Fundraising for charitable organization in the Federal workplace can be traced to the late 1940's. However, formal authority to permit fundraising in the Federal workplace was not established until 1961, when President Kennedy authorized the U.S. Civil Service Commission to develop guidelines and regulate fundraising in the Federal service. Prior to the 1950's, on-the-job fundraising in the federal workplace may best be described as an uncontrolled free-for-all. Federal agencies, employees, and charities were all dissatisfied. Some of the problems cited were: 

  • There was no limit to the number of fundraising campaigns in the workplace - 10 or 15 per year was not uncommon.
  • Federal executives freely established monetary quotas for agencies and individuals, as supervisors applied pressure to employees.
  • Designations to the charities of one's choice were not allowed.
  • There was no scrutiny of organizations soliciting funds in the workplace.

Despite the frequency of on-the-job solicitations, however, total receipts for charitable causes were small.

Seeing a need to bring the diversity of fund-raising efforts under one umbrella, Federal employees created the CFC - one campaign, once a year. By allowing employees to select from a single guide, called the Catalog of Caring, and making their contributions through payroll deductions, the CFC opened wide the door to more opportunities for generous giving to literally thousands of worthy causes.

Established by the federal government in 1961, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the only authorized charitable fundraising campaign for federal employees, both civilian and military. Conducted by the federal government under the authority of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the CFC operates in approximately 120 localities throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and in overseas military bases. CFC continues to be the largest and most successful workplace fundraising model in the world, raising 177 million in 2015 for thousands of local, national, and international charitable agencies.

All decisions regarding the inclusion of agencies in a local CFC campaigns rests with the local CFC Board of Directors, called the Local Federal Coordinating Committee (LFCC). The LFCC includes representatives from the six largest federal agencies, the Federal Executive Association, and four rotating agencies. Every year, the LFCC selects one of the voluntary organizations involved in the CFC to manage the campaign and serve as a fiscal agent. This agency, called the Principal Combined Fund Organization (PCFO), manages the CFC. OPM sets strict requirements for this role, including annual audits of the PCFO by an independent CPA.

Donations through the CFC can be designated to charitable agencies that provide meals for hungry children, relief for families in counseling, further work on cures for diseases, comfort for the dying, access to water in the Third World, environmental protection, and better lives and renewed hope for millions of people in our global community. CFC offers federal employees a way to easily and conveniently make a contribution to the good of society as a whole based upon their values.