Federal retirees can donate to the CFC next year

Two major changes are coming to Combined Federal Campaign, the federal workforce’s annual giving program, next year.

Starting in September 2017, federal retirees will be able to participate in the campaign and can make donations in the form of monthly annuitant payments. The second change will let federal employees volunteer with certain charities, and those hours will be monetized and will count toward CFC goals.

President Barack Obama signed the executive order Thursday, which empowers the Office of Personnel Management to authorize and lead the CFC.

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“These changes will allow more federal, postal and military personnel to give back to their communities, whether through their checkbooks or with their time,” OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert said in a release. “And by adding an easy option to allow our more than 2 million federal annuitants to participate in the CFC through their annuities, we hope to raise even more money for these worthy causes from employees who choose to donate over the course of their career and into retirement.”

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The changes to the campaign will give federal employees more options and a chance for them — especially younger workers — to engage more actively with the CFC, OPM said.

They’re the result of a year-long study from the CFC-50 Commission, which OPM convened in 2011 to study and propose recommendations to modernize the campaign.

The commission specifically recommended OPM add retirees to expand the campaign’s giving base, estimating that about 24 percent of the roughly 2.5 million federal retirees at the time would give to the CFC if they had the option.

Engaging the federal workforce in the campaign has long been a goal for the CFC, which has seen a gradual decline in donations over the past few years.

National capital area employees raised roughly $46.5 million for 2015’s CFC, just shy of last year’s $50 million goal.

Federal employees have donated less money over the past few years, with sequestration and the 2013 government shutdown taking a big toll. Between 2009 and 2012, Washington-area employees contributed about $60 million a year to the CFC.  But in 2013, donations dropped to  $51.2 million and $49.5 million in 2014.

This year’s goal for the national capital region is $47 million, but campaign leaders have encouraged Washington-area employees to stretch that number farther.

The 2017 campaign will also see other changes. OPM chose GiveBack.org, a philanthropic website that focuses on organizing large groups of small donors, to help the agency modernize the CFC infrastructure. Give Back will likely help OPM run the back end of the campaign and will incorporate retiree donors into the system.