how ridiculous it looks from that perspective:

  1. We will solicit our members in person 60 times per year.   There are 52 weeks of worship services, plus about 8 special offerings throughout the year (Christmas, Easter, One Great Hour of Sharing, etc.)
  2. We will publicly ask for your contribution in front of other people. (It’s called passing the plate during the offering).
  3. We will not provide individual thank yous (we will offer group thank yous).
  4. We expect you to fill out a card at the start of each year (a pledge) where you specify how much you will give each week/month/year.  This is not really optional, and we will make a big show of you publicly turning in your pledge cards as part of the offering process.

If as a consultant on non-profit fundraising I presented that plan to one of my clients, I’d be laughed at the room, and probably never invited back.

Here’s what the difference is: Religious giving is not a charitable solicitation, it is an act of worship, and hence has a different set of social norms and customs.  By definition, becoming a member of a church requires a “leap of faith” and the purpose of this essay is not to debate why someone chooses to become a member of a congregation, and why someone else does not.  Each person makes their own choice about that.

Here are some examples of how there are elements of both secular and religious giving in each category.  The Salvation Army is usually and deservedly credited with being one of the most efficient and effective charities in America, which it is.  It is however, a church, the word “Salvation” in its name is not talking about the furniture and clothing salvaged and donated to it, it’s refers to saving their member’s souls.    Many churches that I know of gather food donations which are then transported to local food banks, and often make up a significant portion of a local’s food banks supply.  This doesn’t get counted in the IRS reports because it’s not a financial contribution, and since there’s no receipt (unlike donations to Goodwill, Salvation Army, Amvets, etc.) this act of giving doesn’t get recorded anywhere except as a food donation at the food bank.  Obviously some portion of religious giving goes to support the physical plant and salaries of ministers and staff, but there are often community benefits that are not captured anywhere, but are of value.    For example, in northern Virginia where I live, many churches’ Sunday School classrooms are used during the week by secular day care and pre-school non-profits.   In my church there is an award winning pre-school that’s been there for forty years, and could not exist without the physical plant provided by the church, but that asset never shows up on the pre-school’s financials because it’s not theirs.

The apples to apples comparison is that both offerings to religious institutions and gifts to charity are tax deductible, but after that fact, trying to draw distinctions about differences and similarities is problematic.

I think it’s more important and productive to figure out ways where religious institutions and charities can more effectively work together.  Another under-tapped resource in my opinion are the potential volunteers that religious congregations may be able to provide to charities that effectively use volunteers in accomplishing their mission.



Bill Huddleston

The CFC Coach

MPA in Nonprofit Management, George Mason University




P.S.  Here’s the link to the Chronicle study:


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CFC Fundraising Secrets – Thank you to all volunteers – National Volunteer Week

Posted on April 15, 2011. Filed under: Combined Federal Campaign - CFC, Customer Service, Leadership, Nationa Volunteer Week, Volunteer |

April 10-16th, 2011 National Volunteer Week

Please make sure to thank all the volunteers that make your community a better place to live!

Wwhat are some of the critical ingredients to developing stronger and better relationships with your CFC supporters? I’m going to focus on some practical keys for generating awareness about your non-profit in the CFC community, including your anonymous donors. There are Seven Keys to CFC Success, but I’m highlighting two as a lead-in to the April CFC Secret:

• CFC Success Key #3: Use all 12 months of the year! It’s true that the solicitation period is only in the fall, but there are many actions and activities that you need to be doing during the rest of the year as well, including in April. One important element is to keep communicating about the CFC, in part to combat misinformation about it. Following the “Law of the Harvest,” planting some seeds of success now, in the spring, will help you reap more in the fall.

• CFC Success Key #7: “Say Thank You Early and Often!” This is probably the most important key, yet it is frequently the most violated by many non-profits.

The April CFC “Secret”
Every year, National Volunteer Week is celebrated during the third week of April. This is a huge event, with a Presidential proclamation and a lot of media attention. It is one of the signature events of the Points of Light Institute, and has been a nationally recognized week since 1974. Since as non-profits you don’t have millions of dollars to spend on advertising and marketing, it’s critical to leverage onto events that have significant and widespread coverage, and provide an easy “hook” for traditional media to base a story on.
As part of National Volunteer Week, many non-profits have recognition events, days of service, open houses, and, at minimum, news releases thanking all their supporters and volunteers for helping the non-profit work on achieving its mission during the past year.

