NORTH FLORIDA, SOUTHEAST GEORGIA, COLUMBUS/FT. BENNING
COMBINED FEDERAL CAMPAIGN

UNITED WE STAND . . . UNITED WE GIVE

Frequently Asked Questions

 


CAMPAIGN EVENTS/MATERIALS

Q. Can a PCFO hold a fundraiser where part of the cost goes to the base cost and the remainder to the CFC (i.e. A golf tournament where the entry fee is $50 with $30 to base cost of the event and $20 to CFC)?

A. 950.602 states, " all approved fundraising events the donor must have the option of designating to a specific participating organization or federation or be advised that the donation will be counted as an undesignated contribution and distributed according to these regulations. Therefore, a golf tournament like the above mentioned one would have to be an open to the entire general (not just government employees) public with the proceeds going to undesignated.

Q. Can a fundraiser for a charity be permitted outside of the federal agency's 6 week campaign?

A. NO. The CFC time frame is September 1 through December 15 annually. However, we have established that acceptance for special solicitations on Military Installations must meet the following criteria: 1) The request to OPM must come directly from the Commander of the base or a designated representative of the Commander. Requests from charitable organizations are not acceptable. 2) All requests must adhere to the scope of the CFC as defined in 5 CFR 950.102 which states that The CFC is the only authorized solicitation of employees in the Federal workplace on behalf of charitable organizations. . . Except as provided in this section, no other solicitation on behalf of charitable organizations may be conducted in the Federal workplace. Upon written request, the Director may grant permission for solicitations of Federal employees, outside the CFC, in support of victims in cases of emergencies and disasters. These emergencies and disasters are defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 3) The CFC regulations do allow for the following activities, as outlined in 5 CFR 950 102(b): The collection of gifts-in-kind, such as food, clothing and toys or to the solicitation of Federal employees outside of the Federal workplace as defined by the applicable Agency Head consistent with General Services Administration regulations and any other applicable laws or regulations. Within these acceptable activities, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) does include the act of volunteering time and services. (Solicitation is clearly defined in 5 CFR 950.101 as Any action requesting money, either by cash, check or payroll deduction, on behalf charitable organizations. 4) We expect that the Base Commander define in the letter to OPM, the nature of the activity and whether or not, it will occur in the Federal workplace, as defined by the Base Commander. What is considered Federal workplace is the interpretation of the Commander. His/her approval or denial of the activity must also be indicated.

If the activity does NOT occur in the Federal workplace, as defined by the Commander or applicable Agency Head, and is consistent with any other applicable laws or regulations, OPM will concur with the Commander's decision.

Q. Can CFC events be underwritten by a private sector entity?

A. All CFC events should be budgeted for in CFC expenses. If an agency wishes to sponsor an event they must do so in compliance with their own Office of General Council and Ethics Office. The CFC is not permitted to publicly endorse any entity due to underwriting. No one organization is permitted to benefit from any underwriting of events.

Q. Is it possible to make the donor brochure available electronically? Have any campaigns done this?

A. All local CFC's are urged to provide the brochure electronically as a complement to the hard copy which must be produced and distributed to all federal employees annually. (E.g.: Denver,CO) The national list is on the OPM CFC home page at www.opm.gov/cfc. A group of federal employees called Employee Express is working towards automating the entire campaign.

Q. Is the International section of the brochure included in the annual rotation per OPM instructions?

A. Yes. In 2002 the order will be Local, National, then International.

Q. Can a PCFO change the way agencies are listed in the brochure?

A. NO. The national and international lists must be a faithful reproduction of the list provided by OPM. The order of the listing within each part of the brochure must be decided by random drawing. The order of organizations within each federation will be determined by that federation. The order within the national and local unaffiliated groups will be alphabetical. For more information see Part 950.401(g)(2). Nor can these components be produced as separate brochures. OPM will require brochures to be reprinted if sections are separately printed.

Q. Are there any uniform internal regulations for special events?

A. Special events held in conjunction with the CFC are permitted during the six week period if approved by the appropriate agency head or government official, consistent with agency ethics regulations. However, in all approved fundraising events the donor must have the option of designating his/her contribution to a specific organization or federation or be advised the contribution will be counted as an undesignated contribution. For more information see Part 950.602. Because of the complexity of ethics and/or state laws, CFC special events must be addressed on a case by case basis.

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DONORS

Q. Many donors only contribute 1 dollar per pay period. Has OPM considered a nationwide pledge minimum of 2,3, or 5 dollars to increase revenue?

