2018 CFC Mid-Campaign Update

Dear Nonprofit Partners,

The 2018 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is nearing its halfway point, having launched on September 10 with an anticipated end date of January 11, 2019. In light of the 2017 decline, I am happy to report we have seen a number of improvements made to overall planning and processes for the 2018 CFC, leaving us optimistic about this year’s outcome.

Following up on our last post and presentation at Membership Assembly 2018, here are some updates of note:

  • The 2018 Campaign is doing a better job in building awareness and engaging prospective donors. Efforts to engage CFC donors have improved greatly since last year – we have heard from coordinators and agency representatives that employees are showing a stronger interest in participating. We believe this to be the combined result of a number of factors:
    • An earlier launch date – The 2018 CFC launched on time and one month earlier than last year’s campaign, and this year federal and military personnel were able to make their pledge online a full 2 months earlier than they could in 2017. The first day of giving for of the 2018 campaign saw $74,401.32 in pledges compared to $12 in pledges generated on the first day the prior year.
    • Improved donation platform – A number of improvements have been made to the CFC’s online donation platform resulting in an overall “smarter” search function. Donors are able to easily locate their charity of choice in narrowing their search to filter by EIN, city, state, zip code, CFC zone, cause, and whether a charity provides volunteer opportunities. Also beginning this year, donors can allocate their gifts to the penny between the charities they select on the giving portal.
    • Events and outreach – We have seen a huge improvement in the quality and consistency of communication we are receiving from Campaign  Outreach Coordinators and have been able to send you more opportunities to promote your brand directly to prospective donors as a result. In 2017, we saw the bulk of events scheduled very late and within a condensed time frame butting up against the holiday season, making it extremely difficult for charities to meaningfully connect with federal employee donors. In 2018, Outreach Coordinators have more experience and time to execute on strategy. Agencies have also had more time to plan and schedule events, allowing more promotional opportunities for participating charities. We are seeing more events pop up in traditionally quiet campaign zones, to include zones encompassing the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston metropolitan areas in Texas.
    • Engagement with retirees – This is one area we flagged in our last update as ripe for growth. Last year’s campaign was the first year that retirees could give recurring gifts to participating nonprofits via their monthly allotments. However, due to a really late start in 2017, this functionality was not fully rolled out to retirees until December - only a few weeks before the campaign period closed. In spite of the short time frame, we saw nearly a half million dollars generated from retirees. Fast forward to the 2018 campaign when retirees were able to donate 3 months earlier, and it’s clear how much room there is to improve upon the figure from 2017; 4.1 million retired federal and military personnel accounts for roughly 40% of potential CFC donors this year. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is committed to growing retiree giving by promoting the campaign to as many retirees possible and has been working with a number of stakeholders within the federal government to target messaging via social media and other outlets.
  • So far, pledge results are tracking better in 2018 than 2017. Coordinators for 31 of the 36 local campaigns (48 of 50 states and overseas) have reported that 2018 campaign pledges are currently tracking ahead of the 2017 Campaign. The CFC of the National Capital Area alone is currently monitoring its progress in comparison to the 2016 and 2017 campaigns and is currently tracking ahead of both. This is particularly welcome news considering CFCNCA is the largest local campaign zone and has historically generated roughly 25% of overall pledges in the CFC. The Washington, D.C. metro area campaign produced $47 million in pledges in 2016 and $36 million in 2017.

As the second largest workplace giving campaign in the world, the CFC is still an extremely valuable source of revenue for over 8,000 charities nationwide.  Not enough time has passed for us to reasonably expect the campaign to make a full rebound from 2017, however we’ve already seen dramatic improvement in a number of key areas setting the campaign up for success. If the 2018 CFC continues to track well in the coming weeks, participating charities should expect to see an increase in overall pledges generated this year. This is not to say this year’s campaign is projected to outperform 2016, but we anticipate 2018 will be a step in the right direction.

Should you have any questions about the CFC or your membership with America’s Charities, please reach out our Client Engagement team via email at clientsolutions@charities.org. Please stay tuned for an additional CFC update soon to be posted to our member portal.

On behalf of all of us at America’s Charities, I thank you for your continued partnership and all you do to make our world a better place.

Sincerely,

Jim Starr

President & CEO