This is where you get to combine CFC Success Keys #3 and #7, and add a few “Thank yous” to both your known and unknown CFC supporters. Whatever your non-profit is doing to celebrate National Volunteer Week, make sure that you include a paragraph or two in written materials, or a sentence or two at live events that thanks both your known CFC donors and supporters, and your anonymous CFC supporters, including the CFC workplace giving volunteers. As I already said, if they are CFC donors to your non-profit, they will see the story that gets picked up in a local paper, or may be in attendance at “Volunteer Recognition” event. Saying “Thank You” in the non-profit world is analogous to advertising in the business world, it doesn’t have to wait for a transaction to be meaningful and appreciated. The CFC workplace giving volunteers on the other hand, may not know anything about your specific non-profit, but since they helped raise money for the CFC charities, they deserve a “Thank You” from your non-profit. I call this “planting seeds of awareness,” some will bear fruit, some won’t, but regardless, the CFC volunteers deserve a thank you.

In addition to press releases and speaking opportunities, don’t forget that you have much more control over internal information, including your website, annual reports, newsletters, podcasts, etc. Do you thank your workplace giving donors and volunteers on your website and in your publications?
If no, why not?

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Organizational Assessment Tools – ARNOVA Discussion

Posted on February 4, 2011. Filed under: Customer Service, Fundraising, Leadership, Non-profits, Volunteer |

This is an interesting discussion about Organizational Assessment Tools from the ARNOVA (non-profit researchers) listserv.

The first commenter is Jeff Jackson from the Packard Foundation:

Thanks Beth for you question on organizational assessments, Hildy for raising the issue on assessment effectiveness and Gregrie for raising the related issue on leadership engagement with assessments. I’d like to add to the mix my curiosity about whether there is a difference in effectiveness and/or engagement between self-assessments vs consultant-facilitated assessments (referenced by Hildy). I know there are pros/cons to both approaches and there are hybrid approaches (such as a self-assessment followed by a consultant intervention). I’m also curious about the difference in effectiveness/engagement with one time assessments vs regular (annual) assessments.

On our Packard Foundation OE wiki (see the Organizational and Network Assessment page in the link in my footer), we’ve listed a number of resources and models of assessments (yet leave it to our grantee partners to determine which approach is best for what they need). We include a link to the Funders Guide to Organizational Assessment (Fieldstone Alliance and GEO) that explains when and how to use various tools. We’ve collected pretty powerful stories on results (short and long term) of organizational assessments (albeit a small sample) and very shortly we’ll be posting some related data/stories on our wiki for practitioners/researchers to comment on (see the page on Goldmine Research Project).

Our wiki also has a link to a self-assessmet tool used annually by about 400 community-based grantee partners of the Global Fund for Children and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation (a slightly revised version). The organizations use the tool to self-assess their organization’s strengths and learning curves when it comes to 7 areas of organizational capacity. Use of the tool is still relatively new (three years with GFC and just starting with SAF), but input on usefulness has been generally positive. One of the strongest messages is that self-assessment in itself is building knowledge and capacity about building organizational capacity. The leadership engagement question is addressed since the tool is completed minimally by the ED and ideally with board, staff and client stakeholders. Both GFC and SAF make it clear in the instructions, that the assessment is meant to be an action-learning tool for the grantee partners, more than an evaluative tool for the funders.

I hope this adds some food for thought.


Interested in nonprofit organizational and network effectiveness? Check out:

Jeff Jackson
Organizational Effectiveness Program Consultant The David and Lucile Packard Foundation 300 Second Street, Los Altos, CA 94022 510.628-0800 ________________________________________
From: NonProfit and Voluntary Action Discussion Group [ARNOVA-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU] On Behalf Of Gregrie Merkel [Gregrie.Merkel@UWCNM.ORG]
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 1:27 PM
Subject: Re: Organizational Assessment tool

Hildy, You are not alone. We could dig deeper to come up with the same result. Every piece of information and all authorities may point to needing immediate change, but unless the CEO is directly motivated, the board will not see it as anything to address. It isn’t a need for money, it’s a need to listen. You know, if it isn’t broken-don’t fix it; if I don’t have to do it I won’t. This occurs with the most passionate defenders of their cause. I hear specifics and generalities every day internally and externally regarding what needs to come into play to succeed. My reference comes from discussions with others in research at many small and national nonprofits. As long as the organization is not bankrupt or void of volunteers, they will not make sweeping change or possibly any change at all. At times the comfort level has to be pushed to make a difference. Gregrie