A. Part 950.901(e)(1) states, The minimum amount of the allotment will be determined by the LFCC but will not be less than $1 per payday, with no restriction in the size of the increment above that minimum. OPM does not plan to change the regulatory minimum since the LFCC can determine its own minimum for their specific CFC.

Q. Can a federal employee donate to a local agency in a neighboring CFC campaign area?

A. No. As stated in 950.103(h), a federal employee may participate in a particular CFC only if that employee's official duty station is located within the geographic boundaries of that CFC. Campaign boundaries are strictly determined and approved by OPM. (See web page at http://www.opm.gov/cfc for a listing.)

Q. What is the latest on solicitation of retirees? Can a retiree who wants to give do so through payroll deduction?

A. At this time, a federal retiree may make a one time contribution to the CFC. However, retirees can not be solicited but are to be provided with the opportunity to give should they wish to do so. OPM and a National Retiree Access Committee tested retiree giving through annuity deduction during the 2000 CFC.  Future roll-out will be based on test results and evaluations following the 2000 testing process.

Q. Can CFC donors who give above a certain level be listed in a PCFO publication or recognition ceremony? Do we have to get permission from all of the donors? Is it a breach of confidentiality?

A. NO. If the federal employee indicates he/she would like an acknowledgment from the charitable organization to which they designated his/her gift, the PCFO must forward those names and addresses to the recipient organizations. The amount of the contribution SHOULD NOT be released at any time. The PCFO may not use donor information for any other purpose. For more information see Part 950.601.

Q. Can new hires be asked to give when they join a federal agency even if it is not during the campaign?

A. NO. Federal employees may be solicited to give only during the CFC campaign period.

Q. I have heard that the amount designated by donors wishing to be acknowledged can not be released... is this true?

A. YES it is.  Donor amounts may never be released.

Q. Is there any problem with extending the 6 week period for large agencies?

A. Any extensions on campaigns past the six week period may be authorized by the LFCC.  No campaign may be extended beyond December 15 for any reason.

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ELIGIBILITY

Q. Is an LFCC required to advertise for the local application period or keep any type of data base and mail applications to charities annually?

A. YES.  Per guidance provided by OPM in OPM Memorandum 89-3, LFCC's must ensure that local agency's are given adequate notice of the application period and process.  LFCC's can provide such notice through various public service announcements which include but are not limited to local newspapers, radio and television stations, etc.  The LFCC should also ensure the PCFO maintains a mailing list of local agencies that have requested information.

Q. Why is a d.b.a. (Doing business as) required from the IRS for a name change? Can a State issued d.b.a. be used instead of the IRS d.b.a.?

A. OPM will accept a d.b.a. issued by the IRS or the State.  If a nonprofit organization elects to do business under a name different from the one on their IRS Form 990, they must obtain a d.b.a. through either the IRS or the State and submit it with their application.  While a charity's eligibility status will not be decided based on the name , the name by which it is listed in the CFC brochure, should it be found eligible, will depend on official documentation from the IRS or State sources.  Additionally, ALL charities are required to include their Employee Identification Number (EIN) in their 25-word statement regardless of whether they are listed under their legal name or a d.b.a.

Q. What is considered a "complete" IRS Form 990?

A. A completed IRS Form 990 will include the entire form 990 itself, and all applicable supplemental/supporting statements.  It must also contain all appropriate signatures.

Q. Is a local agency required to have all independent eligibility information or are they allowed to use national or regional materials, especially if they are a chapter of a national organization or a site of a regional office?

A. Yes.  Regardless or weather the agency is a chapter or not, it must apply with information pertaining to that particular office.  This includes an independent audit, IRS Form 990, 501(c)(3) letter, annual report, etc.  National and regional information is not permitted for local entities.

Q. Can an applicant provide an audit on appeal if it isn't ready by the application deadline?

A. NO.  The required certifications and documentation must have been completed and submitted prior to the application filing deadline.  Applications received that are incomplete may not be perfected during the appeal process.

Q. If an agency is a state chapter of a national agency is that considered statewide presence?

A. No. An organization applying for statewide presence must prove that it provides or conducts REAL services, benefits, assistance or program activities covering 30 percent of a states geographic boundaries or conducting real services, benefits, assistance or program activities affecting 30 percent of the state's targeted population. This cannot be met solely on the basis of services provided through an "800" telephone number or the US Postal service.

