As far back as 1948, the then existing Federal Personnel Council (composed of agency personnel directors) attempted to add uniformity and stability to the fundraising effort through the issuance of guidance to departments and agencies. However, the Council had no enforcement authority and the departments and agencies continued generally to follow their own inclinations in the conduct of on-the-job solicitations.
As the solicitations proliferated and with continued dissatisfaction with a lack of uniform policy in workplace fundraising, Philip Young, the President's Advisor on Personnel Management, who also acted as Chairman of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), initiated a study of the problem. This 2-year effort (1954-56) involved extensive discussions with leaders of charitable organizations and managers throughout the federal establishment.
In June 1956, President Eisenhower formally charged the President's Advisor on Personnel Management with responsibility for the development and administration of a uniform policy and program for fundraising within the federal service. In that year, Fund Raising Bulletins No. 1 and No. 2 were issued, identifying the charitable organizations recognized for on-the-job solicitations and designating the times of the year during which their solicitations could take place. General guidelines were issued for the conduct of campaigns, and an Eligibility Standards Committee was established. The Committee's eligibility criteria formed the basis for identifying charitable organizations recognized for solicitation during 1958 and later years.
The first participating charitable organizations were:
The American Red Cross,
Local Community Chests, United Funds, or Federated Groups,
The National Health Agencies (an ad hoc group of nine health-related voluntary organizations, now known as Community Health Charities), and
International Voluntary Agencies (an ad-hoc group, later known as International Service Agencies, of two voluntary agencies primarily interested in overseas assistance programs).
President Eisenhower further formalized the administration of the program by Executive Order 10728 of September 6, 1957. The Executive Order placed it under the supervision of a Presidential Committee, staffed by the Civil Service Commission. Solicitations by charities were consolidated into three on-the-job campaigns a year (for different groups of charities), and operational ground rules were established and eligibility tightened.
The principal characteristics of the emerging federal fundraising program were that all individual voluntary health and welfare agencies were grouped into the four categories above, and that each of the groups was assigned specific periods during each year when they would be permitted to carry out on-the-job solicitations. The Community Chest organizations (primarily local United Ways) were assigned campaigns privileges during the fall, the National Health Agencies and the International Service Agencies were assigned a campaign period in the spring, and the American Red Cross (where it had not consolidated its fundraising efforts with the local Community Chest) was permitted a separate campaign during the spring.
This was a giant step in simplifying and systematizing fundraising in the federal service. As it developed, however, there continued to be dissatisfaction with the expense and disruptive influence of multiple campaigns. It also remained true that receipts continued to be low in relation to the proportion of time and energy devoted to the various campaigns. Campaigns were often not organized with vigor and enthusiasm and, with the exception of United Way campaigns, were dependent upon cash donations handled through an envelope distribution system. While the United Way campaigns solicited pledges as well as one-time cash contributions, all contributions were paid directly by the employee to the voluntary agency. There was no payroll deduction.