Gregrie Merkel / Research / United Way of Central New Mexico
505 247 3671 xt 350 gregrie.merkel@uwcnm.org / http://www.uwcnm.org

From: NonProfit and Voluntary Action Discussion Group [mailto:ARNOVA-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU] On Behalf Of Hildy Gottlieb
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 1:39 PM
Subject: Re: Organizational Assessment tool

On 2/3/2011 10:27 AM, Beth Bagwell wrote:
Dear ARNOVAns,
I am currently looking for information regarding assessment tools for evaluating the overall performance of nonprofits. This will be used as an entry point for providing guidance to the nonprofit sector regarding strategic planning, etc. I’ve found some information on the website, but wanted to know of other tools that were recognized and user friendly.
Thank you,
Beth Bagwell

Beth’s question raises another question for me – one that has tugged at the back of my mind for a while. And that is the effectiveness of organizational assessments.

In my own experience, I have seen countless assessments, done by outside organizations who are well acclaimed for their methodologies. And from those assessments, I have pretty consistently seen several results, in no particular order:
• Nothing changes… and/or
• Plans are made to address issues raised in the assessment, but little is done to address the larger systemic issues at the heart of the symptoms, and symptoms soon re-occur (if any action is taken on the plans at all)… and/or • Organizational leaders feel no ownership of the assessment, finding themselves in the role of interviewees rather than the ones actually assessing the org themselves – or even determining what is important to assess. (Having been told they don’t know what to assess, they believe that and default to, “Well I guess we need an outsider…”) All assessment calculations are done by the outside entity performing the assessment, the final result of which is then presented to organizational leaders. Those leaders then determine which areas they agree with/ disagree with. Virtually none of what they read is surprising to them, but they don’t feel any ownership of the assessment because they neither designed nor executed it… and/or • Even assessments that are fully acted upon do not make a significant difference in the impact the organization has in the community, as assessments tend to measure organizational strength against internally-focused management checklists rather than answering the externally-focused question, “What difference does the organization want to make in the community, and what does it need to accomplish that?” …

Is this just my experience? Is there research into the extent to which (and/or what kind of) organizational assessment actually a) creates meaningful organizational change and b) increases the impact organizations have in their communities (the supposed goal of building strong orgs in the first place)?

Thanks for any observations any of you can share.


Hildy Gottlieb
Creating the Future
Making Visionary Community Change Practical http://www.CreatingTheFuture.org
Twitter: @HildyGottlieb
Skype: HildyGottlieb

Complete instructions on managing subscriptions to ARNOVA-L, reviewing the archive of postings, and other useful information can be accessed from the link at the top right of the webpage at http://www.arnova.org Complete instructions on managing subscriptions to ARNOVA-L, reviewing the archive of postings, and other useful information can be accessed from the link at the top right of the webpage at http://www.arnova.org

Complete instructions on managing subscriptions to ARNOVA-L, reviewing the archive of postings, and other useful information can be accessed from the link at the top right of the webpage at http://www.arnova.org

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Don’t Educate Your Donors, Motivate Them

Posted on December 28, 2010. Filed under: Fundraising, Leadership, Non-profits, Volunteer | Tags: |

In the December issue of Fundraising Success magazine, Jeff Brooks has a feature article, “9 Things About Fundraising I Wish I Had Figured Out Sooner.”

As always, Jeff’s comments are insightful, and here are 2 of the 9 headings: (2.) Focus groups can make you stupid and (3) Insider insights can mess you up. The link to the complete article in Fundraising Success magazine is below, but there is one comment that I believe is accurate, and yet is counter to the vast majority of fundraising techniques that are promoted as working, namely that educating donors is the key to motivating them to give. Here’s the quote from Jeff’s article that addresses that:

In fact, I never really understood that my copy was causing the problem until I moved to the agency side, where I was held responsible for getting results, not perfecting donors. Then it dawned on me: Trying to replicate insider insights is not the fundraiser’s job. It is directly at odds with motivating people to give. The more you try to educate donors, the less money you’ll raise.

