We are now heavily into our Combined Federal Campaign season. Hence the reason for somewhat sporadic postings over the next few weeks. That and the fact that I may be facing surgery on my knee. But that is another story.
The Combined Federal Campaign, for those of you not familiar with the process, is an opportunity for federal employees to meet representatives of non-profit organizations at various charity fairs around the country. Federal offices such as the Pentagon and the Dept. of Transportation in Washington DC, the Bulk Mail facility in Michigan, and many, many more organize these fairs and encourage their staff to make contributions through payroll deduction. It is all coordinated out of the Office of Personnel Management in DC.
There is a fairly involved paperwork process that has to get filed (dealing with the government, who would expect anything different?) but as long as the paperwork is done correctly, every non-profit is eligible. We try to send staff to 10 – 12 events each year and provide information about what we do. We have seen gift income from this segment really grow over the last 3 years as we have actively participated. In addition, we take advantage of advertising opportunities in federal publications to keep our name in front of donors as much as possible. Here are a few key thoughts to keep in mind as you contemplate participation in the CFC.
- If you are a local charity, keep your participation to local events to the extent that you can. No sense in throwing resources at an event in Seattle if you are located in Denver.
- If you are a national charity, choose your events wisely. Locations where you have concentrations of donors can provide additional opportunities to interact with friends of your organization.
- Charity fair opportunities should be viewed as an opportunity to provide information to non-donors and an opportunity to thank those who are already your donors.
- Provide information that gives a good overview of what your organization does and how a person might participate both financially but also as a volunteer if those opportunities exist.
- Donors have the option to provide their names and addresses to you or not during the pledge process. Recognize that your opportunity to contact them may be limited.
- Your giveaway(s) should provide a clear link to your website and more information about your organization.
- Provide your CFC number (provided upon successful registration with the CFC) on your website.
- Track your results. Be aware that it will take some time for the gifts to materialize as it is a pledge process and there is a fairly lengthy delay.
The CFC events are free to attend. You just have the costs of travel and materials. They really are a great opportunity to meet and thank your donors and to meet your contemporaries.