Q. State-wide presence vs. Local presence... please define.

A. Local presence is defined as a staffed facility, office or portion of a residence dedicated exclusively to that organization, available to members of the public seeking its services or benefits. The facility must be open at least 15 hours a week and have a telephone dedicated exclusively to the organization. State wide presence is acquired when an organization proves it provides or conducts real services, benefits, assistance or program activities covering 30 percent of a state's geographic boundaries or affecting 30 percent of a state's population. For more information, see 5 CFR Part 950.204. (The strongest case for state-wide and local presence should be made to the LFCC. OPM prefers that this assessment be appropriately decided at the local level; however, applicants still have the right to appeal if necessary.)

Q. How does the contiguous rule differ from the state-wide?

A. Contiguous rule is when a charitable organization provides services in a geographical area which expands into two or more CFC geographical boundaries. That organization would then meet local presence requirements in both CFC areas. Statewide presence is when a charitable organization provides real services, benefits, assistance or program activities covering 30 percent of a state's geographic boundaries or affecting 30 percent of a state's population

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FEDERATION

Q. If a charitable organization lists with a federation during a campaign, is that federation required to complete the cycle of distribution.  If the Charitable organization signed up with another Federation can the new federation take over distribution payments before the cycle ends?

A. When a charitable organization joins a federation it must allow that federation to complete one full campaign cycle involving distribution payments.  This does not prevent the charitable organization from signing with a new federation but the original federation must complete the distribution cycle.  For example, a member organization of a federation in the 2000 CFC must allow that federation to complete its distribution for that member through January, 2002. The member organization is permitted to signed with another federation during 2001 but it may not take the distribution away from the original federation.

Q. Can a local federation participate in more than one campaign... particularly neighboring campaigns?

A. Yes. However, it must separately apply to all CFC's and meet the local presence or statewide presence requirements.

Q. What does the moratorium on national and international federations mean?

A. The moratorium prevents any new national or international federation form joining the CFC. This does not effect charitable organizations agencies in the CFC. Any organization can still join an existing federation or join the CFC as an unaffiliated.  However, the moratorium that was in place for the 1998-2000 campaigns will be lifted for 2001 .  This means any new federation may now apply for eligibility.

Q. Can a federation apply for inclusion in the CFC brochure without including its member organizations?

A. Not as a federation. It can be listed as an unaffiliated if it meets all required criteria.

Q. Since a local or regional federation can be in more than one CFC, if one CFC accepts the federation can the neighboring campaign accept the application without having to review all the applications of all its members?

A. NO. Each LFCC must fully review any and all charitable organizations applying for eligibility regardless of their status in other campaign areas.

Q. Can you have a local federation with less than 15 eligible member organizations? What if they have 15 eligible member organizations but one member organization elects to list with another federation taking them to 14 agencies?

A. A federation must have 15 qualifying member organizations to be deemed eligible for participation in any CFC. In cases where federations have the same organizations eligible, the organization must write a letter to the PCFO determining which federation they want to be listed under during the campaign. Federations are only listed if they have 15 eligible members on their listing. If a federation falls to 14 or fewer member organizations, they should request the member organizations be listed as unaffiliated.

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FINANCE

Q. Who can the PCFO call to get answers to questions regarding checks from the US treasury when the check only has a number to identify the payroll office and not a name?

A. OPM provided a list of payroll centers on the web page for download by all PCFOs. If the PCFO has made every attempt and is unable to locate the correct payroll office they may call OPM for assistance. DO NOT FORWARD CHECKS TO THE OPM/CFC OFFICE.

Q. When will Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) be required by the government?

A. Initially, federal payments were required to be made by EFT as of January 2, 1999 in compliance with the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. While this deadline has been extended, we fully anticipate it going into action at any time.  OPM has providing a listing of federal payroll offices to all PCFO's. It is the PCFO's responsibility to forward their EFT information to the appropriate payroll offices. The PCFO MUST provide payroll offices with their EFT information or they WILL NOT receive their pledges.

Q. Is there a limit on the amount that can be paid in a one time disbursement?

A. The LFCC determines the amount.

Q. Who is required to complete a compliance assessment guide for CFC?

A. The compliance assessment guide must be completed by the LFCC and the PCFO and signed by a certifying official of the LFCC.  The financial report must be completed by a certified public accountant or CPA firm, must be conducted in accordance with generally Accepted Accounting Standards and must end in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.  However, the compliance assessment guide is intended as an internal document and should not be part of the CPA audit.  OPM will request a copy of the compliance assessment guide from time to time.