As we develop our New Year’s Resolutions, and for many fundraisers, one is often some version of “Raise more money for _____________(employer, client, favorite cause, etc) it’s important to keep Jeff’s experienced advice in mind, concentrate on motivating the givers to your cause, not on educating them.

Bill Huddleston
The CFC Coach

Link to Fundraising Success Magazine article:

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Citizen Medals Awards – President Obama

Posted on August 5, 2010. Filed under: Leadership, Non-profits, Volunteer |

Each August, the President bestows one of highest honors a USA citizen can receive, the Citizen Medals. Here’s the link for the August 4th picture and broadcast from the White House for the 13 2010 honorees:

The 2010 Presidential Citizen’s Medal
August 04, 2010 | 19:36 | Public Domain


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“Not a Job for a Boy Scout”

Posted on July 31, 2010. Filed under: Combined Federal Campaign - CFC, Leadership, Non-profits, Volunteer |

“Not a job for a Boy Scout”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard that phrase in a bad movie, but it did make wonder, well, “What job do you want a Boy Scout for? ” One obvious answer – If you need someone to be an astronaut, there is an extremely high likelihood that they will have been in Scouts (see below for details).

On Sunday, July 25th in Washington, D.C. there was a parade down Constitution Avenue as part of the Boy Scouts of America Centennial celebration. The last time there was parade down Constitution Avenue of Boy Scouts was in 1937 as part of the National Jamboree. My dad, an Eagle Scout from Troop 13 in Washington, D.C. marched in that parade. As an Eagle Scout, I was proud to march in the 2010 parade, along with my two sons, one a Cub Scout and one a new Boy Scout.

In Honor of the Boy Scouts of America Centennial Celebration, here’s a list of the type of jobs that Scouts have done, and this is just a partial list:
Famous Eagles
• Bill Alexander, U.S. Representative from Arkansas
• Gary Anderson, U.S. Representative from New York
• Charles Bennett, U.S. Representative from Florida
• William Bennett, Former Secretary of Education
• Bill Bradley, Pro basketball star and U.S. Sneator from New Jersey
• Milton Caniff, Comic Strip Artist “Steve Canyon”
• Willaim Dannemeyer, U.S. Representative from California
• Arthur Eldred, (First Eagle Scout)
• Gerald Ford, 38th President of the U.S.
• Murphy J. “Mike” Foster, Governor of Louisiana
• James Lovell – Astronaut
• Richard Lugar, U.S. Senator from Indiana
• Sam Nunn, U.S. Senator from Georgia
• Ellison Onizuka, Challenger Astronaut
• J.J. Pickle, U.S. Representative from Texas
• Samuel Pierce, Former Secreatry of HUD
• Harrison Salisbury, Pulitzer Prize winning Author
• Willaim Sessions, Former FBI Director
• Steven Spielberg, Film Director/Producer
• Wallace Stegner, Pulitzer Prize winning Author
• Percy Sutton, Chairman of CBS John Tesh, TV Celebrity
• James Stewart – Actor
• James Brady, Former Press Secretary to President Reagan
• William C. DeVries, M.D., Transplanted first artificial heart
• Walter Cronkite – Journalist, T.V. commentator
• J. Willard Marriott, Jr., President, Marriott Corporation
• H. Ross Perot, Chairman, EDS Corp.
• Daniel J. Evans, Former US Senator and Governor of Washington state
Famous Scouts
• David Hartman, Actor (Life Scout)
• Henry “Hank” Aaron, Baseball Superstar (Boy Scout)
• Richard Gere – Actor
• Bruce Jenner – Olympic Gold Medal Decathlon (Cub Scout)
• Jim Morrison – Rock Legend (Boy Scout)
• Merlin Olsen, Actor, Sportscaster (Boy Scout)
• Eddie Rabbitt, Country/Western singer (Boy Scout)
• Richard Roundtree, Actor (Boy Scout)
• Alberto Salazar, 3-time winner, NYC Marathon (Life Scout)
• John Schneider, Actor/Singer (Cub Scout)
• Howard K. Smith, Former ABC-TV commentator (Boy Scout)
• Mark Spitz – Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer (Cub Scout)
• George Strait – Country/Western Singer (Cub Scout)
• Joe Theisman, Sportscaster, former NFL player (Life Scout)
• Peter Ueberroth, Former Commissioner of Baseball (Cub Scout)
• Paul Winfield, Actor (Cub Scout)
• Steve Young, NFL Quarterback
Adamson, Armstrong, Bagian, Bluford, Bowersox, Brady, Carr, Carter, Chaffee, Covey, Creighton, Duke, Eisele, Fullerton, W. Gregory, Griggs, Hoffman, Jones, Lee, Lind, Llewellyn (King’s Scout, U.K.), Lovell, McCulley, O’Leary, Onizuka, Oswald, Parazynski, Reightler, Searfoss, See, Tanner, Truly, D. Walker
Anders, Basset, Brand, Bridges, Casper, Cooper, Evans, Fabian, G. Gardner, Givens, Gregory, Kregel, Low, Mattingly, McArthur, Mitchell, D. Scott, Spring, Springer, Van Hoften, C. Williams
Barry, Cameron, England, W. Fisher, Garriott, R. Gibson, Gordon, Grissom, Haise, Lounge, McNair, Stafford
J. Allen, Bean, Clifford, Coats, Engle, Freeman, D. Gardner, E. Gibson, Hammond, Henize, Linnehan, Nelson, Overmyer, Schirra, Schweickart, W. Scott, Shepard, Veach, Worden
Bolden, Buchli, Carpenter, Cernan, Culbertson, Mullane, Parker, Pogue, Shriver, Swigert, W. Thornton, White, Young
Aldrin, Bursch, Hawley, Lousma, McDivitt, Michel, Schmitt, S. Smith
O’Connor, D. Williams
E. Collins, Davis, A. Fisher, Helms, Jernigan, Lawrence, Seddon, Sherlock, Sullivan, K. Thornton, Janice Voss, Weber
A. Allen, C. Brown, Conrad, Foale (Wolf, Germany), Gernhardt, Henricks, Leestma, Lopez-Alegria, McBride, Meade, Readdy, Rominger, Shepherd, Thomas, Thuot, Wolf
C. Brown, Bull, Clervoy, Garneau, Harris, James Voss


