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Charity Eligibility & Participation

Q. What are the eligibility requirements for an organization to participate in the CFC? What are the eligibility requirements for an organization to participate in the CFC?
A. To be eligible to participate in the CFC each charitable organization must be designated as a tax-exempt non-profit organization under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. An application to participate in the CFC must provide specific information about their auditing, governance and program functions, as specified in the CFC regulations at 5 C.F.R § 950PDF Format. Applicants must also provide a completed and signed copy of their IRS Form 990 for their most recent fiscal year. To participate in one of the 200 plus local CFC campaign areas, as opposed to being nationally eligible and participating in every campaign area, a charitable organization must be able to demonstrate that it has a "substantial" program presence within the campaign's (or an adjacent campaign's) geographical boundaries or within the state of the campaign. Charities may apply to participate in the CFC individually (as an "independent organization"), or they may be represented by a "federation." A federation is a coalition of individual charities with similar missions that align to minimize administrative costs and coordinate activities. All CFC application and participation requirements that apply to individual charities also apply to federations. In addition, federations must demonstrate that they have at least 15 CFC member organizations that meet the CFC eligibility criteria.

Q. Where do charitable organizations apply?
A. Members of federations must submit their applications to the federation. Federations and independent organizations submit their applications directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (if applying as a national/international organization) or the local CFC office (if applying as a local organization). Charities can find contact information for local CFC offices via our Campaign Locator (http://www.opm.gov/cfc/Search/Locator.asp). See the application instructions for more information.

Q. If we have questions about our participation in campaigns locally, who do we contact?
A. Questions should be directed to your local campaign office. A complete listing of local campaign contacts can be found through The Campaign Locator.

Q. What is the local campaign application deadline?
A. Each of the 200 plus campaigns sets its own deadline. You will need to contact your local campaign office for this information.

Q. How many campaigns am I eligible to apply to?
A. Each local organization may apply to the campaign where it has a substantial local presence (i.e. a staffed facility, office or portion of a residence dedicated exclusively to the organization, available to members of the public seeking its services or benefits. The facility must be open at least 15 hours per week and have a telephone dedicated exclusively to the organization.) It can also apply to all campaign areas that are adjacent to the campaign where the organization is located. An application must be sent to each campaign in which the organization wishes to participate.
Organizations that provide services in 30% of the geographic area of the state or to 30% of a target population in the state may apply as a statewide organization. An application must be sent to each campaign in the state in which the organization wishes to participate.

Q. Is there a limit on how much in contributions a charitable organization can receive?
A. Donors can designate any amount they wish to a charitable organization. There is no limit to the amount a charitable organization can receive.

Q. How does a charitable organization know the amount of pledges it received in a campaign year?
A. Each local campaign office is required to notify designated charitable organizations, in writing, of the amount of pledges it received by a date determined by OPM. Charitable organizations that did not receive a designation in the campaign area will not receive a communication from the campaign.

Q. In what form will payments be received by my organization (i.e., electronic transfers, checks, etc.)?
A. Campaigns may choose to send payments via check or EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer). Participation in EFT disbursements is optional for participating charitable organizations.

Q. Are donor contributions received throughout the year?
A. Contributions are administered by a local non-profit fiscal agent known as the Principal Combined Fund Organization (PCFO). The PCFO may disburse funds either monthly or quarterly beginning by April of the year immediately following the campaign period. However, the PCFO may send one-time checks to charitable organizations that received very small amounts in contributions.

Q. Does inclusion in the CFC Charity List carry with it any description of the charity's purpose or goals?
A. Yes, CFC Charity Lists include a 25-word statement that is crafted by the applicant and submitted to OPM. However, those campaigns that receive less than $100,000 in pledges are not required to include the 25-word statement in the Charity List.

Q. Will participating charitable organizations receive the names of donors who have contributed to their organizations? How?
A. It is the responsibility of the local CFC office to forward the names and addresses of donors who wish to have their names released to the recipient charitable organization directly. If the charitable organization is a member of a federation, the federation will receive the donor name and relay it to the participating charitable organization. The PCFO and the federation may not make any other use of donors' names and addresses.

Q. Is it necessary for a charitable organization to submit an application annually?
A. Yes, all CFC applicants are required to submit a new application annually. (Please visit Charity Application section.)

Q. We are a new charitable organization, is it possible to estimate how much might we expect to receive in contributions the first year?
A. It is difficult to estimate how much you will receive in any given year as the CFC, like all workplace giving, is subject to influences that may affect giving (i.e., fluctuations in the Federal labor force). After participating for a number of years, it may be possible to establish an estimated range for the amount to be received. We suggest that charitable organizations contact similar charities which participate in the CFC to inquire about their experiences. Please note that participation in the CFC is not a guarantee that the organization will receive designations from donors.

Q. Will we get an opportunity to participate in meetings, charity exhibits and other events hosted by Federal agencies?
A. Yes. Participating charitable organizations wishing to be involved in campaign events should contact their local CFC office in writing to inquire about opportunities to participate in CFC events and request a copy of their calendar of CFC events.

Q. If we have questions regarding the CFC to whom should they be addressed?
A. Contact the Office of CFC Operations at (202) 606-2564 (Mon.-Fri. 8:30am-5:00pm) or cfc@opm.gov or your local CFC office (http://www.opm.gov/cfc/Search/Locator.asp) for questions/concerns regarding the campaign.

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