CFC charity groups obscuring overhead costs, report finds

Thinkstock
Federations that provide administrative services to charities participating in the Combined Federal Campaign are not forthcoming about the fees they charge, making it difficult for CFC participants to determine how much of their donations go to overhead costs, according to a new report.

Formed as umbrella groups of organizations with similar missions, federations ease the logistics burden on charities seeking to qualify for the annual federal employee giving drive. Federations help charities submit applications to the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the CFC, and create a single contact point to sort out the paperwork. They also increase the visibility of their member groups.

The federations charge fees for their services, but often are not up front about what those fees will be, according to the Workplace Giving Alliance, a consortium of federations working to promote efficiency in public sector workplace fundraising.

Charities can apply directly to OPM, or they can apply through a federation, which must have at least 15 eligible charities to qualify for the annual campaign. Forty-two federations, such as Aid for Africa and Jewish Charities of America, participated in CFC in 2012.

The report said federations should operate like businesses in a marketplace that are competing to recruit charities. The federations are missing a key market component, the report found, which is an open and transparent list of pricing options. Charities in the 2012 campaign often did not find out what federations charged until after they signed on.

The Workplace Giving Alliance determined the fee amounts charged by examining annual reports and tax forms. Federations typically collect donations for their member groups as they come in from federal employees, deduct their charges -- either a percentage of donations or a flat fee -- and give the remaining funds to the charity. This system makes it difficult for donors and charities to determine the cost of operations, the report said.

Federal Times, which first reported the findings, said OPM will soon issue draft regulations to overhaul the Combined Federal Campaign. One of the changes would prohibit federations from deducting their fees from donations and instead require them to bill charities directly.

The alliance commended the new policy, saying that requiring invoices will clarify what federations are charging charities for their services.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.