Bill Huddleston
Eagle Scout
Adult leader, Cub Scout & Boy Scouts

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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, BillHuddleston1@gmail.com

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 BillHuddleston1@gmail.com

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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Volunteering – Flexibility Needed

Posted on April 29, 2010. Filed under: Combined Federal Campaign - CFC, Fundraising, Leadership, Non-profits, Volunteer |

There’s an interesting article on the Chronicle of Philanthropy website about the importance of volunteering. The post is by Shirley Sagawa is the author of The American Way to Change: How National Service and Volunteers Are Transforming America, which will be released in May. [http://philanthropy.com/article/It-s-Time-to-Involve/65079/] I agree with the points she makes but I think what’s missing from this particular discussion is how our society really has three components: government, businesses, and non-profits.

Note: (If anyone would like my diagram of the non-profit sector, highlighting the similarities and differences, please send me an e-mail at BillHuddleston1@gmail dot com with “NP diagram” in the subject line. The blogging/commenting software doesn’t allow for graphics.)

Within the non-profit sector, one of its unique features is the degree to which it depends upon volunteer labor. While some of the volunteer labor comes directly from the non-profit sector, most of it comes from the government and business sectors. The non-profit sector accounts for about 9% of the U.S. economy, so the remaining sectors account for the other 91%. What’s critical for the future success is flexibility from the government and business sector regarding volunteers. Granted, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities that take place on weekends, or after hours, and that’s great. However, many other needs occur in the middle of the day, e.g. Meals on Wheels volunteers need to deliver the meals to their clients during the day. Another example are students who need individualized help with their school work, and students are a lot easier to reach during the day at their school, than at any other location.
What we as members of the non-profit sector need to do is to take the time to encourage flexibility in all aspects of volunteering, both when the non-profit sector uses them, as well as encouraging the business and government sectors to value volunteering during the day (for a few hours per week or month ). Volunteering has multiple benefits : to the clients/participants; for the volunteers themselves (leadership development, personal development, etc.; and for both the organization (happier employees) plus to our society at large.
Bill Huddleston
The CFC Coach

P.S. The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the world’s largest workplace giving campaign, having generated more than $1 billion of unrestricted dollars to thousands of local, national and international non-profits over the past five years. What many people don’t realize is that it’s also the single largest employee volunteer effort in the United States, with more than 400,000 volunteers each fall helping raise millions of dollars for the CFC charities, while at the same time developing their own leadership skills.

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