Q. Who is the proper person to approve and sign a compliance audit for CFC?

A. The compliance audit must be signed by a certifying member of the LFCC.

Q. Can the PCFO charge the current rate of interest to the CFC for dollars that the PCFO lends to it for the campaign expenses?

A. If the PCFO obtains a commercial loan to pay for costs associated with running the campaign, the amount of a reasonable rate of interest is an allowable campaign expense, subject to the approval of the LFCC when the PCFO budget is submitted. For more information see Part 950.106.

Q. What is required by OPM when a recipient agency does not cash their CFC check(s)?

A. The PCFO must make every attempt to contact the charitable organization and determine if it is still viable. If the charitable organization no longer exists, the PCFO must determine an organization which provides services most like the organization in question and write to OPM requesting the funds be distributed to the replacement organization. If no organization within a CFC provides similar services, the PCFO should write to OPM requesting permission to distribute the funds in an undesignated manner.

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LOANED EXECUTIVES

Q. What is the role of a Loaned Executive and how was the program initiated?

A. The Loaned Executive program was initiated in 1971 by Presidential Order. A Loaned Executive is a Federal Employee that is "loaned" by their agency to work on the CFC.  The Loaned Executive is usually relieved of all work duties for the period they are working on the CFC.  The role of a Loaned Executive is to conduct all solicitations among the federal employees in a campaign area. They are usually trained by the PCFO and work out of the PCFO for about a 2 - 3 month period. 

Q. Is there any regulatory reason why Loaned Executives are rotated every year?

A. No. The agreement must be between the Loaned Executive and his/her supervisor. This issue must be addressed at the LFCC level.

Q. Can a federal retiree be asked to serve as a Loaned Executive?

A. No. A retiree can volunteer to help on the campaign but cannot represent any government entity or solicit federal employees.

Q. Can Loaned Executives serve part time on CFC and part time on PCFO work?

A. NO. Federal employees acting as Loaned Executives for the CFC are prohibited from working on any other campaigns.

Q. Which part of Loaned Executive training can be done in conjunction with the PCFO?

A. General training which does not include any detailed information on the PCFO, its agencies or solicitation practices on its behalf.

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LOCAL FEDERAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE (LFCC) and PRINCIPAL COMBINED FUND ORGANIZATION (PCFO)

Q. Can the CFC announce/set an annual financial goal?

A. The overall national CFC does not set a financial goal. Locally, the LFCC can set a financial goal for that CFC area. Each federal agency may also set a financial goal.

Q. Are LFCC's required to hold public meetings to announce local eligibility decisions?

A. No. Local organizations which meet all criteria and are eligible must be notified via facsimile or US Postal Service within 15 business days after the closing date of the application period. Denial of the application by the LFCC must be sent via US Postal Service certified or registered mail with a return receipt

Q. Is it permissible to have your own CFC logo?

A. No

Q. Can a PCFO charge CFC the interest lost for paying campaign expenses?

A. A PCFO may ONLY charge interest to CFC if the PCFO obtained a commercial loan.   Any loaned obtained by the PCFO must first be approved by the LFCC.

Q. If a federation is accepted by the LFCC one year with all of its member organizations can the federation just re-certify the members organization without filling out the application even if they go above 25% administrative costs?

A. A federation must apply on an annual basis to the CFC and, after the first year, all of its existing member organizations application should be kept on file at the federation. The LFCC can request any or all of these applications at any time. If an existing member does not meet an eligibility criteria the federation must include that information in their annual application. The LFCC may also request the full application of any new member organizations be submitted with the federation application.

Q. Can the LFCC waive and/or redefine OPM regulations?

A. NO. An appeal and/or waiver (whichever is appropriate) must be specifically addressed to OPM.

Q. Do CFC Managers also handle PCFO accounts?

A. Some CFC Managers also manage other accounts for the PCFO. However, all expenses related to work done on behalf of the PCFO must be separate from the CFC budget. This includes the salary of the CFC Manager and all related expenses.

Q. As an LFCC member, should the travel, per diem, and registration fee related to this workshop be paid out of CFC funds or by my employing agency?

A. Travel on CFC business should be budgeted for when the LFCC approves the PCFO annual budget.

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PARTICIPATION

Q. Can an Agency Head not allow his/her agency to be involved because they themselves do not believe in CFC?

A. The Combined Federal Campaign was established by Presidential Order. Once a campaign has been established, agency heads may not discontinue solicitation of federal Employees within their agency without the written approval of the Director of OPM.

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SPEAKERS/TOURS

Q. Can agencies (local) speak about their programs at CFC events?

A. Yes.

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