Capital area chapter of fundraising campaign continues to think big

The Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area on Wednesday announced it would attempt to raise $67.2 million in charitable donations in 2011, a goal slightly more ambitious even than last year's record-setting $67 million.

The announcement came during the capital campaign's annual leadership conference, which this year celebrated the 50th anniversary of the CFC, founded in 1961 by President Kennedy. In light of that milestone, the Office of Personnel Management, which runs the nationwide fundraising drive, said separately it plans to establish a CFC-50 advisory committee.

The committee will review the current organization and advise OPM Director John Berry on how to expand and improve the campaign. Berry sent a memorandum to federal employees Sept. 1 outlining enhancements and new incentives to increase donations, including an emphasis on pledging contributions electronically.

While the conference helped to build excitement for the campaign season, the official start date was Sept. 1. Linda Washington, chairwoman of the national capital area drive, said employees already have started making contributions. Along with the higher goal for overall donations, CFCNCA is aiming to increase participation by 5 percent over last year and attract more young federal employees.

John Lazar, executive director of CFCNCA, outlined a new communications objective that includes improving campaign marketing and encouraging a new generation of donors through the recently established young donor advisory group.

"We do have newer and younger feds coming into the workforce," Lazar said. "Not all of them know about the campaign. We want to reach out to them. It's like building a succession plan."

The recent federal pay freezes and economic recession are concerns for CFCNCA, but Washington said she isn't too worried.

"As public servants our jobs don't end when we go home," Washington said in an interview with Government Executive. "Federal employees are just generous. It's in our blood, it's who we are."

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